Inbound Marketing is a transformational approach to attract prospects with valuable content at each stage of the buyer process.

Do I Really Need Marketing Automation?

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Marketing Automation is of particular value when pursuing a higher volume lead generation or demand generation model.

In a recent Quora post, we answered a question about the value of marketing automation. If you generate – or seek to generate – a high volume of leads (100+s) from the web from self-directed buyers, then yes, you will value having a Marketing Automation platform.

Consider Marketing Automation as part of a broader “technology stack” – there is the “Martech Stack” and the “SalesTech Stack” – we look at these together as the “RevTech Stack”

Their are a number of leading players in marketing automation – Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua, Pardot, SharpSpring, Act-On, Infusionsoft, Mautic and others.

Prices range from a few 100 per month to many $1,000s – a lot is based on volumes (size of lists etc), but there are also a wide range of feature sets.

It is difficult to recommend any one system. We use SharpSpring, Pardot, HubSpot and Marketo. All of these are solid systems. Consider the integration and platform ecosystem (e.g. Pardot is part of the Salesforce Cloud).

An objective assessment can help you decide. Consider the features outlined below (and there are others and these change a lot):

  • Channel customer lifecycle support?
    • From lead generation, ‐ nurturing, onboarding, to up-sell/cross-sell…
    • Manage locations, advertisements, blog, chat, email, forums, inbound calls, social media, newsletters, sales, seminars, sem/ppc, software download, telemarketing, tradeshows, paid, listings, etc.
  • Advanced segmentation for targeting?
    • Segment around prospects, customers, partners, analysts and influencers.
    • Create and refine lists from the customer database, design campaign elements, and test offers.
    • Segmentation on external data source, or custom data object
  • Support campaign workflow?
    • Campaign content management / asset library to manage marketing and sales assets — such as marketing content, collateral, copy, templates, video, images, and logos.
    • Collaborative development, version control, localization, approvals, and providing controlled access.
    • Sandbox testing environment
    • Cross-browser testing of emails and landing pages. Test emails in various browsers and clients.
  • Manage eMail campaigns?
    • Email authoring tools and features.
    • Ability to personalize and customize emails based on contact profile or other variable data
    • Custom multi-city/multi-session events, standalone events or webinars
    • Social sharing features and integration in emails and forms.
  • Manage landing pages?
    • Ability to build and deploy landing pages and form integrations to capture responses.
    • Connect downloads to forms, autoresponders.
    • Standardize fields and options for original lead source and most recent campaign.
  • Track campaign performance?
    • Pass information (usually hidden fields like campaign code or lead source) through a URL onto a web form on a landing page to capture referring sources.
    • Ability to track and manage online and offline advertising campaigns?
    • Measuring cost per lead and cost per acquisition. CPA / CPL
    • Attribute leads/inquiries to different campaigns where applicable.
    • Ability to abstract the channel from the campaign, allowing marketers to create multichannel campaigns while providing an integrated view of buyer behavior.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization?
    • Understanding of conversion effectiveness to measure revenue impact.
    • Ability to establish revenue goals, plan interim lead-stage goals to meet revenue targets, segment and track leads throughout the entire lead pipeline and sales process, and measure campaign effectiveness and impact on revenue.
    • A/B Testing tools for multi-variant testing. This should be included in planning/ process.
  • Progressive Profiling?
    • Ability to manage progressive profiling to complete a rich picture of customer and prospect information.
  • Query string parameters and query string structures to capture visitor profile sources?
    • Fuel Marketing Channel reports as well as can be mapped to contact records in the MA solution and then included in CRM integration mapping to track all of the way through.
    • Query string parameters for Partner Links, Press Releases, Paid Listing Links, Media Downloads, etc.
  • Map most recent search query field?
    • Most Recent Search Engine visitor profiles fields to the contact record. Include these fields in CRM integration mapping to track all the way through to closed deal.
    • Manage leads effectively?
    • Manage the lead between marketing and sales. (Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), Sales Accepted Lead (SAL), Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)).
  • Lead scoring?
    • to rank leads (e.g. using points, grades, or the terms “hot,” “warm,” and “cold”). Lead scores according to explicit data such as demographic and BANT or FACT criteria”
  • Real-time Web visitor notifications?
    • Capture Web site activities of visitors. Use IP address to identify the company of Web site visitors. Use browser profile or cookie for tracking. View a lead lifecycle / history with lead scoring
    • For named accounts as well as accounts in pipeline
  • CRM Integration?
    • Built-in sales and service features (If not integrating to CRM)
  • Master Data Management
    • Depth and flexibility of rules based smart lists / dynamic lists
    • Auto import data from various platforms
    • Upload leads from external sources. Two-way sync? What is the master source of data?
    • Company and contact data integrated with existing customer data sources to build highly targeted lists and gain actionable insights on people and companies.
    • Contact, account, opportunity, purchase history & activity based segmentation.
    • Data-cleansing, de-duplication and normalization. consistency of the data for de-duplication and data standardization.
  • Tracking/auditing user rights and authority changes?
    • Maintain and audit log. MA State/Fed Compliance Methodology. SW certification with Fed/State. Email deletion.
  • Marketing Resource Planning (MRP)?
    • Enable marketing planning, financial management, and vendor/agency management.
  • SEO Optimization tools?
    • help evaluate SEO impact of website pages and evaluate competitive capabilities

