A Holiday Gift of

Merry Marketing
13 popular blog posts from 2013
13 popular blog posts from 2013

As 2013 comes to a close,

we’d like to extend our warmest holiday wishes, and thank
you ...
4 Fantastic Fundamentals of
Modern Marketing From Stan Lee
By Jeff Rummer, Manager of Demand Gen Strategy, Covidien
The pe...
What Marketers Should Know About Big Data—
And How to Put it to Use
By Amanda Maksymiw, Content Marketing Manager, Lattice...
3 Ways to Improve Targeting
(Just Avoid This Statement in Your Prospecting Emails)
By Melissa Madian, Principal, Global Sa...
5 Ways to Personalize Emails and Enhance Open Rates
By Amanda Batista, Content Marketing Manager, Oracle Eloqua
I recently...
How Buyer Personas Can Make Your Marketing Automation Smarter
By Tony Zambito, Founder, Buyer Persona Marketing
As marketi...
5 Steps for Creating Effective B2B Marketing Videos
By Phil Donaldson, Director of Marketing, PropelGrowth
Video presents ...
3 Reasons Why Responsive Email Really Matters to Marketers
By Richard Hill, VP and Practice Lead, Quarry Integrated Commun...
The ABCs of Social Selling: Always Be Connected
By Jill Rowley, Principal, Global Sales Enablement, Oracle
I have a confes...
How to Predict Conversion Rates From
Cold to Close With an Exit Criteria
By Jeff Hoffman, Author, “Your Sales MBA”
This dy...
3 Reports Every Marketer Should Run
to Measure Lead Scoring Effectiveness
By Alexandre Papillaud, Director, Global Demand ...
Social Selling: 10 Actionable Tips from
LinkedIn’s Koka Sexton
By Amanda Batista, Content Marketing Manager, Oracle Eloqua...
Social Selling: 10 Actionable Tips from LinkedIn’s Koka Sexton (continued)
While there’s still a great deal to be learned ...
The 4 As of Sales Enablement Content Success
By Brendan Cournoyer, Content Marketing Manager, Brainshark
Sales enablement ...
The 4 As of Sales
Enablement Content
Success (continued)

To overcome this awareness issue, marketers
need to do more to e...
Oracle Eloqua is the leading provider of modern marketing automation
and revenue performance management software that help...
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A Gift of Merry Marketing Insight


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As 2013 comes to a close, we'd like to extend our warmest holiday wishes and thank you for being part of the Oracle Eloqua community. As a special treat, we've compiled some of the most popular blog posts of the year for "A Holiday Gift of Merry Marketing Insight." We look forward to sharing more fresh ideas with you in 2014.

Published in: Business, News & Politics

A Gift of Merry Marketing Insight

  1. 1. A Holiday Gift of Merry Marketing Insight 13 popular blog posts from 2013
  2. 2. 13 popular blog posts from 2013 As 2013 comes to a close, we’d like to extend our warmest holiday wishes, and thank you for being part of the Oracle Eloqua community. As a special treat, we’ve compiled 13 popular blog posts for 2013 for “A Holiday Gift of Merry Marketing Insight” We . look forward to sharing more fresh ideas with you in 2014. Subscribe to the Eloqua blog for more marketing insights. It’s like a gift in your inbox all year long. Happy Holidays from your friends at Oracle Eloqua!
  3. 3. 4 Fantastic Fundamentals of Modern Marketing From Stan Lee By Jeff Rummer, Manager of Demand Gen Strategy, Covidien The person we have to thank for much of the superhero hype is Stan Lee, former president and chairman of Marvel Comics. He co-created Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Thor, and of course, Iron Man, among many others. He led the expansion of Marvel Comics from a publishing house division to a multimedia powerhouse. Here are four fantastic insights on modern marketing taken from the career of the king of comics: 1. Alliteration. Stan Lee characters were often alliteratively named: Pepper Pots, Doctor Doom, J. Jonah Jameson Jr., Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Silver Surfer, Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Scott Summers, Matt Murdock (Daredevil) just to name a few. Eloqua Experience, Road to Revenue, and the recent introduction of Modern Mark follow in that same vein. Modern Mark even takes a superhero slant with a hipster style and a little less spandex (are those skinny jeans?) If you really want to take this concept and run with it, try using alliteration in your subject lines. 2. Content-Based Community. Before blogs and social media, Stan Lee transformed the way comic book fans connected with creators by crediting the creative team and publishing news about these Marvel characters and upcoming storylines on the Bullpen Bulletins page at the back of each issue. The combination of credit, candor, and community created powerful storylines and paved the way for Marvel to be a voice for social change. Get connected with your client community. 3. Marvel Method. Stan Lee recognized the skill sets of his team, their time constraints and implemented the collaborative plot script style to leverage creativity and increase efficiency. Kapost released an excellent eBook titled “Blueprint of a Modern Marketing Campaign” on how to apply a similar “Marvel method” to your marketing planning and content creation using themes, also known as an editorial calendar and the “Content Pillar Approach. ” 4. Know Your (or your team’s) Flaws. Stan Lee was the first to introduce a flawed humanity to the superhero archetype with the Fantastic Four. Fantastic Four’s immediate popularity led to the development of other flawed heroes like Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and Spider-Man. The ideal marketer — much like a perfect superhero — is a challenging balance to strike, according to BtoB Magazine and Eloqua’s Defining the Modern Marketer study. The data shows that marketers rate themselves at having only 65% of the ideal modern marketing skill set. Ask any Markie winner and they will tell you that their success is due to an effective team.
