Secrets to Successful Marketing Automation


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Managing those qualified but not-ready-to-buy leads in advance of an active sales process is quickly becoming one of the most important roles for B2B marketing organizations. The justification and math is clear—the more actively you can nurture leads and build long-term relationships based on trust and credibility, well before the prospect is ready to buy, the more likely you are to win the business and increase your conversion rates over time.

And what’s more, effective lead nurturing strategies and implementations can significantly decrease required marketing budget for new leads over time while increasing marketing- sourced opportunities in your sales pipeline.

The following pages provide several strategic and tactical best practices for introducing, launching and executing a lead nurturing or marketing automation effort for your organization.

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Secrets to Successful Marketing Automation

  1. 1. Marketing Automation Best Practices GuideBy Matt Heinz and Brian Hansford, Heinz MarketingManaging those qualified but not-ready-to-buy leads in advance of an active sales process is Strategy Andquickly becoming one of the most important roles for B2B marketing organizations. The Justification 2justification and math is clear—the more actively you can nurture leads and build long-term Setup Andrelationships based on trust and credibility, well before the prospect is ready to buy, the Vendor Selection 7more likely you are to win the business and increase your conversion rates over time. Execution AndAnd what’s more, effective lead nurturing strategies and implementations can significantly Optimization 11decrease required marketing budget for new leads over time while increasing marketing- Best Practices Andsourced opportunities in your sales pipeline. Lead Management 14The following pages provide several strategic and tactical best practices for introducing,launching and executing a lead nurturing or marketing automation effort for yourorganization.Matt HeinzPresident, Heinz Marketing
  2. 2. Strategy And Justification Marketing Automation Past, Present And Future: Q&A With Steve Woods Your Most Important Marketing Automation Investment Is People Nine Ways To Make The Case For Marketing Automation Software Marketing Ops Specialists—Essential SkillsetsMarketing Automation Past, Present And Future: Q&A with Steve WoodsIt’s difficult to have a conversation about B2B marketing, You have a 20-second elevator ride to explain marketingespecially for complex products and transactions, automation, and why it’s important, to a CMO that isn’twithout also talking about marketing automation or lead there yet. Go.nurturing. And while the category and its adoption hasbeen accelerating recently, a select few stand out as both Today’s buyers have changed. They don’t come to yourpioneers and thought leaders in the space. sales team to get educated on what your space is about, and what your products do, they get that informationSteve Woods is co-founder and chief technology officer online. If you are not providing rich, meaningful contentfor Eloqua, one of the leading providers of marketing to those buyers, and then understanding which buyers areautomation technology to B2B and B2C organizations most interested and catering your conversation with themworldwide. As part of the launch of a new partnership accordingly (including getting sales involved), you will losebetween Heinz Marketing and Eloqua, Steve sat down those buyers to a competitor.with us to talk about where marketing automation began,why it’s so important now, and where it’s going. If you’re trying to guide the conversation’s content and timing, with each individual buyer, based on that buyer’sAs an Eloqua co-founder and author of Digital Body needs and interests, you can’t do that manually. YouLanguage, you’ve seen the marketing automation promise need a marketing automation platform like Eloqua toand opportunity for several years. What drew you to this help you understand each buyer, and guide that uniquein the first place? What started it all for you? conversation accordingly.We saw the general idea back in the first dot-com bubble What do you see as the biggest barriers to adoption andat the end of 1999. There was a lot of excitement successful implementation of marketing automation foraround e-commerce, and what the web was doing to most companies?the transaction that a buyer makes with a seller, but wesaw an equal, if not greater opportunity to help with the Shifting from a campaign-centered view of marketing, toinformation side of buying—especially in businesses where a buyer-centered view is hard. It’s relatively simple to saya bit more information needed to change hands before a “we’ll run campaigns on January 1, March 1, and Junebuyer was ready to buy. 1”, and then manage the creative and budgets to have that happen. It’s harder to say “these are the meaningful eventsFrom there, the products we built helped organizations in a buyer’s world, and how I will react to each buyerunderstand their buyers’ interests and intents—the concept accordingly”. The marketer skill set is rapidly evolving toof Digital Body Language—and then guide marketing or think in these terms, but it takes some time.sales conversations based on that. Most companies are used to making technology decisionsAs we worked with the marketers who were early through their IT department. Why is it so important that theinnovators in the space, they helped us form and shape CMO becomes a technology buyer today?the product to become what today is known as marketingautomation; nurturing buyers based on their interests until With Software as a Service (SaaS), the aspects of athey are ready to buy, and then passing the most qualified technology purchase that used to require IT—like servers,leads over to sales. networks, data centers, etc.—are now not required. What 2
  3. 3. is required, however, is thinking through the business information, how do they discover new perspectives? Forchanges that a new platform like marketing automation each of those, will you be discovered by them when theywill require. New processes, new skills, new metrics are look? That will lead to great conversations around bothall possible. A CMO needs to own how their organization content that is needed and the lifecycle of a buyer that canengages buyers, and in today’s world, that requires be Start simple, with the most obvious customer lifecycleMuch of the marketing automation conversation has event you can see in your business and build acentered around the sales process, but there’s at least an communication path from that. From there, you canequal opportunity to optimize revenue and lifetime value identify a few more customer lifecycle events and begin toafter the purchase. Do you agree? evolve and experiment.Absolutely. Purchasing one product is a highly meaningful How will this technology evolve over the next few years?event in the lifecycle of a customer. There are greatopportunities to have them onboarded, brought to Marketers can now understand who a buyer is, and whatsuccess, and potentially sold more products. We’ve seen that buyer is interested in, based on their Digital Bodya lot of successful organizations do exactly that to great Language. Now, however, we need to also understandsuccess. Similarly, managing the renewal cycle for any who they trust. Understanding who a buyer is connectedcustomer engagement where there is an annual renewal or to, who they trust, and where they get their informationsimilar, is a large area of opportunity that many marketers from is critical to understanding their interest in making aare exploring successfully. purchase.I’ve seen multiple statistics indicating that a high The connectivity between solutions is also very much ofpercentage of marketing automation users aren’t yet interest. In today’s world of modern SaaS software, it’smaking use of the full lead nurturing features. How do you much easier to connect systems together than it ever hasrecommend they invest in the baby steps to get started and been. Today’s marketers must look for platforms that allowstart seeing value quickly? them to add in simple “Apps” to integrate webinar data, event data, social data, video data, etc. Without that, theFirst, think of the world through the eyes of your buyers. marketers will be blind to a broader view of buyer behaviorHow do they educate themselves, how do they find than they need to succeed.Your Most Important Marketing Automation Investment Is PeoplePeople are the most important resources for any organization Don’t focus solely on finding someone with a marketingin any high value function. The right people are also automation background or email marketing experience.critical for the success of a marketing automation initiative. Consider someone with experience or passion around WebFind the Right People content publishing or Web site administration. MarketingWhen thinking about people for your marketing automation platforms are very similar to Contentautomation initiative, you might first wonder “Where can Management Systems and the skills and knowledge areI find an Eloqua or Marketo expert that can come in and readily transferable from one to another.kick start or take over a lead generation or email marketing If your organization is a small to mid-sized organization,program”. That question is like asking for a nuclear consider recruiting someone from a larger organization.scientist to coach a college football program while also People from larger organizations move to smaller teamsserving as a gourmet chef at the local four-star restaurant. because they will have broader responsibility and theirThere are lots of variables and requirements. Simply impact can be much easier to perceive.asking for an “expert” on a platform limits the focus. The definition of an expert is relative. Do you really needHere are examples of some recommendations and questions an expert on the platform? Or an expert on businessI ask in return to clarify their hiring requirements: process? An expert on lead management and lead scoring? 3