77% of B2B marketers are NOT making their numbers! Why?

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77 Percent

77 Percent

Many so-called “Revenue Marketers” are writing checks that their companies simply can’t cash! According to a recent study by HubSpot, only 23% of marketers are exceeding their revenue goals. Yet, Revenue Marketing has become a ubiquitous concept and is getting tons of hype in today’s market. And rightfully so. No question – it’s the “holy grail” of today’s senior stakeholders.

Here’s the problem—all the verbiage around it was generated by companies and people deeply invested in its success. These include companies that are predominantly staffed by marketing automation technologists and solutions engineers, who are actually software people, not demand marketers. And all the talk isn’t limited to the marketing operations and automation folks who are making claims. There are also many strategic consulting firms and agencies that do the same, but they don’t have enough experience as practitioners to execute on the very recommendations they are prescribing to clients.

Don’t get me wrong, the modern marketing technology stack forms the most powerful marketing enablement toolkit I’ve witnessed in a nearly 25-year career. But it’s just that…an enablement toolkit. It’s a partial solution. You ALSO need effective buyer engagement strategy and execution or the monetization of your marketing investments won’t even come close to its potential.

Quite simply, revenue marketing can work—when (and only when) it’s driven by a worthy buyer engagement strategy. But the primary challenge, which we address in our new eBook entitled Exposed. The False Promises of Revenue Marketing., is all the confusion, misinterpretation and general lack of understanding that exists around revenue marketing and the buyer engagement strategies that are essential to its success.

These points of confusion include:

  • The fundamental deficit in buyer understanding that is killing marketing performance at most companies
  • What’s wrong with persona development
  • How messaging is largely missing the mark
  • Why most B2B content is lousy as it’s “domain-centric,” not “engagement-focused”
  • How most marketers are focused on all the wrong metrics
  • Why so very few marketers are capable of aligning all the requisite elements of a high-performance buyer engagement strategy

In the eBook we highlight these critical elements (and many more) that are too frequently being ignored, simply misunderstood or not fully embraced, but that are vital for true revenue marketing. In it we address 9 foundational principles that when used as a roadmap for marketing automation and social media propagation are the surest way to develop a sound buyer engagement strategy that transforms you into a true rock star of revenue marketing.

Download a copy of the eBook to discover 9 ways to exponentially increase leads, conversion, pipeline velocity and revenue impact:

 

 

Understanding Spam in Email Marketing

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email spam

This is a guest post with a backgrounder on Spam and eMail tactics.

email spam

Email spam, or junk mail, is sending and receiving unsolicited messages via email. While most spam messages are actually untargeted promotional emails, a percentage of junk emails also contain disguised links to familiar websites, but which are actually phishing attempts, or host malware meant to infect your computer system. Junk email can also contain scripts or executable file attachments which can then brick your computer, spy on you, or fill your browsers with adware.

Email spam has a long history, first appearing in the 90s, when botnets, which are practically networks of infected computers, began sending unsolicited emails to thousands of people present on their lists. Regardless that since the Internet became a reality, junk email was prohibited, it still represents a practice today. Email spam stands against the ethical principles of email marketing and can often be classified as unsolicited bulk email, which is mail sent in large quantities, or unsolicited commercial emails. Read more

5 Tips for Using HubSpot as a Partner Agency

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5 tips for using hubspot

HubSpot is a premier marketing and sales software platforms for inbound marketing. For HubSpot Partner Agencies, one of the main benefits is that, instead of having various marketing and software systems in place and having to switch between them all, HubSpot allows your business to have a one-stop shop for all of your marketing and sales needs.

However, migrating your existing website and software capabilities over to HubSpot can be tedious at times – albeit rewarding in the end. Once you’ve integrated HubSpot into your technology systems, you have their vast array of features at your disposal.

To help with this process, here are 5 tips for using HubSpot that we recommend for anyone starting out in HubSpot.

Read more