  4. 4. What Marketers Should Know About Big Data— And How to Put it to Use By Amanda Maksymiw, Content Marketing Manager, Lattice Engines Big data is consistently the number one search term on Gartner.com and McKinsey & Company has billed big data as the next $100 billion opportunity. The business world is being transformed by big data as more and more companies seek actionable insights from the mountains of raw data that is all around us. So why are marketers still hesitant to tap into this incredible resource? REALIZE THE MARKETING POTENTIAL IN BIG DATA In a recent Econsultancy study, respondents overwhelmingly said that they didn’t think that big data could have an impact on web analysis at all. Some freeform responses to the survey included, “adding more data to the pile to analyze will only lead to less insight, not more” “not sure what , big data means” and “we have tons of data and , sometimes it’s difficult to analyze” . It’s easy to dismiss big data as the latest marketing ploy from tech vendors. It only creates more work, right? Wrong. In a study from CSO Insights, 88% of sales and marketing leaders cited that they missed opportunities to inadequate information. In fact, marketers from companies like Amazon, GE, Netflix, and Birchbox are using insights from big data to deliver better personalization, product recommendations and enhanced customer experiences. DETERMINE HOW TO GET STARTED According to a study from The Economist Intelligence Unit, only 24% of marketers use data for actionable marketing insight. What’s more, in that same study almost 50% of marketers cited a lack of capacity to analyze big data. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of data available about your customers and prospects, and to get carried away with all of the possibilities of analyzing social media, web metrics, and more. Before considering how big data can help your marketing efforts, the right first step is to determine exactly which marketing questions you are looking to answer, such as: • • • • How can we drive more awareness? How can we boost conversions? How can we reduce lead fatigue? How can we retain more customers? PUT THE DATA TO USE An important step in driving value from big data is to cut through the hype and realize that you may be able to extract insights from an untapped database within your organization. You may have hidden insights buried in your CRM or marketing automation platform. Many marketing organizations have turned to lead scoring to bridge the gap between marketing-generated leads and sales — to cut down on the noise and highlight the prospects with the greatest likelihood of purchasing. While lead scoring does identify the best and worst leads, there is an immense amount of data available online that can be analyzed to determine buyer intent. Instead of passing over leads once they reach a certain score or threshold, a big data strategy could help marketers make better decisions when it comes to lead scoring and identify which leads are most likely to purchase a company’s products or services based on a set of inputs to improve upon existing lead scoring tactics. Have you experimented with big data or used data in an interesting way to solve a marketing problem?
  5. 5. 3 Ways to Improve Targeting (Just Avoid This Statement in Your Prospecting Emails) By Melissa Madian, Principal, Global Sales Enablement, Oracle With the start of a new year comes the traditional flurry of demand generation/business development/ sales reps sending me emails on why I should buy their product/service. I can assure you: I really do read every one of the emails I receive, even the ones that end up getting trapped in my SPAM filter. I’m always fascinated to learn why a rep thinks I would be interested in purchasing their product and gauging how far off the mark they are. Yes, it’s sadistic, these poor sales people are just trying to make a living; but if I were in the business of being nice I’d have become a pre-school teacher. At the end of each email, after the salesperson has detailed all the boilerplate reasons why their product/ service is awesome, many conclude with some variation of the following statement: “If you are not the right person for me to be working with at your organization, please provide me with the contact information of the person who is.” Dear Sales Rep: We are not best friends – why would I give you that information? Why would I do all your prospecting work for you? With all the resources and tools at your fingertips, in this digital age, you can’t figure out on your own that I am, or I am NOT, the right person? Selling is hard, tireless work. It’s distressing to see that something so easy and powerful to do is getting ignored. So here is my public service announcement for all you salespeople trying to get my (or your target buyer’s) attention: 1. Do Your Research. If you are trying to sell IT software, don’t reach out to the head of sales training. Or, learn about why the head of sales training would be interested in IT software, and approach your messaging from that angle. That’s what LinkedIn is for. Or Twitter. Or Google. Yes it takes time and effort; but the payoff is much better than getting ignored and ridiculed in a blog post. 2. Personalize. Maybe you only have the head of sales training’s contact information. That’s okay! Using something like LinkedIn’s TeamLink feature, you can see how you and your connections are related to that person, or how that person is connected to your target buyer. People buy from people, and they pay attention when a colleague’s name is mentioned. Leverage that personalization to have your message resonate with the target buyer. 3. Don’t Sell; Teach. I don’t care about your product. Telling me your product is wonderful won’t help me at this very moment. Provoke me into thinking differently. Tell me a story about how my world will be a better place if I consider partnering with you. Teach me something that I don’t know, that your product immediately addresses. Make me go, “Hmmm, that’s interesting, tell me more!” I guarantee that following these three simple rules will get me (or your target buyer) to respond to your email. What have YOU done that uniquely got you noticed with a buyer?
