The Current State of Marketing Automation (Infographic)

My first very important announcement is: Focus.com, my employer, created the infographic below.

My second very important announcement is: I like it and I hope you do too. Mad props to Carlos Hidalgo, who helped curate the information. For me, following the marketing automation space has been the first time I have been able to watch a market from start to finish and really understand it. Yes, I have been alive in Silicon Valley during the rise of all the other technologies du jour, but this one I know. I love being a fan.

I hope you find the infographic interesting — we’ll have to see how much it changes next year!

Confession: I Am a Marketing Automation Fanboy

OK, after all that mid-life crisis talk about moving beyond marketing, here I am with a marketing automation post. Oh well. David Raab gave me a sneak peek at his new marketing automation study and subsequent tool. Initially, I was hesitant to write about what David shared with me since I don’t pimp, and I just made a big, melodramatic case for The Funnelholic to move beyond marketing. But I decided, what the hell? I am who I am, so bring the marketing automation tool on!

Truth be told, I am an unabashed fanboy of marketing automation. I am also an unabashed fanboy of the word “fanboy.” I primarily use it as an insult, so note my self-deprecating sense of humor remains intact. I love the concept of marketing automation. Marketing automation is the bomb. (For all my older readers, that is a good thing.)

We just asked a question on the benefits of marketing automation on Focus. There is great stuff there, but for me it’s pretty simple: Every part of the organization has an automated platform to run on and to optimize their business. Finance, sales, supply chain, HR – everyone but marketing. Frankly it was embarrassing. Yes, there are flaws with marketing automation, but there are flaws with ERP and CRM systems. This is about having a platform to manage, organize and measure. You may think this is backward, but failed marketing automation implementations are good for the business. It has spawned guys like Carlos Hidalgo, who is focused on helping marketing organizations lay the groundwork for a process that happens to be managed by marketing automation. That is good for the marketing department.

In my job leading the Focus Experts Network, I am meeting a lot of independent analysts. Technology guys like Michael Krigsman, Richard Stiennon, Bob Egan are go-to thought leaders for end users and vendors who need to understand their respective technology landscapes. Marketing automation doesn’t have many of these folks, but David Raab is one of them. David, along with Adam Needles and Carlos Hidalgo, wrote the awesome Focus Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation, and when we needed an Expert to talk about making the marketing automation decision in an upcoming webinar, we chose David. Most marketers I talk to know they need something if they don’t have it. The next step will be to figure out the right fit for their organization, as there are a lot of vendors. And for that, I think David’s vendor selection application is a must-have for buyers in the consideration phase, and the price makes it a no-brainer.

Because, yes, I want you to buy marketing automation. Full disclosure: It does nothing for me. Seriously, I own no stock, nor am I an analyst, nor does Focus benefit at all. I want this for you, not for me. That, my friends, is what fanboys do. Viva marketing automation!

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

2011: The Year or Living Boringly (I Hope)

I promised myself I wouldn’t make predictions, year-end lists, Christmas wish lists, New Year’s resolutions and so forth. Then I was forced to answer the question: “What do you see for b2b marketers in 2011?” I was asked twice: in an interview with Maria Pergolino from Marketo, then while considering predictions about b2b marketing trends for 2011 on Focus.com.

Here is my 2011 sound-bite: Live boringly.

From 2008 to 2010, it was basically a “content bubble” for marketers. All of us in the blogosphere have been riding high; talking about lead scoring, lead nurturing, content marketing, social media, sales and marketing alignment. So much sizzle and sexiness, it’s been a fantastical ride as marketers ate it up. Everyone in the world of marketing had endless new toys to talk about, and talk we did. But now, marketers must live boringly. Not to be a sensationalist, but our survival is at stake.

How to Live Boringly

Focus on execution and how to get it done, or said another way: Stop talking about it and just do it. I love this article by Carlos Hidalgo (Funnelholic all-time fave) on marketing automation. As Carlos mentions, in the case of marketing automation, less than 25 percent of us have implemented marketing automation to its full potential. In other words, a lot of hype and nothing to show for it. Create simple goals for next year, let sales and the C-suite know what they are, and hit them. Just as a VP of Sales must hit his or her metric, marketing does too. All the social media, lead nurturing and so forth are means to an end. An example of a metric might be pipeline-created qualified leads, appointments or revenue. I don’t care, but all the really “bright shiny things” have to align with achieving goals that the organization cares about.

Do This, or Else

Do you really want marketing to end up back where you started before the Marketing Content Revolution? The marketing automation vendors are trying to help you now. Look at market leaders Marketo and Eloqua. Their marketing has switched from tactics and techniques to revenue. Marketo’s Jon Miller likes to say, “More marketers are getting a seat at the revenue table.” This may be true, but that seat is hot. The revenue table is a “you’re-either-helping-or-you’re-getting-in-the-way” spot. If you’re helping, you get to stay. If you’re in the way, you are gone and won’t be back.

So, take my advice and live by my 2011 mantra: Live boringly.

Sincerely,

The Bore-aholic

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Thug Life: Welcome to the World of Marketing Automation

A few weeks ago, I wrote a pretty popular post about the blogosphere wars in the marketing automation space: Who’s Going to Run This Town. I didn’t plan to post on this again, but with a new breakout of marketing-automation-vendor-on-marketing-automation-vendor violence, I had to jump in. Actually to be clear, this should be defined as marketing-automation-vendor-on-marketing-automation-reseller-(with-another-marketing-automation-vendor-jumping-in) violence.

If you live in a hole, here is my timeline (note: I may not know everything and am open to “timeline” changes):

9/20 – 9/23: Rumors start swirling that Eloqua is going to sever its relationship with prodigal son Jeff Pedowitz and The Pedowitz Group (TPG). I am the Funnelholic, I heard this.

9/24: Eloqua posts that it is losing TPG.

9/27: TPG press release states that the company will no longer represent Eloqua.

9/27: Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez jumps into the fray with “Putting the Customer First in the Channel” blog post, which is very “gangster” of him.

