Archive for the ‘Marketing Automation’ Category

Marketing Automation Is A Salesperson

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Many of your customers are not ready to buy when they first meet you.  They are in the research and education phase of their buying process.  If you are a sales organization, your process typically revolves heavily around selling to ready customers.  The lens becomes narrowly focused on who is ready.  These are the minority.  The majority might be ready in 90 days and beyond.

Following Up Via Marketing Automation

It’s amazing that organizations will pay a person salary plus benefits often totaling $70K+ per year not including the management responsibilities.  The majority of this person’s time is spent following up.  And how does the typical salesperson follow up?  They call and interrupt people.  Buyers have become quite adept today at blocking out strangers, interruptions and things they are not ready for.  Caller ID, spam filtering, do not mail, etc. are in place because of sales processes that miss the mark.  They are selling rather than nurturing with value.  It creates mistrust and brand damage.

A New Sales Process With Less Cost

So what if you re-engineered your sales process recognizing the dramatic change in how people buy today?  Here’s how it could look:

Fewer Sales People That Focus On Closing

Have fewer sales people that focus only on the last leg of the sale – conversion.  This is what a good salesperson is about.  They know how to close.  Allow them to be set up for success by economizing their time rather than filling it with a pipeline of largely improbability.  Thus, they would be talking to those that are ready to move forward with your value proposition.  They would be brought in to do their job in the most relevant conversation of their job.

More Nurturing

Allow your marketing automation system to nurture and make ready those who are unready today.  Within the Loopfuse system, you can set up various campaigns, Lead Flows, metrics and action triggers to help a buyer become more ready.  This system has far less cost than a salesperson and is much more effective because it brings value, is consistent and creates transparency to a buyer’s readiness.

You can design your automation processes to work with specific buyer profiles you have identified and nurture them in a custom and intimate way.

If you fail to nurture, are inconsistent or create interruption, you will lose the larger potential from a continuous closing pipeline.

The world has changed.  Change with it by recognizing that nurturing is critical when you are not allowed to interrupt today.  Your value, messaging and timing better be focused in order to win a customer who has many options.

Loopfuse Success

B2B Marketing Automation predictions for 2011

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

johnny-carson-carnacIt’s that time of the year again – when I throw seashells on the ground and translate the wisdom of the Gods regarding what is coming for the new year in marketing automation. 2010 was a banner-year for LoopFuse, and I forsee it being an even better year in 2011 for us… but this blog post isn’t about me…

  • I will continue to be outspoken: It’s important that this be stated up front for those of you that get your feathers ruffled easily (stop reading now, if you’re one of those people). Although I do speak my mind often, and it is fact that the marketing automation industry has a disproportionate share of hypersensitive executives, I do believe that Jill Rowley from Eloqua may be a strong contender for most outspoken, as seen in the comments here. It is likely that I will lose my seat to her in 2011.
  • Acquisitions will happen: As marketing automation continues to mature, acquisitions will come from different and complimentary spaces – look for CMS, CRM, ERP, and Email Marketing companies to jump in to the game. Future acquisitions will likely be carried out over the need to compliment a technology offering, thus disregarding consultant-ware vendors. Simply put, look for pure tech buys that fit an acquirers current business model.
  • will not buy (a company): will either build marketing automation capabilities in to their products on their own, or simply buy the technology that gets them to market quicker. SFDC has a history of acquiring technology. SFDC does not acquire consultant-ware. Just to clear this up with the previous point; is not a services company, it is a technology company. Did I mention that LoopFuse is built 100% on Java technology and runs on Tomcat/JBoss (just like SFDC) and integrates seemlessly via Appexchange plugins and natively using the SFDC API? ;-)
  • David Raab will continue to get it right: David covers the marketing automation market and complimentary markets with a rare level of insight and unbias. Although he and I don’t agree on a host of issues, I do find his arguments to be educated and supported by facts. The fact that David remains untainted by the current flurry of buying-up industry pundits and analysts by vendors, is a bright spot in our market, and I hope it continues to shine.
  • A shift away from consultant-ware: There is a lot of noise in the space leaving buyers with confusion and facing a high-barrier to entry. On one hand, the “industry leaders”  claim to have the easiest-to-use marketing automation system on the planet. On the other hand, they claim you will need to add extra head-count, train your staff, and hire professional service consultants to use the system. So which is it? The logic puzzle will end as this market continues to mature, with easier to use products that are low-cost and offer the same capabilities as higher-cost alternatives. As in every space during this young stage, we will be moving toward commodity and the segmentation-line will be drawn between companies that are service-based and those that are tech-based.
  • Food-fights will continue: Let’s look at 2010: LoopFuse and Genius go freemium – Marketo CEO opens-mouth-inserts-foot. Marketo and Eloqua fight over sales guys. Silverpop gets h4×0r3d (hacked) and then clams-up. This won’t change. There are too many companies chasing too much money in a startup wild-west atmosphere. Until the market matures past the startup phase, the fireworks will continue.

