Forrester just released this morning a great report about the Marketing Automation (MA) called: B2B CMOs: Make Marketing Automation A Catalyst For Alignment With Sales by Jeff Ernst.
They state that enterprise struggle with Marketing Automation and they don’t use use to it’s full potential. They limit themselves to mostly blast emails. This is why Forrester developed a maturity model to assess where enterprise are with regard to Lead management. They provide great details on each level and even a score card for enterprise to rate themselves. And, as the tittle says, they recommend using Marketing Automation to finally align Sales & Marketing, which make total sense in my opinion since it provides a common ground to cover the whole client acquisition cycle.
Key Forrester predictions:
- Marketing leaders will be the drivers of alignment with sales.
- The talent gap will widen.
- Firms that advance their level of maturity will lead their markets.
- Marketing automation vendors’ advances will outpace mainstream adoption.
And what does it means? Aligning With Sales Is No Longer Optional!
Last week Marketo held a great webinar with SiriusDecisions and the American Marketing Association (AMA) called “2010 Blueprint: Planning for B-to-B Marketing Success“. They exposed what marketers should be looking at for the next year. Here is some of the key points:
For Demand Creation:
- Move your dollars from initial demand generation program toward lead nurturing program
- Review processes between sales and marketing to better align them (make sure you don’t overload sales with too much data when handing off a lead)
- Put in place a Data quality program by 1st fixing point-of-entry and 2nd prioritize data quality projects based on relative targeting
- Focus reputation program dollars on measurable activities
- Reallocate non-performing traditional media dollars to social media
Really worth watching if you are thinking about improving your marketing initiative in 2010…
Learn how to cleanse and harmonize data across Marketo and Salesforce.com. Here are the notes I took from what Diana Lustenader, Marketing Specialist at Kapow technologies presented at the Marketo User Summit 2009.
- Lack of admin
- Multiple entry point
- Business process change
- User turnover
- Leads giving fall info
- Improper use
- List purchase
Effect of Dirty Data
- False or incomplete record
- Missed opportunities
- Missing business data
- Lower user adoption
- Misleading or incomplete reports
- Inconsistent formatting
- Prevent new duplicates
- Identify and merge existing dupes
- Capture more lead data
- Standard template for lead forms
- Increase visibility for sales and marketing
- Start to finish reporting
- Existing false or incomplete records
- Improper use (missed business data)
- Turnover (missed opportunities)
On the same topic, the next Montreal Salesforce Usergroup on October 7th, 2009 will be covering the Data Quality Challenge.
Here is the detail first step of your lead nurturing initiative as describe in my previous post: How to get started with lead nurturing.
Reviewing your lead to opportunity to customer is the primary activity you should plan, even before to start lead nurturing. After all, why would you put efforts nurturing leads if they are not properly managed when they become sales-ready? To make an analogy, simply think about the water pipe system in your house. Before opening the main valve, you need to make sure that no pipes are leaking.
To check the health of your process, simply ask every member of your team how do they rank or classified or work their leads. If you get a couple of different options, you know you need to review your processes.
First, make sure that you create a simple funnel where each stage of your revenue cycle are precisely define and understood by both your sales and marketing team. The following image represents a typical revenue cycle with the main stages. It is strongly inspire by Marketo Revenue Cycle.
Once marketing and sales have agreed on the complete Revenue Cycle, make sure to map your current lead and sales process to it. In order to do that, you will need to clearly define each Lead Status and Opportunity Stages required to follow up on leads and opportunities. You will want to have specific Lead Status for leads that are not sales-ready yet and are continuously nurtured by marketing as opposed to some specific Leads Status for leads that are sales-ready and only worked by sales.
Once the leads are becoming more ready to buy, your conversion of leads to opportunity needs to be as clear as previous processes. You will need to have a good definition of each stages required in order to win an opportunity. This will vary a lot from a company to another, but as long as it is clear internally and everyone sticks to it, you will be amazed by the results.
And if some leads handle by sales are finally not ready to buy, you need to have a clear process to return those leads to marketing so they can be recycled with further nurturing program.
The last piece of your process review is to make sure you know and understand from where all your leads are coming into your CRM. It is fairly easy to multiply the different sources where leads are captured, but if this is not managed properly, you will end up having leads that are not assign to the right person or are not even being touch by some others because they simply don’t see them in your CRM. Each source should have a precise process that everyone understands. Moreover, you will want to track each of them to determine what is working best for you in terms of marketing ROI.
Ok, the topic is getting hot in your company and everybody is saying “We need to nurture our leads!”, but as the marketing manager, you ask yourself: “Where should I start?”.
Get started with lead nurturing in 6 steps:
Step 1: Review your current lead to opportunity to customer process. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of how your leads are moving from one stage to the next one and what is their source.
Step 2: Make sure you have a lead scoring model in place in order to help you determine if leads are ready to engage with sales or remain in nurturing.
Step 3: Determine how many touch point you will have in your nurturing program. You may want to have different programs for new leads or recycled leads.
Step 4: Create useful content for your leads adapted to each stage of their buy cycle.
Step 5: Implement your content in your sales & marketing automation tool.
Step 6: Track results and optimize.
Of course each of these steps will require different level of implication depending on the complexity of your organization, but a good lead nurturing implementation should go through each of these steps.