  6. 6. 5 Ways to Personalize Emails and Enhance Open Rates By Amanda Batista, Content Marketing Manager, Oracle Eloqua I recently received an email that began, “Hi Amanda, you know from our last eBook you read, mobile is having an enormous impact on the events industry…” I kept reading, because I recalled recently downloading an eBook about mobile event applications. The email immediately established context in the abyss that is, my inbox. There’s no excuse for leaving these personal touches out of email communication, anyway. Modern Marketers are equipped with an arsenal of prospect information garnered through web forms, third-party lists, social media, conference registrations, and a variety of other channels. And while these other communication channels have emerged, email is still one of the most critical points of engagement. Email helps support overall multi-touch communications strategies, enabling marketers to deliver these targeted messages based on customer preference across different points in the buyer’s purchase process. Sophisticated email marketing programs — fueled by marketing automation — enable relevant communication when used with behavioral triggers. Email is a great tool for marketers to serve up relevant content at the time when a buyer is engaged and likely to respond. But emails can’t support any of these marketing efforts without relevance. Our on-demand culture is driving personalized expectations. To provide positive brand impressions, avoid complaints, bounce backs, and unsubscribes, and most importantly, enhance open rates, marketers are personalizing their email communications. Check out Eloqua’s ‘Must-See’ Chart at left. The best-performing emails include subject lines personalized with the recipient’s name and an added value point, such as location. How are marketers able to personalize their communication? It all comes down to segmentation, keeping things simple, and focused on the customer. Here are some tips to help you improve your email personalization: 1. Segment your list separately by social data, such as birthdays, likes, etc. 2. Craft templates that enable you to trigger personalized emails on the fly. 3. Don’t get too excited — per the chart, exclamation points don’t necessarily translate to brownie points with your recipients. 4. Test and track the effectiveness of calls to action (CTAs) and repeat successful messaging. 5. Align your email verbiage with your social language to keep your communications consistent.
  7. 7. How Buyer Personas Can Make Your Marketing Automation Smarter By Tony Zambito, Founder, Buyer Persona Marketing As marketing automation matures, focus is turning towards how to be smarter in reaping the benefits. Getting smarter leads to a better return on your efforts as well as investment. Effort and smarts are needed in spades when focusing on making marketing automation more effective. One worthwhile effort to help make your marketing automation smarter is the use of buyer personas. WHAT ARE BUYER PERSONAS? INTERACTION SMARTS What marketing automation allows us to do is foster interaction with buyers and customers. Thus, buyer personas, in terms of why they are important, give us the insight into how to foster interaction. And, what is needed today is interaction smarts to get better results. Let us look at how buyer personas can help provide interaction smarts: • While the term “buyer persona” has been out in the marketing world for some time, there is much confusion on how to exactly define and use buyer personas. Let us start with the original definition established more than a decade ago: Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, where they buy, when buyers decide to buy, and why they make buying decisions. The purpose of buyer personas is to give us a deeper understanding, as well as model the buying behaviors, of our buyers and customers. It takes a level of research to model what we call an archetype of your buyers. As you can see, the definition goes beyond factual-based segmentation to hone in on behavior. Why is this important – especially for marketing automation? • • • Align with buying: turn your interaction from a cold encounter to a warm encounter by relating to the buying dynamics of your buyers and customers. Buying dynamics, in essence, relate to understanding how buying takes place. What are their buying cycles and what is their critical buying path-to-purchase? If you are out of synch here, so will be your interactions. Digital behavior: marketing automation helps us to capture interaction. Buyer personas help us to be smarter at interpreting the digital behavior of our buyers and customers. When researching buyer personas, one element we look for is digital behavior and body language. We can gain clues on the what, how, and when of digital behavior and interaction. Language and terminology: when buyers and customers interact, they want to know if you relate. As you know, it is hard to relate to someone if you do not know or speak his or her language. This is a place where buyer personas can be extremely helpful. They help us to speak to buyers and customers in their language. Topics: when it comes to content development, randomness can be a real downside. Are you forcing buyers to sort through random topics to • find something relevant to them? Are you trying to be all things to all people? Gaining insight through the research and creation of buyer personas makes you smarter about topic themes and topic generation. So, when buyers interact with you, it is about what they care about. Campaign: campaign creation can go from hit or miss to a purposeful effort. Providing the right content, to the right buyer, and at the right time. Campaign smarts avoids wasted effort and wasted dollars. What buyer personas and marketing automation share in common is the concept of modeling. This is why there can be a hand and glove fit. When we model who buyers are and their buying behaviors, we can get smarter at modeling the interactions buyers desire via marketing automation. When you get these aligned with the right buyer personas, you look a whole lot smarter.
