Tuesday, October 30, 2007

5 Questions To Consider Before Trying to Measure Marketing Performance

A recent survey revealed that only 40% of B2B technology marketers have a closed-loop process for tracking leads from inquiry to close. With all of the tools available, one would think that this would be a completely buttoned-up process for most technology marketers. Closing the loop is critical to ensuring that not only your company is following up with inquiries, but also helps you allocate your hard earned marketing budget on the best performing programs.

How do you get there? Here are 5 questions you must be able to answer before you start your quest to close the loop:
1. What are the sources for all of your inquiries? Sit down and think of all the possible sources for an inquiry. Make sure to consider all online and offline points of entry.
2. What happens to these inquires? How are they distributed? Added to an Excel file? Sent to a salesperson via an email? If you find yourself stuck here, you are not alone. This may be early in the process, but this is where I see most closed loop processes break down. There is an inconsistent flow of data, through various channels, without a central point of record.
3. What do you want to track/measure? You should consider defining some basic metrics for success, and using those as a standard measure across the enterprise. Here are a few examples for measuring ROI:
a. Cost per inquiry – What is the cost per raw inquiry?
b. Cost per lead – What is the cost per qualified lead?
c. Cost of marketing – What is the cost per opportunity created?
d. Acquisition cost – What is the cost per deal closed?
4. Based on what you want to track, are you capturing the right data? Furthermore, is that data standardized to make reporting easier? Standardize every point of data input. From web forms to manual data entry, make sure the data is input consistently and as completely as possible.
5. Do you have an in-house tool that can help you centralize and manage this process? Can you easily track lead flow from inception, to pipeline, to close? I’m not talking about Excel spreadsheets – you need something much more robust. Seriously consider implementing a CRM system that can help you manage the process.
About the Author:
Kirk Crenshaw is CEO of RevCatalyst, a marketing services company focused on helping growing B2B companies develop, plan, and implement a high quality lead generation operation that sets your sales organization up for success. For more information, visit www.revcatalyst.com or contact Kirk at kirk@revcatalyst.com or via phone at 415.887.7649.

Monday, October 8, 2007

DGR Interview: Avaya’s VP of Demand Generation Sheds Light On Innovative Strategies for Driving Demand

In late September, Demand Gen Report had the opportunity to chat with Yannick Claereboudt, Avaya’s VP of Demand Generation, about the company’s strategies around sales nurturing, lead management and sales enablement. In addition, Claereboudt offered insights into Avaya’s adoption of new media, including the early results into tests with mobile marketing.

The entire interview is very insightful and can serve as a barometer for other companies to benchmark their overall demand generation strategies. A few of the highlights from the discussion included:

On The Next Phase of Demand Generation: “The next critical area of focus – which we already started in FY07 - will be to integrate even further our web experience in order to engage our target audience in a two-way interactive dialogue. For example, we will be incorporating things like virtual briefings, video testimonials, podcasts and interactive assessment tools.”
On Sales Enablement: “We have adopted new media and techniques for sales to communicate with customers -- from interactive flash demos to cool video snapshots that tell our story in engaging and entertaining ways. On a quarterly basis, we receive feedback through a sales survey on the quality of these tools to enable further refinement.”
On New Media Adoption: “We do see opportunities and are testing several programs in order to evaluate and integrate mobile marketing into our plans. For example, to promote our Unified Communications platform, we recently launched in North America a mobile marketing pilot, pushing messages with a strong offer to PDAs, Smartphones and Blackberrys. In the first six days since the program's launch, more than 1,000 users registered via their mobile devices".

Monday, October 1, 2007

10 Best Practices Tips
To Optimize Landing Pages

By Kelly Abner, Director of Marketing, Marketo
If you can catch buyers early in their buying process, you have the opportunity to frame their decision and establish yourself as the company to beat. Since 93% of B2B buyers begin their buying process with a search engine, search marketing paired with landing pages is a great way to do this.
The landing page is critical. From the prospect's perspective, clicking on your link is easy and doesn't cost (them) anything. In contrast, converting and becoming a lead requires them to invest their time and energy to understand your offer and fill out your firm – not to mention risk unwanted marketing since you require they share their contact information.
That’s why getting your landing pages right is so critical. In our experience, optimized landing pages can increase your conversions by 200% improvements – or more. With that kind of ROI, here are ten practical tips you can use to improve and optimize your landing pages.

1. Layouts & Templates
Use simple designs. This isn’t your home page, so remove the navigation. It's worth taking the time to create a navigation-free HTML template.

2. Graphics
Graphics are the #1 thing that draws the eye. Include a hero shot – a mock up of the white paper cover or a photo of your webinar speaker. Two quick tips: Let people click the graphics to get more info (people often click on graphics) and be sure to have a caption (people read captions).

3. Content
Make it straight and to the point, but be sure to give enough info to sell them prospect:
Setup the problem.
Talk about the solution.
Deliver the offer (such as a white paper, demo or webinar).
Use bullets. People read them more than long copy (you're reading this, right).
Include a call to action.

4. Forms
Don’t ask for too much information. Collect as little as you need at this stage of your funnel. You can always collect more during your nurturing process.

5. White Papers
Don’t just serve up that white paper. Email it to the prospect. This is a great trick to ensure that you get a valid email address.

6. Confirmation Pages
Confirm the form submittal with a thank you. Do you have something else they might be interested in? Make another offer and collect more info.

7. Page URLs
The name of the page, along with the rest of the URL path, is weighed fairly heavily. Use CamelCase or dashes between words, not underscores – search engines like that better.

8. Meta Data
Good metadata can improve your keyword ranking by telling the search engine that your page is relevant. So be sure to write a keyword specific title and craft a good description with a call to action.

9. Test
Testing lets your customers vote with their actions, removing any debate about what works and what doesn’t. The best things to test are headline, caption, submit button, form length, and graphical elements.

10. But Don’t Over-test
Over-testing is a problem in the “high value, low volume” world of B2B marketing. A good rule of thumb is to take the number of conversions you get per day and divide it by 10. Then take your testing period in weeks and divide that by 2. Multiply the two results together to get the number of versions you can confidently test in your testing period.

About the Author
Kelly Abner is Director of Marketing for Marketo, a provider of marketing automation software that helps B2B marketing professionals drive revenue and improve marketing accountability. Download Marketo's new eBook, Building Effective Landing Pages by visting their blog, Modern B2B Marketing. For more information, contact Kelly at Kelly@marketo.com or via phone at 650-655.4830.