lead nurturing

How to create your marketing plans for 2010

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

For Reputation:

  • 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…

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 Lead Management, Marketing, Marketo 4,219 Comments

Marketo User Summit 2009 – Day 2 Review

Ok, finally I took the time to post my review of Marketo User Summit second day.

It started on a topic that everyone is trying to get the most out of it: Reporting, Analytics and ROI. Chris Newton, VP Marketing at Ketera explained how he is tracking the effectiveness of their program. On a weekly basis, he follows in Marketo standard email performance (click, open, unsubscribe) but he is mostly interested to track the improvement overtime of all KPIs including website traffic. In Salesforce.com he created custom formula fields to track some activities generated by Marketo (Ex: clicks). Lastly, he take a chart for Marketo activities, Website traffic and Opportunity created over the same period and align them 1 above the other. That helps him to correlate the results. On a side note, his main concern still that there is  no out of the box reports for all he needs. He always needs to return to Excel and it takes about 1 hour a week of his time to do so. I also heard some ask” Whay is it that the report your boss wants is never a prebuilt report and we always have to manipulate data to get it done?” Funny!

But that that can change soon… Jon Miller, VP Marketing and Co-Founder at Marketo present how Marketo was actually doing their analytics and reporting. They are tracking a lot of metrics with regards to the Sales SLA they have in place and based on their demand generation funnel, they are looking at:

  • Number of prospect
  • Number of leads
  • Number of opportunity

Next I was in the data quality track and I really enjoyed from Diana Lustenader, Marketing Specialist at Kapow technologies. Here is her take on data quality.

In the afternoon, Marketo presented some new features from the new release in October. The vast majority of features is around the reporting and analytics module. Marketo was lagging a bit on that module and they are fixing it those new releases. Here is the list:

  • Report leads by quarter:
  • New report called “Lead by X”
  • Report now have a chart and we can change the style
  • Add and remove opportunity data
  • Group reports by (ex: Original search phrase, owner, referrer, inferred city)
  • Drill down capabilities that allow you to group by go deeper wit your data
  • The possibility to add Smart list as column in reports
  • Date of activity (AKA Time Frame)  is  new filter to specify a time frame of an activity
  • Filter on Emails report + Total number at once
  • Better email subscription and ability to attach the Excel file
  • Reports keeps the order and sorting

They also took the time to review some exiting features, mainly related to usability, that people a maybe not aware like:

  • Use Bookmark to have quick access to specific reports
  • Use the Back button to navigate
  • Open another module in a new tab or in a new window
  • Unapproved old email to get them out of your views
  • Use the Inferred Company to blacklist or ID competitors
  • Use inferred State to assign leads
  • Convert integer fields to score fields

After that, sponsors came to present. In a presentation called “Landing Pages: Where The Eyes Go“, I notice how Enquiro used there own to Eye tracking technology to validate their new Website redesign. They actually iterated the design 4 times to find the best one.

Also, Debbie Qaqish from Pedowitz Group was back again with a very useful list of the 10 best practices of lead scoring:

  1. Do lead scoring WITH sales
  2. Map out the Buying Process
  3. Use the Workshop Approach
  4. Use the Worksheet
  5. Don’t be afraid to TRY!
  6. Be ready to adjust based on data
  7. Be ready to adjust based on feedback from sales
  8. Include Demographic data = are they qualified?
  9. Include behavior = are they ready?
  10. Do lead scoring WITH Sales

Lastly, the day and the Summit ended by the Marketo Idol Showcase contest. 10 customers of Marketo climbed on stage to present some cool stuff they did with the product so far. I was among them and I presented “Website visit frequency – Lead scoring beyond basic behaviors”.

