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Eloqua polycom cso forum case study

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This case study written by CSO Forum explores how Polycom uses Eloqua to its strategic advantage.

This case study written by CSO Forum explores how Polycom uses Eloqua to its strategic advantage.

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  • 1. CSO Perspectives: Jennifer Pockell-Wilson, Senior Director of GlobalMarketing Operations, PolycomBy Jim Dickie and Barry Trailer; Managing Partners, CSO Insights Ms. Jennifer Pockell-Wilson As senior director of Global Marketing Operations at Polycom, Jennifer Pockell-Wilson built and manages the team that enables the business of marketing. Her team addresses the daily tasks, common problem areas, and tools that improve operational efficiencies through the alignment of people, processes, and systems for the global marketing organization. Some of the systems and projects the team manages include the global demand management process (from hand raise to closed business), marketing automation platforms, CRM systems, cooperative marketing management systems, data quality initiatives, and lead routing processes. Management includes administration, road map evolution, and operational and management reporting for all of these systems. Barry Trailer "Its always been true, and especially so with market conditions the past couple years, that being rigorous in how we prepare for, approach and follow-up each sales call counts. By being consistent and applying more science to sales and marketing, we support the art of both of these. Its why I was so insistent on leveraging our CRM system (if its not in the system it doesnt exist and you wont be paid on it) and welcomed the investment that had already been made in Eloqua." Andy Miller, CEO SALES & MARKETING ALIGNMENT: A ROADMAP Wanting to net out a story, folks will often say “Cut to the chase.” This particular story ends with sales and marketing in a billion-dollar technology company being closely aligned and tracking initial marketing responses through sales-accepted leads and on to eventual revenue. Lead flow is up 82% over the past three years and sales revenues are up 34%. This is a story of marketing and sales working closely together to plan for the year ahead, checking in quarterly to look back at what was accomplished and forward to what © CSO Insights 1 No portion of this report may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the authors.
  • 2. is expected, and consistently providing feedback through integrated sales and marketingsystems.Marketing is developing even more refined metrics to track awareness, thoughtleadership, and demand generation to optimize each dollar invested and continuallyincrease the return on investment.That’s the short version. It wasn’t always this way and it didn’t happen overnight but thefollowing pages describe how getting marketing’s house in order, then integrating withsales has created a happy ending. The story really began three years ago.THE POLYCOM YOU DON’T KNOWYou know Polycom and, very likely, most of what you know is incomplete. This publiclytraded technology company (NASDAQ: PLCM), now more than a billion dollars in annualrevenue, is best known for their three-legged, triangular shaped conference phones.However, the most visible and familiar part of Polycom’s product and service offerings,conference phones, are less than 20% of the company’s total revenue stream.Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, and founded twenty years ago, Polycom focuses oninnovating and delivering communication and collaboration technology to its customersaround the world. The sales organization addresses this customer base through fourdistinct geographic organizations: North America, Caribbean-Latin America (CALA),EMEA, and APAC. Andy Miller, who was running the sales organization this past year,has recently stepped up to become the new CEO at Polycom.Each geography has a similar go to market strategy but each is tailored to its uniquerequirements. And while Polycom has a direct sales team—both field and inside repsdepending on the geography—all of their deals are fulfilled through partners. The morecomplex the deal, such as an immersive telepresence implementation with service andmaintenance requirements, the more involvement the Polycom sales rep will have.Polycom grew from its engineering roots. Product development and engineering drove aculture of innovation and excellence and saw this rewarded with steady growth throughthe first twelve years, and then it was adversely impacted along with everyone else bythe tech bubble bursting. Revenue revived in 2004 but at a slower pace until a newrevenue ramp beginning in 2007.The traditional engineering mindset is “build a better mouse trap” and, as the sayinggoes, the world will beat a path to your door. As noted, this approach served thecompany well and marketing was largely done through contract services. That began tochange three years ago when Heidi Melin came on board.Prior to her arrival, there had been a succession of CMOs but there was no consistentmeasurement of marketing metrics and therefore, no gauge of marketing’s impact. As aresult, budget was always an issue and often saw cuts when funds were neededelsewhere.© CSO Insights 2 No portion of this report may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the authors.
