Wednesday, March 24, 2010
By Dan McDade, President, PointClear
Never before have marketers had so many tools in their arsenal. Social media and marketing automation provide huge opportunities to touch — and compel — our markets.
While these tools offer new capabilities to interact with prospects more personally, more cost effectively and with more precise timing, it’s critical in this new economy to apply tried and true marketing principles to make sure lead gen programs work.
Our experience as a prospect development partner for BtoB technology, healthcare and services companies repeatedly proves the point: While new tools make our job different than 10, five, or even two years ago, they require adherence to the same best practices as more traditional tactics.
For example: You’re the marketing executive for an IT outsourcing company, targeting CFOs of mid-size companies. This morning, you post a thought-provoking blog on an important enterprise-level security issue. Then you send a compelling tweet about the blog entry to those following you, summarize your posts’ points for your LinkedIn Group and provide a link to your blog. Next you’re alerted to a discussion on a Facebook fan page about corporate hacking and you promptly put in your two cents, with a reference to a podcast on this very subject that resides on your Web site.
Even before lunch, on a real-time basis you’re gaining intelligence about Web site activity resulting from your a.m. efforts — what pages were visited, how long visitors lingered and what they did. And you’re monitoring the score generated for each visitor, using it to drive your lead-generation activities: determining who’s a qualified lead, who gets a sales call no later than 1 p.m. and who’s added to the nurture marketing program.
This scenario demonstrates how new tactics and technologies are fast becoming a daily part of marketing programs, offering more ways to engage your market, generate leads and nurture prospects. That’s why it’s more important than ever to adhere to foundational marketing principals, specifically: Making sure your message is consistent, relevant to your audience and aligned with business goals; and you determine what action should be taken when you get a lead.
Clear, concise messaging that speaks to buyers’ pain points is critical to success. Careful documentation of your offer, including problems solved, features/benefits, and competitive differentiators, as well as market testing, are tried and true ways to make sure all your communications work together—from this morning’s tweet, to this afternoon’s phone call—and generate results.
Also as important, especially with so many ways to touch prospects, is a focus on the definition of a lead, and agreement on how to handle one when it comes your way. We’ve found companies often define their market too broadly and their leads too narrowly. If your CEO perceives your target market to be the Fortune 500 (when it’s really a smaller segment within that group) and if your sales reps only follow up on leads that help them make this month’s quota (leaving longer-term leads on the table), you’re missing significant opportunity.
While there’s plenty new in lead generation, it’s important to remember that the same old is as fresh as ever. Today’s “new” strategy is to leverage everything available—blogs, tweets, other social media and prospect scoring. Yet, the success of this strategy relies heavily on the proven marketing principals that have served lead-generation executives for years.
Dan McDade is Founder and President of PointClear, the prospect development company. Before McDade founded PointClear, he served as Vice President of Marketing for the direct mail firm, Jackson & Perkins, and as President of UST: The Business Marketing Group. To learn more about PointClear, go to www.pointclear.com.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Editor’s Note: The Exec Insider Q&A is a new installment of DemandGen Report, designed to give the BtoB marketing community an in-depth perspective from the industry’s most prominent marketing automation executives.
In our first installment, Genius CEO David Thompson shares his thoughts on recent Genius.com innovations, including a new “Connected Marketer” community, focused on helping marketers keep pace with the changing business climate.
DemandGen Report: Genius recently unveiled its new community positioned around the “Connected Marketer,” which includes a blog, white papers, a webinar and various resources. Can you expand on what drove this effort? What are some of the “Connected Marketer” characteristics?
David Thompson: I think we are all aware that a lot has changed for marketers in the last few years. Along with unprecedented economic challenges that have dictated that marketers be more accountable to top line revenue, there’s has been sweeping changes in how we approach the market. Social media and marketing automation are just two of the many forces behind these changes. Not surprisingly, marketers are struggling to keep pace with both the tremendous challenges and opportunities that have presented themselves.
The “Connected Marketer” is our communications platform to engage with a community that is still making sense of these changes. Together we can share, learn and succeed by connecting with each other to better connect qualified prospects to sales and sales to revenue. At Genius we have changed our online brand to be more interactive and more solutions centric. Our new corporate Web site embodies this and features the latest thinking from not only our dedicated staff, but the community and thought leaders as well.
DGR: Genius recently earned the Salesforce.com User’s Choice Award for marketing automation. Given the company’s focus on driving better sales results with smarter, social marketing automation, what are some of the essentials to that marketing mix?
Thompson: We’re tremendously proud of the salesforce.com award as we’ve unseated some of the more traditional players in the space to win this hard-fought recognition. In the marketing automation space for less than a year, it’s a testament to what Genius has built and achieved. Social marketing automation provides a new way for our customers to capture and cultivate prospects through both inbound and outbound marketing to ensure that no qualified lead is left behind.
