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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?

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Marketing Automation @BMA

 

Here is my hour presentation that I reviewed with 30 others at the New Jersey BMA on Marketing Automation.

This video slide deck is condensed down to 4 minutes.  Note the emphasis I put on data – data is at the heart of a successful revenue acquisition technology like marketing automation or predictive analytics.

Let me know what you think!

 

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

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

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 No Comments

Wow, what a year!

Wow, what a year!  As 2012 revs back up, I want to take a moment to reflect and share some brief accomplishments of my company that started the second half of last year.  It was an exhilarating ride that only gets better each day!  Here are a subset of the highlights.

  • My B2B client base expanded to 6 different companies – helping them predict their revenue by tying their marketing investments to new revenue activities at an executive level.  These companies were global in nature with headquarters throughout the US with revenues ranging from $50M to $15B+ spanning a range of industries.  I am very grateful for the opportunity for my company to help them!
  • Forrester Research cited my company in their first report on best practices for business to business key performance marketing indices (KPIs). This was very exciting for me!
  • I spoke at a number of engagements including presenting with one with one of my customers showcasing how we established KPIs for her business by working through key process elements.  We also spoke at the leading demand generation conference on this same topic.

Interesting observation across my 2H11 experiences – each of my clients had a different set of sales and marketing technology choices around marketing automation (as an example Eloqua, Marketo, Manticore, Leadformix) and CRM/data sourcing (Zoominfo, Jigsaw, Data.com, Dun and Bradstreet) leading to very different outcomes in segmentation, data quality, campaign effectiveness, and overall marketing ROI.  There was a strong correlation to those first working on their business strategy, then selecting their technology to support the strategy, in terms of sales and marketing ROI effectiveness.

2012 looks very promising so far – there is an underserved need at an executive level of connecting marketing to new revenue – in large part because there are so many technological combinations and a varying skillset of people.

Thank you again to my clients!  Good luck to all in 2012!

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Marketing ROI through automation

There are 3 system components to getting effective marketing ROI leveraging marketing automation:  Content, Process, and Data.  Think of ROI as a 3 legged stool – the automation (seat) is supported by 3 legs of Content, Process, and Data.  The stool falls over if any one element is missing.  Let’s dive in.

 

Content:  Must be relevant for the segment of audience we are going after, and built to keep the segment engaged over a period of time.  Lead nurturing, or the art of keeping in front of a prospective buyer with their permission is the key stage leveraged here.  The example I use in presentations is think about the JetBlue or other airline emails you receive at home – the content is relevant as the emails focus on your local airport and they keep in front of you on a regular basis even when you are not considering an airline purchase.

Process:  Can vary depending on organization size and structure and is most acutely needed when handing off sales ready leads to the sales organization from the marketing organization.  Processes need to be built for the ‘not now, maybe later’ buyer where sales has a clear disposition path of these inquiries.  Processes need to be considered a ‘system’, not a ‘handoff’ – the prospect to customer conversion experience must be seen as one whole, not as two parts with a handoff.

Data:  Quality makes the difference between good conversions and so-so conversions.  This area is often overlooked, particularly around field integrity and processes that eliminate duplication in entries.  In some clients, I’ve seen up to 60% bad data in their database.  Marketing campaign effectiveness is directly proportional to database quality.

When these three areas are tackled, marketing ROI can be measured and improved upon.  Focusing on just one of these elements risks not getting the right return – leads that are hung up in bad processes can not be fixed with good content or good data.  Think of ROI as a system and not as individual pieces and you’ll be on the right road of success.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Who owns the contact data?

“3 out of every 4 commercial businesses believe that they are losing as much as 73% of revenue due to poor data quality”…Experian – QAS. U.S. Business Losing Revenue Through Poorly Managed Customer Data


A common issue I see in enterprise companies is the ‘perceived’ ownership around ‘data’ amongst sales and marketing – specifically I see marketing underestimating the value of clean contact data and overestimating sales ownership of contact information.  CRM systems like Salesforce.com and others have been around for 10+ years and many larger enterprises have a Salesforce admininstrator, reporting into sales, responsible for the policies and procedures within their company’s CRM System.   So naturally, marketers tend to say ‘contact data is a sales problem.’  I disagree.  Data Integrity is a business issue.  Marketing needs to take a more active role in data ownership and data quality around the contact level – and the need is acute if all contact level data is housed in the CRM system as it is likely the marketing organization is not digging in their CRM system as often as they should be.

With more B2B companies leveraging the capabilities of marketing automation vendors to do batch and blast email among other tactics, suddenly, the contact information has become very relevant to marketers – clean contact data means more conversions which means more revenue.

A variety of issues cause the data to be bad or incorrect.  With this in mind, marketing can take a business leadership  position by inspecting data samples or sets– to then present to the heads of marketing and sales on what the quality is. As an example, either sales or marketing should reports to analyze the following areas:

  • Complete a Country Code analysis
  • Look at Duplicates (even Leads that duplicate Contacts or Accounts)
  • Verify and enrich address data (data appending)
  • Compare external data to CRM data for accuracy
  • Run Reports on fields, test to see how often fields are used
  • Analyze all or a subset of your records for verification

With this information in hand, a leader will have a more precise understanding of the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.  Better data = better campaigns = better conversion which makes for the right business mix.

What have you found successful in your data analysis?