9/24 – present: Chatter, rumors, tweets, rumors, dire predictions, back-channel clarifications, etc.

God, I love this game. Again, I am not a reporter, so the object here is not to inform you of this public battle, but rather to offer some thoughts. A number of people have asked me to comment, but I have avoided talking about it. (I have been working on a list of sales experts and another list of email marketers. I’m addicted to lists. I also need to do a post about my new position at Focus.)

Alas, I have been smoked out of my foxhole.

Funnelholic takes:

  1. This whole thing smells of Biggie/Tupac. If you don’t know what I am referring to, in the 1990s there was a “war” between East Coast and West Coast rappers. Biggie was The Notorious B.I.G., who represented the East Coast, and Tupac was a rapper from the West Coast. Now, there was more to the story on those two, but the important part is the very public warring between factions from both sides. Basically, the hip-hop guys (who are genius viral marketers – more on this sometime later) realized that these “beefs” were adored by the press and viral as hell. It totally works: No one wants to write about some boring press release when they can talk about war. War is good for the economy.
  2. The major difference is that the end user couldn’t care less. Unlike hip-hop, where the press translates into more consumers buying albums, the marketing automation war will not sell more pieces of software. Sure, a lot more people know who The Pedowitz Group is now, so (despite losing Eloqua) maybe TPG ‘wins.’ But at the end of the day, the consumers of these battles are marketing automation wonks. The VP of marketing is not looking at this and choosing sides. Phil nailed it in his post, characterizing the brouhaha as purely “inside baseball.”
  3. Biggie and Tupac are both dead – morbid, I know – and I definitely don’t mean to suggest that Marketo and Eloqua will die (quite the contrary). However, while Marketo and Eloqua battle it out through deals and in the press, there are a lot of vendors waiting in the weeds. This market is far from done, and frankly the software is far from done (I hope). While the market leaders argue out loud, will someone sneak up?

How about that for some marketing automation and gangster rap? (@Chris_Snell)

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Who’s Going to Run This Town? The Continuing War For Marketing Automation Dominance

Ahh, marketing automation, thank you for coming along. Not just because marketers need you, but the technology market needs you. We don’t have as many dirty, bare-knuckled technology wars as we used to or at least any new ones. Especially for a guy like me who loves a good battle. Whenever I’m out with the marketing automation guys, I tell them: “I love standing on the sidelines watching you go at it.” I love it.

That being said, there’s been some recent amazingness in the blogosphere with marketing-automation-exec-on-marketing-automation-exec violence. We can derive some important lessons from it.

So, first, with joy, I present to you the last couple weeks in the war for marketing automation dominance:

  1. Lead Sloth’s Genius.com article: This was a fairly innocuous article, with Jep getting the scoop from Scott Mersy at Genius and writing about the two freemium offerings in the marketing automation market. Innocent, right? Check out the war that broke out — particularly between David Thompson, CEO of Genius, and Phil Fernandez, CEO of Marketo — in the comments.
  2. The Eloqua Blog “callout” of Marketo VP of Sales Bill Binch: Bill sent a LinkedIn message to some Eloqua sales reps. Alex Shootman, SVP of Sales at Eloqua, in a brilliant chess counter-move, then posted the message on his blog and, in his tone and message, took the high road. Many will debate whether posting the message on the blog in the first place really constitutes taking the “high road,” but who cares? This is war! How about Bill’s comment: “Old school or not, it got me 6 interviews.”  CLASSIC.

My perspective:

  1. “A party isn’t a party without a good fight” — A really mean guy in high school who got in fights every weekend used this as his graduation quote. I’ll never forget being horrified by it, but now I get to use it. The key here, as I mentioned above, is that there is nothing better for a market than a good all-out fight. SAP v. ORCL, ORCL v. MSFT, MSFT v. GOOG. Bring on the trash-talk, lawsuits, gamesmanship, and — sorry Alex — recruiting, which is a big part of this.
  2. “Its not a battle unless you are recruiting each others soldiers” —  Sorry, again, Alex, but it’s true. You should be excited that Marketo is going after your guys. Eloqua is the market leader, the king of the hill, so expect your competitors to pull out all the stops and try to beat you in deals, take your clients, and recruit your guys. Sending in recruiters to steal your people is fair game, and you need to fight back with a strong employee retention strategy. That’s war, guys. Embrace it, dig your heals in, and fight.
  3. “Everyone needs an enemy” — Lightspeed Venture Partners’ John Luongo was an adviser on our board, and one of his first tips was to declare an enemy. This great tip gives your team focus, direction, motivation, and a common enemy.  The marketing automation war is a perfect example of how enemies only make you better. Lets face it, the current marketing automation market was built around everyone declaring Eloqua the enemy. Now, more and more, people are adding Marketo to this list. But the point is, the winner of the competition will be end users as (hopefully) companies work to make themselves better.
  4. “The battlefield has changed, and it’s kinda fun” — Let’s go over what happened here again: EXECUTIVES from these companies went to war in the blog comment fields. I love the age of new media. Instigating your rival can be done in seconds in today’s world. Imagine what that would have taken 10 years ago.
  5. “Predicting that a market with 36 companies in it will consolidate is not really a prediction” — With the Market2Lead-Oracle “deal” and IBM’s recent purchase of Unica, bloggers have been “predicting” that the marketing automation market will consolidate. Dude, come on. Even I know that. I can’t even think of an analogy, but of course there is no room for all these marketing automation companies. Thanks for that really insightful comment.

So, there and I didn’t even use “All’s fair in love and war.” Fight on marketing automation people, fight on.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

The Marketing Hipster Dictionary, Part II: 53 Definitions Every Marketer Should Know

Here we are again. If you missed Part I, make sure to read it first. Once again, before we begin, I need to introduce the members of the band:

On the guitar, Tom Scearce (@TLOTL), and on the electric keyboard, Chris Jablonski (@cjablonski).

I can say this, we had a lot of fun. Check out numbers 37-49. @TLOTL has some great ones.