  4. 4. An expert on content marketing? An expert on business demand generation, revenue marketing, contentand systems analysis? marketing, sales, technology, social media and more. The more ideas consumed, the better chances your team willGrow Effectiveness and Encourage Positive Results innovate ideas that are best for your business. Don’t isolateYour team is in place either using existing team members or your team and regulate access to information and bestnew recruits. Next Steps to consider: practices ideas. Use vendors, blogs, social media, webinars, trade publications—all are great sources of best practices at1. Training, Training, Training little to no cost.Most leading marketing automation platform vendorsprovide decent levels of product training and the best 3. Organizational Exposurepractices for implementing and growing a successful Effective managers support the resources on their teaminitiative. Third party organizations such as the Marketing and protect them without isolating them. Let the peopleAutomation Institute also provide valuable training. on your team engage with teams across the organization,Unfortunately many companies do not take advantage including (and especially) sales. The more exposure yourof the training, even at the most rudimentary levels. The team has internally the better the understanding of howcommonly accepted statistic is that over 70 percent of all the business operates. This helps build alignment betweenmarketing automation customers are mainly using their departments.platforms as an overpowered email tool. There are severalshort-sighted reasons for this such as: 4. Industry Exposure • We can’t afford to take the time away from batch and Encourage your team to attend local user groups and send emails. national trade show events. These events are great venues to learn new ideas, network, and find inspiration for • Lead flow will suffer if we stop or stagger operations for building successful elements to a marketing automation training. initiative. Don’t box your team into a cube. Great • We can figure it out on our own. opportunities include user groups, annual vendor • Our people read a lot of blogs and they get it. conferences, analyst summits and other industry events. • I went to the Sirius conference this year and I can train my people how to set up our system. 5. Talk To Customers! • Training? We don’t need no stinking training! Everyone in marketing should talk with and listen to (believe it or not I hear this a lot) customers and prospects. Join sales calls. Conduct focus • Training helps build the knowledge and confidence groups. Cultivate references and other forms of customer of a team to get the most value from a marketing evidence. When Marketing has these conversations and automation solution. Don’t be the CxO, VP, or listens, patterns can emerge on how to support and engage Director that undermines the importance of training! prospective customers in their buying process.2. Best Practices Consumption And Generation Without the right people and the right support and resources, a marketing automation initiative will fail. FindEncourage the creation, sharing and consumption of the right people. Support them with resources and exposeinformation around marketing automation, marketing, them to all facets of the business, including customers!Nine Ways To Make The Case For Marketing Automation SoftwareLet’s face it, nobody likes to buy software. It’s a means to 1. Do The Mathan end, and often the path from cost to revenue impact isn’t Demonstrate quantifiably what a lift in some of youralways clear. Even with marketing automation software, key response and sales pipeline metrics could do to saleswhose inherent intention is to make your marketing efforts and revenue growth. Don’t just talk about automatingboth more streamlined (lower cost) and more effective marketing. Doing more with less is interesting, but not(higher sales pipeline output), it can be difficult to carve out nearly as interesting as increased response, higher volumes ofthe dollars necessary to get rolling. engaged sales prospects for your sales team, larger qualifiedIf others in your group or organization need convincing sales pipelines to work with, and more monthly/quarterlyto give marketing automation software a go, here are nine closed business. Build a simple model that demonstrates theproven ways to get the thumbs-up. impact of improvement at a handful of key funnel points your organization already has a focus on. 4
  5. 5. 2. Show The Math From Others 6. More Email (Not Less)Use the marketing automation vendors you’re talking with The most common objection I hear to investing in marketingto gather examples and case studies of how other companies automation software is that the company’s existing, batch-have already done what you’re modeling. Especially look for and-send strategies just need to get smarter. But usually, thatcompanies that look close to you—online businesses, B2B just means harder and harder decisions about which messagesbusinesses, SaaS businesses, etc. and emails should go out to a prospect list that already gets way too much email. The more you send in bulk like this,3. Think About Customer Retention the more your prospects will tune out... or unsubscribe. WithIn Addition To Acquisition more intelligent, multi-track automated marketing systems,There’s no reason you need to justify marketing automation you can actually increase your regular email volume whilepurely based on new customer acquisition. Most software ensuring the right message gets to the right prospect at thesuites can manage the entire customer lifecycle, including right time. Higher volume plus higher response rates equalsearly-customer onboarding, behavior and usage-based happiness for your sales team and executive team.communication scenarios and more. The result is higherengagement, lifetime value and referral potential—all of 7. Long-term Headcount Reductionwhich can also be modeled into your before-and-after ROI. Some organizations have been able to model long- term headcount reductions in marketing as well as sales4. Show Samples Of Metrics/Reports Possible with successful marketing automation implementations.Get your team excited about the specific metrics they could This doesn’t mean eliminating roles in the organizationuse on a regular basis to help manage the business. Marketo, immediately, but does mean that fewer marketing heads mayfor example, has developed a set of metrics and reports be needed as the company continues to grow, but more ofin their automation system that looks beyond traditional the marketing execution is automated. Those eliminatedmarketing metrics (clicks, opens, etc.) and instead looks future heads are meaningful to your a set of revenue performance and prediction measures.These speak directly to current and future revenue potential 8. Impact On Inside Sales Performancewithin your wider prospect pipeline. I’m guessing your boss Your VP of Sales should be your strongest ally in pitchingand executive team would love this kind of future sales and a marketing automation investment, as he or she shouldrevenue visibility. understand quantifiably what the likely impact will be on the team. Inside reps should be more qualified leads, leads that5. Outline Domain And Black List Risk are ready to convert into and through the pipeline at a higherIf you continue to do “batch and send” email marketing, rate. Over time, fewer sales reps may be needed with highervs. the more intelligent multi-track marketing that individual productivity rates to achieve the same or higherautomation software systems enable, you’re putting your sales outputs. Work with your sales counterpart to build thisentire company’s reputation at risk with ISPs and email model and business watchlists. The risk of getting black-listed is realand getting more likely for companies that aren’t managing 9. Don’t Talk About Softwareprospect relationships carefully. Make sure the organization Nobody likes to buy software. And although that’s what thisunderstands this risk (not only to ongoing email marketing, is, it’s not about that. Build your case based first on whatbut to the domain itself, corporate email deliverability, it does, not what it is. Paint a picture of the success andcustomer marketing, etc.) outcomes you’re trying to achieve, then once you have the entire team head-nodding in agreement, outline the solution.Marketing Operations Specialists And Experts—Essential SkillsetsThe days of a “marketing communications” team focused random email campaigns, and tradeshow activity will lose.on and measuring success on activity-based efforts are longgone. Fair warning to the marketing managers and directors Marketing departments are expected to do more with less.who build empires with people—your days are numbered! Most importantly, these Revenue Marketing Teams areThe organizations that will throttle the competition are measured more on impact to revenue than anytime everleaner, smarter and know how to use technology to engage before. (Or at least they are expected to measure impact tocustomers to drive revenue. Marketing teams that focus their revenue.) The best people to staff these teams will possessdemand generation merely by producing brochureware, unique skills and attributes that combine creativity and 5