And the winner of the first Marketo Idol is…

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Sunday, September 27th, 2009 Lead Management, Marketo 3,516 Comments

Marketo User Summit 2009 – Day 1 Review

What a conference! The day started with an inspiring keynote from Phil Fernandez, Marketo CEO and co-founder. He announced that they just closed their Series C of funding and that Wes Wasson, CMO of Citrix, will join Marketo board. He also talked about upcoming features in current Marketo products and road map for new product:

  • Lead Management (Fall 2009 release to includes enhance reporting with charts and more custom metrics and Winter 2010 release to include Workgroup and enterprise role, event management & programs 2.0)
  • Sales insight (Just released)
  • Pipeline Analytics (Winter 2010 Pipeline conversion, campaign influence, Forecasting, Presentation – automated reporting)
  • Dynamic content optimization (future date)
  • Budget & planning optimization (future date)

The second presentation was given my Jon Miller, VP marketing and co-founder. As I tweeted about, the presentation “How Marketo uses Marketo” was all about amazing content that translate in real actionable setup for your nurturing and scoring campaign. Jon gave actual use case of what he implemented for scoring and lead management.

After the networking break, there were 2 tracks:

  • Refresh Your Emails and Landing Pages
  • Scoring Leads for Sales Intelligence

I assisted the second one about scoring leads. Jenny Coupe (@jennycoupe) from Nimsoft presented their scoring model after explaining their extensive vendor selection process. They went over 60 day’s audit of multiple vendors and kept 2 for proof-of-concept trial of 1 month.

Jason Stewart (@jasondemandbase) presented Demandbase scoring model by putting emphasis on behavior scoring rather than demographic scoring. He also explains how he got sales to participate in the scoring model. He actually ask them to rate on a scale from 1 to 100 was the value of different actions. That end-up being the base of his scoring model.

Afterward, 5 partners from the Marketo Customer Enablement Team presented their offering:
• SEO: Inside the Mind of the Searcher (Enquiro)
• Data Services Integration for Better Prospecting (Jigsaw & ReachForce)
• Getting Sales On Board (Pedowitz Group)
• Remarkable Content to Power Lead Nurturing (Tippit)

The majority of the content from partners was great but I believe it felt a bit long, especially after having real hands-on content from previous presentations.

The fuzziest word of the day belongs to Debbie Qaqish from Pedowitz Group when she described Sales and Marketing alignment as “Smarketing”. Her top 10 marketing and sales alignment tips also caught my attention:
1. Build a language of leads
2. Build a common lead management
3. Create a lead scoring program
4. Build Sales Champion for the lead management
5. Build field focus campaign
6. Create regular communication cycle & feedback loop
7. Institute service level agreements
8. Metrics that matters
9. Learn about sales
10. Educate, educate, educate

Off to bed now, more to come tomorrow for the 2nd day of the Marketo User Summit 2009. Where I’m actually presenting some scoring strategies in the “Marketo Idol Showcase”

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 Lead Management, Marketo 3,775 Comments

Lead Nurturing – Step 1: Review your current lead to opportunity to customer process

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.

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 Lead Management, Marketing 3,777 Comments

How to get started with lead nurturing

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?”.

Before getting started, you will want to read on the topic. I recommend Marketo B2B Tools & Resources & Brian Caroll B2B Lead Generation Blog.

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.

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Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 Lead Management, Marketing 4,168 Comments

Inbound Marketing Certified Professional – I got it!

In June, the Inbound Marketing University, lead by Hubspot, create a serie of classes (see below) about multiple facets of Inbound Marketing.My favorite ones were:

  • Viral Marketing and World Wide Raves (GF301)
  • Advanced SEO Tactics: On Beyond Keyword Research (GF401)

According to Twitter #IMU, there was over 5000 students, 1000 took the exam and about 500 passed. The one who passed received an official badge like this:

Thanks to Rebecca at Hubspot for making this a great success!

Here is the list of classes and professors:

Class 1: How to Blog Effectively for Business (GF101)
Professors: Ann Handley and Mack Collier, MarketingProfs

Class 2: SEO Crash Course to Get Found (GF102)
Professor: Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing

Class 3: Social Media and Building Community (GF201)
Professor: Chris Brogan, New Marketing Labs

Class 4: Successful Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn (GF202)
Professor: Elyse Tager, Silicon Valley American Marketing Association

Class 5: Viral Marketing and World Wide Raves (GF301)
Professor: David Meerman Scott, author of New Rules of Marketing & PR and
World Wide Rave