25.  Cold calling: I really have no idea why I put this on here. It’s pretty simple: You pick up the phone and call someone who has no idea you are calling. In today’s day and age, this is best left to professionals — a.k.a., outsourced.

26.  Contacts: Just names. The contact movement has been brought upon us by breakthrough companies such as Jigsaw, demandbase and NetProspex. These are not leads, even if these companies market them as such. Contact purchasing is a critical component to push marketing (see below).

27.   Leads: A lead is a person who has opted in for an offer (see below). As mentioned above, a contact is not a lead.

28.   Offer: An offer can be defined as “something” someone has opted-in for. These can be discrete offers such as white papers, webinars and podcasts. They can also be an appointment with a sales person.

29.   Lead generation: Activities designed to create leads.

30.   Demand generation: All the activities designed to create demand. Not just lead generation, which is part of it. Everything — including things like PR, speaking engagements, advertising, discounts or special offers and so on and so on. BTW, this is an interesting point of conversation — check out some of the answers to this on Focus.com.

31.    Lead nurturing: A process that uses content (offers, tools, white papers, etc.) and distribution tactics (email, phone, Web, etc.) to market to leads over time until they are measurably ready to engage. This one was hard. I got some terrific definitions from experts on Focus.com.

32.   Remarkable content: You need to develop this every day, and you know it’s remarkable if people can apply it right away. You need to deliver on three characteristics: 1) value: create substantive, meaningful and high-quality content and 2) efficiency: package for simplicity and ease of consumption; 3) relevance: target buyers and address their specific challenges. (@cjablonski)

33.   Push marketing: “Knocking on someone’s door.” In other words, using outbound marketing tactics such as email, phone and direct mail to market to contacts in order to create leads. Examples are outsourced appointment setting and email campaigns to a list.

34.   Pull marketing: As opposed to push marketing, “getting people to walk into your store.” Pull means you are using SEO, paid search, etc. to attract people who are searching for something you offer. It also includes getting people to look at your products in other stores through online media and white paper syndication, for example. Because not all buyers are walking into your store, you need to make sure you are represented in other stores that attract your type of buyer.

35.   Landing page: A Web page with a call-to-action to download an offer, such as a webinar, a white paper, and so on. In order to download the offer, the user has to fill out a form. (@cjablonski)

36.  Direct mail: The act of sending a marketing offer via the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and so on. This is a dying lead-generation tool. NOTE: there are marketers who believe direct mail still works despite the cost and low conversion rates. My suggestion is that, if you don’t do it now, don’t start.

37.  Return on contribution: Anyone who takes the time and energy to create remarkable content needs to also invest time in managing return on contribution. This can mean several things: 1) crowd-sourcing the content to leverage the friends and followers of the contributors for added distribution; 2) syndicating your content through targeted media properties; 3) engaging in online conversations where your content can be delivered in a relevant context ; and 4) leveraging your content across multiple campaigns, including lead-nurturing programs. (@TLOTL)

38.  Micro-marketed content: The opposite of mass-marketed content. An unmediated, free-flowing discussion among genuine experts in a niche category (e.g., this discussion on Focus.com) is often more relevant and helpful to buyers than a banner ad or an industry trade publication. (@TLOTL)

39.  “Multi-channel, multi-touch”: The mantra of any successful pipeline/revenue generation program. Email, Web and phone are all integrated and response-measured (scored) using marketing automation services. (@TLOTL)

40.  The “three legged stool”: In direct marketing, results are usually, ultimately, a function of the:

  • List (or audience)
  • Offer
  • Creative

Underperform in any one of these areas and the stool falls over. (@TLOTL)

41.  The revenue/sausage factory: A useful metaphor for helping the uninitiated understand how the marketing and sales team work together to drive the top line. The factory can include “upstream” suppliers like Google, direct mail programs or demand-gen agencies. And it can also encompass post-sales “revenue recognition” functions like professional services and account management. (@TLOTL)

42.  Pipeline erosion rate: Your sales team converts your leads into pipeline deals. They win some, they lose some. Some deals roll into next month/quarter. Some don’t. The erosion rate measures the lost pipeline value that must be replaced through incremental demand-gen efforts and budget. (@TLOTL)

43.   Rotting lead rate: The percentage of leads that go untouched by sales (no email, call or voicemail) before they start to “rot.” Keep in mind that the goal is not necessarily a 0% “rot-rate.” In some cases, it’s totally ok for sales to let leads “rot.” If sales has warmer leads to work, marketing can take back the leads that would otherwise rot and nurture them until they are ready. (@TLOTL)

44.  Funnel jockey: The demand-generation expert in every successful marketing department who understands his or her funnel well enough to hard-wire the entire revenue manufacturing process, from marketing spend, to lead gen, to pipeline creation and booked revenue. This person is one of the Excel users in the marketing department who is most likely to have a working command of functions like VLOOKUP, GETPIVOTDATA, SUMPRODUCT, and RAND. (@TLOTL)

45.  Campaign Sorcerer: Describes a marketer who can quickly articulate and illustrate campaign concepts with a unique and integrated skill set that includes design aesthetics, copywriting/storyboarding, program logistics, and schedule visualization. A Powerpoint/Keynote Magic User proficient in spell-casting with SnagIt and Photoshop. (@TLOTL)

46.  Market whisperer: The agency-side marketer who can, in 30 minutes or less, figure out the essence of a client’s marketing and sales challenges, with minimal to no briefing from said client, consulting only Twitter, Google, WordPress and Michael Porter’s Five Forces model. This marketer is more likely than his or her peers to get away with wearing ironic tee shirts or quirky, comment-worthy eyewear/accessories. (@TLOTL)

47.  Tweeps: Twitter + Peeps = Tweeps. (@TLOTL)

48.  Product myopia: Outdated marketing thinking still practiced by many who engage with prospects and clients through the lens of their own solutions. (@cjablonski)

49.  Trapping the chicken in the courtyard: A semi-obscure “Rocky II” reference/metaphor describing the relentless and often frustrating pursuit of repeatable marketing and sales success. “I feel like a Kentucky Fried idiot.” — Rocky Balboa (@TLOTL)

50.  Buyer engagement: Your goal anytime a buyer comes into contact with you. To get their full attention and immerse them into a brand experience, make sure everything you do is valuable and differentiated. (@cjablonski)

Below are SiriusDecisions definitions I have included because they have done an amazing job of getting marketers to use their methodology and lingo. This is for the other marketers who aren’t Sirius trained and want to talk the talk (I chose the three most used terms)

51.  MQL (Marketing qualified lead): Prospects defined by your marketing and sales organization as someone ready to pass to sales. They’re instrumental in calculating lead gen metrics, such as marketing qualified lead rate (# of MQLs/# of total marketing contacts).