  6. 6. hard-nosed business sense. Think of these unique teams and Organizational Communicationsexperts like Marketing SEALs or Marketing Special Forces. Effective communication skills help set proper expectationsSmart, tough, tightly knit small groups, focused on well on strategic initiatives and tactical execution. Additionallyorchestrated steps to accomplish a mission. Empire builders strong communications help report results and ensurewho measure their success and egos by hiring tons of people executive-level support.won’t survive in the era of Revenue Marketing. Hands-on Marketing Automation PlatformHere are some critical skills and attributes we recommend And CRM Experiencefor recruiting the best marketing operations expert for your Eventually CRM and Marketing Automation platformsrevenue marketing team. will be available in a single platform. Before this marketAbility To Envision A Business Process convergence occurs a marketing operations specialist mustMarketing automation platforms enable the business process understand the intricacies on how data and information flowof demand generation and revenue marketing. A marketing between the marketing automation and CRM platforms.operations specialist must be able to design a process with Basic levels of technical acumen are a must-have skillset.the vision of end to end results. Additionally, a marketing Think Strategically And Execute Brilliantlyoperations specialist must coordinate a process outside of Strategy without execution is hallucination. Marketing folksthe department with Sales and Support teams. A marketing are great at talking strategy with great ideas and grand visions.operations specialist must envision the steps a potential buyer The ones who succeed will put the strategy into action withwill follow. brilliant tactical execution. A marketing operations specialistImplementation of a business process with marketing must see the big picture and use technology, content, andautomation process to make a revenue marketing process work. Avoid theEnvisioning a business process is one thing. Implementing people who merely want to attend high-visibility meetingsthe business process with a marketing automation platform and merely “own” the usage of a marketing automationis a special skillset that requires business savvy and technical platform. Find the expert who has strategic brainpower andacumen. Sophisticated workflows require a powerful engine makes great things happen!to support the steps, especially when lead nurturing and Content Curationscoring programs are involved. All are enabled and supported Without content, marketing automation platforms lack thewhen properly implemented with a marketing automation fuel to drive campaign efforts. A marketing operations proplatform. may not be THE overall curator for content. But they canStrategic Data Management, Analysis And Interpretation work to mobilize an entire organization to support contentOne of the most critical roles a marketing operations specialist creation for customer marketing efforts.has is managing customer data in a marketing automation These are some of the most critical skills and attributes weplatform and in some cases, the CRM platform. (Politics see with the most successful marketing operations specialistsaside, owning the customer data makes perfect sense. and marketing automation experts. Don’t be misled by theSales can still “own” the relationship.) Data management tag of “automation”. There is a ton of heavy lifting involvedis critical from the types of information captured, how with these special people who help drive revenue for anmuch is captured, when in the buying process, where, and organization!how. This information helps build profiles and shapes theultimate success of customer marketing efforts. A marketingoperations specialist can help build and shape this overallstrategy. 6
  7. 7. Setup And Vendor Selection Choosing The Ideal Marketing Automation Platform Five Steps To Take Before Buying A Marketing Automation Solution Evaluating Marketing Automation Vendors—Looking Past Functionality Set Proper ExpectationsChoosing The Ideal Marketing Automation PlatformIdentifying the right platform vendor that suits the needs of Marketing automation vendors should support customersyour organization is very important. Here are general ideas with excellent product support when things go wrong. Somefor any CMO, CFO, and CEO to consider: subscription contracts may include product support and educational training services. Vendors may have differentThe Right Capabilities guarantees on trouble response times and operational uptime.Marketing automation solutions are available in a wide range Understand your requirements and ensure the vendorof manageability, capabilities and costs. Here is a good list and platform meet those requirements. A well-trained andto work from when evaluating the capabilities of marketing supported customer is a successful customer.automation solutions. The Right Size • Supporting unique business processes based on best practices. Executives should feel very comfortable going with a solution with the right level of capabilities and the right cost. That • System administration doesn’t create a burden the means finding the platform with the right level of power that organization can’t support can be implemented as quickly as possible. Sometimes a lower • Bi-directional synchronization with the CRM platform cost solution is the best fit that has the focused capability • Flexibility to have hosted forms on corporate domains needed where an enterprise solution may be overpowered. and the vendor’s own platform Going too small, too big, too cheap or too expensive without • Full nurturing support from early awareness, aligning to the objectives and requirements are clear paths to consideration through post-sale customer loyalty failure. • Data management and integrity capabilities The Right Service Partners • Engaging customers across multiple platforms including mobile, social, web, and events Many marketing automation vendors have a network of trained expert partners that can work with you in your • Global and regional capabilities region. These service providers are critical in helping users • Troubleshooting, technical support, uptime—how will succeed because they often have extensive industry experience the platform support your organization when things go and knowledge of best practices. Additionally local service wrong? providers and agencies can provide outsourced capability • Analytics—consider the platform that offers reporting for platform administration, campaign development and capabilities needed to measure marketing effectiveness implementation, and content marketing. Find the right local partner that will support your efforts in a successful marketingThe Right Training And Support Resources automation initiative.Building capability requires the vendors to provide resourcesthat support enablement. Instructor-led and self-paced online One size does not fit every organization looking for atraining, online knowledge base resources, well-written and marketing automation solution. To help you succeed, makecurrent product documentation, and customer communities sure the vendor has the right product capabilities, resourcesare examples of important enablement resources and services. for enablement, product support, and services partners. 7
  8. 8. Five Steps To Take Before Buying A Marketing Automation SolutionMarketing automation follows the trends similar to the measurable demand generation. Build the business case thatearly stages of other business automation technologies shows how marketing automation drives revenue.including customer relationship management to supplychain management to the pre-Web 1.0 era of client-server 2. Develop A Demand Generation Strategydevelopment projects before that. All those technologies were And Lead Management Processpromised to solve problems, make jobs easier, and generate Before even beginning to evaluate marketing automationrevenue. solutions, the marketing and sales managers must develop an initial demand generation strategy and lead managementBut even today, the successful utilization of CRM solutions workflow. Every organization will do things differently andis low, regardless of current SaaS services and technologies. the better defined the demand generation strategy withMichael Krigsman, CEO of Asuret, Inc., reports 47 percent supporting lead management process, the greater the chanceof CRM implementations in 2009 are judged as failures. of success using the right marketing automation system.The good news is marketing executives can learn from themistakes and best practices of predecessor systems in business A marketing team won’t flip a switch and magically have aautomation. Marketing is generally the last department in an funnel of highly qualified leads instantly flowing into the salesorganization to automate business