Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth (Interview Sales)

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

If you want to know what’s happening with your customers, start with your sales team.  Nobody should have a better perspective than sales.  They are in constant contact with the customer and are highly compensated for their ability to establish and grow relationships.

Success in sales is tied to the ability to understand a client’s problem and translate that into a solution that can be delivered.  As it so happens, that’s exactly what’s also needed for truly effective marketing.  As a starting point, therefore, you need to get out there and talk to your sales team.


How you can make life easier for your sales team

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Getting qualified leads to your sales team cannot happen fast enough. When I think back on the days when I used to send spreadsheets full of leads to each individual member of my sales team based on territories, I cringe. That was the best way I knew how to show them where a lead came from, where it had been or simply what type of company they worked for. This type of information is invaluable to a salesperson. But so is there time – time is money and so back to my original point.  You need to get qualified leads and all the information that goes with them to your sales team as soon as possible. We all know that spreadsheets flying all over the place is not the answer.

What is the answer, your CRM, the place where salespeople live and breathe. Make the information accessible to them the minute they login to their place of record for everything they do – log calls, log emails, convert leads and forecast their pipeline. By providing your sales team with this information every time they call on a new lead you are making both of your lives easier. They are presented with all the qualifying information they need to have an interactive conversation with the prospect and you are not troubled with the manual processes of sending sales members spreadsheets full of leads.


The Future of Marketing Automation

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Over the last couple of years, particularly in the marketing space, nothing has been hotter than the marketing automation space.  The promise of doing more with less, speeding response times, and focusing sales efforts on the most likely prospects have held wide appeal during these lean times.

Looking to the future of the space, however, I think the near term promise is going to have less to do with the automation and more with the data capture.  As digital begot social, and social continued to fuel the adoption of digital it cumulatively is changing the face of marketing.

When the current crop of marketing automation tools was built email marketing was pretty much the centerpiece of an online strategy.  Connect an outbound email to eventual web site behavior and you really had something.  Largely this really is no longer the case.  Email is rapidly approaching extinction as an acquisition vehicle.  Today you need more diversity in your mobile mix that equally represents web, search, email, display, social syndication, social engagement, and some cases mobile.

One of the most intriguing early features of marketing automation was the ability to spot and track the behavioral trends of customers.  Steven Woods over at Eloqua did a great job of describing this in his book Digital Body Language.  As digital volumes grow his perspective becomes more and more relevant.  The challenge now lies in figuring out how to do this in the multi-channel, digital world.

The future of marketing, all marketing, lies in the ability to craft relevant offers to much smaller audiences.  What will fuel this is the ability to capture integrated customer profiles that span all the relevant channels.  Customers are sharing more data than ever before and the smart marketer will use that to inform their creative, improve their offers, and begin a dialog with their customer.

New Plug-in Provides Sales Personnel with Real-Time Activity

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Earlier this week, we announced a new Plug-in for Loopfuse OneView, our flagship SaaS offering.  This new addition provides real-time activity information for Loopfuse customers on any lead or contact in their database, enabling salespeople to rapidly assess the quality of each sales lead at-a-glance.  In short, we are helping sales teams focus on the most important, qualified leads and thus close deals faster by viewing information such as:

  • The number of page views visited on the site
  • The number of lead capture forms submitted
  • The number of opens and clicks on all email marketing campaigns

This new tool is hosted on’s Appexchange and can be accessed at here (note:  you need to have a Loopfuse instance running and a free trial is available here).

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Q&A with Laura Ramos – Part 3: Implementation & Keys to Success

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Following up on the interview with Laura Ramos, I am releasing the third and final part of my interview:

7.  Dwyer:  Who should be involved in the implementation of the Lead Management Automation platform?

Ramos:  Lead management automation should include marketing and sales as equal partners in the requirements gathering, selection, and implementation process. IT will be involved, too, but will play a more minor if the company chooses an on-demand solution. IT must make sure that integration with existing customer support, database, and sales automation systems goes according to plan and that the new system doesn’t introduce any security or unforeseen technical problems in the current environment. Marketing and sales folks shouldn’t have to take on the burden of understanding the existing technical infrastructure and the “what’s needed” to make marketing automation work.

Q&A with Laura Ramos of Forrester Research – Part 2: Market Momentum

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Following up on my post last week, I am releasing the second part of my interview with Laura Ramos of Forrester Research (blog).

Part 2:  Market Momentum

4.    Dwyer:  What key trends drive adoption of Lead Management Automation (LMA) today?

Ramos:  Besides the economy and the need to improve sales pipelines short term, I think there are 3 more systemic changes driving lead management automation investment and use. These are: 1) the need for greater marketing accountability, 2) the need to produce not just more demand, but better qualified demand, and 3) the need to scale the sales process more efficiently (another way of putting this is reducing the cost of customer acquisition).  There are a number of macro trends driving widespread change in B2B marketing, where I see automated demand management as a key response to these trends. In short, I expect marketers to adopt lead management automation to build customer dialogue and relationships much earlier in the purchase process and counteract issues like advertising avoidance, commoditization, and social computing (which creates unprecedented transparency and information sharing that is wonderful for buyers, but challenging for sellers).

