Accelerating Revenue

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 1 Comment

Marketing Credibility: 2015 and beyond

credibility

Here is a valuable blog today from what appears to be a US head of sales in how he views marketing in his business in a tech company contrasting to a non-tech company – it can be inferred from the post that marketing’s compensation is getting tied to revenue performance, that’s where we also see the puck headed for all companies and where true marketing credibility comes into play – it isn’t just in the gymnastics or theory of SLAs, scoring, definitions, or dashboards – it’s in the output of where he (and others) can depend on marketing’s annual growth, lead contribution, and bookings for the business overall and where marketing can belly up to the bar with their own revenue contribution.

The most salient excerpt:

We are fanatical about complete sales and marketing team alignment.  In addition to corporate and product marketing, our marketing department is responsible for directly contributing to 50% of our annual pipeline growth and 50% of our new business bookings every year.  Marketing has SLA’s (service level agreements) with sales for qualified lead definitions and we have specific target goals for those numbers as well as the top stages of our single, shared lead/opportunity funnel or pipeline.  We track, measure and report on our performance at each of those stages in terms of both the actual number and the conversion ratios for lead movement from stage to stage.  We also benchmark our performance for all of that against an industry standard for comparably sized SaaS technology companies.

We see these trends in enterprises as well – though sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees when a company needs to embark on transformational change.  They get bogged down in tactics (predictive analytics, scoring, SLAs) – which are all fundamentals – but lose sight of the overall goal.

Excellent article.  What are you seeing?

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4 Lessons Learned: Sales Training

Selling is one of the toughest professions in the B2B world today.  I think non-sales people underestimate how challenging selling really is and can be.

keep-calm-and-do-more-sales-2

 

To keep sharp, I recently completed a Dale Carnegie Sales Success course to refresh my own selling practices.  My philosophy in life is ‘student always’ and ‘continuous improvement’;  despite working with sales people my entire professional career and also leading cold to close inside sales organizations, I figured it was time to really dig into the ‘how’ a sales person sells beyond my own experiences.  There were several concepts I picked up to sharpen my sword and refine my own knowledge:

Lesson 1 – Attitude determines altitude.  In the face of frequent rejection, a sales person needs to keep fresh and balanced.  This is something I’ve seen repeatedly of sales people I’ve worked with.  Those with the best attitudes, sold the most.  Some really good additional ideas came from the Carnegie class about listening to podcasts from Brian Tracey to Zig Ziglar among others.  While I’ve heard of both authors, I’ve begun listening to both as part of my day to day gym routine.

Lesson 2 – Giving away value – the largest lesson I learned was how infrequently as a buyer, I’m receiving value add information to help me in MY role in a company.  Too many vendors keep pushing the unilateral ‘here is my widget, are you interested?’ message ineffectively.  Carnegie with a partnership with Jeff Gitomer encourages to build a relationship over time from seller to buyer by the seller offering up consistent value in the relationship pre-sale.  This value could be in the form of industry information that may be relevant for that buyer to succeed in their position independent of the selling process or sales person.

Lesson 3 – Sales is a structured process, it’s up to the seller to walk the buyer(s) through the process.  Too often in my own situation, I’ve held off on walking through an explicit end to end structure.  Listening to the philosophy of taking a step by step approach pays dividends in the end – especially in a consultative sale.  This structure is somewhat proprietary to Carnegie but very logical in terms of a progression of establishing credibility, determining current state vs. future state, then pivoting toward a solution.

Lesson 4 – The power of asking – there is a direct correlation to the success of an individual and how often that person asks – asks for referrals, recommendations, more business, the business, etc.  Although the timing has to be right, frequently the seller lets fear overcome the need to ask for the order or ask for the referral.  Asking sincerely is critical as is the timing of that.  This is no different from marketers (or any other org function) asking for promotions or additional resources.

While none of these struck me as ‘rocket science’, the sharpening of fundamentals was helpful to think through my own selling situations to continuously improve.  I think as a CMO or executive, sales training at a junior marketing level should be a ‘must do’. What have you learned as part of selling your ideas or concepts to others?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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 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?


by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

LIKE: new SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall

Yesterday in the 106 degree Arizona weather, we received a needed waterfall – SiriusDecisions unveiled their upgraded view of the latest demand waterfall model at their annual conference.  With an array of color codes and arrows, the new direction is spot as it accounts for revenue sourcing across all elements of the business rather than taking a more myopic view of just what marketing does for the business for net new revenue.  It is no longer the ‘marketing waterfall’ but the ‘business waterfall’ in the 2.0 approach.

 

Here are my views of the new structure and why it is positive:

  • At an executive level, one should be measuring the velocity and cost of the source of leads converting to new revenue, regardless of the source (inbound, outbound, teleprospecting, sales).  According to Adobe’s 2012 CMO report, fewer than 20% measure their ROI on marketing, this framework will help contribute to defining the ROI element.
  •  At a more tactical inquiry level, a senior marketer needs to make a more intentional decision around resource allocation across inbound and outbound marketing mix and tactics.  When the demand creation model was created 10 years ago, social media (LinkedIn as an example) was less prevalent than that of today).
  • The model highlights the importance of the teleprospecting function in accepting, qualifying leads, and generating leads – this function’s importance is often underestimated or routinely outsourced without thinking through strategic revenue implications.  (See previous post here).  It’s the toughest job in the business in my opinion.  By explicitly calling out outbound teleprospecting accountability, a key skillset for account executives, sales leaders should welcome this new framework as it also spells out a clearer career path for teleprospectors.
  • Within the marketing qualification step, by putting more accountability within teleprospecting to ‘accept’ the leads rather than work all leads by marketing, the chances of marketing dumping several unqualified leads onto sales is further reduced.

There are nuances depending on the type of business that the model may need to be tweaked for – specifically around channel partners or other 3rd party mechanisms that generate revenue though the idea and flow should largely be the same.   Also, what’s not discussed is how to implement this kind of waterfall depending on the current stage of current processes – it will take an organization a committed period of time, so phasing and testing should be key to implementation. Lastly, I’ve surprisingly found a number of organizations, particularly larger ones, dancing around the conversation of ‘sourced’ vs. ‘influenced’ revenue, with some larger companies driving in one direction or the other rather than looking at both.   As SAP CMO @jbecher tweeted from the audience yesterday, ‘culture eats strategy’.  Specifically, one needs to be aware of the rigor and thoroughness this model represents and the willingness of the company to absorb the model.

It is critical for companies to do this kind of measuring to improve performance.  It is the right thing to do.

What are your views of the model?