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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

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.

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Closed Loop Marketing with Automation

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SharpSpring Partner

If your company were a living creature, Sales and Marketing would be two specialized vital organs that need to work together to sustain and grow your business. Lack of communication or coordination in these essential areas can hinder your company’s growth or even cause it to wither. To work effectively they need an integrated and streamlined process to keep your company healthy.

Closed Loop Marketing Architecture™

At Revenue Architects, we’ve developed a Closed Loop Marketing Architecture™ to provide a blueprint for revenue marketing and aligning marketing and sales. It’s a continuous process that delivers tailored omni-channel experiences that engage customers and drive conversions. By ‘closing the loop’, sales and marketing align around the end-to-end customer lifecycle and campaigns are measured for total revenue impact.

This blueprint enables businesses to refine their marketing strategies based on data that is managed and analyzed to provide much needed insights into your prospects and the customer lifecycle.  Many businesses perform these same tasks internally with various teams, or pay for multiple services — like e-blast platforms, CRMs, lead tracking, etc. — but often these methods, which don’t ‘close the loop’, waste valuable resources and lead to incomplete or ineffective results.

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Align Marketing and Sales to End 2015 Strong

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It’s the middle of Q4 and the end of the year is fast-approaching. For many, it is a time to slow down from work and spend time with family. For sales people, it’s can be a frantic time, as many B2B companies must close sales opportunities to achieve revenue goals.

So, what can the marketing team do to help the sales team and ring in the New Year on a positive note? Here are a few tips to align marketing and sales and help ease the December frenzy and drive some upward momentum into the New Year.

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6 Marketing Automation Myths

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Revenue Systems

Marketing Automation has been around since the 1990s. Back then, the focus was on automating email marketing— managing the development and delivery of emails to target lists at scheduled times. Over the decades, software developers expanded the capabilities of Marketing Automation to meet the requirements of a variety of marketing functions and users.

Today, Marketing Automation refers to a broad range software technology for marketing and it is an important element of closed loop marketing. Its evolution has raised many questions about what it is, what it does, and whom it benefits.

Complex Sales Campaign Design with Closed Loop Marketing

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Complex Sales Campaign Design

Corporations with complex, high-consideration sales are often accused of Complex Sales Campaign Designfocusing on the short-term, which is inevitably reflected in their demand generation or campaign strategy. This generally means that marketing and sales are not aligned and operating to some degree as silos.  With short-term horizons, the campaign communications focus tends to be on sales driven, tactical programs designed to seek out “hot leads”.

In the highly competitive, complex B2B sales world with longer sales cycles, this is not fully sustainable.  There is a typically a sales team or committees of savvy buyers A short term focus may eke out some leads, but what about the other leads who may with some nurturing turn out to be qualified opportunities — but not yet “sales-ready.” The modern buyer knows your product or service from what is readily available on the web and related sources and will be considering any number of options before making a decision.

Studies show that 50% of leads are qualified but aren’t immediately ready to buy something from you [Source: Gleanster Research]With lead nurturing however, you can bring those leads through your sales funnel and garner 4-10 times the response rate compared to a regular email blast while doing it [Source: SilverPop/DemandGen Report].

So where do you start?

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Marketing Automation Selection Criteria

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Marketing Team Working on Vendor Selection

Choosing a marketing automation vendor can be challenging. Whether you are jumping into marketing automation for the first time, or are re-evaluating your current system, it can be a difficult and daunting task – especially with how many options are out there these days. Marketing Automation Selection Criteria can help.

The vendor you choose will have an enormous impact on not only your Marketing Department and marketing efforts, but could easily touch other areas as well such as Sales, Customer Service and IT. It is important to consider these other groups when evaluating various vendors, as they may have requirements, obstacles and questions that should be taken into consideration.

To help make the evaluation process a little easier and more effective, here is a recommended process to follow: Read more

B2B Marketing Statistics – And Some Perspecitve

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I received these statistics in a recent email and I thought they were worth sharing further with some comments. I am adding some implications as I see them below each one:

Eye-OpeningA whopping 68% of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

  • Without a defined funnel, it is very difficult to develop a predictable forecasting capability.
  • Defining your funnel – with the buyer in mind – helps you develop the specific content you need to engage buyers at different stages.
  • In most of our B2B work we help define a collaborative qualification model between sales and marketing where sales teams have early insight into marketing leads. By taking a “decision support” approach, the organization is not leaving it up to marketing to determine the relative value of a lead – often the sales rep can help make the judgment supported by the behavioral data.

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Tweets from the #RIAS4U Event

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The Twitter Buzz was so great for #SchwabIMPACT and #RIAS4U during Schwab’s annual IMPACT conference this year, it reached Twitter’s trending list!!  The Keynot by EVP Bernard J. Clark, unveiling enhancements to “RIA Stands for You” campaign propelled the buzz.

Below are a selection of tweets as well as some highlights of a related webcast next week.

In next week’s webcast John Stone will be discussing five strategies for using the #RIAS4U campaign:
  • Website Hub – Use RIAS4U to enhance your website content and value
  • RIAS4U Branding – Gain from program’s “halo effect” by using the brand and content
  • 1:1 Targeting – Use new tools to filter and focus on 1:1 engagement using RIAS4U
  • Social Media – Expand your reach and influence with social media engagement
  • Campaigns – Combine RIAS4U elements into your custom campaigns.

 

RIA Stands for You: Tips to Get Started! – https://bit.ly/TVfXmU

Are RIA Firms Using CRM Effectively? – https://bit.ly/ToZZUj

Bernie Clark at Schwab Impact: RIAs’ Competitors ‘Want What You Have’ – https://bit.ly/RFcCrL

Check out our #RiAS4Y blog post and download our Revenue Performance Healthcheck – https://bit.ly/ZBnueC

Check out all of the news on the Schwab Talk blog – https://bit.ly/TnKCaa

Check out #RIAS4U at Schwab IMPACT!

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#RIAS4U

If you are attending this week’s at Schwab’s Impact, be sure to learn more about the RiA Stands For You Program.

Use Digital to Do What You Do Best!

The proliferation of web access anytime, on demand, using personal computers and smart mobile devices, is introducing new opportunities for Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) to do what they do best – deepen and enhance relationships.

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