The essentials to this are what we call the “3Rs” of social marketing automation: extending Reach, engaging Response and building Relationships to ultimately drive the most important “R”, Revenue. Tools like the Genius URLs (gURLS) [are designed to] enable anybody in the organization to easily create a shortened, trackable URL and place it in a social media conversation to extend the company’s reach above the traditional sales funnel and into the conversations in the clouds. Marketing automation then can help companies efficiently respond with timely and targeted communications.
With lead scoring processes in place, prospects that show themselves to be sales ready are automatically handed off to Sales for right time personal engagement to offer support, answer questions and hopefully close deals.
DGR: Moving into Q2, what are the “lessons learned” in the first months of 2010? What are your expectations for the year in relation to the broader economic recovery and the automation space specifically?
Thompson: The economic conditions have underscored the need for the entire organization to be sales focused and drive toward revenue goals. Marketers are being asked to go beyond traditional lead gen goals and prove their contribution to sales success. It’s no longer good enough to generate a lot of leads; marketers are being asked to generate quality leads that drive revenue.
The whole marketing automation category has benefited from this shift in thinking as players in the space have been in a great position to show how companies can not only do more with less (through automation) but deliver the goods (with more qualified leads to sales). The companies that thrive will be the ones that can prove the greatest impact in the shortest period of time.
DGR: Given the company’s stress on “social marketing automation,” how does social media integrate into your business objectives & strategy?
Thompson: Certainly the “Connected Marketer” effort is our outward manifestation of this as we look to reach out and engage with the broader marketing community. Social media is a tremendous opportunity to engage in these conversations in the clouds and offer a comment or support. Our “Connected Marketer” blog and LinkedIn Group offer great avenues for us to listen and learn from the market and add value in return. Ultimately that’s going to make for better products and better solutions, and subsequently, more productive customers.
DGR: You recently unveiled a new blog. What are some of the other new marketing tactics and/or measurements your organization intends to adopt in order to reach customers and prospects efficiently?
Thompson: In addition to the new blog, we’ll be adding new channels and media to better engage with the marketing community at large. And while we’ll be engaging in a wider variety of online methods, we will also reinforce this with increased local presence.
How we measure our success will include measuring the real impact of social marketing. Because we use the Genius Marketing Automation solution, we track not only blog and Web traffic, but leads and opportunities generated from our social media efforts. We also look at social media indicators like topic strength, influence and reach to measure the strength and depth of our community engagement.
DGR: Are there any new solutions Genius is planning to add? If so, where do you see the category heading?
Thompson: While 90% of consumers are using social media, recent stats indicate that only 16% of enterprises track ROI from these efforts which points to both the tremendous need and opportunity to better understand the relevance of social media on the brand and on purchasing behaviors.We’ll deepen our industry leading social marketing capabilities so that company’s can understand and judge ROI from social media. We’re building interesting views into our data that provide compelling analytics about the impact of marketing on revenue. We will also extend our CRM integration into other popular platforms.
I think we’ll also see the category look for new ways to put marketing capabilities into the hands of more people throughout the enterprise but because of how many of these solutions are architected this will be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. Three years ago, when I started the Sales 2.0 Conference the takeway was “everyone’s in sales.” In today’s world “everyone’s in marketing.”
As CEO of Genius.com, David Thompson is responsible for creating and executing on the company's overall vision, overseeing all business operations and working closely with customers to grow the business. Thompson also provides the roadmap for Genius.com Inc.'s marketing and product strategy and directs the company's financial growth and business development efforts.
Thompson started Genius after his tenure at WebEx Communications, serving from 1998 through late 2004 as vice president of product marketing and then CMO. While at WebEx, Thompson shipped award-winning Web conferencing products that reinvigorated the category, named the company and directed legendary marketing campaigns that vaulted WebEx to #1 in on-demand software. Thompson architected WebEx’s industry-leading “Sales 2.0” lead-generation system, integrating innovative e-mail and web marketing technologies to drive a large volume and velocity of sales leads.
Monday, March 8, 2010
The Sales 2.0 movement may have graduated to another generation, as nearly 600 executives in sales and marketing turned out in San Francisco today for the latest of the Sales 2.0 Conference. Under the theme, “Sales Productivity in the Cloud,” executives from salesforce.com, Intuit, ADP, Microsoft and others shared insights into how they are using sales and marketing automation tools to drive revenue growth and customer satisfaction.
While growth rates in software and many other sectors have been in the single digits for the past two years, the conference speakers consistently demonstrated that Sales 2.0 organizations are enjoying higher growth rates and customer loyalty by accelerating their sales cycles and improving collaboration by utilizing automated tools and processes.
The panel session “Innovations in Lead Generation & Customer Acquisition,” featured speakers from Intuit, ON24, TriNet and ADP sharing how their organizations had improved sales efficiency and increased the volume of opportunities through the use of sales intelligence tools, lead scoring and reducing the response time to new leads.