52.  SAL (Sales accepted lead): A lead that has met the basic tenets of qualification and that sales has agreed to engage. (@cjablonski)

53.  SQL (Sales qualified lead): A prospect confirmed by sales as a true revenue opportunity and entered into the pipeline. (@cjablonski)

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

The Marketing Hipster Dictionary, Part I: 53 Definitions Every Marketer Should Know

Drumroll, please … Another ambitious post here: The Marketing Hipster Dictionary. When we started, I just wanted to create a post with some definitions of terms used in this blog and in the marketing space in general. Then we started having fun with some “originals.”

Before I go on, I must introduce my band. (Side note: I love when the lead singer introduces the band at concerts. I don’t know what it is — but I get excited.) On the guitar: Tom Scearce (@TLOTL). Tom is a brilliant marketer who understands marketing from brand to process. Follow him on Twitter. And on the electric keyboard: Chris Jablonski (@cjablonski). Chris can do anything. Period. And he does do everything, but he is not a dilettante. He does them all really well.

Ok, so here is the deal, my guitarist Tom wanted me to break this into a series. I prefer the big bang, so we compromised: The dictionary is broken into two: Today is the first 24. We will release the next 26 on Thursday. If you want to have fun and send in some, we may add it so send it over.

1.    Marketing hipster or hipster marketing: The new bleeding-edge marketer. One of the first terms I’ve made up for this blog post but that I like a lot. If you’re doing some of the activities I’ve described below, you are a marketing hipster.

2.    Lead qualification: People (with headsets), automation (CRM and marketing automation – yes, marketing automation) and process dedicated to contacting leads and qualifying them before passing them to sales. If you actually generate leads, you should do this. (See every other post on the Funnelholic.com). People can build this process for you like @bridgegroupinc or Stu Silverman (SalesRamp), or you can outsource qualification (numerous folks, I can’t even mention). Look, this is “old school” stuff, but it works. I sell leads, and what we’ve seen from our data is that companies with lead-qualification (and lead-nurturing) processes convert better than anyone else and, ultimately, buy more leads.

3.    Conversion rate: The rate at which a prospect advances in your marketing process. I included this because everyone assumes conversion rate means landing page conversion. That is not true. Conversion rates happen across the life of a lead: Traffic to registration conversion, registration to lead conversion, lead to opportunity conversion, opportunity to sale conversion. Conversions happen all day in your process (I hope). Track them and watch them.

4.    Lead scoring: Seriously, make it simple: the process of determining which leads are better than others. Don’t make it bigger than that. Use data you have now to start – this isn’t hard, then use marketing automation to implement, optimize and refine. Scoring seems so daunting, but it really isn’t when you finally tear down what it really is. The humans in your “conversion chain” score all the time in their head: They call certain leads more than others because they know they will convert.

5.    Conversion chain: I just made that up in the previous definition, so I figured I would make a definition. The conversion chain is your series of conversion points you track from the top (e.g., Google, white paper syndication) to close. That’s a cool term. If it catches on, you heard it here first.

6.    Metrics: Numbers generated via reporting that tell you something about your current processes. Yes, it can be called reporting or just “numbers,” but remember you want to be a b2b marketing hipster, so use the word: metrics. Here’s a tip: Choose three metrics to look at every day. Look at the rest once a week.

7.    Pay-per-lead lead generation or performance-based lead generation: This is how marketers roll today. If you haven’t jumped on the PPL bandwagon, you should. You can get performance lead generation from media companies (such as the one I work at, Tippit) where you provide some sort of content such as a white paper in exchange for registration information. The media company will determine the number of leads they will deliver and a price. You can control your CPL metrics and organize around particular quantity numbers. This is good for marketers. You can also do this with appointment-setting vendors such as Green Leads, a firm led by one of the most active mavens on the market @damphoux.

8.    Targeted email/email blast: Email is not for spam anymore. As marketers have gotten more sophisticated, they have gotten much better at outbound email. We have seen a big jump in email blasts to our database. You can blast to a third-party database (check out Marketfish for an amazing new targeted email application).

9.     Trade show: Ah, the trade show. Let’s define a tradeshow as a broad industry event (e.g., Interop for IT), with a variety of different talk tracks, trade show booths, etc. Trade shows aren’t dying, they are just never going to be the same again. In ancient times, there were lots of tradeshows with lots of people and lots of vendors. Those days are gone. The trade shows that work are:

a.    Raging parties: CES
b.    Real education value: Sirius Decisions in marketing is a perfect example. They really focus on the content instead of pretending to help buyers, but peddling their own goods.

10.    Live seminars: These can fall victim to the same symptoms as trade shows. The time commitment to travel ratio is minimized and the focus (not trying to be something for everyone) is compelling.

11.    Lunch and learns: These are the same as live seminars but are shorter and with less content. Lunch and learns are small local, lunch events typically put on by vendors. They get 10 people, so the ROI is debatable.

