Our Points Of View On Sales & Marketing

Thought Leadership

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 3 Comments

Maximize revenue as a goal – Aligning Sales/Marketing

If you read the last post, you saw the importance of tying revenue to results in both sales and marketing.

Let’s dig into some key steps to tie revenue to results:

1.        Adopt common language between sales and marketing on tracing inquiry to revenue – an exercise like this that is NEW to an organization has the potential to be tricky if expectations are not properly set in advance– the objective is not spend oodles of time on the adoption and process portion but to focus on the outcome of why this is needed.  The focus is aligning sales and marketing to measurable, tangible results at day’s end.  With common language, a baseline measurement can be established to make further improvements in and on.

2.       In advance of the above discussion, get buy in with key executive stakeholders on the measurements so baseline measurement is established.  As an example, it would be good to get buy in on the framework of what the outcome will look like in advance of digging into the details between sales and marketing.

3.        Once the framework and language is agreed upon, both sales and marketing can establish measurable goals to be held accountable to.   These agreements can be measured monthly, but the results will likely be in quarterly or half year increments.

4.       Create a lead flow process via marketing automation platforms (Eloqua, Marketo, Aprimo) to drive that delivery effectiveness (this will be the next series of posts).

5.       Avoid speaking in ‘Star Trek’ marketing language/speak in this measurement process – while the establishing of common language is important, it always needs to tie to revenue.  Marketers who talk in their terms (Inquiries, MQLs, SALs) can lose people in translation in companies that may not be familiar with that language.  This is particularly true with non-marketing executives which are typically less analytical in nature and board members who do not operate at the marketing tactic level.

What do you find that works?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Connect B2B Marketing to Revenue!

This is the first in a series of posts of tying B2B marketing result to revenue.  This is the framework for the discussion on how marketing drives revenue for their enterprise organization.

A key aspect for business to business marketing to focus on is delivering activity (sales qualified leads or sales ready leads) that close to actual revenue – ‘revenue’ is language the head of sales, CEO, CFO, and board of directors understand.

But what do I measure as someone in a B2B marketing organization?

Too often, marketing teams and leaders measure their internal impact for the sake of measuring and are not making the direct connection from their activities to revenue either by channel type or geographic region.  Some call it ‘activity’ vs. ‘impact’.  Measuring followers on Twitter, Facebook fans, webviews, etc. while impressive to those in marketing really have no true tie to what non-marketers truly understand – the contribution to revenue.  This is what drives business!

Let’s take an explicit example.  The contribution marketing makes can vary widely by the type of company and it’s distribution channels.  I’ve been involved with companies that marketing has sourced 16% of annual contract value and have seen other companies, particularly SaaS companies sourcing beyond 50% of revenue through their marketing activity.  Benchmark companies like Forrester and SiriusDecisions also have similar percentage contributions for enterprise companies – your percentage will vary on company type, geography, and buying cycle characteristics.

Look for this trend to continue of more revenue getting sourced through marketing – prospects today are spending more time in online communities or researching online their needs before engaging with sales organizations.

To do this kind of measuring, automation fundamentals need to be in place (Eloqua, Marketo, Aprimo), processes need to be installed, and an executive agreement needs to be discussed on outcome.  Our next posting will dig into key steps on how we will tie revenue to results in these areas!

http://www.alphainventions.com/

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Mr. Jon Russo


Jon Russo is a senior marketing executive with specific expertise in Software as a Service (SaaS) and recurring revenue service models targeting business to business segments. With twenty years Silicon Valley and global operational experience in high technology companies with annual revenue from $2 million to $2.5 billion, he led two companies through 300% growth supported by innovative marketing programs and marketing automation. As head of marketing, he has participated in two successful exits of service companies through an Initial Public Offering (I.P.O.) as a corporate officer and a $180 million acquisition. He has overseen 3 marketing automation implementations, the latest implementation leveraging Eloqua, InsideView, and Bulldog. He has partnered with SAP, Marketo, Aprimo, and Eloqua among others.

He earned an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut.

 

Jon consults on marketing automation, dashboard measurement/creation, marketing ROI, marketing strategy, and channel strategy on a global basis.

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Steve Gershik – Founder, Demandcon

We just kicked off DemandCon, the premiere demand generation event which attracted several hundred sales and marketing professionals.  Jon’s CMO/Executive presentation was outstanding for this event – he clearly articulated the right metrics for the executive and board level – an area sorely needed by many companies who struggle to connect marketing investment to new revenue. As a speaker and strategist, I highly recommend Jon!

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Corey Livingston, Demand Generation, Level3 Communications

“Jon and his team accelerated our Perpetual Demand Center global vision. He enabled proper segmentation through our CRM system, architected a marketing database capability for us, and improved campaign accuracy through implementation of best hygiene data practices.  He assisted us in our KPI and dashboard process to measure more marketing sourced revenue.”

…..Corey Livingston, Demand Generation Leader, Level3 Communications


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Angela Trilli, Demand Generation Leader IEEE

Jon accelerated our new revenue acquisition process by offering executable, operational solutions once he completed a deep audit involving our sales and marketing teams, our Salesforce.com CRM, and our marketing automation system.  He really understood our business and how we can continuously improve with a fresh viewepoint.  If your company is wrestling with getting new revenue with the variety of digital technologies, I recommend you hire Jon.”
…..Angela Trilli, Demand Generation Leader IEEE
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Jaime Davenport, Demand Generation Leader

Jon accelerated our revenue acquisition process by gaining a quick grasp of our business needs, prioritizing the numerous projects we had in front of us, and formulating an attack plan with our executives to communicate the business impact our team has.  He has helped us connect our new marketing investments to revenue at an exec level, establishing KPIs and process approach to optimize our sales & marketing engine.  I recommend him without reservation.