  8. 8. 5 Steps for Creating Effective B2B Marketing Videos By Phil Donaldson, Director of Marketing, PropelGrowth Video presents another unique challenge in content marketing, and B2B marketers are discussing and blogging on the topic with increasing fervor. In fact, a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs cites video as a leading marketing tactic used by B2B marketers. Because it saves time for buyers — especially busy senior executives — video has become a significant “go-to” content asset. As buyers become decreasingly trusting in sales content, capturing the voice of the customer helps support value add relationships. With more tech buyers conducting research over mobile devices, video is easier to consume than, say, a white paper. According to a Forbes study, viewers retain 50% more information from watching video. Now, that’s efficiency! YouTube garners around 4 billion views daily. For tech marketers, video has become a “must have. ” With such growth and attention for video, you can believe that competition for audience attention will be high. Here are five tips to help you leverage video to gain attention, get customers to the next step of the buying journey, and shorten sales cycles 1. Know Your Buyer, Identify Their Need Your company’s “best of breed” claim or long track record of [place boastful claim here] is not what buyers are looking for. It’s about their need to solve a business problem; not your need to brag. Try interviewing customers to find out why they purchased your solution. Get with Sales and find out what they’re hearing from prospects and customers. Meet your audience where they are with valuable content that enlightens and entertains. This may seem like a “Well, duh!” issue, but you’d be surprised at how many people are talking about themselves. 2. Be Aware of the Buying Stage Your Video is Targeting Are you looking to target the top or the bottom of the funnel? Do you seek to build awareness or facilitate the evaluation process? If you’re looking to be strategic in your marketing, each video needs to be informed by where in the buying process your target buyer happens to be. For instance, IT buyers prefer product demos at the evaluation stage. So, providing brief demos of specific capabilities can be very helpful. While you’ll want to educate from a higher level at the research stage, you don’t want to miss a golden opportunity for later-stage buyers. 3. Place the Video in a Continuum of Content Many marketers create single standalone content assets and expect them to do all the heavy lifting in generating leads. This does not work. IT tech buyers tend to engage with 5 content assets before speaking with a salesperson. Your marketing message or story needs to live and build across various content elements. Your buyers will need access to a continuum of content to help them understand their needs and make a buying decision. C-level executives prefer video that is presented with supporting content. A short video embedded in a landing page as an intermediate step to an article or white paper can an effective way to drive conversions. 4. Make It a Tool to Be Shared Video is a powerful educational and storytelling tool. It helps to create advocates within a target organization. Senior level executives frequently share video with their teams. Likewise, it’s a great tool for customer advocates to use to share content with their managers. Because it’s so easy to share and so quick to watch, video has the potential to deliver your message to people in the prospect organization that your salespeople can’t access. 5. Add Graphic Links to Your Video in Email Content Adding a thumbnail graphic in an email which links to an online video helps to increase click through rates by 96% over non-video email. Sending emails with embedded video links can help drive conversions. The emails are also easy for the recipient to forward, making it even more likely that the video will gain access to others in the buyer committee. Video can be a powerful tool in the hands of the right team with a solid marketing strategy and a bit of creativity. When we look back at a future B2B content marketing timeline, no doubt that this point in time will show a tick labeled, “The Age Of Video” (the video version will have lots of echo added when it’s read). What will be your company’s contribution?