With that, I store away my seashells for another year and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the folks at LoopFuse!

How To Automate The High Fidelity Sale

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

In Kevin Maney’s book, Trade-Off, Why Some Things Catch On And Others Don’t, we learn about two categories of products and businesses – Fidelity and Convenience.  High fidelity businesses are inconvenient.  They typically have cachet and price points which make it more desirable for upper end buyers.

High convenience businesses are easy to get in terms of cost and access.  Maney’s message is that to succeed, you must position and commit to one or the other.  Otherwise, you are destined to fail.  Ted Leonsis, former president of AOL, sums it up, “A successful business is either loved or needed.”  The problem is when you try to be both. (more…)

B2B Marketing Automation: When to automate process

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Although Marketing Automation is a hot topic these days, many marketers wonder what specific aspects of marketing should be automated.  This is a good question to ask because in general, there is no substitute for direct person-to-person interaction when it comes to building a business relationship.  However, there are many communications performed on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis where you would use a template for the correspondence, even if it is just a mental template.  These correspondences are usually good candidates for automation.

An example of automation almost everyone uses is an auto-responder when someone submits a Lead Capture Form.  This is important to do, so that the person filling out the form gets immediate confirmation that the information has been received and to set expectations on when they can expect to hear a reply.  An auto-response email also provides a good opportunity to include extra information about your product or service that can help them along until they get a direct response based on their inquiry.  For example, if someone submits a registration form to contact marketing about a press event, the auto-responder email could contain a link to your press kit.


Choosing the right captain for your marketing automation ship

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Interview with Scott Olson (President, Mindlink Marketing)

For many marketing organizations, the implementation of a marketing automation tool and methodology is going to represent a major departure from the status quo.  With marketing automation there is a major focus shift to collecting and analyzing data.  Segregating prospects, understanding where they fall in the buying process, or through which channels they prefer to interact all require the ability to apply data to marketing problems.  Having the right mix of internal skill sets is critical to success with marketing automation.

In this episode we are joined by Scott Olson, the President of Mindlink marketing.  Scott and team focus on helping organizations better leverage data and understanding of the customer’s buying process to craft content and stories that drive conversion.

The right marketing automation partner can help you avoid the avoidable mistakes

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

On the surface, implementing a marketing automation tool appears fairly simple.  The problem though, is in not knowing what you don’t know.  Implementing a tool isn’t that hard, but getting it setup in a way, with the processes to match, to produce business value is another matter.  This is not an effort you want to go alone.  Like a tile floor, if it’s done wrong you have to rip and replace.

Someone that knows a thing or two about marketing automation, having installed and trained some of the earliest implementation of said tools is Don Dalrymple, President of AscendWorks.  Beyond his deep knowledge of the inner workings of many marketing automation tools, Don is also extremely well versed in training marketing organizations to focus on the customer rather than the process.