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Sachin Ahuja, Division CEO

We needed help with our mobility solution to find the right business model, go to market strategy, and messaging.  Jon helped accelerate our process by introducing our company to prospective customers and partners, researched the market breadth and depth with Gartner and others, and put together an executive summary on where to head next and what to say.  I recommend him without reservation.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 2 Comments

Revenue Traction = Sales+Marketing Alignment

alignment_one_per_customer_med

To maximize a company’s revenue result and customer experience, B2B Sales and Marketing teams need to align around similar objectives.  Recent trends point to both sales and marketing are getting increased scrutiny for the following reasons:

  1. Suspect to prospect to deal close time has increased significantly these last two quarters compared to quarters past due to the economy.
  2. ROI is demanded in all investments – Marketing is an investment (typically 5-7% of revenues of B2B companies >$500M  – or expenditure if you are a CFO  )

In most B2B companies that are $50M+ in revenue size, there are typically separate heads of marketing and sales, thus leading to an increased chance that marketing is disconnected from the sales process, sales people, or customers.   Consequently, marketing could celebrate their own ‘lead quantity’ which is handed off to sales versus the actual impact marketing makes on actual revenue.  So what approach could sales and marketing better work with one another in this economic environment?

  • A pipeline commitment: Marketing needs to take a more active role getting involved with the traditional sales pipeline.  With better sales pipeline visibility (ala Salesforce.com), marketing needs to create the right programs to accelerate deals in the later stages of the pipeline.  Specifically, competitive positioning talking points to best arm the sales organization, references of positive customers, or business case tools (Alinean, Mindseye Analytics) that help meet net new objections in the latter part of the selling cycles.
  • A Marketing SLA (service level agreement) between the head of sales who is the primary internal customer and her marketing counterpart, initiated by the marketing leader:  Sales should demand lead quality SLA—how many leads and under what conditions are a lead considered a keeper by a sales organization?
  • Deal autopsy—figure out how deals become deals (both wins and the rare losses companies experience).  What programs are impacting the selling cycles, what messages, what ROI tools?  Once this feedback is gained, test drive what are the winning concepts with a prospect to calibrate feedback.  The resulting information becomes the genesys of a deal play book to help calibrate new sales efforts.

It’s all about sales and marketing effectiveness in our new economy!  What have you found effective to push your revenue cycles and why is that effective for you?

http://www.alphainventions.com/

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 1 Comment

Accelerate Revenue NOW: Be a Student of the Game

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While President Obama was across town in Tempe, Arizona giving a commencement speech emphasizing how to keep studying beyond school, I attended the annual SiriusDecisons Best Practices Summit for Sales & Marketing leaders (see Twitter) in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona.   My objective in attending this year’s conference was to study and gain a more complete understanding of how to best drive new revenue in a challenging economic environment–by either  driving existing prospecting opportunities or net new opportunities–and then listen to what marketing programs make a visible impact in accelerating revenue in these areas.  In attendance with me were sales and marketing leaders fromOmniture,  Cisco, Symantec, Ilumina, PerkinElmer, Pitney Bowes, IBM, HP, BlueCoat, Cox, Ariba, McAfee, SAP, Aspect, and Juniper among others.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been a Sirius customer for nearly 6 years and have attended a number of their annual conferences.  In this time, I’ve worked with them to help drive my revenue stream at iPass where as head of marketing,  we nearly quadrupled revenue to $200M – Sirius helped benchmark other company performance and helped my team embark on an aggressive field marketing strategy to support the growth.

Here are 10 key takeaways from the Summit of LEADING SALES AND MARKETING ORGANIZATIONS…these organizations are:

1.  innovating around marketing structure to leverage assets and impact sales productivity (function of company size and channel strategy)
2. leveraging technologies focused on sales enablement and pipeline transparency/analysis (function of investment in sales + marketing automation)
3. applying marketing resources across the entire opportunity life cycle, driving close collaboration between sales and marketing (marketing operations plays a key role here)
4. mandating marketing ROI, which sharpens measurement and drives greater alignment with sales (seems obvious in this economic environment, surprising # of companies work in progress here).

5. leveraging new marketing technologies to increase reach and quality, decrease costs and measure results (social media helps in this regard)

6.  blazing a trail with social media, and linking reputation and demand creation activities (see my prior posts here on this topic)
7. enabling sales via a progressive approach to building sales playbooks (start in increments, prove that it works, then grow it)
8. architecting their channel programs using three lenses: supplier-to-partner, partner-to-customer, and supplier-to-customer
9. optimizing the entire demand life cycle (nurturing leads becomes more important-every lead counts)
10.closing the enormous marketing skills gap created by new marketing technologies and requirements (new technologies creates new opportunties)

Statistics prove that organizations that have embraced an integrated sales and marketing approach vastly outperform (revenue and profit) than those that have not.   To get this synergy, Marketing needs to drive a closed loop lead system that has a specific hand off and visibility to sales with the right measurement mechanisms in place.   Both Sales and Marketing should have joint visibility to the sales pipeline (ie prospects at various stages of the sales funnel).    The benefit to sales in sharing pipeline visibility is becoming one of those firms that wildly succeed versus a marginally performing organization.

In addition to the presentations, I found value in Alinean, one of the many participating vendors given their ability to help provide prospects with a clear TCO/ROI proposition (more on this later.)

This event was well worth the time and money investment for any attendee;  if you are debating about attending or sending a sales or marketing leader next year, do not hesitate.  The ROI is proven based on money saved on not making mistakes and money gained by being a ‘student of the game’ –by studying the best practices of how to best accelerate revenue NOW in a challenging economic climate.

http://www.alphainventions.com