  9. 9. 3 Reasons Why Responsive Email Really Matters to Marketers By Richard Hill, VP and Practice Lead, Quarry Integrated Communications Today, buyers consider their mobile devices and their email accounts as inseparable. So why aren’t more marketers delivering emails that consistently look great on any screen size? Here are 3 reasons why creating better mobile email experiences should be central to all your email efforts: 1. Your buyers have gone mobile. Your emails should, too. Nearly half of all emails are now being opened on mobile devices. That’s up 330% in the last two years. Desktop email client engagement has dropped 44% over the same period. So if your emails are not optimized for mobile, you are not maximizing the email experience for people nearly 50% of the time. Don’t think that’s important? Read on. 2. Give your brand the (one) shot it deserves. You might think people use their mobile devices to skim and bookmark emails for later reading on their desktop. Think again. 97% of all email interactions (opens, clicks, etc.) happen on the device upon which the email is first opened. In other words, you have to create great brand experiences for both mobile devices and desktops—and everything in between! There are no second chances. Email can be a one-shot opportunity to make-orbreak your brand. Consider this: after receiving an email that’s not optimized for mobile viewing, 63% of people delete the email immediately. The consequences of a poor mobile email experience can be disastrous. 3. Stand out from your competition. Mobile email engagement is a trend that’s not going away, but marketers have been slow to respond. One report estimates only 1 in 10 marketers have adopted an advanced approach to optimizing email marketing for mobile devices. Another found just 2 in 10 marketers plan to start optimizing their emails for mobile viewers in the next year. If you’re looking for a way to distinguish your customer experience from that of your competitors, now would be a great time to take the lead on mobile email optimization — and leave your competitors in the dust. RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN AND EMAIL MARKETING There’s been a lot of talk about Responsive Web Design (RWD) lately. And for good reason. This approach is quickly becoming the industry standard for delivering the right web experience for the right screen size at the right time. Here’s the good news: responsive design isn’t limited to just your websites or landing pages. The same design and coding techniques (namely the use of CSS media queries) can be used to make your emails look great on any sized screen too. Like this responsive email from NASDAQ OMX: NASDAQ OMX’s responsive emails are smart enough to deliver different experiences for different sized screens, all from one code base. And notice how they switch layout from 2 columns to 1 for smaller screens. They’re also capable of hiding or relocating certain content elements under certain situations, helping focus mobile viewers’ attention on what’s most important when screen real estate gets tight. GET SAVVY ABOUT MODERN EMAIL DESIGN OPTIONS Three new options—scalable, flexible, and responsive email—allow you to deliver the right email experience on any sized screen, from smartphones to desktops and everything in between.
  10. 10. The ABCs of Social Selling: Always Be Connected By Jill Rowley, Principal, Global Sales Enablement, Oracle I have a confession. I’m a 40-year-old, married mother of four… social networking addict. I have more than 4,900 connections on LinkedIn, 4,900 followers on Twitter, almost 1,000 friends on Facebook, dozens of followers on SlideShare, Quora, and Pinterest. I consume information online and am constantly sharing it with my social networks. Some addicts need cigarettes, caffeine, alcohol, food, needles; I need Likes, Shares, Favorites, and Retweets. I need them because it means my network finds the information I’m sharing of value. In all this social networking, TRANSFORMATION is happening that affects the sales process. It’s a transformation of the buyer, the buying process, the buying committee, and the resulting necessary transformation of the modern sales professional. The modern sales professional is actually not a seller, but is someone who helps people buy. This is someone who helps the buyer understand his problem, helps the buyer understand there’s a solution to the problem, and helps the buyer understand why her company is uniquely qualified to solve the buyer’s problem. Today’s buyers are better informed by information available via the web and social connections, yet their buying processes are longer because more people sit on the buying committee. What Is a Modern Sales Professional? • • She’s an “information concierge” — she provides the right information to the right person at the right time in the right channel. She’s an “insights professional” — she teaches the buyer something he doesn’t already know. • • • • • She’s a socially connected individual — she’s where her buyers are: on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Facebook, Quora, Slideshare, Pinterest, and more. She has a personal brand — she’s a thought leader, not a product pusher. She’s a content connoisseur—she reads what her buyers read and shares that content across her social networks. She’s a challenger—she makes her clients think differently. She’s a mini marketer. WHY DID THE SALES REP HAVE TO TRANSFORM THE WAY SHE SELLS? She had to change because the web and social channels have transformed the way buyers buy. According to Corporate Executive Board, buyers are 57% through their buying process before engaging with salespeople. They’ve figured out they have a problem, they’ve figured out there’s a solution to their problem, and they’ve narrowed the list of companies who can likely solve their problem. They’ve done this by searching Google, attending a webinar, downloading an E-book, attending an event, asking their network for recommendations, visiting your corporate website, reading your blog, listening to a podcast, attending a virtual trade show, watching a product demo, seeing a video customer testimonial, and the list goes on and on. This new world of buying is transforming the way sales reps need to sell (or, rather, help buyers buy). Buyers don’t want cold calls, they don’t want generic emails, and they don’t want case studies of companies that look nothing like them. They want insights information value, and most of all, they want you (the sales professional) to know more about their business than they know themselves. They want an information concierge. They want an insights professional. They don’t want someone selling features and benefits. LINKEDIN AND OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKS HELP ME DO WHAT I CALL SOCIAL SELLING. WHAT IS SOCIAL SELLING? It’s the practice of leveraging social networks and the associated tools in the overall sales function from lead generation, to closed deal, to account management, and to customer advocacy. Buyers expect more relevance and insight from salespeople. Social sellers use the web and social channels to identify, listen, connect, engage, and share relevant information with buyers. They also continue to use traditional sources for insight into the buyers’ businesses — corporate websites, blog sites, annual reports, and investor presentations. Buyers are online. It’s critically important for salespeople to know the buyer’s digital footprint: what they’re interested in, what they need, who they trust, and where they congregate. Through social networking sites, 82% of the world’s online population is reached. The web and social channels are transforming the way people buy. Before LinkedIn and other social networks, in the sales world, ABC stood for Always Be Closing. Now, ABC means Always Be Connecting, because your connections lead to your next hire, your next job, your next lead, and your next close.
