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Digital Selling – 2017 MarTech Integration Challenges

In Morgan Stanley’s recent ‘Software Eats the CMO Suite’ survey, the number one business to business challenge for Chief Marketing Officers with their technology purchases is the inability to successfully integrate disparate technologies into a unified platform. This integration issue is also a consistent one we see across our enterprise client base and through informal polling of my professional network – the end result is a disjointed customer experience and an incomplete way to identify what marketing tactics are driving true sales/business results.

As a root cause of the issue, in larger enterprises, these platforms run cross organization – for example, internal IT ‘owns’ the data warehouse, whereas Marketing owns Marketing Automation. This ownership rift exacerbates the challenge of bringing disparate systems together with no one organization owning the integration aspect of systems like these.

There are at least two symptoms of the root cause of not being able to integrate platforms:

  • The inability to have a seamless customer journey so that the journey is one experience, not several disjointed automated experiences. We find this to be the fundamental driver of customer success.
  • Non-reportable, non-actionable data. Can’t correctly answer the question ‘what demand generation / online sales techniques are most effective with disparate islands of data?’  This situation is a sharp pain point for ANY CMO trying to attribute their performance to revenue.

So how does a CMO solve this complex integration situation in 2017? The integrated technology strategy CMOs should involve the following factors:

  1. Start with the end in mind – determine ‘what are you hoping to accomplish with an integrated strategy that drives the right customer experience?’ Get others in the organization to buy into that approach and assign a business owner to the process. This step is sometimes referred to as a ‘needs assessment’.
  2. Select the initial automation platform wisely and not hastily. A specific marketing automation choice dictates a significant part of your go to market strategy and your ability to integrate with partners to drive a seamless customer experience. Switching costs out of platforms are expensive and time consuming. Invest time in really understanding the partner ecosystem and/or hire someone who has that understanding, else risk wasting valuable time.
  3. Understand API capabilities on your chosen marketing automation platform – leveraging APIs is the ‘mortar between the data bricks’. There is a radical difference across each REST API of automation platforms. Some platforms will charge extra for use of the APIs. Be mindful or find a trusted partner who has done these kinds of integrations before as API work is often times non-core to the business.

As a B2B enterprise, what issues are you experiencing in cross platform integration?  What platforms do you most effective to automate your customer experience?   Would love to hear your comments!

Today’s blog contribution comes from Jon Russo, founder of B2B Fusion, a sales and marketing performance firm focused on connecting marketing investment to new revenue.  Enterprise clients include Anthem, Ricoh, Thomson Reuters, and Level 3 among others.  Jon currently serves on the Board of Directors for MOCCA, the leading enterprise association for operational excellence in Digital Marketing.  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.

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2016: Where should an organization invest an incremental dollar in marketing?

At a recent New York City gathering of forty senior B2B marketing executives of the Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance (MOCCA), the hottest 2016 marketing planning topics were people and investing an incremental dollar in data.

People:  Kathleen Schaub, VP of IDC’s Chief Marketing Officer Advisory practice, illustrated new industry research indicating 59% of technology firms having CMOs with tenure of two or fewer years; in addition, 25% of marketing roles today did not exist ten years ago.  With this amount of change on people, it becomes very challenging to find the right skillsets, thus the war on talent.

Yet given the critical importance of marketing tech and the sheer amount of hype that is in the market, IDC found it surprising in its research of nearly 100 technology firms that fewer than 2% of marketing staff are in dedicated technology roles.  IDC also finds that companies’ information technology teams still provide marketing with very little support. As marketing technology becomes a bigger part of marketing operations, some roles become “blurred” or ‘mixed’. In advanced organizations, the use of technology may be greater than strictly found in dedicated roles. IDC believes that the greater part of the growth in marketing technology and corresponding support roles is still in the future – compounding the need for these skills.

As customers move their buying process away from direct and inside sales representatives and towards digital buying patterns, organizations are also making that same shift to cut costs. This trend toward virtual sales is seen as model that blends 75% digital (web properties, digital assets, cognitive computing, analytics, and other automation support), and 25% person vs. what might have been a 100% human-based role ten years ago.

Data:  Schaub and Maggie Chan Jones, SAP Chief Marketing Officer, agreed that data is the number one area where a marketer should be making incremental discretionary investment.  Jones says that becoming a data-driven organization is one of her top priorities for her team.  “The great thing about big data is, it allows marketers to make smarter decisions in real time. Look at our events strategy. After a multi-year journey to elevate the strategy of our events with analytics and insight, our work was recognized by the ANA.” SAP won the Genius Award in the “Excellence in Analytics Driven Strategy” category, awarded to the brand applying the most advanced approach to allocating investments across marketing.”

