Organizational Strategy

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

System Changes: Quality Control

Customer end user satisfaction is everything.   Thinking back to my days as a SaaS CMO in both private and public companies, in an agile environment, we’d go through a very rigorous development pre-process to ensure a reasonable outcome for a minimally viable product.

As a company matures, strategy changes.  Infrastructure supporting the strategy changes.  Business process changes to better support customers.  The need to integrate more systems together to have a better customer experience changes.  With all these macro changes, a rigorous process to support these internal system changes must be put in place.

We typically see a greater need for methodical change in Salesforce than that of Marketing Automation because Salesforce impacts how every user in the company can operate.  Getting a system level change wrong in Salesforce is VERY visible INTERNALLY;  getting something wrong in marketing automation is VERY visible EXTERNALLY.  Each of these scenarios impedes a good end user customer experience.

Skipping steps in a process to drive new features or product creates visible customer errors, costs sales & marketing productivity, and undermines organizational confidence.  Yet so many companies with executive leaders often overlook the value of taking a methodical approach within their own systems (Salesforce, marketing automation) hoping to speed the process.  Eager and impatient for results, an executive wants to jump right to the outcome.  While I too was a former impatient executive, I’ve come to learn jumping to the outcome involves significant organizational and productivity risk.

In our experiences with Salesforce.com and systems that connect to Salesforce, the companies that are best in class also follow a rigorous 5 step process before rolling out change.

  1. Requirements definition and system design
  2. Architecture, set up, customization – sometimes in a sandbox, sometimes in production
  3. User Acceptance Testing
  4. Make iterations / round of revisions – repeat steps 1-3 as needed
  5. Launch, training, and documentation

 

In step 1, requirements are defined and a system is designed on paper (eg powerpoint).  This gives all parties the opportunity to do ‘what if’ analysis before designing in system, and gives the ability for organizational change management buy in.   It’s the least risky step yet the most valuable to do of the five steps, to ensure a successful outcome.

In step 2, once the requirements are signed off, then design can take place within the system – in some cases this design is done within a sandbox (eg Salesforce sandbox) to minimize the risk of change.  In other cases, change is made right to production.

Step 3 is often overlooked.  When an outside agency or any party is building software or configuring systems, going through a rigorous test process ensures minimal mistakes are made.   While one would expect the configuration itself to be accurate, users often time see edge use cases not readily apparent when diagraming things out on powerpoint.

Feedback is acted upon in step 4.  If new findings arise in step 3, now is the time to remediate issues.  This may require repeating steps 1-3 but only if a substantial change is needed.  Typically, minor point changes are needed at this stage.

The final step involves launching the changes and training the trainer or training the end users on what to expect on those changes.  This ensures a consistency in the organization, rather than just one or two people knowing about the change.  Documenting the change is also helpful.

When these steps are taken, you can assure your internal stakeholders are happy as your end product will be more accurate.

When business needs change, what is the process your team uses for system change to support the business?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Top 5 MarTech & ABM Challenges for Marketing Leaders

At the 2018 Marketo Summit (#MKTGnation), we covered five common mistakes for MarTech and Account Based Marketing (ABM) deployments.

If you don’t have time to watch the embedded video, this is a ‘tweetable’ summary of each bullet point of our findings.

We began with some background.   Not every company uses the words ‘ABM’ but many companies are on a journey of account based selling and marketing.  Then we jumped into each of the five points below.

  • FOMO, Technology, and ABM Starting Point
    • Most companies have a ‘fear of missing out’, react, buy technology, realize that none of integrates.
    • Like a gym membership, people think having a gym membership (ABM technology) gets you in revenue shape (ABM strategy).  In reality, you need personal trainers to accelerate your progress with your gym membership.  Technology is not a strategy.
    • There are common elements of ABM deployments:  assessments, strategy, targeting, measurement, and XDR cadences.
  • Selecting the right targets (ICP, Accounts, Contacts)
    • Define your ideal customer profile based on qualitative and quantitative data.
    • Bounce it up against total addressable market and technologies to derive TAM.
    • Assess your data completeness at the account and lead level.
  • Lack of the right ABM Intent Data strategy
    • Account intent can be valuable when used for a personalized outreach.
    • Intent requires careful keyword selection and integration into business process.
  • Missing system and process requirements for ABM
    • Defining the customer experience on ABM is key.
    • Account disposition treatment is a critical arrangement across sales & marketing.
  • Not hiring the right internal and external talent
    • Internal talent needs to be well rounded across sales, inside sales, marketing, XDRs.
    • External talent needs to be a virtual extension of your team, agile, knowledgeable.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the sharpest audience issue that was felt was surprisingly the talent side of things – finding the right partners to augment the skills internally.  Initially, I would have thought Data as the #1 issue.

What trends are you seeing in Account Based Marketing?

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

The First 100 Days: Insights and Lessons

Velocidi’s Salon Series, a quarterly series that aims to address the top-of-mind issues for CMOs, included a talk led this week by Margaret Molloy.  Our topic was The First 100 Days: Insights and Lessons featuring Maryam Banikarim, CMO of Gannett  Co. Inc. with about 50 other executive audience members.  Maryam talked candidly about the challenges she faced as she transitioned a 100 year culture into the digital age.   After Maryam’s talk, we broke into subgroups and talked about digital challenges CMOs face going into 2012.

Here were the leadership take aways from Maryam on the onboarding process:

  • No silver leadership bullets in leadership. Frequently expectations are for a new CMO to be the savior or offer up a ‘silver bullet’ strategy.  As emphasized in Jim Collin’s latest book, it usually is a series of smaller steps that get a company to success (ala Southwest Airlines succeeding in a tough competitive environment.)
  • Emphasis of building the right team, either externally or internally – you are only as good as your team, and as hard as it is, those that are not ready for change need to exit the organization.  Select the hungry, driven people.
  • Be relentless when selling executive level change in a culture that is not geared for change.
  • As a CMO,  be direct, authentic, honest, speak your mind, and keep building organizational bridges
  • Move the conversation forward – use phases like ‘We’re all in this together’.

Digital take aways from our sub group break out session:

  • Lead by example on the digital front – all marketing leaders should be running ‘experiments’ or ‘tests’ (some called it fail fast, I’m looking more optimistically!) with multiple digital technologies – some marketing teams have been mandated to tweet and/or blog.
  • Community is important to gain acceptance – build internal constituents from the C-Suite (ie CEO) and also keep an eye on how the external community is perceiving your brand on the digital front.
  • Tie digital technologies to business impact – important to show business progress on all levels.

Another GREAT session by @MargaretMolloy and the @Velocidi team!

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Implementing Executive Change: 4 Risks/Opportunities – B2B CMO view

Executives are paid to take calculated risks and make decisions.  Recently, I spoke to an officer of a $1B company seeking to make some large changes across their company, specifically by repositioning the marketing organization toward a strategic contributor to the revenue generation capability.  Within this situation, this company was considering significant process and technology augmentation – and realizing there were so many priorities to focus on without clarity on what to focus on first.  In 5 companies I’ve talked to in the last few weeks, this situation of a marketing team and leader not knowing where to focus first is extremely common in all sized companies!  Everyone wants to make quick, visible change and not risk the huge time commits for larger change.   In preparation for the conversation, I outlined 4 risks in making this kind of transition.  Specifically, achieving true marketing ROI, Process, People, and Technology.  I’ve summarized this below bolding the largest risk areas.

Situation

Risk

Opportunity

Improve measurement system for  Marketing ROI Cultural sensitivity to process overhaul and alignment; CEO/GM/Sales change management Changing Marketing to strategic business contributor (revenue, new sales, new customers) from ‘Arts & Crafts’ department
Improve process Underestimating commitment required for lead flow, content, data integrity, cross functional coordination Cleaning up processes to maximize marketing contribution to bottom line
Improve people skills Underestimating new skillset needed Retool existing people to compete in 21st century
Improve technology Silver Bullet mentality at Executive levelRelying 100% on outside vendors to guide on journey/pitfalls as they rely on self serving models or cookie cutter approaches Leveraging technology instead of people to drive revenueOperational experience in vendors

Of the four risks, achieving marketing ROI through executive alignment is the single biggest risk.  Specifically, the clearer one is on the single objective of the newly repositioned organization (ie  source revenue to X%, predict what sourced revenue will close, drive faster conversion by Y% on sales cycle by enabling sales, upsell existing clients, etc.), the higher probability the organization as an entire entity will succeed.  It is critical to understand the overall business objectives and where the new revenue will come from – get out of the marketing box and understand profitability by region, by channel, and by product.  Study the reports that are seen at the executive level, know how sales teams are compensated.  The other risks around Process, People, and Technology are tactics that typically fall behind the first objective.  Too often marketing leaders get sucked into the latest technology trends (which are constantly changing thus adding to the confusion), wrapped around their own proprietary language (MQLs, SQLs, etc) and then thrust the proprietary language upon sales or the rest of the organization, or have marketing team members that are not keeping current with the latest and greatest technology.

Change is never easy for any organization.  How have you been able to successfully implement change?