  11. 11. How to Predict Conversion Rates From Cold to Close With an Exit Criteria By Jeff Hoffman, Author, “Your Sales MBA” This dynamic has always been the same: Marketing is frustrated by Sales not following up on their hardwon marketing qualified leads (MQLs), while sales complains that there aren’t enough “good” leads worthy of their attention. Sound familiar? Even the most sophisticated internal systems will often spur this debate. So where is the problem? Who is right? And more importantly, how do we fix it? The solution may lie in creating a more defining language for both Sales and Marketing. I am not suggestion yet another re-definition of your company’s sales stages, but a different approach — one that asks a new question. Not, “What characteristics define a potential buyer?” But, “What activities may indicate an engaged buyer? The truth is that the measurement linking lead to closed deal is precarious at best. Far too many steps occur between those two moments to offer clarity and insight into our company’s “typical deal. ” One look at the standard deviation between the average days in the sales cycle reveals this point. Furthermore, the specific person that appears at the lead stage is rarely the person of influence, and almost never the actual signer of the contract. Traditional lead scoring and buyer profiling is valuable to marketing, and sales stage definition is equally useful to sales. The missing link between the two? Something I call, “Exit Criteria. Specific, measurable ” actions by the prospect that indicate that they may be willing to “cross the chasm” from lead to sales opportunity. Once a lead is scored (title, industry, customer history, lead source, etc.), we then attempt to measure the “health” of that lead dependent on their specific level of engagement. Activity, like webinar registration and attendance, is captured. Participation in the same seminar (i.e., Q&A; polling) is a higher level of engagement, and advances the lead even more. And each of these activities becomes the requirement to “exit” the previous lead stage. By making the prospect’s specific engagement the predominate determination for lead health, marketing can then create new types of campaigns that inspire the behavior that yield better leads. Now sales takes over. The rep pounces on highly qualified deals that have momentum, and can use these same tactics marketing just used when reaching out to the prospect. Knowing that action is the most important qualification for deal advancement, the rep continues to close for more activity. Will the prospect share an org chart? Or offer an executive-level referral? If so, the prospect then “exits” the current stage, and enters the next one that is assigned a higher likelihood of closing. The use of exit criteria can accomplish many goals. Marketing can focus on the close as part of their campaigns, and they can quickly measure the success of their lead generation efforts. Sales can leverage that activity to continue the closing process, and take the subjective nature out of their pipleline. Both sides can enjoy a common language, and can collaborate on activities that appear to have the best results. The secret is not in defining a shared scale for both sales and marketing to use, it is about creating a bridge that links our unique objective and mission. And what better bridge than the customer. “Happy Selling!”
  12. 12. 3 Reports Every Marketer Should Run to Measure Lead Scoring Effectiveness By Alexandre Papillaud, Director, Global Demand Center at McAfee Lead scoring is a widely discussed strategic topic among marketing automation users. Oftentimes the immediate tactical nuances include lead nurturing, content marketing, and dynamic content. Lead scoring isn’t an “old fashioned trick” we used two or three years ago when automation system adoption began to grow rapidly. The success and efficiency of automation tools, as well as your programs and campaigns, hinges on effective lead scoring. Let me pitch you a perhaps-familiar story: Excited and thrilled by marketing automation, you set up your instance, turn on lead scoring, define your job role list for personas, and go score! To focus on ramping up your automation efforts, you focus on lead nurturing to advance your engagement with prospects and customers. Have you checked back up on your initial step to check if your lead scoring system is running correctly? 1. Data issues: • • • 2. Model issues: • After you read these reporting analysis tips, go into Eloqua and in your CRM and generate these reports: #MQLs by Lead Score and Geography • #MQLs Converted by Lead Score #MQLs Rejected by Lead Score These three reports will help you to identify if your scoring behaves properly and here are few things you might discover: Standardized forms (job role for instance) are not fitting for all goes across the globe and most of the time NA & APAC (as native English countries) have better accuracy on job role selection. People fill out misleading information! How many contacts have you generated from those who have selected Afghanistan in the country dropdown menu? It’s the first country available in most dropdown lists, and frequently selected to bypass necessary information and proceed to the next option to access gated content. The longer your web forms are, the greater the probability that you’re collecting inaccurate data. • High ranked personas are not the same people we talk to or sell to in real life. I wish I could speak with Fortune 500 CEOs everyday, but unfortunately this is not the case. In developing your personas, be sure to distinguish target and goal audiences. Analyzing your web traffic data can help you in this task. Consider the score weight of “profile” in comparison to “behavior. What’s more important: ” having a CEO (probably not CEO as per the point above) download a white paper or a manager taking 10 different actions on your web site? Be prepared for massive content consumption. Is your scoring program able to assess and correctly score (means not too quickly not too late) multiple actions taken by a contact both on your web site and on social networks? 3. Internal issues: • Last but not least but definitively true. Can you trust your marketing managers? Sometimes marketing qualified lead (MQL) targets can potentially cause skewing of lead scores. A sound lead scoring program should enable your organization to make decisions based on facts and data — not just assumptions or hunches. It’s critical to note that a lead scoring program is not a “legacy thing. Establishing parameters ” to effectively score based on personas, targets, and real data is the key to refining lead routing processes. By measuring lead scoring program effectiveness over time, you can determine how to best align your nurture paths and deliver the right content to facilitate the discovery process with your community. But keep in mind the balance of scoring: Under-score and you can potentially miss opportunities; over score and you run the risk of creating frustration among sales reps experiencing high rejection rates.