The role of Business Directories in Marketing Automation

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Web analytics data provides B2B Marketing executives a wealth of information regarding their outbound and inbound marketing initiatives. A critical and passively-collected component in a website visitor’s profile, is the distinct company or ISP used by a prospect while browsing your website. Visiting company information collected from site visitors provides marketers with indicators on just how broadly and deeply marketing efforts have penetrated a company. However, making that information actionable by marketing and sales alike is made easier with a consolidated marketing toolset, as found with most marketing automation software.

Visiting Company Analytics

Although much of the information collected by web analytics software is collected passively (by resolving IP addresses to a Company’s name), the enriching of that data with third-party business directories such as Hoovers, Jigsaw, and LinkedIn is where the value lies for marketing and sales.

The value of business directory data is lost if it is kept in a silo, because the data is only valuable when it is joined with other behavior data from a prospect which may be composed of web analytics, email marketing, and CRM information.

Now armed with a complete view of a prospect along with business directory information, an organization can:

  • Target a visiting company with focused campaigns.
  • Identify and contact key personnel and decision makers.
  • Effectively segment a lead database, ie. company size, revenue amount, industry, etc…

Although much of the value contained within business directories is nothing new to marketers and sales reps, as you can see, the real value is in making it actionable. Making information actionable is only possible when you have a clear picture of a particular prospect or company within one database (or marketing dashboard), such as those found in marketing automation solutions. Subscribing to business directory services without a plan on how that information will be used in your marketing campaigns will rarely if ever show fruit. Likewise, services such as Leadlander, that simply track users and display company information remain an island of unactionable information and don’t solve the problem faced by marketers today: How do I leverage all of my different databases of information for my marketing strategies? The answer is in selecting a marketing automation vendor that focuses on aggregating of all the random bits of information for you, in one place, so you can leverage it in your marketing initiatives.

I didn’t realize LoopFuse Marketing Automation did that!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Recently I was on a call with a customer who had signed up for FreeView but was looking to upgrade to one of our paid packages. They had used our marketing automation system but had a few questions just before making the switch. As we discussed some of the setup to get a clean database after the testing phase, the subject of using lead capture to retain prospects was brought up.

One of the team members said “Oh we’ll just use Web2Lead and then import the data back in to OneView”. That is when I reminded them that OneView offered the ability to create lead capture forms and that would enable the use of many other features such as list segmentation, scoring, lead nurturing, and email campaigns without the extra steps of having to import CSV lists back from Salesforce.

They had temporarily lost sight of the purpose of marketing automation software. The idea is that OneView sits between your website and Salesforce, gathering data and helping you automate the process of capturing, nurturing, and qualifying leads before they are fed into your CRM where your sales team can take further action.

Once our conversation was over, the customers had realized exactly how they could leverage OneView to help with their marketing automation efforts and streamline their processes.

Marketing Automation is too complicated for Free

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

In the past few months there has been a great deal of industry discussions related to whether Free Marketing Automation is a good thing.  Many of the enterprise vendors in the space claim that Marketing Automation is too complicated to leave novices on their own to figure it out.  I couldn’t agree more, but not for the reasons they spread.

LoopFuse simplifies Marketing Automation


B2B Marketing: Where does the Funnel begin?

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

In a previous post I described how B2B Marketing professionals today view online marketing, employing the 4Cs: Campaign, Customer, Channel, and Customer. For this new content-driven strategy to function properly, a Marketing Automation system is essential, as it automates many of the labor-intensive tasks associated with deploying multi-channel campaigns and other outbound marketing tasks.

Since customers are able to find your content via different channels (twitter, google search, PPC ads, linkedin, youtube, etc…), it is paramount to include inbound marketing whenever we discuss the marketing and sales funnel:


Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation Funnel

It should be made clear to everyone reading, that online B2B Marketing absolutely requires the marrying of inbound marketing and marketing automation data. A complete view of marketing campaigns is impossible without the ability to analyze customer-content interaction data. Making matters worse is the fact that disjointed systems lack the capability to inform marketers on what campaigns are producing the highest-value leads via different channels.