Class 6: Advanced SEO Tactics: On Beyond Keyword Research (GF401)
Professor: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

Class 7: Calls to Action and Landing Page Best Practices (CV101)
Professor: Jeanne Hopkins, MECLABS, Marketing Experiments

Class 8: Inbound Lead Nurturing (CV201)
Professor: Brian Carroll, MECLABS, InTouch

Class 9: Successful Email Marketing (CV301)
Professor: Eric Groves, Constant Contact

Class 10: Analyzing Inbound Marketing (AZ401)
Professor: Marshall Sponder, Monster.com, Web Analytics Association for Social Media

Review Session: Inbound Marketing Exam Review
Professor: Mike Volpe, HubSpot

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Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 Inbound Marketing 4,165 Comments

The value of a phone call to generate sales: 280$

Online Marketing the weapon to generate leads. But when it come down to generate actual sales, nothing can beat a phone call in the lead nurturing process.  Here a B2C example that worked:

I was having a beer with friends on a Friday happy hour when I suddenly receive a call from a Mexx clothing store. The person told me that a super 50% sale on everything was starting today. The person made me feel unique by telling me that this offer was for selected clients. I asked her what “Selected” mean and she says that because I had already purchased at their store, my name was in their database and they were contacting all of their customers.

Never the less, the day after, I went to the store, which is a 30 minutes drive from my home and I bought for 280$ of shirts and pants. On my way back, I drove by another Mexx store, literally 5 minute walk away from my home in Montreal and I realized that the super 50% sales was actually in every Mexx stores.

That made me wonder why I went so far when I could have go there at the first place. Furthermore, why did I actually buy some cloths? I was absolutely not planning any clothing purchase…

And because I’m a marketer and like this kind of situation, I dug a little deeper. I looked in my emails (I’m a subscriber to Mexx newsletter) and realized that I also received an email announcing about the 50% sales few days prior.

But neither the email nor the closest store made me think about purchasing cloths. The only driver is the phone call. Sure the 50% offer is very compelling, but I was exposed to it on other channel and it did not trigger the desire to buy.

I drove 30 minutes to spent 280$ simply because I got nurtured by phone. Period.

Lead Nurturing + Right Channel + Right Messaging or Compelling Offer = Sales

And Yes the phone is a strong channel when properly used…

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 Lead Management, Marketing 3,618 Comments

Best Practice: Lead Nurturing and Scoring and implementation

I’m looking to implement Lead Scoring in conjunction with our Lead Nurturing program. Typically, any lead that comes in goes in our 12 touch points nurturing program. We have exception for specific sources (ex: Trial request) in which case, the lead goes automatically to Sales without entering nurturing.

During the nurturing program, leads are score based on their behavior (open, click, page visit, etc…). Once a lead reaches the score threshold, it is transfer to Sales. Sales are reviewing the lead and have 3 choices:
a) Create an opportunity
b) Archive the lead (not a good fit or no interest)
c) Send back the lead to marketing for more nurturing

Couple of question to discuss:

1- When Sales are sending a lead back to marketing:
a. How do you affect the score? Do you reset it to “0” or reduce it by a certain amount of points?
b. How do you identify where the lead was in the nurturing program to continue at the same place once the lead is sent back to marketing?

2- If a lead reaches the threshold after 10 touch points and Sales send it back to marketing, the nurturing program continue but there is only 2 touch points left, if you diminish the score, it is most likely that this lead will never hit back the threshold… right? What are you doing to improve that?

3- We have planned our nurturing program with content to move the lead up in the revenue cycle. The first 4 touch points are for early stage, 5-8 are for mid stage and 9-12 are for late stage. If Sales are sending a lead that is mid stage back to marketing, how do you make sure this lead start the nurturing with the mid stage content instead of getting the first 4 touch points?

4- For reports purpose, after being sent back to marketing by Sales, if a lead reaches again the threshold, do you calculate these leads as “new leads” generated by marketing? If so, how do you tag them differently in your CRM?

5- If a lead never reaches the threshold after the 12 touch points, do you archive the lead as non-responsive and ultimately delete it?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts!

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Lead Management, Marketo 3,823 Comments