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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

#TOPO summary – ABM 2019

Today’s post is a Guest Contribution by Jennifer Metherell. Jennifer has recently attended the TOPO conference and summarized the trip on what she learned relative to her 50+ ABM experiences.

1) Embarking on the ABM Journey – every successful organization who has effectively built an ABM practice all had one common theme – START SMALL!  All of the organizations who shared their stories chose 3-5 accounts who they could sell more solutions too or a large solution too and ran well-orchestrated plays to them for both new or existing logos.  The main reasons they did this: 

  • Limited resources to execute internally 
  • Pilots were run to get sales and marketing aligned on simple common goals
  • No technology buys needed to execute 

2) Forget the Funnel – As customer experience plays a stronger role in differentiating your product and reduces churn, more and more organizations are ditching the concept of the Funnel for a holistic approach to customer acquisition and expansion. They are looking at more at their customer relationship as a loop and understand that growth and sustainability come from a symbiotic view.  This viewpoint also helps pave the way for more internal groups to work together with a single account plan from sales, to implementation and on to account management.  The traditional funnel is great for transactional relationships but lacks the structural needs to make the customer first a strategy in the organization. 


3) MQL – So long, farewell, we hate to say goodbye!  Ok let’s face it the concept of the MQL is needed as a first step in getting Sales and Marketing working together, but really this is just a mechanism for building a better path of KPI’s. TOPO was the first place I have seen a widely accepted and commonly spoke about the concept of the MQA. Organizations who are focused on targeting ICP accounts understand that more than one person buys and if you are waiting for inbound then you are probably too late.  It was refreshing to see so many talk about driving engagement with the right accounts and people and use pipeline created or closed as the metrics they report. However, this does imply that Marketing is aligned with Sales and they jointly agreed to an ICP, target lists as well as a process for working accounts. In addition, this new process is fully supported by a newer set of tools in the marketing place like provide insights – intent data, account level engagement, and account scoring. 


4) Intent Data – If you are waiting to drive inbound leads you are late for the party! Intent data is finally maturing along with a set of best practice business process for implementation.  Forward thinking and high growth companies have developed the following practices within their organization:

  • Jointly defined an ICP with C-Suite, Sales & Marketing 
  • Understand the personas and playbooks for gaining market share
  • Purchased tools to show intent along with engagement for creation of an account score to prioritize with sales and marketing 

Just like that co-worker who does not sit and wait to be promoted through years of service, people using intent data ensure market growth by outmaneuvering their competitors. Seeing this stuff is sooooo cool. It reminds of when we first got Marketing automation and were like “Oh my gosh we can see who opened our emails!” Thank you 2005 – LOVE THIS STUFF


5) Shared organization strategies for driving alignment with sales and marketing while totally crushing it: 

  • SDR/BDR whatever you want to call it lives under marketing but is paid by a sales comp plan 
  • Sales and Marketing start annual planning together by developing an organization whitespace report 
  • Marketing understands and has accountability against the revenue targets the same way sales does 

We’re really passionate about ABM – if we can be a resource to you, let us know how!

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

SaaS Churn (aka customer attrition)

Sales and Marketing leaders have lived in the US through an expansion period over the last ten years.  It’s easy to fall into bad habits here when customer growth becomes the exclusive focus.  Reflecting back on recessions in 2001 and 2008, quite a bit of attention was THEN focused on customer retention initiatives.  By the time a recession hits, it’s too late for many organizations to then make that shift to hugging their customers.

More SaaS companies are assigning resources to the existing customer base, because they realize hitting their bottom line numbers are a function of not just retaining clients, but growing their revenue.   With high churn SaaS models, companies are forced to work harder and more ineffectively on the sales side of the equation.

Here are some valuable churn statistics echoing the case for why it is important to allocate sales and marketing resource on both ends of the funnel:

✔️The median annual unit churn for SAAS companies was 10% in 2016. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️More than two thirds of SAAS companies experienced annual churn rates of 5% or higher. (Totango)

✔️If your Net Revenue Churn is high (above 2% per month) it is an indicator that there is something wrong in your business; this will become a major drag on growth. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️Net-revenue churn improves with larger Average Contract Value (ACV), likely due to more structural churn among SMB customers and higher switching costs associated with larger contracts. (Mckinsey)

✔️Between the SMB and Enterprise customer types, the top-quartile performers not only have net-revenue churn that is 14% to 23% percentage less than the average performers but also have net-revenue churn that is negative in an absolute sense. (Mckinsey)

✔️Gross dollar churn among companies with an internet go-to-market strategy saw a meaningful increase, up from 8% in 2015. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️The fastest growing SAAS companies averaged $250k in MRR and were only losing around 3.2% of that revenue each month to churn. (InsightSquared)

✔️As companies scale their growth engines, a slightly-above-average churn rate becomes harder and harder to offset with net new revenue growth, especially when the goal is to outpace it by 4x. (InsightSquared)

✔️The median SAAS business loses about 10% of its revenue to churn each year and that works out to about 0.83% revenue churn a month. (Tomasz Tunguz)

✔️The very best SAAS companies keep monthly revenue churn at around 0.58%, that’s only about 7% revenue churn a year. (sixteenventures)

✔️The very best SAAS business has a negative churn rate and will have a Dollar Retention Rate of greater than 100%. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️Median annual gross dollar churn was 8%, 7%, 6% and 8% in 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️The best SaaS companies achieve 5-7% annual revenue churn – equivalent to a loss of $1 out of every $200 each month. (sixteenventures)

✔️As with unit churn, companies with longer contracts (2+ years) tend to report lower annual dollar churn. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️ Non-renewal rates are higher than gross dollar churn rates and higher for shorter duration contracts. (forentrepreneurs)

Credit for stat aggregation:  Despina Exadaktylou of Bad Ass Marketers Forum.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Boston Marketo User Group – June Summary

Here are my notes from the June Boston Marketo User Group.  It’s a terrific user group having attended a few others on the east coast (DC, NYC, ATL), Boston seems to have the lead on making a great user group experience.

Thomas Zimmerman, Localytics

  • Compared the Marketo summit session topics and year over year summit performance
    • Lead Gen and Lead Lifecycles are ‘dead’ content wise vs. discussions around ABM and how to measure ABM (see below).
    • Underlying concern around budget and the ability to invest in new technologies – planning to use those technologies was a key conversation ahead of making the purchase of those technologies.
    • In slide two below (Buzzwords Y/Y), the percentage change is in topics year over year – so 0% represents no change in total topic count year over year.

 

MJ Hahn, Op Focus

  • Discussion around how companies could measure Sirius 2.0 waterfall
    • Discussed a SiriusDecisions measurement model in Salesforce that was persona driven where marketing creates the opportunity (which has process implications), avoids leads object altogether, and manages opportunity process through conversion
      • There was some customization to Salesforce but the SFDC customization was not entirely clear – eg. contact roles, related lists, custom objects, etc.
      • The discussion sounded like a ‘poor man’s’ Engagio implementation using a customized SFDC approach with weighted scores based on prospect sales and marketing engagement, difficult to tell how the model scales on score or persona change (e.g. do you need to manually update new scores?) but an intriguing model nonetheless.
    • Observation from Boston Marketo User Group leader – since Sirius 2.0 waterfall is new and typical sales cycles are 6-18 months long in B2B, the case studies at summit were basically implementation only, none spoke about actual ROI or results yet – but they expect at next year’s summit to start seeing results.

Jon Russo, B2B Fusion

  • Discussion around framework for ABM that was discussed at the Marketo Summit.
    • Starting point – baseline assessment
  • 5 key issues of ABM and MarTech we see in our engagements:
    • FOMO, Technology, and ABM Starting Point
    • Selecting the right targets (ICP, Accounts, Contacts)
    • Lack of the right ABM Intent Data strategy
    • Missing system and process requirements for ABM
    • Not hiring the right internal and external talent

 

Very few audience members had used intent data (2 in audience of 50) – a function the audience said of not having a clear enough need or the budget to execute on it, though most agreed the concept sounded interesting and relevant.

Of the 5 key issues, the topic of talent seemed to be the most challenging aspect many enterprises face.

Summary from BMUG Leaders:  Paul Green, Jody Spencer

Overall observations on Marketo Summit and SiriusDecisions Summit:

  • Reporting and analytics – there are not that many companies that figured out.
    • No one has Sirius funnel 2.0 figured out.
  • There aren’t a lot of companies embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the feeling was AI is so over-hyped.  One audience member was using Conversica to handle lead responses.  Marketo has content AI.  Audience AI in Marketo.
by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

GDPR – Sales & Marketing impact

(Please also consult your internal counsel and data privacy officer for how your company should approach GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)).

 

While there are several strict laws of data privacy throughout the globe to include countries like Canada, Australia, and China, GDPR is a European-wide framework that is the strictest treatment of data globally and is consistent pan Europe effective May 25, 2018. GDPR enforces accountability for ANY company selling or marketing into Europe and emphasizes the collection and processing of data.  This law impacts all companies, and their sales’ and marketers’ communication.

If you are a company considering implementing GDPR, there are several business advantages to following this law:

  • With clean, opt in data, better chance of demonstrating meaningful metrics internally
  • Improved targeting for selling and nurturing purposes
  • Less infrastructure carrying cost on dead contacts or contacts that have no conversion chance
  • By following the law, there is no 4% penalty on global revenues that could be assessed

There are several elements of GDPR legally to abide by, but the two largest concerns are making sure that Individuals give consent to data use and that the 3rd party has a legitimate interest, this link shows examples of the definition of legitimate interest.

 

Tips for planning for GDPR:

  • A plan should be put in place around the collection and storage of information that can identify the person, such as IP address, first name, last name, mobile numbers, and phone numbers among other information.
  • The company itself is accountable for GDPR compliance regardless of whether the data was sourced by a 3rd party or not, so it’s important to understand how data is collected and how it is processed.
  • It is critical that the marketer think through opt-in procedures, updates preference centers, and ensures sure that sales and marketing systems are properly processing data consistent with this new law.
  • The law also includes unstructured data – for example, an email that is sent from Outlook must ensure that the individual receiving the email has consented to receiving information.
  • A double opt in email approach is highly recommended as best in class way of ensuring clean data practices and is more likely found in a marketing automation system than in that of a sales automation system.
  • Data input from 3rd party sources, whether purchased lists or through trade show uploads require specialized treatment from a data governance perspective.
  • Consider a double opt in approach for all events, as an example of this special data governance treatment.
  • Some sales technologies enable phone calls to be recorded and collected. Explicit consent will be required to record phone calls.  You should clearly communicate to customers why their data is being requested for collection and how you intend to use it in any future activities.
  • Other outbound phone calls must not be listed on a ‘do not call list.’ Other calls must give explicit permission for follow up communication to occur.
  • Lastly, it is important that all tools are in compliance to governance – which would include sales automation tools (Outreach, Salesloft, etc.) as well as marketing automation tools. Marketers, make sure your sales team is compliant with their email automation tools.

The future around e-privacy and cookies is likely the next law to come out next.  It is an exciting time to be in Sales and Marketing in 2018!

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?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

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?