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Thought Leadership

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Marketing Tech Investments: Beyond Silicon Valley

This past week, I facilitated another round table discussion with twenty business to business digital leaders as part of the Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance (MOCCA) group.   Companies represented ranged from large companies like CA Technologies, SAP, and MetLife, to smaller companies like Talkpoint (acq. PGi) and XLGroup.  We also had a technology venture managing partner join our round table discussion.

One topic of conversation was the recent VentureBeat article citing @chiefmartec Scott Brinker’s landscape of marketing technology.  Scott presented this chart to us in our last meeting so we had context.  We asked the question to the group – ‘are 1400 marketing technology vendors sustainable as an overall market?’

Market expansion responses:

  • The marketing technology company quantity will double (to 2800) because the pace of innovation is moving fast
  • Big companies (Oracle, SAP, SFDC) can’t innovate, therefore big companies will acquire so there will be a need for smaller companies continuously
  • To be competitive today, the advantage in the market is that of speed as value propositions blur – and technology enables that speed edge, so the market will continue to expand to get faster
  • It is a game of arbitrage – once all competitors buy a technology (like predictive analytics), they no longer have that advantage so they’ll seek new technology to go faster
  • Salesforce.com has the app exchange with thousands of companies, marketing is no different with Marketo with Launchpoint

Market contraction responses:

  • Technology has changed so fast, it is starting to outstrip the organization’s ability to respond and keep up
  • I spend my day dodging calls and emails from marketing technology vendors unless that vendor has something really unique I should look at
  • My budget is staying relatively flat, there is only so much technology I can invest in credibly and present to my boss
  • My companies priorities shape how I’m able to absorb marketing technology and we can barely get done what we need to get done
  • I check to see how long a vendor has been in business because I want to make sure they are sustainable for the long term

Based on my own experiences as a head of marketing in Silicon Valley and NYC companies for 10 years and recent discussions with my enterprise clients, I bend toward a market contraction.

  • Some companies will fade away completely and be replaced by newer innovations with the overall pool of companies remaining the same at first, slowly contracting with either exits through larger companies or exits because of lack of revenue.
  • While somewhat obvious, Silicon Valley companies are more likely to be industry leading in terms of their investment threshold for new marketing technologies as they are more apt to pilot/test and risk success;
  • East coast companies are a very different beast both in organizational risk appetite as well as the importance of marketing as part of the sales process.  It is likely east coast companies will need to digest what is in front of them now technology wise and prove ROI on existing investments before getting too far ahead on net new investments.

An area of opportunity is for one vendor to bring order to chaos, by simplifying one interface to get multiple tools to work together properly and coherently.

One thing we all agree on, there is no better time to be an enterprise marketer.

How do you see the technology marketing market shaping up?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

3 Enterprise Takeaways from SiriusDecisions Summit

This was posted on Oracle’s Blog this past week.  Reposting if you missed it.

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Today’s post comes courtesy of Jon Russo, founder of B2B Fusion, an agency that focuses exclusively on modernizing old demand generation practices to new to drive more revenue for clients like Thomson Reuters, Level(3) Communications, and Blackboard, among others. Jon serves on the Board of Directors for MOCCA, the leading enterprise association for Marketing Operations professionals. Prior to founding B2B Fusion, Jon held global CMO roles for 10 years in private and public technology companies in Silicon Valley, NYC, and Luxembourg.

This week in Orlando, 2,000 attendees had the opportunity to participate in the SiriusDecisions Summit, the granddaddy conference for the B2B marketing industry. Sirius analysts presented eight new frameworks and enterprise clients shared success stories, each group illustrating paths toward transformational growth for 2014 and beyond.

So what are the new themes from enterprises this year versus the seven prior conference years that I’ve attended?  Here are three new 2014 themes that emerged from the enterprise discussions:

1. Think globally, act locally. Enterprise presenters took a global planning approach to their demand planning versus more North America centric presenters of years past, possibly because companies see more growth in markets outside of North America. Polycom CMO Jim Kruger leveraged regional team presenters by sharing a global success story of installing an inquiry to opportunity process. Joseph Puthussery, Vice President of Demand Generation for Cisco, invested four years in architecting and building a global demand center, began his planning efforts in London, and leveraged successes within each global theater of operation.  Joseph previously ran APAC marketing efforts for Cisco from Singapore and emphasized how important it was to get outside of headquarters to think through architecting a demand center.

