salesforce.com

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

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?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Cloudforce by Salesforce.com – Listen, Engage, Act

Along with 1000 others, I attended yesterday’s #Cloudforce in Washington DC sponsored by Salesforce.com where the emphasis was a convergence of social, CRM, and mobility in the enterprise – this content was brand new in preparation for the uber Dreamforce in August.  Mark Benioff is a terrific visionary and is lucky enough to meet with executives around the globe to pick their brains about future challenges.  His keynote is well worth watching and absorbing (although lengthy at 40 minutes so I’ve summarized the key take aways under the video!)  He talks about the scale and elasticity of the Cloud we now live in…

  • Salesforce.com is so much more than CRMThe chatter application in particular, when a process is outlined on how to use, can cut down on meeting time and email flow intracompany by allowing groups of people in and out of the company to collaborate more effectively.  How valuable is that!?  From companies I’ve talked to that have deployed Chatter, one needs to be very disciplined around process.  Sales teams tend to use it for global proposals, cross functional projects can be managed;  also, some of the privacy settings allow exec or management oversight into the workflow process.   I see a lot of upside here in this application in terms of global coordination and effectiveness (assuming everyone speaks the same English language).  I had implemented a ‘Chatter’ like functionality with my global sales organization 8 years ago and found tremendous benefits with its capabilities around competition, positioning, and pricing.
  • The buying process is now more ‘social’ than ever before.  With their acquisition of Radian6 and its capabilities to broadly listen to blogs, tweets, and many other types of media, you’ll now get a more complete vision of what your customer is really wrestling with after they become a customer or even as a prospect.  Support centers that have customers call in will have intelligence about their customer issue prior to the actual contact – a huge savings for customer service operations where your conversations are threaded – salesforce service cloud.  While not new, the social element is also starting to hit a full stride in the buying department.  Companies that are smart are engaging, not ignoring.
  • Mobility – so much of what we do now will be on iPads, Droids, iPhones that organizations once banned but are now embracing – so all applications of SFDC are rendered and tightened down security wise for mobility;  beyond the rendering, a futuristic geolocation capability gives marketers new ways to think about their offers that never existed before.  I have a deep background in mobility and can concur with some of the observations Benioff made with the overall direction of the market particularly around the geolocation and advertising.  He also used a very interesting example of having products talking to us – get a car on a social network – maintenance notification, location sharing, in a private portal environment.

Of course the event had the ecosystem in full force in the gallery – a company named Birst caught my attention as they are solving a real difficult challenge of dashboard creation across multiple databases built into a single data warehouse.  For a marketer, this is a company and segment of space worth watching.

Terrific event and well worth attending!

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Connect B2B Marketing to Revenue!

This is the first in a series of posts of tying B2B marketing result to revenue.  This is the framework for the discussion on how marketing drives revenue for their enterprise organization.

A key aspect for business to business marketing to focus on is delivering activity (sales qualified leads or sales ready leads) that close to actual revenue – ‘revenue’ is language the head of sales, CEO, CFO, and board of directors understand.

But what do I measure as someone in a B2B marketing organization?

Too often, marketing teams and leaders measure their internal impact for the sake of measuring and are not making the direct connection from their activities to revenue either by channel type or geographic region.  Some call it ‘activity’ vs. ‘impact’.  Measuring followers on Twitter, Facebook fans, webviews, etc. while impressive to those in marketing really have no true tie to what non-marketers truly understand – the contribution to revenue.  This is what drives business!

Let’s take an explicit example.  The contribution marketing makes can vary widely by the type of company and it’s distribution channels.  I’ve been involved with companies that marketing has sourced 16% of annual contract value and have seen other companies, particularly SaaS companies sourcing beyond 50% of revenue through their marketing activity.  Benchmark companies like Forrester and SiriusDecisions also have similar percentage contributions for enterprise companies – your percentage will vary on company type, geography, and buying cycle characteristics.

Look for this trend to continue of more revenue getting sourced through marketing – prospects today are spending more time in online communities or researching online their needs before engaging with sales organizations.

To do this kind of measuring, automation fundamentals need to be in place (Eloqua, Marketo, Aprimo), processes need to be installed, and an executive agreement needs to be discussed on outcome.  Our next posting will dig into key steps on how we will tie revenue to results in these areas!

http://www.alphainventions.com/

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 2 Comments

Revenue Traction = Sales+Marketing Alignment

alignment_one_per_customer_med

To maximize a company’s revenue result and customer experience, B2B Sales and Marketing teams need to align around similar objectives.  Recent trends point to both sales and marketing are getting increased scrutiny for the following reasons:

  1. Suspect to prospect to deal close time has increased significantly these last two quarters compared to quarters past due to the economy.
  2. ROI is demanded in all investments – Marketing is an investment (typically 5-7% of revenues of B2B companies >$500M  – or expenditure if you are a CFO  )

In most B2B companies that are $50M+ in revenue size, there are typically separate heads of marketing and sales, thus leading to an increased chance that marketing is disconnected from the sales process, sales people, or customers.   Consequently, marketing could celebrate their own ‘lead quantity’ which is handed off to sales versus the actual impact marketing makes on actual revenue.  So what approach could sales and marketing better work with one another in this economic environment?

  • A pipeline commitment: Marketing needs to take a more active role getting involved with the traditional sales pipeline.  With better sales pipeline visibility (ala Salesforce.com), marketing needs to create the right programs to accelerate deals in the later stages of the pipeline.  Specifically, competitive positioning talking points to best arm the sales organization, references of positive customers, or business case tools (Alinean, Mindseye Analytics) that help meet net new objections in the latter part of the selling cycles.
  • A Marketing SLA (service level agreement) between the head of sales who is the primary internal customer and her marketing counterpart, initiated by the marketing leader:  Sales should demand lead quality SLA—how many leads and under what conditions are a lead considered a keeper by a sales organization?
  • Deal autopsy—figure out how deals become deals (both wins and the rare losses companies experience).  What programs are impacting the selling cycles, what messages, what ROI tools?  Once this feedback is gained, test drive what are the winning concepts with a prospect to calibrate feedback.  The resulting information becomes the genesys of a deal play book to help calibrate new sales efforts.

It’s all about sales and marketing effectiveness in our new economy!  What have you found effective to push your revenue cycles and why is that effective for you?

http://www.alphainventions.com/