  • 3. TRANSFORMATION #1As is often the case, marketing was both a catch-all phrase and a catch-all department.Roles and responsibilities were unclear because field marketing, corporate marketing,product marketing and marketing operations were all just “marketing.” (Actuallymarketing operations was a new concept introduced when Heidi brought me on board amonth after joining Polycom.)The company was heavy on program spend but relatively light on people spend. Wewerent leveraging our own experience doing things in house because, in many cases,we didnt have the expertise.The first thing Heidi did was begin assembling a team of experienced marketersincluding having clear roles and responsibilities defined for each of us. We started bydoing alignment exercises: being clear about who the resources were, and who wasresponsible for doing what. The intention of the alignment and organizational changeswas to provide clarity, gain efficiencies and eliminate duplicative and silo’d work. Asnoted above, we were out of whack in terms of farming out work versus doing it inhouse.You need to start somewhere, and we did so by creating really clear roles andresponsibilities within the global marketing organization. We set up fairly typicalcorporate, product and field allocation of responsibilities but we were also very clean andclear with our definitions. Who does what, who executes, who creates content, who dothey support, how do we align and make sure were all moving in the same direction? Itcannot be overstated how important, basic, and helpful this was.[Hint: consider how these roles are defined in your own firm or whether, as was the caseat Polycom, everything comes under the rubric of “marketing” but what level of effort andby whom is ill-defined.]So now, knowing what our jobs were—who does what, when, for whom, when to ask forsupport, etc., —we started hiring expertise. When Heidi came here we had less thanone whole head count dedicated to polycom.com, our public website, the place whereanybody on the planet would go to find out about us. That was clearly not appropriateresourcing for our corporate front door.So we built up our internal expertise. We looked to build a world class marketingorganization aligned according to best practices. After this hiring and alignment of ourhuman resources, came defending the marketing budget allocation which was aquarterly conversation.Marketing was still the first place the executive team looked when it needed to free updollars. And the defense of the budget was exceptionally hard because we couldnt talkintelligently or honestly about the impact of the dollars or what happens if you dontspend the dollars because we still weren’t measuring anything. So measurementbecame very, very important.© CSO Insights 3 No portion of this report may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the authors.
  • 4. This realization of the importance of metrics and the recognition that the existing processand systems did not support the business needs was very typical of a company of thesize we were then. At some point in its growth, corporate management looks aroundand says, “Wow! We dont have infrastructure and we need it. Were not efficient but wedon’t know exactly why or where we’re not; we cant keep operating like a start-up.” Thiswas that moment for Polycom marketing. It’s also important to recognize that this shiftwas a major departure from the engineering/finance culture that had gotten the companyto the point it was.The organization had trimmed the marketing budget for so long that they were finallyexperiencing the impact of earlier budget cuts; whether or not they could quantify theseimpacts was less important. What was important was our new found ability to be able tosay, “Look, theres pretty much a straight line here. When you take away from theseprograms, look what happens to your pipeline.” We were not able to create that straightline until we had common metrics, processes, taxonomy and systems.BRINGING A GLOBAL MARKETING PROCESS & INFRASTRUCTURE:DONT LET PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF GOOD.As soon as I got here, Heidi made it clear—and I think it’s so true and really important—you have to enter into a measurement conversation. Even if what you’re measuring isgarbage, if you do it the same way over time, it still shows a trend.So, we started measuring from day one here, even though we did not have a globallyaccepted definition of what a lead was. We all meant something different in each of thegeographies, when we said “lead, inquiry, response.”I would literally lose sleep over the reports that I was providing because anyone couldhave poked holes in them. The truth was, we kept measuring them in the same way aswe improved the process and taxonomy in the system. And over time, the reportingbecame accurate and something we could absolutely stand behind. In the beginning, itwas just showing a trend. But even this was still impactful, even just to show a trend. Ithelped to establish the science of marketing and gave us credibility.So, a really important lesson for people who are just beginning the measurement journeyis to recognize it won’t be perfect but, even measuring imperfect data, you can plottrends and learn from them. You dont have to have it perfect. You just need to bedoing things consistently for awhile to be able to tell the story. Even today, as lovely andas impressed as people are about all of our metrics and measurements, we still have along way to go. Its a continuous improvement process.We started measuring the data that we had out there and, simultaneously, we created acommon taxonomy. Additionally, we defined a demand creation process that went fromcampaign planning, to hand raise, to closed business. After all this groundwork hadbeen laid, we needed a system to support, track and measure all the things we had putin place.© CSO Insights 4 No portion of this report may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the authors.