TriNet, in particular, pointed out that the company had reduced time to productivity for its growing sales force was reduced from 18 months to 7 months by adopting Sales 2.0 tools and processes.
The conference also offered a peek into a new enterprise collaboration tool generating a lot of buzz when Brett Queener, SVP of Products at Salesforce.com provided a preview of the company’s Chatter application. Currently in private beta with approximately 300 Salesforce customers, the enterprise collaboration tool applies similar features and functionality to consumer tools like Facebook.
However, in addition to following co-workers, Chatter allows users to follow and share key documents and data in real time, which Queener predicted would help users “unlock institutional knowledge.” As collaboration is continuing to emerge and evolve within most organizations, Queener pointed out that “functional silos are breaking down” and there are more “give to get scenarios.”
Chatter is slated for general release this summer and Queener said it would be provided at no additional cost to additional Salesforce clients. In addition, employees within Salesforce customer organizations will be invited to join and use Chatter, even if they don’t have a Salesforce license.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
By Lorna Heynike, SVP Marketing, Callidus Software
CRM systems rely on subjective data that’s entered by the sales team. But accurate, real-time performance data with a sales performance management (SPM) system takes the guesswork out of how employees are really performing.
After the economic environment we saw in 2009, a framework to plan and model sales strategies that ensures timely execution of sales initiatives and visibility into performance is a must. If nothing else, the downturn should have woken up sales departments, uncovering the need for modernization and automation in order to deliver the best value to their organizations
Gartner reports that an SPM system can improve sales performance by 5 to 10%. Due to the significant amounts that companies set aside for incentives, for some, that can mean millions of dollars. But also for smaller companies, incentives are typically the largest or second-largest line item on their P&L sheet. Either way, that is no small change.
SPM systems can assist companies in meeting business goals and objectives. They manage the entire sales lifecycle and align execution with corporate objectives – across every department and reaching every employee. SPM systems help companies stay aligned with sales programs, driving performance, revenue and ensuring quick ROI.
Callidus believes there are five payoffs a company can expect after implementing an SPM system:
- Measureable incentive plans – SPM systems provide the ability to align sales with corporate initiatives, giving employees and channel partners a clear understanding of how they are being measured and compensated. When considering the retail banking industry, branch offices have become the selling face of a company, so it has become imperative that banks offer measureable incentive plans to their branch managers, tellers and other customer-facing employees. These plans offer transparency into broker commissions for easier administration and regulatory oversight – and happier employees.
- Better sales targeting – Systems can be quickly changed to reflect new sales initiatives, as well as market trends and sales across territories. In the pharmaceutical industry, better sales targeting has helped to reward sales appropriately when facing issues of prescriptions moving from one sales territory to another. These plans have also addressed organizational issues in the pharmaceutical industry by making sure two reps do not compete against each other across therapeutic portfolios.
- Greater sales satisfaction – Faster deployment of sales plans and more equitable territory and quota management make for a motivated sales team, maximizing the full sales team potential. This is best seen among the insurance industry by enabling the management of a shifting portfolio of traditional and alternative distribution channels. Insurance sales teams have experienced accurate payments, transparent information and clear, auditable processes.
- Reduced turnover – Insight into fair allocation of sales opportunities allows for the entire sales team to be aware of the teams overall quotas, status and expected productivity. Managers can quickly update plans and distribute them on time so representatives’ selling strategy is consistently in line with business targets. Clear visibility into sales through accurate reports and payment builds stronger confidence in the system resulting in dramatic decrease in disputes, significantly reduced shadow accounting and increased morale as well as staff longevity
- Timely and realistic quota setting – Reducing the risk of attainment shortfalls or un-forecasted sales compensation exposure allows for realistic goals to be set and tracked. Managers can easily model and adjust quotas based on the needs of the business, such as named accounts or product mix. With up-to-date visibility into sales quotas, managers can ensure sales execution is always aligned with corporate goals.
Sales teams will have the best chance at moving forward and achieving success when all information necessary for them to do their jobs is available at their fingertips. Sales performance management helps to better align incentives with corporate objectives, manage the entire sales lifecycle and improve sales performance and increase profits.
Lorna Heynike has over 15 years of experience in developing and marketing enterprise-class applications. At Callidus Software, Lorna has led the effort to develop a series of sales performance and performance management solutions. She spearheaded the development of Monaco, Callidus' cutting-edge line of SaaS sales performance products. Prior to joining Callidus, Lorna worked for Oracle, where she managed incentive compensation, marketing and leads management solutions.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Great insights presented last week by Genius and DemandGen Report, in the webinar Inside the Mind of B2B Buyers: New Paths to Purchase.
There’s been lots of discussion about how the B2B buying cycle has changed, but this presentation used actual data — they surveyed B2B buyers. I’m a bit of a data junkie. Love hard facts. Hope you do too.
Should this matter to YOU? Read Full Blog Post....