2. Data is foundational to true business insights. Pete Koliopoulos, Vice President of Marketing for Arrow Electronics, provided an incredibly thoughtful approach to Arrow’s data governance strategy to help elevate marketing to a true business partner. He presented screenshots of a whitespace report with product penetration by channel account, which enabled sales and marketing to drive campaign strategies to attack the whitespace. Arrow cleansed its internal owned data, appended external DUNs hierarchy data, and applied proper data governance to get to the dashboard destination.  Data strategy is often overlooked in other enterprises as executives overlook the impact data strategy has on sales & marketing productivity and business insights.

3. Marketing & Sales pivot toward a predictable science versus pure art. CMO Jim Bell of Jaspersoft and Vice President of Demand Marketing Meagen Eisenberg of Docusign proved how SaaS marketing has become more predictable than that of years past. SaaS companies have a clear advantage over other older enterprise companies as SaaS typically target new markets, deploy state of the art sales/marketing tools to attack those markets, and pinpoint customer retention trends in cohort clusters.

Jim illustrated how in a smaller organization, he doubled the inquiry to close rate from his baseline by installing rigor around funnel definition and discipline around the process.

Meagen explained how she leveraged intelligence from Docusign’s 90 nurture tracks, 20+ personas, and analytic/data vendors like Lattice Engines and Mintigo. Scott Barmmer, Meagen’s sales counterpart, commented how marketing brings an informed point of view to the conversation, one that has evolved and interpreted versus just presenting data. This interpretation leads to greater trust in the evolving sales and marketing relationship.

It was an exciting 2014 conference filled with another year of terrific networking and great enterprise audience growth from years past!  What can we expect in 2015 and beyond?  None of the presenters focused much energy on the success or impact of mobile initiatives; perhaps mobility will be an emerging theme in 2015.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

The Many Faces of Marketing Automation

(Reposted from DemandGenReports Blog)

 

When I recently attended Oracle’s Marketing Cloud kickoff event, where Oracle COO Mark Hurd gave his presentation to 100 of us, we had a chance to ask him questions at the conclusion. My question for him was, “how are you using Eloqua internally, what is your use case and roadmap vision?”

There were multiple use cases shared for marketing automation, each requiring different elements from their CRM or end users depending on the type of company. Let’s take a look at three of those models.

Model 1: Share of Wallet – Hurd said Oracle already has 400,000 global accounts, and doubted that he could expand that to 800,000. However, given that Oracle has been acquiring companies rapidly, Hurd said his objective now is to infuse other Oracle products into the company’s existing 400,000 client base via his newly acquired company, Eloqua.

For large, global enterprise companies, marketing comes down to the share-of-wallet, and gaining more spend from existing clients with products other than the core product. It’s about nurturing the relationships you already have, finding out what products they’re missing within the vendor portfolio, and working to expand the size of the accounts. In each of these scenarios, having the proper product information structured properly in the CRM system is critical and an often overlooked area. Duplicate accounts or contacts, sometimes caused by ERP systems, crush a marketer’s ability to properly upsell and cross sell.

Model 2: Market Share – Smaller organizations, by contrast, are typically concerned with gaining rapid market share. Their marketing efforts are more top-of-the-funnel oriented, with efforts aimed at expanding their client base. For SaaS companies in particular, they may extend offers, trials, and freemiums via marketing automation, dripping those freemiums into qualified opportunities at the right time. It is critical to set up the campaign integration with CRM properly in this scenario as well as a consistent campaign naming hierarchy such that campaign performance can be later analyzed to see what campaigns are driving conversions.

Model 3: Customer retention – Customer retention is a function found in both large organizations and in smaller SaaS companies. It’s oftentimes overlooked by marketers who prioritize how much revenue is being sourced or influenced.  CRM information on current contracts and products are critical, and are the ideal fields that indicate product usage so that nurturing can be based off renewal dates or usage (or lack thereof). Of the enterprises I’ve inspected, this area has the most upside potential for marketers to impact, yet it is very challenging for marketers to measure overall effectiveness.