  13. 13. Social Selling: 10 Actionable Tips from LinkedIn’s Koka Sexton By Amanda Batista, Content Marketing Manager, Oracle Eloqua The verdict on social selling is in: It works. While not even three years ago, marketing and sales organizations sought actual data to support the “hunch” that social selling techniques and practices were effective, the state of the advanced sales method is, well, on fire. This assessment comes from “the source”—0or LinkedIn’s Senior Manager of Social Marketing, Koka Sexton, who shared some serious scoop about the effectiveness of social selling during a webinar hosted by Demand Gen Report titled “Adding Social Fuel To Demand Generation Programs” underscored the fact that, because buyers like to access content and information from their peers, there is a huge opportunity to cultivate more meaningful roles on channels where information exchange thrives (like LinkedIn and Twitter). LinkedIn is, in all senses of the phrase, “Where it’s at, as a vast majority (76%) of execs say they ” actively use the business social network to share content, according to Demand Gen Report’s B2B Buyer Behavior Survey. The webinar also highlighted real use case data that validates the impact that social selling techniques have on the bottom line. InContact, a provider of workforce optimization and cloud contact center solutions, has seen astounding results by leveraging social media within demand gen and pipeline growth, including: • • 122% increase in revenue for sales reps using LinkedIn 157% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn and Eloqua marketing automation combined According to Demand Gen Report’s eBook titled “7 Ways Sales Professionals Drive Revenue With Social Selling, becoming adept at social selling ” should be done in stages. Oracle Principal of Sales Enablement, Jill Rowley has steadily built up her social selling practice over time. To get started, the eBook advises to focus on these areas: (1) Building your network on LinkedIn. (2) Identifying your prospects. (3) Engaging with them. We at Eloqua have seen significant business by leveraging social selling techniques using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, including: • • • Increased conversion rates of leads to opportunities by 25% Increased more than 15% of reps exceeding sales quotas Had average sales cycle time decrease of 20 days
  14. 14. Social Selling: 10 Actionable Tips from LinkedIn’s Koka Sexton (continued) While there’s still a great deal to be learned about more sophisticated relationship-building tactics by leveraging social media, a webinar attendee poll indicated that: 49% of those surveyed have done some social selling but don’t have a formal strategy, while 23% of respondents are actively leveraging social tools to establish more systematic processes for success. “I think most companies are beginning to understand that social media and social selling has a place within marketing and the initiatives they should be doing, Sexton noted. “They know it’s effective. ” They just don’t know what the strategy is and how the technology should be put into place. ” So how can your team get in the goldmine to start building more meaningful relationships, harnessing your connections, and establishing a rapport via your personal brand? Here are 10 tips to get you rethinking what you know about social selling, and on the right track: 1. To build your company’s page following, start running campaigns geared toward people already engaged your company to drive awareness and call to action to follow your LinkedIn page. 2. Make your Twitter profile as professional as your LinkedIn profile. Use the same photo across your social networks so you’re easily identifiable, and make sure to link up to your LinkedIn profile in your Twitter bio. 7. Cross-reference your profile viewer’s names with your nurture functionality in marketing automation and establish parameters for when it’s appropriate to shift from nurture communication to a one-on-one dialogue. 3. Don’t be afraid to get personal on Twitter. It’s a channel to share professional insight, as well as things that interest you outside your every day that support your personal brand. 8. Be insights driven and gather intelligence and social information that helps you prepare for sales conversations. 4. Get your employees in on the discussion. LinkedIn isn’t relegated to marketing and sales professionals — everyone in your organization should be a thought leader and establish personal brands. 9. Leverage LinkedIn to create personas based on activity, groups they participate in and, topics of interest. Look for correlating behaviors and defining attributes that align with your target buyers to establish propensity to engage, and even buy. 5. Stop thinking of LinkedIn InMail as a general email channel. Leverage the insights you can gather form profiles and other social networks to indicate that you’ve done research on the person you’re connecting with. For example, reference a blog post you’ve read by that person, or a presentation you viewed. 10. emonstrate real value in groups by D participating in discussions and sharing relevant content. Sexton suggests a “4 to 1 approach”, to share four update items about news in your industry, customer and partner networks, and one promotional item that supports your company news. 6. “Who’s viewed your profile” is a goldmine for helping you make connections with people who already demonstrate an interest in your personal brand. Monitor these visits and send personalized emails from sales reps who manage that particular account with a link to their individual sales rep profile.