processes and faces many of department. The workflow should identify where inquiriesthe same challenges other departments and functions faced. come from and how they move through a buying cycle and different treatments. A well planned marketing automationHowever, DemandGen Report quotes Jonathan Block, Sirius implementation can cultivate or nurture these leads to aDecisions, estimating that the success rate for companies point and then hand off to sales for direct follow up. Theadopting marketing automation is approximately 18 percent. process should map how campaigns will support the requiredWhen used primarily as an email engine, adoption is flow of qualified lead flow which ultimately leads to revenue“probably more than 50 percent (DemandGen Report, generation. The strategy provides the direction and visionOctober 5, 2010). There are many reasons for partial which will be supported by the rights tools and people.utilization or outright failure and system abandonment. Mostof the issues come from people—simple as that. Don’t let this 3. Establish A Collaboration Channel Andbe your company! Service Level Agreement With Sales Before a marketing team even engages in an automationWhen executed well, marketing automation platforms enable solution evaluation, the sales management team should bea well planned demand generation and lead management involved along with the support of the executive sponsor.process and help organizations connect with customers at the Marketing automation enables new levels of revenueright point in buying process. Higher quality leads are sent to generation by helping develop high-quality leads moresales with sales cycles that are accelerated which drive more efficiently, while preventing funnel leakage. Marketingrevenue. However, implementing workflow and business has the fantastic opportunity to hold themselves and salesprocess tools are difficult. Proper strategic planning and accountable for revenue generation. Collaboration and buy-organizational mobilization can greatly enhance the value and in from sales management is a critical success factor. Thisrevenue driven by a marketing automation platform. Don’t step should also include coming to agreement, as much asmake the mistake of using a marketing automation platform possible, on what a “marketing qualified lead” is and thepurely as an expensive e-mail marketing system. Here are expectations, or service level agreement, by which sales will5 steps to follow before buying a marketing automation contact those leads and track opportunities or pass back tosolution. marketing for nurturing.1. Secure Executive Sponsorship 4. Test And Evaluate The CRM IntegrationAny successful business strategy requires executive Generating high quality leads without a systematic waysponsorship, support, and even enforcement and marketing to hand them off to sales is pointless. Cloud-based CRMautomation initiatives are no exception. Marketing systems like and Microsoft Dynamics CRMautomation impacts an entire enterprise and these champions are prolific and many marketing automation systems provideare critical because they help mobilize the hearts and minds efficient technology integrations with most of the majorof people across the organization. To get the CEO and CFO CRM players. This is where organizations derive massiveon board, you will need to explain the “why”—the business value from the advanced heavy lifting of developing a leadcase for a marketing automation initiative. This is the time management process. To be clear, this step is not as easyfor executives and marketing managers to focus strategically as mapping fields. The process must be in place at leaston how to directly grow revenue through sophisticated and 80 percent of the way for this to work. Sales management 8
  9. 9. and the sales representatives must buy into the process. required to support nurturing campaigns that help preventSales must follow up on the marketing qualified leads and leakage in the marketing funnel. Depending on whichprovide data back to help measure whether the right leads industry in B2B marketing, there will be different individualsare flowing, or not. Marketing automation integrated with at a target company that will require content suited to theirCRM supports the full cycle of developing and managing roles and influence. Develop the right content for the rightleads and measuring effectiveness. Marketing executives can audience to be delivered at the right time using a marketingdirectly measure their performance on revenue generation. automation platform.Both marketing and sales are held accountable with thisintegration, and that is good! This critical information must Marketing automation platforms and solutions providebe captured within a CRM system. a powerful resource for organizations to drive revenue and strengthen customer relationships. The unstructured5. Comprehensive Content Marketing Strategy methods of activity-based marketing behavior are extinct—Content is often the most overlooked and underestimated at least for those marketing executives who want to continueingredient for a successful marketing automation strategy. their careers and help organizations grow revenues.A well run marketing organization must have an annual Marketing executives and chief marketing officers mustcampaign strategy and calendar, regardless of whether or show how they will use their people, process, budget andnot a marketing automation system is employed. Without a technology to impact revenue cycles. Marketing automationstrategy and calendar, lead flow will be inconsistent and the solutions provide the foundation to accomplish this mission.content requirements will be unknown. Without content, the Strong planning, preparation, process development, andcampaigns won’t get off the ground and the investment in creativity will greatly enhance the magnitude of success usingmarketing automation will be wasted. Consider the content marketing automation. The five steps here are a great stepsrequired to run campaigns for leads at various stages in the before buying the marketing automation solution.buying cycle. And from there additional content will beEvaluating Marketing Automation Vendors—Looking Past FunctionalityMarketers who consider a Marketing Automation vendor the bag with a vendor who lost funding and has no road mapare often tempted by the shiniest object with the sexiest for updates. Avoid the career limiting move!advertising or the cheapest solution for email marketing andsome basic lead scoring capability. As evaluations start out, Ask Tough And Fair Questionsthe vendor solution demos look great. The vendor sales I believe in asking hard questions. Many times vendors in anyreps tell a great story and “give great demo” and throw out space won’t or can’t answer some of the questions due tocustomer logos and white papers. confidentiality. But, the way a vendor answers the questions can be very revealing. Do not be reluctant to ask hardMake sure the marketing automation vendor you select will questions!be around to support you long term! Ask prospective marketing automation vendors the toughDepending on the customer requirements, a cornucopia questions!of various vendors can enter the fray. I have witnessedevaluations where enterprise organizations initially review Here are the business viability questions you should ask whena strange group of email vendors like Constant Contact all evaluating marketing automation platform players.the way up to enterprise Marketing Automation vendors • How long have you been in business?like Manticore, Eloqua, and Marketo. (To me that is • Do you have any customers?like shopping for vehicles including everything between a (especially important with all of the new vendors)SMART Car and a Freightliner truck and it shows the swirland confusion in the Marketing Automation market.) • What can you share about your product/solution roadmap?Vendor Viability • What companies do you actively partner with?Beyond the matrix of whistles and bells and the latest (CRM, O/S, B.I. etc.)functionality, prospective customers MUST also look into the • How extensive is your solution provider network?business viability of Marketing Automation vendors and the • What customer training is provided?support they will receive to help ensure ramp up and long • Do you have a Customer Success Manager program?term success. Marketing execs don’t want to be left holding • Have you laid off staff recently? If so, why? 9
  10. 10. • What is your service level agreement for technical Of course there are many other related questions to ask. support? (Tier 1, 2, 3 troubleshooting procedures) Just remember a well-planned marketing automation • Do you have references we can talk to? implementation is strategic to an organization because of the potential impact in helping generate revenue. Asking hardLook past the solution and understand the business viability business questions is justified! As a marketing executive,of the vendor you are considering. Ultimately, the winning the last thing you want is a vendor who can’t deliver theyvendor will be a business partner for your organization. promised.Set Proper ExpectationsIt is very easy to get emotionally caught up in the excitement business workflow is automated, change and results oftenof implementing a marketing automation solution. Executives take time to develop.outside of marketing can place unrealistic expectationson it with a maligned attitude that “marketing will finally Part of the problem is buying into the excitementpull their weight around here.” Sales teams can especially and promise sold by marketing automation vendors.foster pressures and unrealistic expectations that marketing Unfortunately the excitement can lead to buyer’s remorseautomation will guarantee sales quotas will be blown away. when the reality sets in it takes time to fully utilize aMarketing managers can feed the frenzy by stating the lead marketing automation platform. In fact, it’s better to setflow will increase and sales cycles will shorten. expectations that deliver deliberate results over several quarters.But those same marketing managers get a false start becausethey underestimate the complexity of marketing automation A well developed and supported strategy will help set properand the content required to fuel campaigns. As with any expectations. Crawling leads to walking which in turn leads tosystem deployment and implementation where complex running! 10