The work of the SAP team has evolved to include survey insights and understanding attendee areas of interest through a process called “behavioral fingerprinting”, which uses sensors to understand audience traffic flow and areas of interest going into and out of the event. It also takes into account on-site focus groups and deep social media analysis to add the customer’s voice to the numbers and patterns emerging. The team is now in a position to react to heat mapping at the event – in real time – and redirect the flow of traffic to other sessions or areas of interest for the audience.

2016 is an exciting time to see the dawning of an accountable Marketing function with newer technology and people to drive this accountability.

B2B Fusion is a sales and marketing performance firm focused on generating higher quality leads through optimized technology, process improvement and marketing/sales alignment.  Led by Jon Russo, former technology/information services CMO, B2B Fusion analyzes funnel dynamics, improves revenue business processes and delivers best practice data and nurture strategies for enterprise clients like Anthem, Level(3) Communications, and Thomson Reuters. Jon currently serves on the Board of Directors for MOCCA, the leading enterprise association for operational excellence in Marketing.

by B2B Fusion B2B Fusion No Comments

3 Enterprise Lessons Learned from MME16

As part of Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience (#MME16), over 2200 modern marketers listened to CMOs from Clorox, Sears, and Western Union share their data driven transformation journeys.  Eric Reynolds, CMO of Clorox commented on his digital transformation on how ‘it takes courage to start down a road where you don’t know where it will end.’  In this environment of constant technology innovation and the pressure to perform, many of us could relate to that statement.

Throughout the week, several other enterprise peers presented their digital learnings with an emphasis on the MarTech stack that best enabled their data driven decisions.  While there were several other announcements regarding the B2C Oracle Marketing Cloud, here were three other lessons learned from MME16 that B2B enterprise attendees could use as next steps to execute against.

  1. Speed matters. In his keynote address, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd called out the macro economic trends by framing up the pressure he and his peer CEOs are under to perform, correlating that pressure as to why we as marketers need to respond with tangible results.   With S&P 500 top line revenue growth nearly flat over the last five years and IT global spend down by over 5% in the last year, modern marketers need to move quickly, test, and experiment to achieve measurable results.
  2. Account Based Marketing (ABM) is more than just the new black. In her ABM breakout session, Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB leveraged Eloqua and Demandbase among fifteen other marketing technologies for a new account based strategy, targeting and nurturing approach.   Meagen displayed her dashboards and revenue conversion rates on her ABM efforts.  Oracle announced an account based score and account nurturing capability that streamlines a manual Eloqua process; each could be valuable for marketers to consider as they plan their ABM strategy.
  3. Bringing order to data chaos through integration: Allen Wagner, head of Marketing Operations for Deltek, echoed a common theme of other enterprise presenters in finding a ton of value in utilizing the Eloqua API to connect islands of information.  Specifically, having the ability to pull and push data to and from disparate sets of data to Eloqua to personalize, segment, and report effectively was of significant importance in getting a complete view of his customer or prospect interaction.

From an informal attendee poll, several attendees felt the breakout sessions on company use cases of technology led by company spokespeople, not vendor or multiple panel members, provided the most valuable insight, more so than in years past.  Many of us left MME16 with a renewed focus, more urgency, and a clearer picture of where an overall Eloqua and Marketing cloud strategy fits as part of a MarTech cloud strategy stack to drive new digital customer acquisition.

Today’s blog contribution comes from Jon Russo, founder of B2B Fusion, a sales and marketing performance firm focused on connecting marketing investment to new revenue.  Enterprise clients include Anthem, Ricoh, Thomson Reuters, and Level(3) among others.  Jon currently serves on the Board of Directors for MOCCA, the leading enterprise association for operational excellence in Digital Marketing.  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.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

LinkedIn Jumps into Marketing Automation

LinkedIn as a company is an innovator jumping into a new marketing automation market, leveraging their recent Bizo acquisition.   This is worthy of study.

linkedin

Here are strengths of the LinkedIn offer relative to that of marketing automation:

  • Their ability to target anonymous users with customized ad content relevant to the end user makes this a compelling offer
  • Their ability to reach these users on the LinkedIn network and off of the network makes this very compelling
  • Their autofill form capability which should in theory improve conversion (though few companies use this well today I find on marketing automation which major platforms have a similar capability)
  • The fact that LinkedIn sits on a treasure trove of accurate user data is helpful for any enterprise struggling with data quality

As for the future, here are some questions that come up:

  • Bizo integrates with marketing automation providers today such as Eloqua and Marketo, it will be interesting to see how LinkedIn develops their APIs on Bizo – will LinkedIn continue the open approach with APIs or like the rest of LinkedIn, will the APIs eventually be limited and those integrations get impacted?
  • How global of an offer this is, will it work best in English speaking countries where IP addresses are more known (US, England, Canada, Australia, Singapore, etc.) vs. globally like all marketing automation has the ability to do?
  • How does the data actually integrate with the CRM system when LinkedIn prides itself on owning its data and not selling it to others?