12.    Maven: Two years ago, I admit I had to look this one up. Here is the best technical definition: “A maven is a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others. The word maven comes from the Hebrew, via Yiddish, and means one who understands, based on an accumulation of knowledge.”  A number of factors have made the role of the maven uber-critical in your life:

a.    The role of third-party/thought leadership content in effective marketing practice.  In other words, take a look around and you will find the best marketers incorporating the work of thought leaders and mavens instead of product sheets and data sheets.
b.    Social media: the maven has gone from obscurity (only writing books and speaking at seminars) to global popularity with social media (Twitter in particular) and blogging. When I am doing research in my field, I go to my favorite mavens such as @ardath421 or @brianjcarroll in marketing (there are more obviously, but I need to restrain myself)

13.    Maven marketing: I just made this phrase up too, and I’m hoping it sticks. Today’s marketer does two things with mavens:

a.    Courts and/or works with mavens to create helpful buyer materials that don’t necessarily ever mention their product – that’s right. Mavens get more downloads than you and are TRUSTED. Today’s buyer trusts two people: their peers and their mavens. Those two groups far outweigh the vendor.
b.    Creates mavens from their organization. Here’s one for all those people with social media budgets. Start by creating an internal maven. Here’s an example from the marketing industry: Mike Volpe (@mvolpe), VP at Hubspot, has 15,872 people who follow his every move on Twitter. They read him, respect him and re-Tweet him. That’s hipster marketing.

14.    Marketing automation: This is an emerging software category offered by a plethora of vendors intended to consolidate, systematize and improve your marketing efforts. For some it’s nothing more than an email tool on steroids; for others, it’s delivering on the promise. Check out @cjablonski for more.

15.    Content marketing: An Internet-spawned phenomenon embraced by B2B marketers. It has unleashed a torrent of information intended to build vendor thought leadership by way of educating the customer until sold on the brand. See @cjablonski.

16.    Social media marketing: The marketing trend du jour with vendor outposts proliferating across social networking sites as they join communities and conversations in the effort to build awareness, drive sales and get people to talk about them. See @cjablonski.

17.    Sales 2.0: I grabbed a technical definition from InsideCRM.com: “Sales 2.0 brings together customer-focused methodologies and productivity-enhancing technologies that transform selling from an art to a science. Sales 2.0 relies on a repeatable, collaborative and customer-enabled process that runs through the sales and marketing organization, resulting in improved productivity, predictable ROI and superior performance.” What matters to you is that there are killer tools that make sales better. An example is Connect and Sell which is a new-age auto-dialer that guarantees sales connects. Why does that matter to a marketer?
a.    It’s a great tool for your lead-qualification team.
b.    The biggest lag on your conversion rates come from sales connecting with your leads. Offering them tools to be more effective is a win for you. Period.

18.    Thought leadership: In a world full of information and “me-too” solutions, you need to differentiate and boost your signal-to-noise ratio through the delivery of expertise and original knowledge that your audience cares about. Tap your mavens for this. See @cjablonski.

19.    White paper syndication: Your marketing assets reside on your Web site, but you can get a lot more mileage out of them if you make them available from relevant sites across the internet. Vendors like Tippit can get your content into the right hands to help spread your message and build the top of your funnel. See @cjablonski.

20.    BANT (Budget Authority Need Timeframe): A qualification methodology, or information that must be gathered or agreed to before passing a lead to sales. BANT is an age-old tradition that is coming back in vogue (big-time). Note to self: BANT is not something you achieve in lead generation (don’t put timeframe on forms) but in lead qualification.

21.    Personal branding: This concept is not new, and not unique to marketing. But every marketer needs to understand it and practice it. Interacting with the world through a well-defined “brand of you” gives you a unique perspective on how people engage those other brands that you are paid to promote. See @TLOTL.

22.    Mass expertization: A rapidly growing population of people, typically with commercial or status-driven agendas, publishing original content drawn from their experience, for the consumption of peers and/or prospective business partners. See @TLOTL.

23.    Webcast, Webinar or Web Seminar: A webcast is a presentation delivered over the Internet so that prospects can watch instead of read. Webcasts are typically an hour long and involve a PowerPoint presentation. Webcasts should not be confused with video. Yes, you can use video, but that is not your typical use-case for a webcast. Webcasts are great vehicles for education, lead nurturing, thought leadership and quantifiable lead generation.

24.    Optimization: Overused marketer term but critical nonetheless. Every element of your demand-generation process has hidden pockets of opportunity to improve. Don’t think so? Hire a consultant or design thinker to review your content and your strategy and listen in disbelief. See @cjablonski.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

210 B2B Marketing Tips for 2010

Drumroll please …  I present the 210 B2B marketing tips for 2010. Let me tell you, this was quite an adventure, one that I will certainly do differently in the future.

Basically, the sequence of events went like this:

  1. Decide on topic: 210 tips for 2010
  2. Start writing them off the top of my head
  3. Get to 65
  4. Still determined, decide to ask for help
  5. @scottalbro, @cjablonski, @tlotl, @mschmier and @damphoux come to the rescue

Much of what you see below is attributed. Some, however, like the input from @scottalbro, were fed to me conversationally through stream of consciousness, so I didn’t attribute them. He is a great writer and would not be crazy about my translation.

So, without further ado, here they are. I hope you enjoy them.