  11. 11. Execution And Optimization Eleven Sources Of Marketing Automation Content You’ve Already Written Analyze The Data That Impacts Revenue How Marketing Automation Enhances Google AdWords CampaignsEleven Sources Of Marketing Automation Content You’ve Already WrittenNo matter how you’re approaching marketing automation permission to use it in your marketing. If positioned right,strategies, the single-biggest hurdle for most organizations they’ll likely be excited you’ve chosen them and will helpisn’t the software or the process or the sorting of prospects. promote the republished content for you to other prospectiveIt’s the content. customers.Effective marketing automation requires a constant stream of 4. Your Vendors And suppliersrelevant, engaging and new content to work. That content They’re addressing the same target audient and market, andneeds to speak to current and prospective customer needs, many of them will have content as well. Tell them you wantwell beyond what you’re directly selling. to help promote their brand and services via your marketingFor most organizations, this hurdle keeps them from channels, and all you need is some of their pre-writtenimplementing marketing automation programs and reaping content.the benefits. But I’d argue that those same organizations have 5. Customer Blogs And Newslettersalready written most of the content they need to get started. Why not feature other customers directly? Or even prospects?Below are 11 sources of content you already have. I’m Helping prospective customers get access to the insights andguessing there are far more in your unique organization, but expertise of their peers is a great way to fill your marketingthese should get you started. channels with quality content, most of which is pre-written and ready to go. This is also a great way to build deeper1. Speeches And Presentations relationships with those current customers, and potentiallyYou probably have a ton of these. Some may be primarily a get access to their blogs, newsletters and channels to reachset of slides, but there are (or were) talking points behind additional prospects down the road.those. Check the “notes” section of your PowerPoint decksfor pre-written copy. Avoid product-centric presentations and 6. Trade Presslook instead of for places where you’ve shared a vision, or I don’t know about you, but I rarely have enough time toshared best practices and market expertise. keep up with all of the trade publications I want to read. If someone could do the reading for me, and feature the best,2. Customer Service Calls most relevant articles for me, I’d be grateful. That’s yourEvery day, you’re helping your customers become more opportunity as well by publishing a regular “In The News”successful. Every day, your front-line reps are hearing not just section as part of your marketing content. Third-party newsspecific requests but context—where the problem came from, is also a great way to feature more relevant content in Twitterwhat it’s solving, what else is affecting the customer’s day and and other social channel feeds.decisions. Much of this is ripe for translating into customer-centric marketing automation content. If your customer 7. Written Responses To Customer Questionsservice team is regularly logging customer service calls in a Do you have a database of pre-written responses to customerCRM system, that’s a gold mine for content. questions? Is your customer service team writing custom responses to customers on a daily basis? Many of these are3. Discussion Forum Topics And Contributors going to be tactical and not relevant to a wider audience, butThere’s no rule that says your content needs to be completely you don’t need more than a couple good pieces a day to haveself-generated. If you regularly read or participate in customer a steady flow of great, already-written content that needs justdiscussion forums, find those who like to write the most and some copyediting before it can be republished elsewhere.have the most to say. Take snippets of their content and ask 11
  12. 12. 8. Training Materials tools you perhaps don’t perform optimally from a response-How to use the product isn’t your best bet, but how often rate standpoint but might be perfect to fill marketingare you teaching your customers about broader themes and automation content channels.topics? If you’re selling marketing automation software, for 10. Sales Scriptsexample, your training probably includes basic overviews ofhow marketing automation works. Best practices from other Your sales team has a ton of these. Different customer types,clients. How marketing automation fits into a broader sales different industries, different approaches. These will likelypipeline strategy. These topics and more are likely already need a bit more editing to be appropriate for a marketingwritten and packaged elsewhere in your organization. Find channel, but the hard work of originating content will havethem. already been done.9. White Papers, Buying Guides And 11. Case StudiesOther Lead Generation Assets If your case-studies are written from a customer point ofIf you’ve been marketing your product or service for a while, view, with your product or service as the enabler of a broaderyou probably have lead generation offer assets that aren’t set of success achieved, these can be great. They’re proof ofactive anymore. White papers, presentations, buying guides— concept for what you’re doing in the field.Analyze the Data That Impacts RevenueMarketing automation platforms help marketing professionals 1. Inquiry Conversions—Measure conversion performanceidentify revenue opportunities based on interactions and from initial contact through nurturing, opportunity, win/loss.behaviors with a prospective company. Using the rightmetrics in demand generation will show how a marketing 2. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)—Leads that meetautomation strategy drives revenue and connects with agreed on qualification criteria that move to sales for furthercustomers. qualification and prospectingFind The Right Data On The Dials 3. Sales Qualified Leads—Track the percentage of MQLsTo Measure Marketing Performance that develop into Sales Qualified Leads. Also track the percentage of leads that sales disqualifies.With companies adopting Web 1.0 technologies in the1990s and the internet reaching the masses, marketers 4. Sales Follow Up—Track the percentage of MQLs thatstruggled to learn how to measure their impact to the are contacted by salesbusiness. Email marketing reached a fever pitch with thepromise of promoting e-commerce Web sites to consumers 5. Fallout—Track the percentage of leads that drop out ofand businesses in the New Economy. Marketing teams still each stage of the marketing funnel and sales cycle. Identifymeasure bullet point items like click-thrus, impressions, open opportunities to minimize dropoffrates, number of site visitors, and more. Even senior-level 6. Conversion To Revenue—What is the overall picture ofmarketing executives could not connect the path between revenue generation from demand generation. Revenue perthese activity metrics and impact to revenue. Even today month, quarter, managers and executives just look for higheractivity numbers—more site visitors, more webinar attendees, 7. Revenue Per Campaign—Analysis that combinesmore tradeshow leads and on. This type of analytical behavior qualitative and quantitative analysis. Too often the old schoolplaces higher values on quantity over quality. method of direct marketing permeates marketing that more is better. Revenue per campaign may show the most effectiveNow it’s more important to have higher quality leads that campaigns produce the fewest number of leads. But, thoseare ready for sales to engage versus a bucket of thousands leads may produce the highest revenue.of contact names with no identified or qualified interest.Marketing automation can help marketers identify the 8. Cost Per Campaign—The lowest cost campaign maycampaigns that produce the highest quality leads that produce the highest revenue or highest volume of qualifiedgenerate the most revenue with the lowest cost. This leads.information is powerful and empowering.Here are some general examples of data to analyze and buildthe complete picture of how a marketing automation strategyimpacts revenue. 12
