Lead generation

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Virtual Events: 6 Lessons Learned part 2

In our previous post,  I interviewed Tessa Barron who heads marketing for On24 on what she finds helpful for her clients (full disclosure, we’ve done integrations with On24 with our Marketing Automation and ABM clients prior to this interview).  Here are lessons 4-6 (but bulleted 1-3 thanks to wordpress).

  1. Our webinar benchmarks show that time over time, all webinars are around 50 to 60 minutes. In fact, we saw a minute increase, I believe in the last over the last year. Those, those results will be published in March. So I think that what that shows us is the on demand functionality and the, and the always on aspect of webinars is really becoming so much more important. So people are not treating them any more as this one off event that happens in a single moment and they have to be there. Instead. It’s this always on channel that prospects can come back to again and again. They can self educate, they can share with a buying group and it becomes an extremely valuable opportunity for them to have an entire buyer’s journey and entire experience in a single, in a single event, which I think is pretty phenomenal. You know, with the, typically in marketing we like to drip things out and it’s this six week nurture process and a single webinar, a prospect can get a the, you know, the thought leadership valuable content.
  2. Interactive.  They can also raise their hand to get a demo or book a meeting with the sales person. And actually our, our platform is designed for that to have that multi-touch experience. And so that’s why I think the link is actually staying the same. It’s just the context in which people consume them.
  3. ABM Webinars.  Personalization at scale.  Webinars are an amazing tactic for anyone’s ABM strategy and the role that they play is they offer that ability to get really personal with promotions but still leverage the meaty thought leadership content that is done at that general level.
  • They will take a thought leadership webinar that’s done by corporate or that’s done for the general population. And then what our platform specifically allows them to do is customize the different calls to action, customize the intros, the outros, the branding on it. And that gives them a really easy way to solve that ABM content challenge, but still personalize the different ways that they want someone to engage with them.
  •  And then I think at a higher level what we’re seeing is a lot of webinars by industry a lot of webinars by persona. And it turns out that because someone’s able to come in and have that conversation and have that interaction, a webinar channel is, is a personalized experience that someone is looking for that goes way deeper than just putting a logo on a landing page.
by Jon Russo Jon Russo 1 Comment

4 Steps to tie B2B marketing investment to revenue via automation

This is an expansion of an earlier post of the process steps involved in tying marketing investment to revenue and is a viewpoint from someone with real operational experience as head of marketing.

  1. Get CEO/GM and head of sales buy in to your objective which is to tie marketing investment to revenue. While this sounds like a very easy thing to say, the challenge in this implementation is the length of time it will take before you will see a measurable impact that your CEO and head of sales will see.  You need to nip the misperception that buying technology is a panacea for instant connection to new revenue by comparing the length of time it took the company to implement the company’s CRM system to the length of time it will take to integrate a marketing automation platform with that system. The CMO should broker this conversation augmented with 3rd party data (or person) illustrating the time it will take to pull off this new process.  The risk of skipping this step is a perception of fuzzy ROI and slipping into old marketing habits where marketing is seen as a cost center, not a revenue center.
  1. Outline the demand generation process – involve sales and brief CEO on outcome – get help externally with a disinterested 3rd party that can facilitate and thus be removed from any emotion of outcome, own the conversations, and broker potentially tense conversations amongst multiple, global parties.  A helpful process here is a six-sigma workout process for those familiar with the process.  This will involve defining lead steps, defining inboundand outbound inquiry handling by both sales and marketing, and will involve different nuances globally and touchpoints in prospect to customer conversion.  Assigning one owner to this process is key.
  1. Pick a vendor (Eloqua, Marketo, Aprimo, Neolane, Hubspot, Infusionsoft) to implement the process –   there are many articles that exist today on pros/cons of systems so I won’t go into a deep explanation here.  However, like the earlier step, involve the head of sales and CEO on the outcome.  3rd party data can help in this vendor selection or leveraging a disinterested 3rd party can also be helpful to speed the process up.
  1. Aggressively implement and scope out timeline for implementation of your marketing automation platform – this timeline has to be the guideline for the head of sales and CEO to understand and work with.  The phases of implementation are vendor selection (phase 0), vendor integration (phase 1), entering campaigns including SEO keygroups (phase 2), and then PAYOFF, see the marketing impact on revenue.

The key themes to consider in this process is to communicate early and often, iterate once you’ve selected a vendor early and often, re-communicate, and reiterate.  Keep involving your CEO and head of sales and leverage external help – there are others that have lived this battle before, so you should be no different.  Expect the process to be a journey and not a destination and you’ll be on the path to success in tying marketing investment to impact.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

4 Steps to help Sales work Marketing Leads to DRIVE REVENUE!

I recently met with a Field Marketing leader for a successful B2B company recently and she had echoed a similar concern that is common in our industry  –  her concern was as follows:

“The marketing leads we give to sales aren’t being worked by sales, so it’s difficult to justify the marketing investment when the marketing leads aren’t closing or being worked.”

Here are 4 points to consider when trying to address the situation she faces – to net it out, it’s ACCOUNTABILITY:

1.       Inspect the lead definitions in the company by segment, by region, and by channel to make sure a qualified marketing lead is indeed qualified from a salesperson’s viewpoint.  It’s imperative marketing understands how sales qualifies and defines their own leads (not inquiries) as a starting point – what definitions they use, how they establish a need – with that definition in hand, it should MATCH what the marketing inside sales team has as a definition.  An outside, independent audit is helpful as it removes any sales/marketing tension with a disinterested 3rd party;  if that is not feasible, doing it directly from marketing to sales is the next best alternative.

2.       Establish a service level agreement with the head of sales on sales ACCEPTED leads (not sales qualified) AND  incent the inside sales team on sales ACCEPTED leads.   This is tricky – most heads of sales would want to know what to expect or count on from marketing as it makes their job easier.  The tricky part is that not all heads of sales understand the need or what an SLA is – particularly sales 1.0 executives.  So there may be significant internal selling on this point not to overlook!

3.       Establish metrics on a per rep basis –  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP – specifically measure  on a per sales rep basis the quantity of leads that marketing sources, the quantity of leads that sales sources, the close rates and close TIMING for each sourcing category.  With this quantitative information in hand, a more mature discussion can be held with the sales leadership as to what is actually happening with marketing qualified leads.  Your marketing automation platform or Salesforce.com should help with this measuring.  One intangible point here – this data will force conversations, so treat the discussions with the heads of sales respectfully, not as a hammer.  The objective is to improve or close gaps on business challenge areas, not to hammer reps for how you might think of their performance!

4.       Benchmark similar sized company performance so expectations are set at the executive level.  At a tactical level, there is a great alignment opportunity between the head of sales and head of marketing in this scenario that she poses.  In other SaaS environments, according to SiriusDecisions and Marketo, I’ve seen upward to 60% of closed revenue sourced by marketing (note a more typical average for B2B SaaS is in the 18% to 33% range with Marketo pushing the envelope at 60%+).   The head of sales should want to know what marketing’s funnel is as it is less the head of sales team needs to do revenue wise at days end.  The board of directors will also want to know what marketing’s contribution is to revenue.

This lady was impressive, she had all the right business instincts identifying the challenge and just needed a bit more push as what to do next.  What do you find works for you?  Would love to hear a sales person’s perspective!