  15. 15. The 4 As of Sales Enablement Content Success By Brendan Cournoyer, Content Marketing Manager, Brainshark Sales enablement is certainly a hot topic right now for B2B organizations. It seems everyone is looking for new ways to increase sales productivity and effectiveness. The question is: How? As Jim Ninivaggi of SiriusDecisions points out, the concept of sales enablement continues to evolve, meaning different things to different companies. According to the organization’s research, the most common sales enablement functions include the ability to: • • • Build sales assets and provide guidelines for how to use them Share best practices Develop product training That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course, but no matter how you define sales enablement at your company, chances are that content and communication play a critical role. More often than not, the brunt of this responsibility falls to the marketing team. So how can marketers—particularly content marketers—enable their sales reps in a way that truly boosts productivity and helps drive more revenuer? 1. Alignment — First and foremost, it’s important that your content is aligned with the sales conversations your reps are having. The truth is, while marketing teams are primarily responsible for brand messaging, it’s the salespeople who spend the most time interacting with prospects and customers. As sales coach Bob Apollo explained recently, sales and marketing teams have a lot to learn from each other, noting that, “If marketing really engages with salespeople on a regular basis, they can develop a much better idea of what an ‘ideal prospect’ looks like and how prospects make buying decisions—and what marketing can do to help. ” This can include everything from persona-based content that speaks to the unique challenges of specific industries and titles, to promotional resources that highlight the most popular product features with customers. In the end, the goal is to create content that answers the questions prospects are asking at every stage of the buying cycle. 2. Awareness — Many sales assets fail to make the desired impact with sales teams, not because they lack in quality, but because reps simply aren’t aware they exist. The CMO Council has stated that B2B salespeople spend about 40% of their jobs preparing content for customer and prospect communications. That’s a lot of time that could be spent more productively—especially if the marketing team has already developed resources for reps to use.
  16. 16. The 4 As of Sales Enablement Content Success (continued) To overcome this awareness issue, marketers need to do more to expose reps to the content they are creating. This could be as simple as sending weekly emails to update reps on the latest content, signing them up to their blog RSS feed, or sharing new resources via the company’s internal communications platform. The point is, just because you create something doesn’t mean your salespeople know about it. 3. Access — Of course, being aware of content resources and knowing where to find them are two different things. The ideal scenario is to have a centralized location (or content portal) to house all sales enablement content in an easily accessible and organized way. That way, reps can find what they need, right when they need it. This is naturally important for prospect communications, as it allows reps to access resources like marketing-approved PowerPoint presentations, product demos and data sheets, client testimonials and so on in a timely manner. It’s also valuable for informal, “just-in-time” training—an absolute necessity for most sales organizations. ES Research has reported that about 85% to 90% of sales training information has no impact after 120 days. In other words, reps tend to forget the majority of what they learned during onboarding or formal training sessions. To counteract this, salespeople often need to continuously “refresh” themselves about product updates, customer personas and the like—and they tend not to do this until they absolutely have to (even right before their next sales meeting). For this reason, the faster and easier they can access that information on the fly, the better off (and more enabled) they’ll be. 4. Analytics — Finally, as with all content initiatives, sales enablement efforts need to be measurable. So how is sales enablement measured? The easy answer would seem to be revenue, but as another SiriusDecisions report points out, “revenue attainment can be a lagging indicator” when it comes to measuring the success of a sales enablement strategy. Instead, completion of sales training and content utilization represent the most popular areas to focus on, though I would tend to put a premium on the latter. (After all, as noted above, training completion doesn’t necessarily equate to learning retention.) From a sales enablement perspective, it’s helpful to monitor which resources are used most often by reps in the field and why. It can even be a good idea to track the top sales reps in the company and the content they use to close more deals. Bottom line: the more information you have about the effectiveness of your sales enablement content, the better prepared you’ll be to both create and deliver resources that truly help reps sell.
  17. 17. Oracle Eloqua is the leading provider of modern marketing automation and revenue performance management software that helps ensure every component of marketing works harder and more efficiently to drive revenue. Eloqua software is now the centerpiece of the Oracle Marketing Cloud. Companies across a wide range of industries rely on Eloqua’s cloud-based software, professional services and education programs to help them automate marketing processes across multiple channels, target and nurture prospects and deliver highly qualified leads at a lower cost to sales teams. For more information, visit www.eloqua.com, subscribe to the ”It’s All About Revenue” blog, call 866.327.8764, or email demand@eloqua.com Copyright © 2013, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.