Digital Marketing / Social Media

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

MarTech Integration Strategy

How should you be thinking of your integration strategy with over 7000 MarTech vendors? How do I think of an ABM MarTech strategy? Whether you are a B2B CMO or an aspiring one, these are key areas to consider in your integration strategy based on our experiences over the last decade.

What is important to know about your Martech integration? 

  • Clearly define with your stakeholders what the ultimate business outcome is (use case).  Is it a better customer experience?  Better reporting?  Less heavy lifting on manual tasks?   Then figure out an integration strategy.
  • Be aware.  Many vendors will err toward saying they integrate with platforms or defer to saying ‘it is on the roadmap’ because it’s an important sales objective to overcome.  There may be different degrees of integration that may or may not meet your use case.
  • Trust but verify.  Vendors may err on quickly saying they solve your integration needs to meet your key objection.   

What should you ask your prospective vendor? 

  • Review your use case with the vendor to make sure they understand what you are trying to accomplish business wise.
  • Ask to talk with customer references on an identical use case integration.  Do a secondary check with vendor neutral consultant agencies that specialize in the areas of integration to triangulate the risks. (This will sound somewhat self-serving, but many vendor neutral consultants don’t have a horse in the game of integration).
  • Check on PII (personal identifiable information) impact/compliance in an integrated scenario.   With GDPR and soon the upcoming California vote on CCPA, it is prudent to know how your data is being treated in systems, whether in the cloud or storing ‘at rest’.

Why do you see integration rising in importance — even above things like price and ease-of-use?

  • Customer Experience:  in the post-Covid world, b2b marketing leaders are planning for a more integrated digital experience for their prospects/customers.  Greater client satisfaction leads to greater retention rates and right now, retention is very meaningful to business.
  • Reporting:  The single biggest failure of non-integrated systems is reporting.  It becomes impossible to report on business impact of marketing and make business decisions when islands of reporting and islands of non-integrated technology exist.  CMOs lose credibility when non-integrated strategies and disparate reporting exists.
  • Cost & Scale:  There is a strong need for an orchestration of platforms to save on people costs rather than having people do the same routine activity.  Integration enables automation to scale.

What are you finding working in your integration strategy?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Retention Framework – 4 helpful tips

TLDR; B2B Customer retention is #1 priority. Audit your message cadence and data situation, outline your customer journey, message according to journey, plan for long term. Outsource aspects if needed. Learn more on Friday.

For B2B Sales & Marketers, you’ve heard recession comparisons between today’s global pandemic and that of 1991, 2001, and 2008. In those years, some companies experienced a downdraft in hiring as well as pull backs on discretionary expenditures as a function of decreasing top line revenue. Also in those years, a strong pivot was made to ‘hug your customers’ theme because the cost of acquiring new customers would go through the roof versus holding onto what you have on hand.

Today is no different. Several companies are going through a revenue re-forecasting exercise or suspending their 2020 forecast altogether, and you are likely experiencing this by being asked to make cuts in your digital acquisition sales and marketing programs as well.   

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TrustRadius’ recent survey outlining which SaaS solutions would be impacted the most in this new environment. Marketing and Sales Technology are two of the top four categories expecting a reduction in software expenditures.

There seems to be a strong pivot towards hanging onto existing customers. Sam Jacobs from RevenueCollective recently polled 119 B2B companies across the US and found that in about 57% of the cases, churn has increased significantly from the prior period, heightening this need for marketing to focus on existing clients. It would stand to reason that companies that are selling MarTech or SaleTech would be likely feel these churn rate increases the most right now.

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Marketers for years have been focused on the purchase of new technology to acquire more customers, faster than ever before. Much of a Marketer’s board level reporting is built around “acquisition language” – Marketing Qualified Leads, Marketing Qualified accounts, Demand Generation – all assume new account acquisition to work hand in hand with sales. Sales and Marketing Compensation is often tied to this success which widens the gap further. Marketers are not focused on customer marketing strategies because they haven’t had to be nor have they been rewarded to be.