  • 5. We selected Eloqua and launched it as a system to support our new common globallanguage and process—this process was agreed upon by marketing and sales. This hadnever existed here before. We launched it all in January 2009.It would have been a mistake to do just one piece. Who cares if you just change thelanguage/labels? What good does it do to put a system in place that measures a bunchof garbage? A process alone will not solve all of the issues. It has to be all of thosethings together to be really effective.We were not in the habit of enforcing any rigor or routine on our sales. So, our CRMsystem (Salesforce.com) was used very lightly—mostly as a management reportingmechanism—and, even then, not consistently. It wasnt very useful, which in turncaused real trouble. Still, we decided we would start putting clean contacts and leads infrom a marketing perspective and we would track the progression of these leads throughthe sales process. We knew the sales organization would catch up.And they did. Once we’d begun the “lead conversation,” we could see where we had togo. If we were to become a billion dollar company, we couldnt sit where we were, doingwhat we’d always done. We knew that. [Note: Polycom was approximately $806 Millionin annual revenues in 2007.]Frankly, when I was brought in and did my initial assessment of where we were from ademand management process and system perspective, we were really behind where weshould have been for a company of our size. We had not made the investments inprocess and infrastructure you would expect of a company with those revenues, but wewere clearly ready to do so in 2008.Despite this, Polycom enjoyed great traction in the marketplace, because we have theseloyal customers and these great products. So it’s somewhat a matter of perspective.On the one hand, we werent really suffering and were continuing to grow. On the otherhand, if you could quantify the lost opportunity, we could have been much further ahead.Still, we’d made huge progress from a people, process, system and marketingperspective.Then the new sales leadership came in.TRANSFORMATION #2Andy Miller joined Polycom in July 2009 as Executive Vice President Field Operations,and a couple things were clear from the outset. First, he valued the role marketing couldplay as a partner to sales. Second, he was a believer in process and rigor and wascomfortable reinforcing—and enforcing—both. His background included stints in salesleadership at Tandberg and Cisco Systems.Andy brought an appreciation of the role marketing could play which made a bigdifference.© CSO Insights 5 No portion of this report may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the authors.
  • 6. In the year after he joined the company, the sales force underwent a nearly full refresh.This was due in no small part to Andy’s insistence on creating a consistent global salesprocess and requiring consistent use of our CRM system.Andy says, "Its always been true, and especially so with market conditions the pastcouple years, that being rigorous in how we prepare for, approach and follow-up eachsales call counts. By being consistent and applying more science to sales andmarketing, we support the art of both of these. Its why I was so insistent on leveragingour CRM system (if its not in the system it doesnt exist and you wont be paid on it) andwelcomed the investment that had already been made in Eloqua."That was the beginning of a conversation that continues today in identifying where wehad to go. If we were going become a two or five billion dollar company we couldnt sitwhere we were, we knew that.Before this time, really, there was no ongoing constructive conversation betweenMarketing and Sales. Now, we are continuously discussing measurement and we’veevolved our measurement to include not just the demand generation. We also have adashboard that includes categories for awareness and thought leadership. We measurePR favorability and social media impacts. We measure the extent to which our salesreps leverage the sales enablement tools that we create.We also now evaluate how the demand generations programs are doing from amarketing perspective and also how theyre being executed. Do we have the right mix ofactivities and tactics? Earlier I mentioned that all our orders are fulfilled throughpartners, but we also want to involve our partners more efficiently in marketing and leadgeneration. Now we look at how joint marketing funds are being allocated toward theseprograms.This ability to track marketing programs is terrific but sales is still interested in leads, andleads that evolve into pipeline opportunities. One of the first tactics EMEA came up withwas customized customer newsletters that came from the field sales reps to their namedaccounts. Since this model would be difficult to scale with the number of NorthAmerican accounts, we publish industry specific newsletters that are sent by the salesleader for that vertical. Weve now hired strategic communications professionals in eachof the geos to help manage the volume and content of our newsletter communications.Here’s what is so interesting: newsletters are mostly for awareness, not necessarily fordemand generation. But, weve done deals where weve warmed up accounts that werecold and done deals that we can trace straight back to those newsletters.SUMMING UPWhat has organizing marketing’s roles/responsibilies, creating common language andprocess and implementing Eloqua meant to sales management? Again, Andy Miller:"Thinking that the revenue target belongs solely to sales and that marketing is solely anexpense is limited and limiting. At the C-level the focus is on creating shareholder© CSO Insights 6 No portion of this report may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the authors.
  • 7. value. We do this by increasing revenue, gaining market share, maintaining margins.We do these things to reward all our stakeholders and our shareholders for their faith inPolycom by growing the company."Personally, I think the reason why Eloqua caught on as quickly as it did here, is that wewere a marketing organization that desperately wanted to serve sales better; we knewwhat we wanted to do, we just couldnt get there. Once we had the people andprocesses lined up, all we then needed was a system that said “Here you go,” and thenunique individuals got busy with it.Finally, if you ask the feet on the street sales reps what benefit this has brought them, itwould be the fact that we have people sitting at the same table having conversationsabout things that are important to the reps: creating campaigns, marketing that supportssales, maintaining/nurturing a steady flow of leads and thereby supporting sales’initiatives and objectives.To subscribe to CSO Insights complimentary eBook series containing CSOPerspectives, simply click here. To be featured in a CSO Perspective and share yourcompany’s experience, contact kim.cameron@csoinsights.com© CSO Insights 7 No portion of this report may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the authors.