  1. Contribute to the conversation (@tlotl)
  2. Create remarkable content (lots of it) (@tlotl)
  3. Distribute remarkable content (@tlotl)
  4. Evolve beyond managing CPL (@tlotl)
  5. Bring data to Sales management (@tlotl)
  6. Talk to in-market prospects (@tlotl)
  7. Close the buyer loop (@tlotl)
  8. Talk to people who have bought/customers (@tlotl)
  9. Talk to people who chose a competitor (@tlotl)
  10. Sit in on a sales call once a week
  11. Sit in on a prospecting call
  12. Create a lead scoring system
  13. Implement a lead scoring system
  14. BTW, if you are just starting on scoring, don’t get too extreme. Scoring means deciding which leads are better than others.
  15. Implement a lead nurturing program
  16. Judge lead nurturing progress via the conversion rate after 1 month metrics
  17. Buy a marketing automation platform
  18. Implement a marketing automation platform (no shelf-ware)
  19. Create a unified lead definition
  20. Get the unified lead definition signed off by sales
  21. Don’t agree to restrictive BANT criteria without considering all the people you won’t have sales talk to (if you think about it, they probably do)
  22. And if you are in a hyper-targeted market (e.g., are focused on managed service providers only), your unified lead definition should be only: the right person with interest. Anything more restrictive means one lead a month, and your organization in trouble
  23. Meet with sales weekly/bi-weekly for anecdotal closed loop feedback
  24. Make a decision based on metrics
  25. Make lots of decisions based on metrics
  26. Over-rule a metrics-driven decision with a decision made from the gut
  27. Basically: Balance metrics with intuition
  28. Oh, and track everything you can
  29. Oh, and yes, the numbers will never be perfect, but they should be enough to help you make decisions
  30. Follow the top marketing mavens on twitter
  31. Read content from top marketing mavens on twitter
  32. Ask a question you want answered on Focus.com (OK, you can ask it on LinkedIn, too)
  33. Create a lead management plan that starts from the top (lead generation) to a passed lead (P.S., based on your unified lead definition)
  34. Read your competitors marketing materials
  35. Fill out a lead form on your competitors site and see how they qualify, convert and nurture you
  36. Do a at least one webinar a month
  37. Make the webinar focused on business pains and issues, NOT a demo for your product
  38. Leverage experts and thought leaders in your industry to speak
  39. P.S., have those same experts create white papers, blog posts, etc. for you
  40. Think of webinars for ALL aspects: quantifiable lead generation, lead nurturing, education, thought leadership
  41. Create a lead qualification organization (dedicated phone-based team focused on following up on leads)
  42. Optimize your lead qualification organization
  43. Read scripts, emails etc.
  44. Send an email to your clients that doesn’t sell them anything but instead helps them do their job
  45. Then send these helpful emails monthly
  46. Then use the marketing automation system you bought to track efficiency
  47. Don’t forget your current customers, or to put it another way, market and foster goodwill with your customers
  48. Update your social media profiles for completeness and marketability even if you aren’t looking for a job (LinkedIn, Focus.com, Facebook)
  49. Start a blog
  50. Update your blog weekly minimum
  51. Don’t write about yourself, your company, etc. on the blog, except once in awhile
  52. Put marketing, lead generation blogs into your Google reader
  53. Allot 22 minutes a day to reading industry-related content
  54. Respect every single lead (@cjablonski)
  55. “Systems design” your programs (@cjablonski)
  56. Make calculated risks routinely (@cjablonski)
  57. Delight the most loyal (@cjablonski)
  58. Surprise your customers (@cjablonski)
  59. Be your target audience (@cjablonski)
  60. Rip and replace your strategies (@cjablonski)
  61. Manage your brand symbols (@cjablonski)
  62. Nurture as if you meant it (@cjablonski)
  63. Cleanse your sales pipeline (@cjablonski)
  64. Be authoritative
  65. Track your metrics based on opportunities created and opportunities
  66. Get everyone on CRM (seriously — Its 2010)
  67. Get a sales 2.0 tool
  68. Increasing connects increases conversion
  69. Don’t complain about what sales is doing with your leads
  70. Don’t complain about sales in general
  71. Urgency. Just be urgent
  72. Call your lead generation vendors and optimize the program with real data
  73. Post your content on third-party Web sites to capture traffic not going to your Web site
  74. Get tweetdeck, hootsuite or something to manage your twitter content
  75. Re-evaluate your Web site. Chances are it sucks
  76. Clearly define what your product is and the use case it solves for in buyer language on your Web site, in materials, etc. — how many Web sites do you go do and you can’t figure out what the f*** the vendor does?) (@mschmier)
  77. Optimize your landing pages for conversion
  78. Considering pulling fields OFF your landing pages to get more people to download
  79. Go to one of the following trade shows: Marketing Sherpa or Sirius Decisions.
  80. Stop going to industry trade shows that don’t work
  81. However, don’t think about immediate conversion, judge the show by important meetings had (could be with customers) and the “right” people. If you are looking at short-term conversion rates, you will cancel them all.
  82. Test a new lead generation source whenever you can (or you’ll never know what works)
  83. Not sure what to do about Facebook — if you can get business there, write me back for next year
  84. Read the book: eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee
  85. Read the book: Digital Body Language by Steven Woods
  86. Buying a list is not a lead generation strategy
  87. Buying leads is not a lead generation strategy
  88. Instead, figure how to convert leads, then buy leads or lists — if you know how to convert, you can buy till the cows come home
  89. Remember: white paper leads are the start of a conversation, not the end of the conversation
  90. Try new things, always (I think I already said that)
  91. Channel partners are terrible at following up on leads; if you pass them leads, run them through a lead qual team first or buy appointments
  92. Replace “always be closing” with “always be helping”
  93. Map and understand how your buyers make decisions
  94. Re-evaluate your target buyer persona.
  95. Confirm the target buyer persona and tell everyone in your organization till they tell you to shut up (it’s that important that they know)
  96. Make your written content one page. Buyers are busy
  97. Consider simplifying your message — bring back “simple as 1-2-3” messaging
  98. Buyers love lists, they just do. Lists are easy to read and set an expectation with the reader that it will only be “X” number of points in the offer
  99. Create a diverse mix of content (webinars, white papers, podcasts)
  100. When following up on leads, combine phone and email
  101. Optimize everything about the phone and email process: scripts, emails, sequencing
  102. Meet with sales leadership and get them on board. Act like a sales person. They will barf on you at first, but don’t quit — get buyoff
  103. Spend some time and money, and you WILL make more money
  104. Metrics aren’t just cool, use them to make you better (and look better!)
  105. Warning on all this: Sales will always be from Mars, and marketing will always be from Venus
  106. Consider all the touch points in a campaign not just the messaging — message, landing page, follow-up, etc.
  107. When considering, draw a process map to represent the various touch points
  108. Create metrics for each touch point
  109. But pick three overall metrics you will look at every day
  110. Did I mention social media? Have a twitter strategy, use LinkedIn too
  111. Do things on social media, but if you move money away from pure demand generation for social media, that is bad, because …