There are a number of different ways marketing automation can be shaped to solve business challenges in the enterprise. What are you seeing?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Gap Analysis – Marketing Automation

A colleague asked me to compare and contrast what marketing automation deployments we’ve seen prospect and customer wise – what their use case is relative to the gap with best practices.

To execute on a need he had committed to a client, I came up with the following list for him to consider.

Symptoms of enterprises struggling with marketing automation – marketing automation has (been):

  • Referenced internally as a ‘Ferrari in the garage collecting dust’
  • Perceived as a ‘black box’ to non-marketing executives who don’t understand its impact
  • Delivered a ‘Batch and Blast’ or large quantity of email experience, alienating subscribers
  • Enabled a first generation lead scoring model that has little, if any, business impact
  • Amplified non-standardized CRM data, thus frustrated sales and marketing users
  • Underutilized relative to installed customer base

What marketing automation should be or do potential wise:

  • Improves conversions by keeping in touch with not now, maybe later buyers
  • Delivers relevant and targeted personalized content to end users to engage at the right time vs. all of the time
  • Accelerates reporting ability when working properly with CRM, thus is transparent value vs. black box value
  • Minimizes non-standard data to maximize deliverability impact
  • Enables inside sales and sales prioritize workload via effective lead scoring model
  • Provides cross sell /up sell capabilities to an installed base

I think a better question to ask in framing this entire situation is around the use case – what is the business problem you are trying to solve with marketing automation?  From that point with the end in mind, marketing automation can then be deployed and configured to address your business needs vs. deploying against its technical capabilities.

What do you think?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Leads, Big Data and Trust

(This was recently published by the Argyle Group targeting 4000 CMOs globally.)

70 percent or more of marketing business to business leads aren’t being followed up by sales. And the reason is trust. Establishing trust — the moment that you believe the salesperson understands your problem and the solution they are pitching makes sense — is normally associated with customer relationships. Instead, what I’m talking about are the leads marketing “sells” to sales.

According to a commissioned study by Dunn & Bradstreet, three quarters of sales reps and sales operations managers say that they need deep, accurate information to be more successful in their job. However, most salespeople assess marketing qualified leads with cynicism. The lead data, everything needed to understand the company and decision maker, is perceived to be incomplete, out-of-date or inaccurate — often rightly so.

When the quality of the lead data is questioned, marketing efforts are undermined and CRM and sales force automation systems go underutilized. One part of the problem is that there often are several data sources, such as legacy CRM systems, procured third-party profiles, and digital behavior gleaned by tracking responses to digital marketing programs. Each of these sources provides differing customer information, but no single source delivers a complete, insightful profile.

Enter Big Data and the thickening bond between CIOs and CMOs. CIOs are tasked with integrating Big Data, in its different structured and unstructured forms, and churning out actionable information. CMOs can then apply data analytics to paint a true 360-degree picture of a prospect to feed into enterprise CRM systems, with knowledge bases continuously updated using technologies developed to manage Big Data.

It can be done, and in fact recently has been done by Level 3 Communications. SVP of Marketing Maggie Chan Jones and her team drove an initiative in which more than 90 million records from multiple sources were combined. And by partnering with Mark Martinet (CIO of Level 3) on the project roadmap, the solution ensures that same dataset will flow across multiple systems and platforms. Consequently, everyone sees the market and customers through the same lens. Sales has the key segment attributes and in-depth customer insight they need to reach out with the right information at the right time, and marketing can execute more carefully, with on-target messaging that creates better return on their investments into automated tools and content.

What can’t be lost sight of is how customers and prospects benefit. In light of the changing nature of sales cycles, it’s more important than ever for sales to know what makes sense to offer and when, so that everyone’s time is put to best use.

Success instills trust — between sales and marketing, and between your company and your customers. Big Data can help make it happen, you just need to turn the data into information.

BIO:

Jon Russo is a three time B2B Chief Marketing Officer in global companies ranging from former divisions of General Electric to successful Silicon Valley start-ups. He currently runs B2B Fusion Group, a vendor neutral business helping business-to-business sales and marketing leaders accelerate revenue growth by connecting marketing investment to new revenue opportunities. His clients include Level 3, SAP and IEEE, among others. He can be found on Twitter @b2bcmo.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

2013: Great Expectations For Marketing ROI

Here is my brief view of what to expect in 2013.