  13. 13. How Marketing Automation Enhances Google AdWords CampaignsDirectors of marketing and demand generation can greatly Scenario 2—AdWords Campaignenhance Google AdWords campaigns using marketing With Marketing Automationautomation. Quite often the missing piece for paid • Campaign workflow developed for full lead lifecyclesearch campaigns are structured ways to capture and track through Salesconversion activity. Paid search campaigns aren’t right • Campaign workflow mapped into marketing automationfor every organization. But where AdWords is a valid and system with business rulesintegral component of an overall demand generation strategy,marketing automation can provide the boost needed to • Download form business rules include minimum requiredenhance performance! number of characters per field, email address formation, and minimum numbers for phoneWithout marketing automation, marketing is challenged or • Marketing automation business rules to identify and trackseverely limited in their ability to track responses and map activity of existing leads in nurturing programs or salesactivity to existing contacts in the nurturing queue as well as prospectingthose that are brand new. • Keywords identified for ad seriesLet’s look at two scenarios. One AdWords campaign without • Single version of landing page developed (no A/B) andmarketing automation, and one with. Remember, map the scripted into the marketing automation systemcampaign workflow first. • Each landing page has content that aligns with the keywords of each adScenario 1—Meat And Potatoes AdWords Campaign • Marketing automation system tracking scripts developed • Ad Hoc workflow for landing page and form • Keywords Identified • Google Analytics scripts added to landing page and • Landing page designed for ads. confirmation pages Single version only, no A/B. • Confirmation email developed to validate email after • Offer is a download of a white paper/demo/webinar download. Marketing automation script to provide • Simple landing page form with basic form field forwarding to a friend option to gather viral contacts. requirements • Testing program using the marketing automation • No confirmation email system before launch to review email deliverability, email • Simplified form fields where email notice is sent to and landing page rendering, data capture, content marketing coordinator once a download is completed downloads, etc. • Landing page must be hosted on company web site • Test data cleared from the marketing automation system which requires IT involvement to ensure integrity of production data • Content offers identified and linked to from landing page • LAUNCH! • Call to action is a download of a demo/white paper/ In the second scenario, which is simplified (don’t be brochure intimidated by the list of steps in scenario 2) it is important • Marketing coordinator manually enters valid contact to show how a marketing automation system can capture information into CRM system and a marketing database data for each contact which is then scored/tracked against a and subjectively disregards bogus contacts (i.e. Mickey qualification threshold before passing to sales. Additionally, Mouse, etc.) the risk of human error is practically eliminated since data • Scenario Weaknesses: Ad hoc and incomplete workflow. entry is no longer required. Google Analytics codes will assist No method to track activity against previous conversions. with analysis. Aligning keyword content for each ad and the No Google Analytics on landing page. Human data landing pages will help position the ads higher on the page. entry requirement. Risk of duplicate entries for individual contacts in the CRM system and marketing database. 13
  14. 14. Best Practices And Lead Management Nine Questions That Deliver More Effective Lead Management Strategy Eight Habits Of World-Class B2B Lead Management Programs The Five Stages Of Lead Qualification Three Quick Examples That Prove Nurture Marketing Works Disqualified Doesn’t Mean Dead—Nurturing Leads Back To Life Email Contact Governance With Marketing Automation Contact Cadence With Marketing Automation Develop A Data Management Process Build A Comprehensive Content Marketing Strategy Ensure Comprehensive Systems And Process Training Implement Your Marketing Automation System with CRM Integration Establish Communication Channels And ProcessesNine Questions That Deliver More Effective Lead Management StrategyMarketing automation initiatives are not easy. Sorry, but We recommend starting in a phased approach that evolvesthat’s the truth. In fact, ‘marketing automation’ in and of into more sophisticated utilization as knowledge anditself is a terrible descriptor. But if done properly, marketing skills grow. I have seen even the largest B2B technologyautomation initiatives offer incredible promise. organizations fail because process and workflow were poorly designed.A successful implementation requires thorough planning,vision, and leadership A good starting point is securing agreement on critical definitions with Sales, including the definition of a qualifiedProcess, People, Platforms and Content lead. In a lead management workflow there are two stagesThe first place to start is building a process for lead of a qualified lead. The first stage is a Marketing Qualifiedmanagement and demand generation. Marketing automation Lead (or MQL). Secondly, what are the extra steps Salestechnology enables workflow and processes. The value is in takes to make the MQL a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)?using technology to best engage buyers at the right time in When agreeing on definitions, a big step is taken towardstheir buying cycle. Marketing automation solutions will do developing the initial stages of a lead management process.what they are told to do. This means that a poorly designedand inefficient process will be enabled. Think it through! Ask Questions And Find Answers Here are nine great questions to ask and answer whenHow To Start? designing a process:Get On A White Board And Agree On Definitions! 1. Where do leads come from?Successful marketing automation initiatives map workflows 2. What contact information should be collected and how?that support a buyer through their journey. The so-calledBuyer’s Journey is a process in itself that begins with research 3. How do we segment and triage leads?and awareness and moves all the way through the point of 4. What is a ‘qualified’ lead?purchase, and post-sale with ongoing relationship marketing. 5. Who do we send marketing qualified leads to for follow up?Marketing automation enables small and large processes. 6. What content should we send to leads, when, and howThese processes can include any of the following such as often?segmentation, lead scoring, nurturing, content delivery, 7. How will our marketing automation platform integrateand alignment with sales. Ultimately they ALL roll-up to with our CRM system?supporting the Buyer’s Journey. 14
  15. 15. 8. If leads are disqualified, how will they be managed? Once you ask these questions your team may ask even more9. What are the KPIs we need to measure to determine questions on building the lead management process that effectiveness and efficiency? supports your business. And the more questions answered before going into production, the better the odds for succeeding with a marketing automation initiative.Eight Habits Of World-Class B2B Lead Management ProgramsWorld-class marketing organizations—at companies big and 3. World-Class Marketers Constantly Refine Leadsmall—can be intimidating to watch. Read their case studies Qualification Criteria Over Timeand listen to their leaders on stage and you might assume Few organizations set lead scoring models and set commonthere’s an impossible gap between where you are now, and definitions of qualified leads between sales and marketing.what they’ve been able to achieve. But of those that do, only half (50 percent, according toBut if you look more closely and analyze what world-class the survey) regularly evaluate and update lead qualificationmarketing organizations consistently do well and focus criteria. But among best-in-class marketers, 70 percent have aon, you’ll find there’s a much smaller set of accessible best process for regularly improving lead qualification criteria, andpractices that almost any organization can focus on to quickly they do so via a collaborative process that involves both salesaccelerate performance and sales output. and marketing representatives.Recently, Trip Kucera from Aberdeen Group published a 4. World-Class Marketers Know Good Leads Aren’tresearch brief titled Marketing Lead Management: From the Always Born That WayTop of the Funnel to the Top Line. In it, and by surveying more Best-in-class companies are more likely than others to usethan 160 marketing organizations across North America, lead scoring and nurturing to overcome concerns about initialKucera identified a number of specific, actionable best lead quality. Sixty-five percent of best-in-class companiespractices and recommendations for “the rest of us.” define and execute multi-step lead nurturing processes, and 59 percent of these same organizations (vs. an industryHere are some highlights: average of 25 percent) utilize lead scoring to progress leads over time. Without these priorities in place, marketers are left1. World-Class Marketers Require Fewer to focus primarily on initial lead quality, which fails to allow Marketing Responses To Generate A Deal for leads to either mature or “heat up” at a later date whenIn fact, 56 percent of best-in-class organizations develop their own buying conditions are more ripe.end-to-end lead management