5.    Dwyer:  What impact will a Lead Management Automation (LMA) system have on the typical marketing organization?

Ramos:  I think the impact of automation on a large marketing organization can be quite different than the impact for a small one.  Both experience different issues and challenges. Let me focus on the midmarket here and refer to the three trends I mentioned in the prior question to address the question of impact:

1) Greater marketing accountability. Over the past 10 years, B2B marketers have witnessed an explosion in available marketing approaches, especially in the digital world. While this has made more channels available, many marketers struggle to execute tactics in an integrated fashion that engage B2B buyers during what is often a lengthy sales cycle. Running from tactic to tactic, B2B marketers can also fail to demonstrate marketing’s impact beyond the point of campaign execution. Lead management automation helps marketers get a handle on the marketing mix and to learn which approaches work at which points in the buyer’s journey. LMA can also give marketers more flexibility to try new approaches and experiment with new techniques because the system lets them see, more directly, the impact between marketing activity and the volume and quality of leads that result.

2) Better qualified leads. Sales doesn’t really want more leads from marketing, but they do want better ones. Lead management automation helps marketing and sales get onto the same page and to answer the critical question “what makes a great lead?” Without automation to score leads across the purchase cycle, and the capability to nurture leads – start a conversation, educate, build dialogue, persuade – marketers will fail to put the best leads in front of sales and to help sales to convert pipeline into closed deals.

3) Scaling the sales process. Many executives think LMA helps marketing.  In fact, it helps sales. And it helps the bottomline.  Starting in the last decade, trends like software as a service, virtualization, and on-demand provisioning have changed how firms deliver high technology products. The services component of any solution has become more important. And IT buyers want to pay as they go. Long-term, on-premise, perpetual licenses will decline in favor of the on-demand model.  This also means that long sales processes, backed by high-commission sales reps, must become less expensive. Marketing will become key in this transition as buyers rely more on online channels – and communities of like-minded participants – to inform and validate purchase decisions. Lead management automation can help marketers connect with these buyers long before the first sales call and make selling more efficient as a result.

I think large, multinational firms can certainly achieve these results at the departmental level.  However, the challenges associated with building a global brand, driving message consistency, and managing marketing interactions across geographies, regions, industries, and multiple product lines increases demand management complexity significantly.

6.    Dwyer:  Are you seeing a shift in focus from traditional outbound marketing activities to inbound marketing? If so, how can marketing leaders prepare themselves?

Ramos:  In 2009, we saw B2B marketers shift from traditional to digital channels in a big way as marketing budgets got the ax and as buyers became harder to engage.  Social media popularity also accelerated the digital transformation.  However, much of what I see happening online in B2B – with social media in particular – I would characterize as “outbound marketing using new channels.” For example, firms put out a stream of press releases and marketing communications, and then tweet about them on Twitter.  Little value is added and certainly not much happening there to make buyers want to strike up a conversation.

To truly move to inbound marketing, B2B marketers need to stop thinking about campaigns and start thinking about multi-step conversations.  They need to efficiently reach buyers at a group or individual level. Mass marketing doesn’t work in B2B, relationship marketing does. This is where I can see LMA playing a key role because lets vertical industry, product management, or local marketers in the field have conversations with targeted groups of prospects – customer segments in the truest sense – using online tools and social media to fuel the dialogue.  By tracking their behavior and interactions, marketers can then pass a rich set of “background” information – behavior, preferences, activity — to sales and help them close deals more efficiently.  When this doesn’t work, because it doesn’t always, the LMA system can now give both marketing and sales quantitative, factual information about what they need to do differently.

Next up, Part 3:  Implementation & Keys to Success

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Summary of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

And to summarize from my original post in January:  The rules of engagement are changing, but the rules of marketing accountability are changing more quickly.  Measurement and analytics bring job security to the marketing function; particularly when traditional antiquated thinking and manual systems are failing to deliver a competitive advantage in any economy.

Marketing automation tools can help automate the process of optimizing marketing effectiveness and more importantly help marketers demonstrate their impact on top and bottom line results.  The question every marketer should be asking is “How do I maximize my value to the organization?”  If the answer involves demonstrating results or linking performance to top or bottom line organizational objectives, then it might be time to start embracing a marketing automation initiative.   Don’t wait much longer to get started… it could cost you your job.  Instead, adopt marketing automation within your organization and ask your boss for a bonus based on qualified leads.

Download a free copy of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

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Identify exactly how marketing can reduce the sales-cycle time and nurture prospects to action

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

We are now up to fourth way marketing automation provides job security for marketers from 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers.  Below is the excerpt from the white paper:

“4. Identify exactly how marketing can reduce the sales-cycle time and nurture prospects to action.

When was the last time you sat down and mapped your marketing collateral to your prospects buying cycle?  Funnel analysis provides marketers with quantifiable data, reflecting the rate at which prospects are advancing through your sales process. This report answers the most important question a marketer has to answer – “At what rate are my prospects moving along the lead funnel?”  Marketing automation can transform this analysis and benchmark it over time delivering key metrics, such as the rate of conversion between first contact-to-conversion or lead-to-opportunity. This analysis can help marketers beef up nurturing and campaign initiatives accordingly.