During 2013, organizations will demand significantly more revenue value out of their existing sales and marketing ecosystem investments including CRM, Marketing Automation, and list acquisition purchases.  Non-marketing executives at these firms will demand greater accountability for return on these investments.

 

As a result, marketers will need the ability to execute campaigns with surgical precision and to tie their marketing investments explicitly to ROI. This includes:

 

Generating more qualified leads. Successful marketers can and should claim the lion’s share of leads that close to revenue within their organizations. Focus here on the details: standardizing data fields within CRM and marketing automation systems, for example, is critical to proper segmentation and targeting. Data-driven segmentation is especially critical to executing targeted campaigns and increasing ROI.

 

Optimizing business processes. Many companies use less than 10% of their marketing automation capabilities because they haven’t deployed these tools effectively. That’s why it’s so important to map every aspect of your customer acquisition and onboarding process – from inquiry to close and beyond – to and through your CRM and marketing automation tools.

 

Connecting marketing activity to new revenue. An entire industry has evolved around the ability to measure marketing-sourced and marketing-influenced revenue – and to extend these analytics far beyond what’s available from an out-of-the-box CRM or marketing automation system. It’s hard to overstate the importance of these tools; their power lies in their ability to give executives “one view of the truth” for reporting sales and marketing ROI.

 

Organizations that put together these pieces and execute a revenue-driven marketing strategy will have a far more successful 2013 than those that don’t.

 

What do you think will happen?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

How To Achieve B-to-B Marketing ROI Nirvana

There is a need for B2B Marketing ROI yet we’re still not there.  According to Adobe’s 2012 CMO report, fewer than 20% of executive B2B marketers have the ability to measure ROI.  SiriusDecisions reported in  their 2012 CMO survey that CMOs number one concern was demonstrating ROI.  Unlike the B2C marketer who has one consumer that could be making a single web commerce transaction which is tracked from start to finish, B2B marketers are faced with a buying committee  of six to eight purchasers and a buying path that has become more digital over the years yet does not mirror the accuracy of digital tracking that a B2C marketer has.

There are 3 key ingredients that repeat themselves in companies that have been able to successfully measure B2B Marketing ROI

  • An ecosystem of partners –  Concur Software, has consistently grown revenue over 20% year over year and won a number of recent industry awards based on their marketing ROI performance.  Their executive team relied heavily on an ecosystem of the right partners to implement their best in class CRM, Marketing automation, and data gathering/measuring techniques.  One integration partner of Concur’s is DemandGen, who implemented the lead scoring processes so the Concur sales team could work more effectively on the right prospects instead of all prospects, thus improving the chances for higher return (conversion) on marketing campaigns.
  • Data quality – I use the ‘sight on the rifle’ analogy with data.  If your rifle sight is off by the slightest, you’ll miss your target by a mile when you squeeze the trigger.  This area is often the most misunderstood by executives yet directly impacts productivity.  Without complete data beyond account level information (contact names, phone numbers, email addresses) and a process to minimize data duplications, sales teams invest an inordinate amount of research time to find the right contact information and marketing teams waste energy with campaigns that never reach its intended target.  ROI is strongly correlated to proper data hygiene and strategies
  •  Buyer cycle knowledge – a surprising number of companies underestimate the need to build out content around their buying cycle.  Why is this?  With a buying committee, marketing teams do not fully understanding the ‘moments of truth’ of how their buyers actually buy and when buyers leverage digital technology to buy.  A great example of enabling the right content is how Rackspace leverages the LinkedIn product page with over 500 peer/client recommendations to help with their funnel conversion process;  no different from an eBay or Amazon purchase with recommendations from ‘peers’, Rackspace has enabled a savvy capability that shows which peers are also buying their product.

 

With these three ingredients in place, marketing ROI is achievable.  Measuring and tracking performance with systems can be tricky as it will take people energy, processes, and tools to get the right data reported on but without taking these steps in advance of measuring, you won’t know what areas to improve in.  Veracity of measuring may come into question when data is formatted outside of CRM systems, so be prepared to identify all assumptions in data gathering and use those assumptions consistently.