Pricing for enterprise is at least $25k/quarter.

Facebook is also dabbling in the marketing automation segment, although I’d expect that use case to be more B2C and commerce oriented vs. the enterprise approach LinkedIn is using.

We are in for an interesting new era in reaching prospects with relevant content facilitated by marketing automation!

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

2015 Sales & Marketing Predictions: Data Relevance

Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computers, recently said, ‘Data is the key competitive differentiator in today’s business environment.’  I believe he is right.  Data is the star of the 2015 sales and marketing show; enterprises will generate new business, optimize their current state of data, and close more deals as a result of the improvement in data quality.

According to Aberdeen, nearly 91% of B2B Enterprises have not properly optimized their lead flow process.  Proper data is a key ingredient in that optimization.  Despite data not being a ‘balance sheet’ item historically was overlooked by non-marketing executives, executives will begin to assign company initiatives to improve data as they realize the direct correlation of the effectiveness of the inquiry to close conversion process to that of the quality of data in their customer relationship management and marketing automation databases.  CMO’s career credibility relies heavily on the data quality when reporting on their impact to the business and they, too, will invest more cycles in improving the current state of their data.

From this point, companies will begin to experiment with data predictability models.   SaaS based enterprises with large volumes of inquiries and with client usage data will continue to be earlier adopters of such predictive data technology.  SaaS companies will sort out the most probable to deal close or most probable to upgrade, with other companies eventually following suit.  The overall predictive market in 2015 for marketers using data will still be very nascent (<$100M for all companies in the sales and marketing use case) but will be the fastest growth as a percentage quarter over quarter of any marketing technology in 2015.

Lastly, the term ‘Big Data’ will become increasingly meaningless in 2015 as the executive question will pivot from ‘what are we doing in Big Data?’ to ‘how can our data be used to increase productivity…increase sales…decrease customer churn…etc.?’

What do you think will happen in 2015?

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

CMO Changes & Challenges: Cisco, Xerox, GE

The Chief Marketing Officers from Cisco and from Xerox presented at today’s Philadelphia America Marketing Association (AMA) on “Changes and Challenges CMOs face” and I attended with about 100 others.

Much of what they said reinforced recent observations I’ve had with client and prospect companies in terms of what are executive marketing priorities.  The theme was ‘measure and be accountable but don’t be afraid to go with the gut’.  There are 3 specific areas that were covered today that are worth delving into:

  • Segmentation – There are several key questions to be asking which will later inform the content creation and/or marketing automation strategy to reach prospective customers.  Usually this step is surprisingly overlooked in prospect companies of mine where they have not done enough recent diligence to understand how their buyer buys today (not how they bought 3 years ago) and Cisco reaffirmed this position by offering up some basic questions to review such as – who is our customer?  Do we really understand what is happening in our buying cycle?  Do we understand what message resonates and why?
  • CRM/Marketing Automation – Cisco invested billions in new company acquisitions but the back end infrastructure has not kept pace.  Consequently, the nirvana of a ‘closed loop’ lead system is not yet in place where one can track inquiry to close, likely because of several instances of CRM and/or marketing automation.   A strategy in place to not only identify how to consolidate these instances but how to measure the impact is needed.
  • Experimenting – Xerox emphasized the importance of keeping 5% of their annual budget as an ‘experiment’ budget that gets used with CMO approval.  So often, prospect companies that I work with have hamstrung themselves so much, that the ‘experiment’ promise sounds really good, but executing to that is really challenging.  A good experiment bet to make right now is LinkedIn (see my prior posts here.)

 

GE Healthcare’s CMO who was an audience member asked how both aligned with emerging market sales efforts.  There seemed to be universal agreement that China and Russia were growth markets.  However, Cisco (and I later discovered in GE) really do not have the marketing resource today to invest in branding and campaigns in these regions, so much of the marketing is event driven marketing.  This is where the puck is headed for marketing and in business – to understand how to get to these new markets by leveraging cost effective technology that has been proven in mature markets.  This runs under the assumption that in region, campaigns are accepted in a digital format (in China for example, YouTube is not allowed/utilized in the buying process.)  This is probably an emerging opportunity for marketing to consider as they plan their campaigns to reach new prospects globally.