processes that span marketingand sales, which improves story consistency with prospects 5. World-Class Marketers Dedicate Resourcesand accelerates overall conversion rates. The difference in To Marketing Operationsnumber of marketing responses required to generate one Best-in-class companies realize that a dedicated marketingcustomer between classes of marketing organizations was operations resource (or team) can be the most importantsignificant. On average, overall survey respondents required component of effective marketing execution and ongoing143 marketing leads to get one customer. Best-in-class optimization. Sixty-nine percent of best-in-class organizationsorganizations required just 68, less than half the industry have dedicated resources responsible for optimizing leadaverage. management, vs. 33 percent of “average” organizations. A further 69 percent of best-in-class organizations have a2. World-Class Marketers Worry Less About Data resource responsible for implementation and management of Quality For Inbound Leads marketing systems. Strategies are great, but unless you haveThirty-two percent of respondents put a focus on improving the initial and ongoing resources to implement them, you’remarketing and customer data quality, while only 15 percent losing significant opportunity to not only increase overallof best-in-class marketers make data quality a priority. This marketing investment yield, but decrease costs as a percentagespeaks to their confidence in the overall lead management of sales and revenue over time.process, capturing leads early in their buying journey andnurturing those prospects (while appending information and 6. World-Class Marketers Use Outbound Telemarketingbuying signals over time) to let the overall process determine This was a highlight of the updated Demand Waterfall fromsales readiness, instead of up-front data appending or longer SiriusDecisions, unveiled at their Summit this spring. Inregistration forms that constrain response. fact, 63 percent of best-in-class companies use outbound telemarketing, compared with 38 percent of all other firms. 15
  16. 16. Further research from Aberdeen showed that organizations 68 percent of best-in-class companies have the ability towith a telemarketing focus generate 48 percent higher determine attribution for marketing-generated leads (moremarketing-qualified and sales-qualified lead conversion rates. than twice the industry average).Do the math on that difference for your organization andaverage selling price, and telemarketing can pencil out as a 8. World-Class Marketers Make Full Use Of Theirclear advantage very quickly. Marketing Automation Systems I’ve seen statistics that estimate 70 percent of marketing7. World-Class Marketers Know Exactly Which automation installs are used primarily for batch-and-send Campaigns Are Most Effective At Driving Profit emails and landing pages. Aberdeen’s research breaks that (Not Just Response) down, highlighting the significant gaps between best-in-classMost marketers have tracking systems in place, but few have companies vs. the industry average by marketing automationthe level of tracking and ROI precision they need to determine feature leverage, including reporting & analytics (95 percent– at a campaign, program and micro-channel level – what’s for best-in-class vs. 69 percent for all others), lead scoringworking and what’s not. Even fewer can establish ROI not (75 percent vs. 55 percent) and cookie-based web trackingjust based on lead response, but based on closed business (63 percent vs. 44 percent). Or as Kucera put it, for mostand revenue generation. Of best-in-class organizations, 81 companies, “it’s a bit like using a supercar to drive Miss Daisypercent have the ability to identify the most and least profitable around town.”campaigns. That’s almost twice the industry average. Further,The Five Stages Of Lead QualificationEverybody wants qualified leads. The right person, at the Stage 2: In-Profile Leadsright company, ready to buy with money to spend.Those may These individuals still haven’t expressed any interest in yourbe the leads you want, and the leads that close, but you’ll product or service. But you can start to narrow your listgo crazy (and possibly broke) trying to generate exclusively based on basic criteria to determine which of your compiledleads that look like this. A better way, that not only yields the names even have a chance of becoming a customer.most sales-ready leads now but also a growing pipeline ofopportunities down the road, is to keep the funnel wide, wide This step assumes you already have defined what a qualifiedopen at the very top and narrow/filter through a series of prospect looks like. On the surface, that means the rightqualification stages before the right leads get to a sales rep. company and the right individual, based on title or role. This step can also include filtering by particularly importantBelow are five basic stages of lead qualification. Some company characteristics that can be identified externallycompanies get far more sophisticated, but for most readers – things like whether the company has a particular publicthis framework could very quickly segment and operationalize initiative (going carbon-neutral, for example) or whetheryour existing and new leads into the right buckets, make the they have customer login capabilities (if you’re selling onlinebest use of your sales team’s time, and significantly subsidize transaction or security capabilities, for example).lead generation budgets in the months ahead. The vast majority of good leads at this stage are qualified butStage 1: Names not ready to buy. That means they’re in-profile, the rightThis is the most basic level, with virtually no filter. This might company and/or individual, but they haven’t exhibited anynot even require lead capture through a registration form. specific interest or buying signals. Yet. Hence the next stage:It can include names captured via a trade show drawing,newsletter sign-ups, those who registered for a white paper Stage 3: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)*with little more than a name and email address (even if it’s a Now we start to get into the jargon and acronyms you maypersonal address like Gmail or Hotmail). hear in a variety of lead scoring and marketing automation circles. At this stage, the right-profiled prospect has exhibitedIt can also be a qualified list you purchase or aggregate, but some level of interest or early buying behavior.for the purpose of this framework let’s assume each of thesenames have done something to proactively give you their It can be site traffic patterns you’re watching via a servicecontact information (no matter how sparse). such as Optify or Hubspot. It can be a demo request following a couple months of webinar registrations. ToolsThere’s no direct action with this list until another, simple from Optify and Marketo, for example, can also help youlayer of qualification. score leads based on site visit frequency, type of content they 16
  17. 17. check out, duration of visits, and a variety of other weighted Some of these leads will now be qualified and ready to buy.activities. Some will be qualified and have a need, but the timing isn’t right (for a variety of reasons). Some may have beenThe more advanced marketing automation systems can incorrectly scored and need to go back to marketing (i.e.automatically pass to sales the leads that pass a certain lead back to stage 3).score threshold. But you can also do this manually. Stage 5: Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)*Many companies pass these leads directly on to the salesteam, but the leads haven’t necessarily indicated they’re ready These prospects are qualified and ready to buy. They haveto buy. They’ve only exhibited certain activities that tell us a timeline, they have identified or have access to budget.they could be close. Hence, some companies have instituted They are the decision maker and/or have the decision-makerphone-based lead qualifiers to take MQLs and further qualify actively engaged and on the same page re: prioritization andthem for potential sales activity. timing. They also likely have a “compelling event” in the company or industry that’s driving urgency.Stage 4: Sales-Accepted Leads (SALs)* For many organizations, these leads are immediateLeads that pass the above stage with a high-enough lead score opportunities. They’re active deals in the pipeline with ango to the phone-based lead qualifiers. Their job is to get the expected or estimated close date.prospect on the phone and ask the questions that prospectbehavior and tracking can’t easily capture. This includes If you’re an organization that currently pushes all leadscompany and/or individual priorities and pain points, specific directly to sales, moving from a two-step process to a five-stepprioritization and/or timing to solve the problem, and process may be a bit intimidating. If so, start slow. Add justinterest (based on those answers) in learning more about a one additional stage first (only send sales the in-profile leads,possible solution. for example). Then add another when you feel ready.Three Quick Examples That Prove Nurture Marketing WorksThe idea that most of your prospects aren’t ready to buy, and Long story short, six months later, 45 percent of thethat you can increase your sales conversion yield with that list company’s sales had come from that “dead” list. The listby staying in touch with value over time, sounds good. But continued to deliver sales in subsequent months as well.unless you’ve seen or experienced the effect of that theory, it’soften too easy to just push to close as many prospects, right 2. Right Time, Right Place Becomesnow, as possible. Biggest Deal Of The Year That same program and list generated the largest singleBut if you can effectively separate out the qualified and ready- deal of the year for the company. A prospect on the 60,000to-buy prospects to close now, while simultaneously building “dead” lead list received an invitation to an upcomingvalue and preference with the much-larger list of everyone webinar. He didn’t attend the webinar, nor did he register.else, you’ll close considerable business over time with minimal He simply replied to the email invitation, telling the sales repincremental work. that he just got out of a meeting and “finally” got the greenHere are three very quick anecdotes that prove it works. light to move forward with the project he’d been pitching for more than a year.1. “These Leads Are Dead” Becomes A 2X Sales Result Six Months Later The prospect was qualified, educated and wasn’t shoppingWe started working with a company a few years ago, and to around. That deal, the biggest of the year for the salesstart they handed us a database of 60,000 leads “of dubious organization, closed in less than half the typical sales cycleorigin” (their words). The sales team hated this list, was tired length.of calling it, and said these leads were either unqualified or 3. Easiest Deal I’ve Ever Closedjust pain dead. Took More Than Two Years Of Hard WorkWithout a lot of fanfare or marketing automation tools, we Recently, I got a call from the CEO of a fast-growingstarted creating and delivering value-added content to this technology company on the East Coast. We had met at alist—newsletters, webinars, white paper offers, lots of content conference two years ago. At the time, I did what I usually dothat focused on addressing and answering questions the with people I meet at events—followed up immediately after,audience had, well beyond what we were selling. invited her to join my newsletter list, put her into my nurture marketing systems, and pretty much moved on. 17
  18. 18. To hear from her two years later was great. Her business is On one hand, that’s one of the fastest deals we’ve closed andexploding, and she wanted help organizing and accelerating the least amount of work I’ve put into a pitch. On the otherher marketing efforts. Less than a week later, she was a hand, I worked that deal hard for two years. The CEO hadrecurring-revenue client for our business. been reading my newsletter, following my blog, and knew I could help her with exactly what she needed done.Disqualified Doesn’t Mean Dead—Nurturing Leads Back To LifeMany corporate marketing teams that distribute leads to business pain has lost some priority for a limited perioda sales or channel organization, never to determine the of time. All of these are legitimate reasons to temporarilyfinal disposition. It’s like they go into a black hole and disqualify a lead in the short term. That doesn’t mean thethe opportunities lost are scary to imagine. Many times a lead is dead!“Marketing Qualified Lead” (MQL) may be disqualifiedby sales for various reasons—some legitimate or not so These leads should enter into a nurturing program wherelegitimate. Disqualified leads present fantastic nurturing scheduled contact is administered with a marketingopportunities that can develop into future revenue. automation system. The contact and touch points shouldDisqualified doesn’t mean ‘dead!’ include high value content. The key objectives for nurturing are demonstrating credibility and validating the lead contact’sIt’s Alive! decision to evaluate and ultimately make a purchase.A well developed and executed lead management process In the “old days” of 1.2 percent response direct mailensures leads disqualified by sales will move into a nurturing marketing and simplified sales contact management, theseprogram or process. This begins with a well defined matrix of disqualified leads may have simply been tossed or neglected.a qualified lead. There are several models for this that revolvearound budgets, timeframe, decision making authority, Do The Math—A Scenariodeal size, and need. (Critical point! Sales and marketing Lead nurturing can exponentially increase marketingmust agree on the qualification definition that fits customer effectiveness!personas and goals of the company.) To demonstrate, let’s run a simplified process for a fictionalCheck The Pulse Of A Disqualified Lead. company. On average each month 500 Marketing QualifiedManaging the the lead process with marketing automation Leads are distributed to sales, 50, or 10 percent areand CRM systems, leads can be distributed to sales based on disqualified. Those 50 disqualified leads are then classifiedpre-defined qualification criteria. In general these marketing to enter into the nurturing program. Over the course of 12qualified leads demonstrated a level of engagement by months, that’s 600 leads nurtured and kept warm! In thisrequesting information, visiting sites, completing web forms, scenario just 10 percent are RE-qualified and passed back todownloading content, etc. while providing more information sales in a 12 month period, that gives sales 60 leads to workthat builds their profile. With this profile, once an MQL with! Just imagine the impact to revenue when you estimatethreshold is reached, that lead is passed to sales. average deal size and closure rates.Don’t Bury The Lead Another consideration: If you don’t nurture your leads, your competitor will.When sales directly engages with an MQL they may learnmore specific details that actually disqualify the lead. Maybe Bottom line, every lead is precious! And disqualified does notthe budget for the fiscal year is already spent. Maybe a mean dead!new decision maker is taking over the project. Possibly the 18
  19. 19. Email Contact Governance With Marketing AutomationThe benefits of contact cadence ensure a database of • Authorized Communications—who can sendcustomers will receive the right information at the right time information and how oftenwithout being exhausted by excessive and uncoordinated • Team Communication—The team lead should keepcommunications. everyone on the same plan and regularly review changesComplementary to cadence is Email Contact Governance. What—The ContentThis is the series of people and policies that determine • Opt-In or Opt-Out Profiles: Give your leads andwho, how, what and when customers and prospects can customers the information they wantbe contacted using marketing automation systems. (Pleasenote: Governance is not intended to restrict sales contact! Sales • Don’t send emails to contacts who specifically opt-out ofmanagers and reps may initially interpret this means they can’t the options providedmake calls or appointments. Not so!!) • Send consistently planned and remarkably executed emailEmail Contact Governance is especially critical for companies to those that Opt-Inthat have multiple business units that run independent Worst-Case Scenario: Mojito Manufacturer, Inc. conducts acampaigns. In the era of confederated business units and strategically important annual customer event. The corporateexecutives who desire to “cross-sell” and “up-sell” to other communications team promotes each event up to a year inbusiness unit customers, companies head into the dangerous advance beginning at the current event. Communicationterritory of uncoordinated spamming and damaged customer frequency via email increases as the date approaches.relationships. (In some countries and U.S. states this may even Business units also run their own event communicationsbe illegal email contact which is another topic in itself.) An independent of corporate often duplicating or triplicating theeffective Email Contact Governance Policy and Team can emails sent to customer contacts. This is where the worldsactually help strengthen customer relationships and support collide! Combine this activity with planned email campaignscontact cadence with a campaign strategy. and throw in 3rd party channel and chaos ensues! SalesWho—The Team managers scream at marketing managers that customers are complaining of too many emails. Believe it or not this is quite • Corporate Executive Sponsor common! • Corporate Governance Lead—the one throat to choke! • Assigned Marketing Automation Pros Ideas To Consider: (in the necessary business units) • Corporate teams should provide content for business • Business Unit Lead/Manager units to include in their planned communications and • Sales Operations Lead vice versa. • Legal • Authorizations—limit who can send campaign or corporate email using authorizations in marketing • Channel Partner Leads automation systems. (This should NOT limit direct • THE CUSTOMER—provide a symbolic seat at the table 1:1 email from sales reps, support, etc.) to keep the focus on how to best communicate with the • Send the right corporate/campaign information to the customer!! right contacts at the right time based on profiles andWhen—The Coordination Plan opt-in information. • Corporate Communications Calendar coordinated • Don’t rely on email alone for customer communications with Business Unit Marketing Automation Pros • Use multiple channels, including social media • Campaign Calendar Coordination • Customer Perspective: Think about how you would want to be contacted! 19