B2B Marketers continue to improve their journey of ROI measuring as marketing becomes more accountable at the executive level for a quantifiable impact on revenues.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Bigger deals that close faster!

We’re still not yet hitting the full promise of what marketing 2.0 could be delivering on.  In an informal poll of 3 CMOs of B2B companies with revenues from $50M to $5B, I asked about their progress with new revenue acquisition effectiveness around gaining bigger deal sizes with decreased sales cycle time by leveraging effective marketing automation deployments and other inbound techniques of marketing.  The findings mirror what MOCCA (Marketing Operations Community) reported in January 2012 in a webinar survey of over 200 companies – on balance, companies that invested in marketing automation platforms experienced better (and more) leads at a lower cost per lead, not yet bigger deals that closed or a faster close time.

How do you get better conversion and more effective utilization out of your technology investments, specifically around your marketing automation platform?  Here are 3 suggestions:

  • Data – I use the ‘sight on the rifle’ analogy with data.  If your rifle sight is off by the slightest, you’ll miss your target by a mile when you go to shoot at it.  The single biggest area which is most often misunderstood by executives is the integrity of your company data.  Without complete data (contact names, phone numbers, email addresses), sales teams invest an inordinate amount of research time to get the right information.  (see previous post on the cost of this).  There have been tools that have improved ascertaining some of this information (LinkedIn plugin to salesforce.com, Data.com, InsideView, RainKing, etc.) to start down this path.  However, even the tools in and of themselves do not solve for data integrity issues of appending, cleansing, and preventing duplications at the contact or account level.  With the right up front planning, sales effectiveness can be increased.
  • Buyer cycle knowledge – a surprising number of organizations way underestimate the need to build out content around their buying cycle.  First, organizations miss on understanding the ‘moments of truth’ of how their buyers actually buy and when buyers leverage digital technology to buy.  How they can get a better understanding here is through surveys, customer forums, and unpacking previously won deals to piece together successful elements.  The second area they miss out on is targeting the right content at the right time in the cycle.  As an example, Rackspace does an exceptional job of targeting end of funnel conversion by leveraging LinkedIn recommendations by clients such that other potential clients can see what their friends purchased.
  • Metrics/Reporting – probably the trickiest area of all and at the nexus of data, process, and content.  Without the other pieces in place, marketing ROI is a myth.  The vendors in the space are happy to sell you their capabilities which are either set up leveraging very specific use cases or require a fair amount of care and feeding to get operating correctly.  It will take people energy and an excel template to get the right data reported out on but without doing this, you won’t know what areas to improve in.  Veracity always comes into question when data is formatted outside of CRM systems, so be prepared to identify all assumptions in data gathering and use those assumptions consistently.

How have you improved your processes in getting bigger deals with shorter sales cycles?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

MOCCA DC – Trends in Marketing Operations

Marketing Operations as a B2B discipline is rapidly growing.  As one data point that supports its growth, we had our largest attendance to date for today’s MOCCA meeting in Washington DC with Andrew Gaffney and Amanda Batista of Demand Gen Report covering recent readership survey results on trends in marketing measurement, changes in b2b buyers, and shifts in content preferences.  Rather than rehash the survey results which are available on DemandGen’s website, here are 4 key takeaways from our hour long question and answer session that followed the presentation:

Content:  this area was the theme and background of DemandGen, so it was not a surprise to hear this topic come up.  We spent considerable time discussing the pros and cons of webinars, both live and recorded, and came to the conclusion they are a worthy, cost effective tactic to consider as part of the overall marketing mix.  With today’s integration in marketing automation platforms, there are more benefits reporting wise to use webinars versus in years past.  Video is also a tactic that can be repurposed toward mobile devices and non-mobile devices.  There were a few audience members who suggested that having  4 videos of 5 minutes each were more powerful than one 20 minute video and easier for a buyer to digest.

Data Warehouse:  this is an emerging area for enterprise companies that are trying to do data manipulation and more sophisticated reporting.  B2B companies are realizing a shortcoming of their CRM systems and marketing automation systems in terms of lack of data reporting flexibility.  Thus, they are looking to front end load their systems with a data warehouse that interoperates with disparate data sets and can do sophisticated reporting through easier manipulation of data.