What have you found as your burning priorities?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Marketing Operations – MOCCA East Coast

Today’s MOCCA meeting in Washington DC covered what role marketing operations plays in B2B with a diverse set of companies and vendors in attendance.  We discussed the scope of the marketing operations role, benchmarked data from a variety of analysts, and summarized our discussion by sharing our practical operational experiences to overcome a number of challenges.

Here are 5 key takeaways from our MOCCA discussion:

•  From a pool of twenty choices, the two most popular challenges for marketing operation heads were reporting/analytics and data management.  Based on other experiences here, this did not come to me as a surprise (mainly because this is also my primary business focus area of connecting marketing investment to new revenue);  Adobe/Omniture recently said in their 2012 report that fewer than 20% of CMOs were confident in their ROI reporting ability.   As for data management, companies are constantly wrestling with data quality issues where process is king for long term resolution in this area.

• All companies acknowledged process issues across the board, though few dug into what those process issues really meant (nurturing, data quality, lead treatment, etc).  From a non-marketer viewpoint, process is less visible than a more tangible reporting/analytics and data structure for people to see, but without good process, the analytics will be in rough shape!

• There was an interesting discussion around the credibility of marketing as it relates to marketing sourced vs. marketing influenced revenue.  Some companies focused on one category or the other depending on what their culture was willing to absorb.  This is a really fundamental point that is often overlooked in the theory frameworks of tracking/trending marketingan organization as a whole (beyond marketing) really needs to ‘buy in’ to what the definition of revenue that is ‘marketing sourced’ and/or ‘marketing influenced,’ else the marketing organization risks credibility or relevance issues if the definitions are at question.

• Social is not moving the needle enough for lead generation or is not measurable enough to quantify revenue impact at the top of the funnel.  Twitter and Facebook seem to be ‘nice to do’s’ , yet LinkedIn continues to show strong within groups where a large community can be gathered by word of mouth vs. investment.  This finding is consistent with my post here, although my finding was LinkedIn is helping both top of funnel and later in sales conversion.

• All participants struggle with the ‘HOW’ to get something implemented;  there were theory frameworks which were used as strawman, but when the rubber met the road, people had to wrap their minds on how to execute with limited resources vs. talking about great ideas and new strategies.

All in all, a very good investment of time.   What are some of your marketing operation challenges you wrestle with?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 2 Comments

Content – how buyers consume

Last week, I facilitated a lively marketing leader panel discussion for Andrew Gaffney’s Content2Conversion event which was an audience of 300 B2B marketers cross industry.  The event was focused on understanding what types of content buyers were interested in viewing at varying stages of the buyers funnel.  Leslie Hurst from American Express Open, Heather Teicher from click to chat leader Liveperson.com, Candyce Edelen, CEO of propelgrowth.com, and Amanda Maksymiw from OpenView Labs participated on my panel.    Click here for the webcast to our panel .

Owly Images

While there were several key takeaways around measuring content, mobility, social, and privacy, there were 5 key areas that were surfaced during our discussion that motivated me to capture them in my blog.

  • LinkedIn has increasing relevance and value in the B2B community.  Two of four panelists mentioned how sharing content on LinkedIn was more reliable for information sourcing than that of Twitter as the information from a connected contact has a relationship and ‘feels’ more relevant than a stranger.  One audience member from Rackspace who has 15,000 followers on LinkedIn is leveraging LinkedIn’s APIs to its web product pages, so when recommendations are published, prospective buyers can check to see if other buyers of Rackspace services are in their network.

 

  • Content measuring –  successful companies measured how often a piece of content was shared (shared with a friend, shared on links, shared with a blog, etc.) AND tied it to sales ready opportunities;  at that point a piece of content was seen as a very valuable contributor to the sales and revenue processes.

 

  • On segmentation and reaching end customers – across the panel, there was a relentless focus on understanding the customer and their respective pain points as a precursor to segmentation;  what was less of overall focus for each panelist was reaching these customers via a specific technology (mobile vs. desktop) as well as the medium for reaching the end users (twitter, facebook, linkedin).  Two panelists mentioned that mobile was ‘built into’ the development process rather than thought of as a separate initiative.  Facebook was universally seen as adding a human touch to a B2B organization but was not seen in converting meaningful leads.

 

  • On influencers in the buying process – quite a bit of emphasis was placed on identifying both customers and influencers that would help in the buying process by marketing to them, with them, and through them through co-developing content.  This was also referenced by one of the marketing automation vendors as an approach.

 

  • On Automation – one panelist summed it up best by saying, “Marketing automation has made some of our job much easier and much harder at the same time.  SFDC is not built for marketers which is where marketing automation helps us but marketing automation is causing us to think differently than before and thus creating more work for us.”  This seems to be the conundrum many organizations face – how to implement change with limited resource.

It was a terrific experience moderating this panel.  What are you seeing in these areas?