While many SaaS based organizations have invested in Customer Service as a function, few have perfected their marketing outreach strategy to existing customers through this organization – in large part due to the marketers extreme focus on acquisition. CS has thus been relegated to more tactical regularly scheduled meetings to keep in touch with customer needs, but often times those meetings are conducted at the end user level.

Thus a skills and knowledge gap exists between Marketers conditioned to do acquisition marketing along with customer marketing. Marketers are now learning new skills and have to really think through the messaging around retention. Where does a Marketer start?

Step 1 – Audit.  Keep in mind that their customers are getting hammered by competitors, partners, and analysts on other alternatives to their product during the lifecycle they are a customer – so a Marketer should start with a self assessment to find out how frequently and what kinds of communications have been going out to their customer base in times prior. In addition to messaging frequency, a data audit of the types of contacts in the account should be done – end users vs. decision makers within the database. Remember that a happy end user in this environment may not necessarily translate to a renewed contract.

Step 2 – Journey.   Marketers in parallel need to make sure they are thinking about the account journey their customers are experiencing relative to their renewal. More specifically, like a funnel that is split into 3 sections, a Marketer might want to think about the initial onboarding process, the middle phase, and final phase of renewal.   

Step 3. – Message. Next Marketers will want to revisit their message as a function of where the client is in the account journey. Corporate Visions’ Tim Riesterer wrote an excellent book ‘The Expansion Sale’ provides multiple frameworks on how to communicate with customers AFTER the purchase. He suggests looking into ‘Why Stay’ language vs ‘Why Evolve’ language.

Messaging Journey

In both cases of those phases starts with documenting the results that you’ve had with customers. This almost has to be done at a CS or individual level, unless Marketers can somehow aggregate typical wins that similar clients have gained from using their product.

It is difficult to summarize Tim’s 200 page book in a paragraph, but his firm Corporate Visions has done some extensive research in the areas of messaging and it is well worth reading.

Step 4 – Plan. Marketers could also consider building a community of end users to make their product more sticky. But that type of initiative is not a light lift, it requires planning to operationalize, investment in platforms (like Salesforce.com or HigherLogic) and an executive commitment to successfully pull off.

Somewhat self-serving but if capacity is an issue to pull all this off, of course hiring outside agencies to help accelerate your process to improve your retention will be key. Regardless, this kind of framework could help Marketers plan their retention strategy.

What are you finding that works right now on your retention strategies?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

2020 Marketing Budgets

Here the latest on how Gartner thinks Marketing budgets are shaping up for 2020. It’s somewhat contradictory – on the heels of budgets not seen since 2011 with flat to declining budgets, the report is also saying Marketers are surprisingly optimistic with a small percentage saying they expect budget increases year over year despite the economic climate of China tariffs, Brexit, and other extraneous forces. Keep in mind that of the companies they polled, they consist of 326 b2b and b2c clients of theirs.

This one section I’ve highlighted here struck me as interesting.

  • Gartner saying y/y drop in MarTech significant but not a retraction – they are claiming the retraction is ‘more efficient use of MarTech’ vs. ‘disillusionment of use.’
    • In our experience, there is the start of retraction. If MarTech isn’t providing value to a company, it’s exited from that company. Many companies right now need agencies to prove the value of existing investments instead of recommending net new investments.
  • Gartner saying hiring MarTech generalists instead of specialists
    • I question that finding, that’s why so many companies are struggling with adoption right now – too many generalists have put the companies in a mess.
  • Marketing Analytics is highest strategic priority of investment.
    • This observation makes sense.
  • Hiring Marketing Ops is a recommendation
    • I agree with this observation
  • 12.6% of budget going to Marketing ops (2/3 of orgs have Marketing Ops). 
    • I’m on the board of MOCCA (Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance) and would agree many MarTech vendors are now shifting efforts towards Marketing Operations.
  • Trend towards MVP agile budgeting on project based approach
  • CFOs are #1 inhibitor of Marketing
    • Are they an inhibitor or do Marketers not know the language of the CFO? CFOs can be real enablers if you can speak their language – CAC, Churn, retention, Net revenue dollar, etc.
  • CMOs gravitate towards volume vs. value metrics
    • Love that quote – very true

If you need a copy of their report, you can find it on their website Gartner.com or if send me an email for a copy of their report.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

ABM & Data – how to think of it

Want to learn more about data? Click here.