Mobile:  this area remains an enigma for b2b marketers (my data points extend beyond this session with the CMOs of both Cisco and Xerox confirming this same data).  Contrary to what is happening in the market, marketers are just not yet ready to think about rendering b2b campaigns in mobile, either through their marketing automation platform or through companies like Litmus Technologies.  One company mentioned it was beginning to source 15% of its lead flow (not web traffic) from mobile devices yet the majority were not optimizing campaigns or content specifically toward mobile devices.  There are likely too many other competing priorities for marketers to be focused on, thus crowding out mobile for the moment.  Everyone knows they should be doing it (like working out at a gym), but few actually do it.

Reporting:  the majority of companies were at the early stages of connecting marketing investment to new revenue struggling with both systems as well as cultural – cultural meaning does marketing ‘source’ revenue or do they ‘influence’ revenue.  The theory models would suggest marketing does both, but not every culture absorbs that methodology.

We didn’t have time to cover it, but data and its accuracy seems to be the next hot topic for MOCCA to talk about.  What areas in marketing operations are you seeing that is hot?

 

 

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 2 Comments

Next Gen Marketing Automation Platforms – Revenue Impacting

It’s time for the next generation of marketing automation – a revenue generating marketing automation system that focuses across new areas of predictability, effectiveness, and a wholistic view of a prospect/customer situation with the right analytics.  As a former high tech CMO that understands SaaS companies and platforms, I’ve implemented multiple instances of marketing automation platforms and more recently started a business digging deep at the marketing automation/CRM ecosystem to get more revenue, quicker.

 

Here are 4 areas that I think the next generation of marketing automation will solve for:

Predictive:  while the lead scoring models of yester-year are a good start to sorting out the needles from the hay, people are starting to realize that companies cannot ‘set and forget’ to hope the scoring methodology works long term.  Buying behaviors change and a buying committee in B2B is complex.  A predictive element with newer analytic capabilities is emerging in the B2B world, leveraging similar technologies that B2C marketers use (i.e. Amazon and best picks).  A company can then determine what products or solutions are most likely to be purchased based on similar demographic or segmentation sets.

Raise Sales&Marketing Effectiveness:  as I’ve previously posted on my blog, the data element is the single most important area for companies to understand and harvest, yet at the executive level it is often the least understood.  Bad data is like a rifle with its sight off;  if your sight is off by a ¼ inch, you’ll miss your end target by a mile.  If the data is bad, you’ll never reach your target or lose valuable time trying to reach the target.  Newer marketing automation systems that leverage the right SaaS integration will be more sophisticated to go beyond the deduplication at the account, contact, and lead level (like they do today or with other 3rd party tools like CRM Fusion, Dupe Blocker, etc.) by providing real time feedback on phone numbers and contact information to increase the effectiveness of the inside sales organization.  Outsourced data cleansing strategies will become less prevalent as time goes on.

Assist with 360 view of a prospect:  with SaaS environments leveraging CRM (Salesforce.com) and new integration technologies (Dell Boomi, etc), there is a newer way to get intimate understanding of your customer prior to sales reaching out real time.  Billing information, trouble tickets, and other service questions can theoretically be displayed to a sales person so they are not ‘surprised’ calling into a new or existing account trying to up-sell.  With a 360 view, coupled with the predictive element, there will be new ways to get more revenue for companies that are savvy. Customer marketing (up-sell, cross-sell) is the hardest type of marketing to do and measure, this 360 view will help complete that circle. The single most important aspect is to make it easy for sales rep to get access to it from their current system.

Analytics that are meaningful:  the first generation SaaS marketing automation vendors have made an attempt at analytics, either licensing 3rd party software (Micromuse, Good) or attempting to build on their own.  The next generation analytic dashboards will be visible by anyone that has CRM access, not just marketing users with marketing data.  These analytics will show the areas above – marketing influenced revenue, 360 viewpoint, and data quality.  While some of this can be reported in systems today, it’s challenging at best.

What do you think, what are you seeing for future marketing automation environments to get more revenue, quicker?  Where are the pain points and shortcomings in your environment?