  112. Social media is not a “down the funnel” lead generation strategy, measure social media buy link-backs and traffic, not people ready to buy tomorrow
  113. Oh yeah, and if you’re judged only by finding people ready to buy tomorrow, warm up the resume
  114. Run a VITO campaign. They still work if you combine phone follow-up with the marketing portion
  115. Throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care.
  116. Talk to your CEO more than the VP of Sales does
  117. Talk to your prospects using case studies
  118. Peers are the most trusted source of information for other buyers — leverage your customer network via webcasts and references to re-enforce your value proposition (@mschmier)
  119. Online vs. offline is very 2009 (@scottalbro)
  120. Online AND offline is very 2010 (@scottalbro)
  121. Create a list of 210 tips for your target buyer
  122. Do email campaigns — they still work.
  123. I know I mentioned podcasts earlier, but don’t do them. They don’t work
  124. Choose someone in your company who will be your voice online
  125. Stop advertising in trade magazines
  126. If you are fortunate to sponsor a big sporting event, make sure you get tickets as well because you should at least get personal ROI
  127. Make sure you provide a demo. The self-service buyer craves it (this falls under “down the funnel” content)
  128. Understand your competition and give sales real competitive language, not high-level outdated, irrelevant stuff (everyone considers more)
  129. Where are your users online? Figure out where your users are online and create a strategy as appropriate. Hint, most SMB buyers probably aren’t tweeting all day. (@mschmier)
  130. The phone is still the most important tool for conversion to opportunity.
  131. Go to sales training — if you can sell, you can market
  132. Read a sales book, see above
  133. Try emails using the exact opposite of best practices
  134. Oh, and send an email on Sunday morning. People will open it
  135. Social media is not a panacea (@cjablonski)
  136. Improve field-to-headquarters information flow (@cjablonski)
  137. Research your industry buying cycles (@cjablonski)
  138. Deliver on your intent, daily (@cjablonski)
  139. If you don’t believe in your value proposition, rewrite it (@cjablonski)
  140. If the average person can’t understand your value prop, rewrite it
  141. Social media is WOM on steroids (@cjablonski)
  142. Keep emerging submarkets on your radar (@cjablonski)
  143. If you pay for impressions, then you will get impressions(@cjablonski)
  144. Give away your best content for free (@cjablonski)
  145. Learn your company’s elevator pitch (@tlotl)
  146. Write your personal elevator pitch (@tlotl)
  147. Claim your area of unique expertise (@tlotl)
  148. Challenge any assumption more than 9 months old (@tlotl)
  149. Learn how to (effectively) explain social media to executive management (@tlotl)
  150. Don’t let the bastards drag you down (@tlotl)
  151. Don’t get defensive
  152. Append your house list. Why wouldn’t you?
  153. Be the first to develop a Google Wave marketing strategy (@cjablonski)
  154. Throw your hands in the air and Google Wave them like you just don’t care
  155. If you spend more money on promotional items like t-shirts and pens than you did on demand gen, then shame on you
  156. Facilitate conversations between experts (@tlotl)
  157. Create content for every buyer persona you create (business users want something different than technical)
  158. Consumer marketers are light years ahead of B2B marketers. If you want to know what’s cutting edge, it’s them.
  159. Don’t overvalue title filters with content syndication; identifying organizational interest is the goal.
  160. P.S., Directors and VPs don’t download white papers online.
  161. Keep voicemails under 30 seconds
  162. In voicemails, don’t sell the product, sell the next step (e.g., just ask them to read your email), because …
  163. You should send an email after you leave a voicemail. You will get an exponentially higher open rate.
  164. Speaking of which, in lead gen and marketing, you should sell the meeting, demo, or next step not the product
  165. If you throw a party , invite the neighborhood — don’t filter webinars
  166. Keep marketing and generating demand in December, or you’ll end up with no pipeline in January.
  167. Understand common prospect objections and help attack them in your collateral.
  168. Assess the ROI of your fixation on ROI (@cjablonski)
  169. Elevate your marketing database hygiene (@cjablonski)
  170. Shoot for viral when you have the talent (@cjablonski)
  171. Make a contingency plan for your guerilla marketing idea (@cjablonski)
  172. Don’t write off direct mail (@cjablonski)
  173. Work with “frenemies” to serve the community (@cjablonski)
  174. Don’t hire someone to write your blog (@cjablonski)
  175. Be interesting by being interested (@cjablonski)
  176. Help make sales people be trusted expert advisers(@cjablonski)
  177. Don’t begin a survey with demographic questions (@cjablonski)
  178. Have conversations not sales pitches (@cjablonski)
  179. Create versatile content: Can you use this content in a white paper, webinar, blog post, etc.?
  180. Marketing is either a critical advantage against your competitors or nothing at all (obsolete, ineffective, etc.). Think like sales when you build your marketing strategy — build it to compete
  181. When considering everything you can do in 2010, remember you will be judged by pipeline created for sales
  182. Knowing the above, when trying to figure out whether to put money into lead gen or branding and you can’t afford to do both, I think you know the answer now
  183. Repurpose old content (@damphoux)
  184. Measure CPO (Cost per Opportunity) (@damphoux)
  185. It’s not a sales process, it’s a buying process (@damphoux)
  186. Interview candidates from competition (@damphoux)
  187. Ask prospects which competitor you lost a deal to (@damphoux)
  188. Ask them why (@damphoux)
  189. Pounce on a Web lead if they abandoned their visit on the Contact Us page (@damphoux)
  190. Make the goal of the first sales call to get a second (@damphoux)
  191. Different sales reps at the same company can benefit by different leads (introductory appointments for one, qualified leads for others) (@damphoux)
  192. Not all sales people know what’s right for them — think of them as teens and give them what you think is right for them (@damphoux)
  193. Log into your webinar platform an hour early and get all presenters set up early (@damphoux)
  194. Do demand gen programs targeting your existing and past clients (@damphoux)
  195. Never pay a lead gen team by the hour, pay for results (@damphoux)
  196. Spend a day with your lead gen team or vendor (@damphoux)
  197. Teach your sales team the best practices of handling the leads you worked so hard to generate (@damphoux)
  198. Learn how to use a tweet scheduler, but still be personal most of the time (@damphoux)
  199. Your most important landing page is your home page (@damphoux)
  200. One of the highest converting forms is the Subscribe to Blog by Email form (@damphoux)
  201. Selling doesn’t start until sales is talking with a prospect. Set introductory appointments for them (@damphoux)
  202. Do AB testing with a simple 3 line email, instead of a formal email marketing piece (@damphoux)
  203. Read the Pounce, Pause, Nurture or Wait debate (@damphoux)
  204. You spend thousands, if not millions of dollars building your contact database, so invest a little bit to maintain it with dedupes and validation (@damphoux)
  205. Attend a tweetup (@damphoux)
  206. Create a simple slideshare presentation and make every marketing and sales member of your team loads it into their LinkedIn profiles. Stagger them so they continually go live (@damphoux)
  207. Favorite, Like, Retweet people promoting your offering (@damphoux)
  208. Build a twitter “List” (@damphoux)
  209. If you see business cards lying on a sales rep’s desk, get them entered into a spreadsheet/CSV for free (@damphoux)
  210. Never try to do a list over 10 by yourself (especially 210)