Funnel analysis gives marketers visibility into the sales cycle and helps identify how marketing can do a better job educating prospects from lead to sale.  Marketers can use funnel analysis as the basis for collaborating with sales by working together to build programs more efficiently at each stage of the pipeline.  Marketers can then support the sales process with thought leadership or specific campaigns while sales may be able to provide key insight about the customers’ buying triggers.

Did you ever want to know how many days it takes for your prospects to move from one step of your sales process to the next?  Marketing automation can empower marketers with dashboard analytics on marketing and sales cycles.  Insight into the funnel progress enables marketers to know exactly how long it’s taking for prospects to move along every stage of the sales cycle and lead funnel. The ability to benchmark this metric over time further extends the power of this reporting tool. This information can be used to build better budget forecasts for finance and help the marketing department become more responsive to unpredictable market conditions.  A sudden change in the sales cycle could alert marketing to changes in the competitive landscape or macroeconomic environment.  The quicker marketing can take advantage of these changes, the more valuable they are to the organization.

Job Security Scorecard:

  • Benchmark the lead-to-sales conversion rate over time.  Identify when campaigns or initiatives drive above average close rates.
  • Forecast more accurately by benchmarking the total number of leads it takes to drive revenue targets at the bottom of the funnel.  Set realistic achievable targets for marketing and sales during strategic planning sessions with the CFO and CEO.
  • Identify what roles are most likely to evaluate products and services and how to meet the unique needs of these individuals based on role, region, or industry.
  • Identify how long it will take for prospects to convert to revenue based on historical averages.
  • Identify bottlenecks in the sales cycle.  Are sales reps incapable of addressing specific objectives?  Does marketing material address all of the buyers core needs?”

Download a free copy of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

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Identify which marketing channels, or combination of marketing channels, have the greatest impact on lead conversion and revenue

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Following up on my blog post last week, we are now up to third way marketing automation provides job security for marketers from 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers.  Below is the excerpt from the white paper:

“3. Identify which marketing channels, or combination of marketing channels, have the greatest impact on lead conversion and revenue.

With so many marketing channels, it’s difficult to tell which combination of channels to build into the marketing mix and how much budget to allocate to each of them.   By measuring customer acquisition across marketing channels, the CMO can determine which channels are more likely to impact top-line revenue and allocate budget more effectively based on tangible results.  Conversations with the CFO become much more meaningful when the cost per customer acquired can be linked to expected revenue targets and to the marketing spend.  It’s difficult for finance to reduce overall marketing budget without also reducing revenue targets when marketers can demonstrate the relationship between cost per acquisition and revenue.

The marketing mix can be analyzed based on the tangible impact specific marketing channels have on cultivating prospects.  This allows the CMO to make better decisions about where to allocate budget based on tangible metrics, not gut feel.  At the same time, marketing automation tools become a central database with marketing campaign information and sales information allowing organizations to calculate return on marketing investment by campaign, period, or marketing channel.

Job Security Scorecard:

  • Justify marketing budget by demonstrating exactly which marketing channels drive the highest conversion rates.
  • Calculate customer acquisition by marketing channel
  • Forecast more accurately by linking customer acquisition rates to overall marketing budget.  “If we spend this much money in the following channels, history tells us we can achieve the following revenue.”

Download a free copy of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

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Automate the distribution of leads to sales and identify how many resulted in a closed sale

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Building off my last post, we are now on the second way marketing automation provides job security for marketers from 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers.  Below is the excerpt from the white paper:

“2. Automate the distribution of leads to sales and identify how many resulted in a closed sale:

One of the biggest challenges for B2B marketers is articulating marketing’s impact on closed deals.  Marketing automation gives the CMO visibility into the entire prospect pipeline from unqualified leads to each closed sale.  This allows both marketing and sales to run win-loss analysis by marketing mix, or campaign, for a coveted return-on-investment analysis.  Most marketing automation solutions tightly integrate with CRM solutions such as to close the loop between marketing and sales.  This dispels the myth that field sales organizations are the sole source of new prospects, not marketing.  Both organizations can have a clear view of each lead, where it was generated and the close potential.

Marketing automation solutions also deliver a tangible impact on sales efficiency.  Sales can focus their finite time on real qualified opportunities (based on the internal sales definition of a qualified lead).  Marketing automation helps shift the burden of prospect nurturing and cultivation to marketing, which is where it should be.  Marketers and sales functions can collaborate in lockstep to optimize the entire lead lifecycle process with joint accountability and real tangible metrics to measure success.

Job Security Scorecard:

  • Win-Loss analysis from one centralized tool
  • Identify which marketing messages had the best influence on close rates
  • Marketing becomes an advocate instead of an adversary to sales — delivering true “sales-ready” opportunities to the hands of sales reps
  • Demonstrate exactly how many prospects engaged in a call-to action and how many of these converted on a periodic basis”

Download a free copy of 5 Ways Marketing Automation Provides Job Security for Marketers

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