[Jon] Hi I’m here with Scott Vaughan. He’s the Chief Growth Officer of Integrate and Scott and I were just talking about data. Data decays, Scott, at two to three percent per month at the contact level.

Make it very hard for sales and marketing productivity. What are you seeing in terms of an account based marketing strategy with data right now?

[Scott] Well, if you’re gonna do an account based strategy like that, data is everything. You need the account intelligence, you need to be able to build out that buying committee and the contacts. And we’ve got a massive data hygiene problem. We’ve got one in our existing database that we’ve compiled and spent a lot of money to build, so we have to get clean, but we also have one that we’re spending a lot of money on demand dollars from all these sources to bring data in, and frankly, with all the direct integrations and just pushing in lists and all those things without validation, without governance, it’s killing the database even more. So you’ve got this investment in your expensive tools like marking animation, CRM, your data warehouses, and you’re pushing bad data in, and so it’s just compiling. So we are seeing those that have a get clean, clean your database, and stay clean, putting a level of governance and ability to comply at the top, as that data comes through, is really helping demand marketers and leadership focus on driving more value, focus on creating higher conversions, and then being able to do better targeting. That all adds up to more pipeline, more revenue.

[Jon] And who do you see owning the initiative for data governance? It’s a great point about data, and really important point that sometimes people miss, but who do you see as the owner in the organizations that you target?

[Scott] So, revenue ops, which can be sales and marketing or sales or marketing, is really sit at the center. CMOs know they have a problem, even sales leadership knows they have a problem, but we try to work with marketing and sales ops to help drive those conversations. And know that there’s an answer. Because it’s not just, clean your data’s not a big initiative, you tell your CMO that, where’s the revenue? Well it’s a step to be able to go then really increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the investment of your people’s time and everything that you do.

[Jon] Makes sense, and you just recently got promoted to chief growth officer from CMO, what kind of trends, how you feeling about that, what kind of trends are you seeing there?

[Scott] I’m a little overwhelmed, in a good way, we’re a high growth software company so what we decided to do is put somebody in place who pivots and connects sales, marketing, product and customer success, and be able to apply specific account plans and strategies against those, our top 25 customers, using a rough number, our highest potential prospects, and then bringing to bear all the resources, including our technology alliance partners, like Marketo and Bombora, LinkedIn, and then our solutions providers, those are the folks that work on the front line with our customers. So it’s a really exciting role, it’s strategy, but it’s building again. After CMO for five years here at Integrate and building the brand and the initial demand channels, it was time to hand that to somebody else who could do great work at the next level of scale, and this allows our company to have a really intense focus on growth.

[Jon] With the average tenure of a CMO of 18 to 24 months you’ve more than doubled that.

[Scott] I beat the odds. On the data, I survived.

[Jon] Congratulations on that, that’s no small feat, and I guess last question, outside of Integrate, what do you like to do for fun?

Well, lately a lot of hiking and exercise, trying to get that mental health and capacity, that’s been more and more trying to work that in. You know here we’re in Scottsdale, it’s beautiful, trying to get out and about and get that activity going, that’s been the thing I think I’ve added and focused on the most outside of work.

Awesome, well thanks again Scott.

You’re welcome Jon, great to see ya.

Great to see you.

Alright.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 3. What kind of talent is required for ABM success?

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

As Gartner recently pointed out in their October 2017 survey, nearly half of all discretionary marketing spend is dedicated toward internal people or external agency support.

In today’s series, we’ll talk about key resources needed to successfully pull off an ABM strategy to build on our earlier ABM posts of when to create a strategy and how to convince stakeholders of the strategy.

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

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

Bigger deals that close faster!

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

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

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

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

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

MOCCA DC – Trends in Marketing Operations

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 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?