Thanks, @scottalbro, @cjablonski, @tlotl, @mschmier, @damphoux.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

The 6 common, completely annoying, yet easy to overcome, pieces of feedback you receive on leads

Most B2B marketers don’t always realize that the initial follow up on your leads can make or break your conversion rate and ultimately your ROI.  The B2B marketers that do realize this have adjusted – they either own lead qualification, work extensively with the sales-lead lead-qualification team or outsource to a tele-vendor who qualifies leads before they pass them to the sales-lead lead-qual group.  Just generating leads or managing CPL, and so on means nothing if you aren’t optimizized for what happens after you generate the lead.  FYI: the biggest and best marketing organizations have already solved this and continue to do so.

So, as a person who has been providing leads to organizations for 10 years, I can say I have heard them all. Not just from the person on the phone following up, but from the marketers who gather feedback from sales.  This “feedback” is from the front line of leads.  If this is the feedback you are getting, sometimes fixing the follow-up first makes all the difference.  Remember, if Sirius Decisions is right, 80 percent of the leads that sales disqualifies end up buying within 24 months. So those leads that “suck” many not be that bad after all.

Before I go on, I do want to say one think I have learned: many times all “frontline” objections are solved by three things:

1.     Being clear about what the goal is of the call.  In most cases, its two-fold:  Figure out whether you should keep talking (score) and, if so, get them to the next step in the sales process (demonstration, appointment, and so on).  This is where follow-up fails: Lead-qual reps think their job is to sell the product (bad call), figure out if they have read the whitepaper (hilarious).  Every objection can be answered by the question “Are you the person involved in …?” Seriously.

2.    Training and management – repeat after me: training and management.

3.    Marketing automation and lead nurturing.

So, here they are the 6 common, but easy to overcome, yet honestly, completely annoying pieces of feedback you receive on leads*:

1.     “They don’t remember downloading the whitepaper”: Yes, I know.  Since the advent of online whitepaper syndication, it has been the new buyer objection. Suckers get derailed from this objection. Seriously, why do you care?  YOU know they did, so leverage that knowledge to keep on fighting.  How about, “no problem, are you in charge of…?”

2.    “They won’t call me back”: That’s right, because buyers (even when buying) can’t wait to call back someone so they can be subjected to BANT qualifying questions. Don’t just leave “checking in and seeing if you have any questions” voicemails of the early 90s.  The buyer’s job is to NOT call you back or email you back (even when they LIKE you). Winning organizations have the following:

  • Coordinated call/email campaigns designed to get people to connect.
  • Outbound dialing service like Connect and Sell www.connectandsell.com
  • An understanding that not everyone will answer their phones in 3 weeks, so nurture.

3. “They don’t know who we are”: Now this one CAN be solved to an extent with the lead sources that you are using, but again, is that the ultimate opening question?  Who are you? Don’t mind if I do.

4.    “They don’t have a project”: Sorry that they don’t have a project today, but seeing as this is the right person who is requesting information about your market, you may want to talk to them. Just to note, from  our marketing programs at Tippit, we have one simple lead definition, “Right Person, Right Interest.”  We will pay for that.  We know over time, they will buy. Just get us started.

5.     “They aren’t the decision maker”: I know, I know, you need to talk to the CEO or VP.  Well, they aren’t going to download things on the Internet.  I understand why we need to get to the C-suite at some point, but that’s not going to happen with industrial grade, lead-generation machinery. Particularly with companies that want to do LOTS of business.  If you want to hit the C-suite, put together a VITO campaign leveraging execs, make sure you have experienced outbound callers on the project and be happy with a couple leads. But don’t expect your lead machine to punch out CEO’s.

6.    “They have a project but…”: You can’t have it both ways from lead gen. The perfect project ready to buy in one month with no warts attached is just NOT going to happen. If you do get projects, be happy you did. These are still leads. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “They fit our employee parameters, but they only want a small amount of licenses”
  • “They are already down the road”

Note:  This is primarily related to leads and inquiries, depending on what you call them (not BANT scored).

*This “feedback” means there is a problem with expectation setting, process, and so on and can always be made to go away.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Another Webinar I Can Really Get Behind: My Own!

I am speaking at a webinar on Thursday, November 13 at 4PM EST. The webinar centers on providing practical tips to help organizations actually use their CRM to do “marketing automation” and to do it quickly. As we enter into uncertain economic times, marketers need marketing automation more than ever. I hear the following all day: “I know we need marketing automation, I need to get on it.” TIME’S UP.

Hopefully, I can help marketers squeeze everything they can next year, even if they can’t get a off-the-shelf marketing automation system.

Look forward to seeing everyone there! Register here to watch me in action.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter