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#1 Predictor of Revenue Marketing Success? Synergy with Sales

Marketing & Sales Synergy Model

“Sales Alignment” is the term most often used to describe the pivotal sales and marketing relationship, but if you closely examine it in the environment of successful revenue marketing, a more appropriate term is “synergy”.  Let’s look at the definition of each term and then more fully examine this critical relationship for all revenue marketers.

  • Alignment: 1. Linear or orderly arrangement, 2. Positioning of something for proper performance, 3. Support or alliance.
  • Synergy: Synergy comes from the Greek word synergia, meaning joint work and cooperative action. 1. Synergy is when the result is greater than the sum of the parts. Synergy is created when things work in concert together to create an outcome that is in some way of more value than the total of what the individual inputs is.

Which definition sounds more like a model for relationship success and for revenue marketing success? Of course, it’s synergy! Synergy is the end-state description of your relationship with sales so let’s further explore what this relationship looks like.

Hear how Megan Eisenberg, VP of Demand Generation at DocuSign, achieved synergy with sales. Click here to watch the video.

What Does Synergy Look Like?

More specifically, what are the behaviors we can observe that characterize a synergistic marketing and sales relationship? Here are five characteristics we often see in successful revenue marketing organizations.

  1.      Both sales and marketing use a common revenue language.
  2.      Both sales and marketing are vested in each other’s success.
  3.      Both sales and marketing are proactive in their relationship.
  4.      Both sales and marketing work together as one revenue team towards achieving shared revenue-oriented goals.
  5.      Both sales and marketing have goals and compensation tied to shared revenue metrics.

The Marketing and Sales Synergy Model

Now that we know what a synergistic relations looks like, let’s use a model to understand how to achieve it.

Education

The first step in creating any relationship with sales is to educate yourself and your team on all things related to sales. Trying to create a relationship with sales without understanding their world simply does not work. More specifically, you need to understand the sales goals, be a part of sales initiatives, understand the sales process, know the sales team and educate yourself on the pipeline. The only real way to do this is to meet with sales, join sales meetings and go on calls with them.

Revenue Language 

Like sales, revenue marketers must begin embracing the language of revenue. Typical revenue marketers don’t talk to sales about pretty fonts or newsletters; they talk to sales about opportunity pipeline, quota and revenue. They ask sales questions like, What number do you need to hit for your new acquisition target? What does your current opportunity pipeline look like and how can we help? What is your average deal size and how can we help grow that? Why are opportunities not closing and how can we help? 

Communication

As a leader, to be ready for revenue marketing and to engage in a relationship, you need an effective vision and a game plan. It’s up to you to set the vision, create and communicate the game plan, collaborate on the game plan and get buy-in to this game plan.

Creating and gaining commitment to a jointly developed game plan takes time and repetition. You can’t just walk into a meeting and expect sales to “get it” in a 30-minute presentation. After all, you’ve probably spent months attending conferences, reading white papers and educating yourself about the benefits of revenue marketing. You’ll need to plan for multiple communication methods, meetings, and events to share your vision and craft the ultimate game plan.

Shared Goals

I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of sales and marketing having shared goals, aligned compensation and complimentary organizational structures. In the world of sales, no revenue accountability for marketing means zero respect from sales. When we take a look at the most successful revenue marketing machines, we see that marketing has the same kinds of goals as sales. If sales has a number tied to new account acquisition, so does marketing. If sales has a number for enterprise accounts, so does marketing. If sales has a number for a new product, so does marketing.

Conclusion

Following this simple model will help marketing understand and become true revenue partners with sales.

How have you achieved that critical synergy with sales and what has been the result? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Blog Written By: Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish is a Principal and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. She is the author of Rise of The Revenue Marketer, a doctoral student and is passionate about all elements of Revenue Marketing – especially the leadership required to drive transformation. Contact Debbie at Debbie@pedowitzgroup.com or http://www.linkedin.com/in/dqaqish 

Build Your Own Revenue MarketingTM University

Michelle Chiantera REVTalk VideoImagine you’re the CMO. You have bought into Revenue MarketingTM hook, line and sinker and now you’re ready to get going. How do you educate a large and globally dispersed team?  What would an optimal curriculum look like and where would it come from? How would you structure training and ensure transfer of knowledge?  You need to consider building a Revenue Marketing University.

A Revenue Marketing University is the vehicle for delivering and certifying on all Revenue Marketing best practices both from an industry standard and from a company perspective. It provides education to all key stakeholders from executives to marketing to sales and it’s not one-time training. It’s an on-going curriculum that helps all key stakeholders grow in their knowledge and mastery of Revenue Marketing practices. It is the vehicle that takes the best practices from the market and merges them with your own internally developed best practices. 

I know of four large companies who are building out global Revenue Marketing program and until colleges get a clue, I see this as a major trend.

Michelle Chianterra at Cisco tells the story of how they built a global Revenue Marketing movement based on education and training. Watch the video here

One of my biggest platforms is who is educating the B2B marketer today and it certainly isn’t undergraduate or graduate programs. CRM, marketing automation and B2B marketing principals are lightly covered in most higher education programs and practically nothing about Revenue Marketing is taught.  I do a class once a year for the Mason School of Business in the MBA program at The College of William and Mary. I teach all about Revenue Marketing and it’s amazing how little these young MBA’s know about the topic.  It’s also amazing how they gobble up this new knowledge!

For your team, they are getting on the job training that consists of the last conference they attended, the last meeting they attended or the last article they read. 

Examples of curriculum include virtual or live courses on the Big Idea – courses that present this new role for marketing and what it means. It includes best practices courses that could be anything from lead management to integrated campaigns. It includes senior level executive forums focusing on how to run a marketing group with ROI, and it includes training on systems. These are only a few examples of needed curriculum for any Revenue Marketing University.

Without a well-planned curriculum resulting in a well-trained global marketing and sales team all speaking one language, what do you think your chances will be for long term success? Only as good as the last article someone happens to come across.  By creating a culture of education and training, you invest in your most valuable resource, your people. This investment delivers high dividends over time and is the key to unlocking the full potential of your organization.

What needs to be in this curriculum? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!

One of MY goals in education is to post 30 articles in 30 days – all topics for marketing leadership responsible for transforming marketing from a cost center to a revenue center (Revenue Marketing). This is post #5!

Blog Written By: Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish is a Principal and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. She is the author of Rise of The Revenue Marketer, a doctoral student and is passionate about all elements of Revenue Marketing – especially the leadership required to drive transformation. Contact Debbie at Debbie@pedowitzgroup.com or http://www.linkedin.com/in/dqaqish 

Physical Therapy for Marketers

I’m in physical therapy twice a week for plantar fasciitis – and I’m told it will likely be 3-6 months before I will be really better and back to some version of normal. Because I’d rather have that be 3 months than 6, I am religious about doing the exercises the PT’s give me.

And I hate them.

I shake. I tremble. I try to remember to keep breathing through my exercises, not matter how much they hurt. I recognize how weak I am and look forward to the day when I am strong.

But I’m doing every single exercise that the PT’s give me every single day because I have a long-range goal and a vision of what can be.

Sometimes it feels like I hurt more now than I did before I started PT, but in a while I’ll feel better. Even before that, I’ll see incremental progress. I am already better at some of the exercises than I was 2 weeks ago.

While sometimes marketing and sales alignment can seem like a Sisyphean task, there is incremental progress for that as well. Each agreement you can make between teams, each SLA determined, the setting of a lead score threshold, the buy-in from sales, the attainment of a revenue goal – every tiny piece falls into place until you have a strong, thriving whole.

We often say that Revenue Marketing™ is a journey. It is, and it takes time. It might even be a bit painful – because you are exercising and developing new Revenue Marketing muscles. Take a moment to look at where you are now. Look at where you were 3-6 months ago. If it’s better, you’ve made progress. If it’s not, start thinking about where you could be 3-6 months from now if you do a little work every day and make small improvements. Be religious about making progress. Be determined. Don’t forget to document where you are today so you remember in the future how far you’ve come – and where you still want to go.

In 3-6 months I will have abs of steel from the core work. My feet won’t hurt every day. I’ll be able to run and walk and move around quickly again. Those spiky pains in my toes will be gone. I’ll have done the work and put in the time, every single day, to reach my goal.

What improvements will you be able to see in 3-6 months if you do a marketing and sales alignment exercise every day?

And if you need a personal trainer to reach your Revenue Marketing goals, let us know.

Blog Written By: Emily Salus

Emily Salus is the Marketo Team Leader and Director of Customer Success at the Pedowitz Group. She has over 20 years of experience in Marketing, PR and Sales. Emily is a certified Marketo technical consultant, providing Revenue Marketing services and strategy to enterprise clients and best practices and training to the SMB market.

Why I Got Fired…A CMO’s Tale

Chief Marketing Officer CEOs of today’s B2B organizations are becoming laser focused on profit, execution of strategy and top-line revenue growth and they expect every department in the organization to be aligned with these key goals. For many, the area that gives them the most heartburn – based on budget and non-goal alignment – is marketing.

For CMOs, this could mean big trouble. If your marketing organization isn’t making a measurable impact on revenue, your job could be in jeopardy.

This article presents three key questions you should ask yourself as a CMO to determine if you need to change your strategy.

Here’s your first question:

Question #1: How aligned is marketing to the organization’s overall revenue goals in a direct and measurable way and not the “fuzzy math” kind of connection?

  • If you can honestly answer that your marketing goals are directly aligned with those of the business, ask for a raise!
  • For everyone else, get in step – and fast! Executive alignment is as basic as it gets.

Easy question, right? Now let’s move on to the next question to help you determine if you are on the right track.

Question #2: When you show up to the monthly board or executive committee meeting, what kind of metrics do you present? (I know the mention of this monthly presentation probably brings on another round of heartburn, but try to focus on the question.)

Are your metrics typically activity-based?

  • # of impressions
  • # of ads
  • # of tradeshows
  • # of e-mails sent
  • % of Opens, click-thrus and conversions
  • Costs

Most CEOs call these metrics, “Who gives a flip metrics!” If you are only presenting these kinds of activity-based metrics, you need to change your approach and change it now! This is old school for a B2B organization given the new technologies available today that allow marketing to make a direct contribution to top-line revenue growth and to do it in a repeatable, predictable and scalable fashion.

Or, are your metrics revenue-focused?

  • # of Sales Ready Leads (SRL) sent to sales
  • % Conversion of SRL to opportunity
  • % Conversion to close
  • % Contribution to pipeline from marketing
  • # Days to close
  • ROI

If you are already reporting revenue-focused metrics, again – ask for a raise! Chances are that you are currently being recruited because of your skill mix and experience! CMOs who are focused on revenue metrics are generally using the optimal mix of people, process and technology to grow top-line revenue.

Hopefully, you are already doing these things and hitting it out of the park every month. But if you are still confused about your role, consider this final scenario:

Question #3: You are putting together your 2015 strategic plan. As CMO, which of the following are the top strategic initiatives you will present to the executive team?

  • Improve use of search.
  • Improve conversions.
  • Improve use of social media.
  • Create new website/messaging/colors.
  • Grow number of leads sent to sales.
  • Improve number of impressions from ad spend.

While these are all valid concerns for any marketing department, compare it to the next set of answers. The above initiatives should only be part of the plan – especially if your company has big revenue growth plans in 2015. If your answer stops here, you won’t have job security for long! Consider these strategic initiatives instead:

  • Execute a revenue marketing strategy in which marketing will grow its contribution to the sales pipeline by 200% through marketing sourced, highly qualified leads; improve opportunity velocity by 20%; and impact overall deal size by 11%.
  • Create a marketing funnel and process with standard conversion rates from inquiry to close so marketing can begin forecasting revenue impact – not just reporting on past history.
  • Conduct a skills gap analysis on my current team around this journey to revenue marketing. What skills do you need to add, replace or train?
  • Re-organize the marketing organization around the revenue marketing competency.
  • Develop the key processes and tools across sales and marketing to help us drive a repeatable, predictable and scalable revenue impact on top-line growth.
  • Select and implement or improve the use of your revenue marketing solution. NOTE: There is an entire new generation of technologies out there called marketing automation, demand generation, revenue performance management and Revenue Marketing (a term coined by The Pedowitz Group) to help marketing directly contribute to revenue growth. This is NOT simply CRM or fancy e-mail systems.

So, how did you do? For the B2B enterprise organization, marketing’s role should now be to fully participate in the revenue discussion. Today’s B2B CMO should sound like a VP of Sales – not the head of a creative agency. If you are not stepping up to this new reality, your job may be at risk. Are you ready?

Given the current round of CMO’s movement, I thought I would check in and find out what you are seeing in the market?

The first 5 people who email me and tell me one thing they learned from this article will receive a copy of my latest book - Rise of The Revenue Marketer.

Blog Written By: Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish is a Principal and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. She is the author of Rise of The Revenue Marketer, a doctoral student and is passionate about all elements of Revenue Marketing – especially the leadership required to drive transformation.

The Old Fashioned B2B CMO’s New Dictionary

Old FashionedToday’s CMO is creating a new marketing language around Revenue Marketing™. Let’s play a word association game to see just how much you know. I’ll give you a word and you tell me what you think it means – you get two tries. Then, I’ll give you the definition in terms of Revenue Marketing.

Give yourself 100 points for every correct answer and 0 points if you miss. Get 6 out of 8 correct (a score of 600) and you are one savvy CMO!

ROI

  • Who’s Roi? I’ve never seen someone spell their name this way. I think someone made a spelling error.
  • Return on what? I’ve heard this term used in my company but since it doesn’t apply to me, I ignored it.
    • Well, ROI stands for Return on Investment and it is fast becoming the standard of measurement for B2B CMOs.

Revenue

  • Some word at the end of a spreadsheet we hope is not in red.
  • Revenue is something done by sales with smoke and mirrors and really frenetic activity at the end of each quarter. It’s not my responsibility so I don’t pay it much attention.
    • Say it with me – R-E-V-E-N-U-E. This is the new responsibility for today’s CMOs. It’s measured by metrics such as marketing’s direct contribution to the pipeline percentage and total dollars, or marketing’s direct contribution to revenue as a percentage or as a number. Many CMOs now have a revenue number they need to directly influence.

Funnel

  • As in cake? Love those!
  • Isn’t that the device used at frat parties to partake of large amounts of alcohol with great efficiency?
    • No! A funnel is the process managed by Revenue Marketers™ that begins with a cold name and ends by providing a highly qualified contact to sales. A funnel has stages and a Revenue Marketer uses the conversion rate from one stage to another to forecast their impact on revenue.

Forecasting

  • What, like in the weather? That’s not in my job description!
  • That useless number from the VP of Sales at the beginning of each quarter?
    • You missed again. The hallmark of a Revenue Marketer is that they show up to a senior management meeting and not only report on what they did last quarter, but also forecast the impact they’ll have on revenue in the upcoming quarter.

Lead Management

  • I don’t manage leads, I’m a marketer!
  • I’ve given leads to sales – it’s their job now. Not mine. That’s lead management.
    • You’re kinda, sorta on the track with the second answer. Lead management is the combined processes of marketing and sales that track and manage the entire life cycle of a lead. It’s a shared, synergistic responsibility in a closed-loop environment.

Sales & Marketing Alignment

  • They stick to their side of the office and we stick to ours. That’s alignment.
  • Well, in my company, we play the Sales & Marketing Angry Birds game. We’re completely aligned in our mistrust and lack of respect for one another and take lots of pot shots. Our aim is excellent!
    • OK, OK. No more violence! For the Revenue Marketer, sales and marketing alignment is a key ingredient of success. In companies where this alignment has occurred, you will see a synergistic revenue team comprised of marketing and sales, all striving and accountable for the same number. Oh, and you guys need a new game.

Revenue Marketing™

  • Never heard of it. Sounds like some kind of sales jargon.
  • Well, it’s clearly an impossible oxymoron.
    • Actually, Revenue Marketing™ is a term coined by us, The Pedowitz Group. We think it’s a pretty good way to describe the new role of marketing in helping to drive and grow top line revenue in a repeatable, predictable and scalable model.

So, how did you do? What was your score? And what definitions would you have provided us?  Please share!

Blog Written By: Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish is Principal and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. She is the author of Rise of The Revenue Marketer and is passionate about all elements of Revenue Marketing – especially the leadership required to drive this transformation

The B2B CMO as a Change Agent for Revenue

InnovationMoving a marketing organization from being a cost center to a revenue center (Revenue Marketing™) is a daunting task that requires strong leadership and leadership that knows how to drive change. This need for leadership is why I wrote Rise of the Revenue Marketer. The best part of that process was interviewing 24 senior level marketers to get their insight and guidance on the role of leadership in change. For this blog, I’ll share their observations in the context of a 5-Stage Change Model.

Stage 1: Disruption occurs when the marketing status quo is failing. Some tipping point has occurred, typically as a result of company performance, changing market dynamics, competition, new strategies or shareholder influence. During this stage, there may be many obstacles.

The Interviews: As I talked to 24 marketing executives, a correlation between business disruption and Revenue Marketing success became evident. Those companies undergoing significant disruption were more engaged at all levels and moved quicker than those companies who just wanted to do Revenue Marketing because it made sense. We also saw two camps of disruption and they both accelerated Revenue Marketing – bad disruptions, such as loss of revenue, and good disruptions, such as fast growth businesses wanting to maintain the pace. In both cases, the marketing executive stepped in to become the champion of the change.

Ask yourself: What’s going on in your company that the status quo is no longer good enough? Be honest here. As a leader, how can you make your company better?

Stage 2: Resistance to Revenue Marketing rears its ugly head…and retreats when stakeholders understand “What’s In It for Me?” and demonstrate a willingness to evaluate options.

The Interviews: A common interview theme for successful Revenue Marketing was having detailed and continuous communication and collaboration, with a well-defined and jointly developed “What’s in it for me?” for each stakeholder group. When this was missing, both early on and continuously in the process, we saw marketing experiencing issues.

Ask yourself: Do you really understand all the key stakeholders and what this change will mean for them? Do you have the right stakeholders fully involved?

Stage 3: Acceptance is the stage where Revenue Marketing gains momentum, as a clear plan of action is developed. The Revenue Marketing plan defines why change is needed, what will change, how and when it will change, and who is responsible.

The Interviews: I observed from the interviews that this plan of action needed to be communicated and visible throughout the entire life cycle of Revenue Marketing, not just a point in time. When you ask stakeholders to change and work with you, they need a visible representation of where things are, what will be happening next, and what their role is throughout.

Ask yourself: How ready are you to put this kind of plan in place? How will you use your leadership position to communicate and support this plan?

Stage 4: In Adoption, stakeholders move from ’going through the motions’ to personally realizing the value of the change. This creates synergy among all key stakeholders to embrace and optimize Revenue Marketing.

The Interviews: A common indicator of adoption of Revenue Marketing across organizations was the use of a Revenue Marketing language in which all stakeholders have learned the language and use it everyday.

Ask yourself: What is the common language in your organization? When you attend a senior management team meeting, does the entire leadership team understand and use the language of Revenue Marketing? Have you created this language?

Stage 5: Advocacy is born when Revenue Marketing becomes the new status quo. Marketing has a defined role on the revenue team and the company has a new way to drive, measure and forecast top line revenue growth.

The Interviews: This characteristic was found in companies in which marketing was a full-fledged member of the revenue conversation and marketing came to meetings with a revenue marketing forecast. These companies also structured variable compensation plans for marketing to tie to revenue-related goals, such as % or $ contribution to the pipeline or bookings as a direct result of marketing efforts.

Ask yourself: What is the real value of having marketing focused and accountable for revenue? As a leader, this is your charge. Yes, there are a thousand and one things you must address as a marketing leader, especially if you are involved in transforming your marketing group from a cost center to a revenue center. But your number one job in this transformation is not to be the technology expert, not to be the campaign expert, or other such things. Your number one job is to be the leader for change and to secure and keep buy-in, alignment and collaboration. Good luck!

The first 10 people who email me (Debbie@pedowitzgroup.com) and tell me one thing you learned from this blog, I’ll send you a complimentary e-book version of Rise of the Revenue Marketer.

Blog Written By: Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish is Principal and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. She is the author of Rise of The Revenue Marketer and is passionate about all elements of Revenue Marketing – especially the leadership required to drive this transformation

Redefining Marketing Automation: Marketing in the Revenue Age

This morning, while sipping my coffee, I read a very interesting article on ClickZ, Marketing Automation Redefined. In it, Nate Young (Director of Demand Generation at Kenshoo, a company that builds cloud-based digital marketing solutions and predictive media optimization technology) describes what he sees as the way we should define marketing automation.

Young writes, “Marketing automation refers to the process in which artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are used to automatically deliver and manage custom advertisements or communications to the person most likely to take a marketer’s desired action.”

Redefining Marketing AutomationWhile the idea that automation is more than just a simple tool is accurate, I disagree with Young’s “sci-fi” characterization that it is artificial intelligence. Today’s tools empower even the most “green” automation users to be better, while providing near limitless options for customization for the more technical among us. Marketing automation tools can be leveraged to automate a multitude of processes. But, to imply that they are so powerful that they can be the “brain” behind the idea is more fiction than fact. Less R2D2 from Star Wars and more Oz behind the curtain, if you pardon the cliché.

The process is a prologue of sorts. Putting the right governance and business rules in place to support your platform in the background is imperative. A well-thought-out process will help you determine the best path for implementation. It will also help you define goals and KPIs for reporting, which will be crucial when you decide to integrate your marketing automation platform with any other tools and systems such as your CRM.

Without governance and process, you might as well invest in a simple batch-and-blast email tool versus a true marketing automation platform (MAP). Then, there’s the people aspect. A person with business acumen, technology skills, and aptitude can bend marketing automation platforms to their will and produce dazzling results. A  lack of properly trained staff (not just technically trained, but those who operate under the same principles and move towards the same ends) will kill your efforts and render you unable to meet your goals. To say that the technology and process are all that should be considered is really to ignore the power behind those things.

In my opinion, redefining marketing automation is not necessary. Automation is, and will always be, a tool that leverages the processes you implement and drives toward the results you require as a modern marketing leader. Whether it is a single piece of software or a cloud-based stack of tools is irrelevant. It’s what you do with it that defines success.

Young hints at something along these lines when he writes, “How will we show significant gains from the investment in our new marketing stack? Going back to the C-level and saying, “All my data is in one place, I am saving so much time!” isn’t going to cut it. This is the point where marketing automation will move past its current definition and represent much more.”

A new definition of marketing automation isn’t necessary. But, updating our view of the role marketing plays in an organization is absolutely required. The revolution that needs to take place is a move from traditional marketing to Revenue Marketing™. Ultimately, I think this is what Young is describing. It isn’t a matter of how we define the technology, but the actions surrounding the technology that make the biggest difference. It’s about moving toward a model where marketing is no longer seen as a cost center but a revenue generator. It’s about the marketing team signing up for a revenue goal, measuring revenue generated, and predicting future impact on revenue in a scalable and repeatable fashion. Technology is merely the vehicle used to get there.

Blog Written By: Lauren Kincke

Lauren is an Eloqua Team Leader for the Pedowitz Group. She is an Eloqua Partner Certified Consultant, Certified Salesforce.com Administrator, and has a wide range of experience with various marketing and email automation platforms.

Inbound Marketing Suffers When B2B Marketers Don’t Know Their Customers

You Don't Know MeInbound marketing is a large part of most B2B marketing’s budget – as it should be. At the same time, the effectiveness of the inbound spend is in question for many organizations and marketing is looking for ways to optimize and monetize this spend.

For me, it begins with knowing your customer and understanding their journey. Understanding why they are looking for your type of solution and understanding what is motivating and driving them in their decision making process. Yet, I also see that many B2B marketers do not know their customers. Time and again I meet with marketing teams to help them build personas, the buyer journey and then create the right content plan for both inbound and outbound campaigns and I am amazed at how often marketing does not know the customer. That’s why I now require sales to be a part of these engagements. It’s interesting that B2B marketers have become so removed from the customer while B2C marketers are the experts on all things related to the customer.

When this knowledge of the customer is not there, it is difficult to have an effective inbound program. I wrote about this for Chief Marketer (http://www.chiefmarketer.com/b2b/focus-customer-inbound-marketing-06082014) and I integrated into the conversation a theory I have recently learned in my PhD program – market orientation. This is a firm-wide capability, led by marketing, that senses and responds to customer changes. Sounds easy and the companies that do this well experience growth in revenue and profit, improved client acquisition and retention, and a competitive advantage in the market.

Read about my thoughts on this topic in Chief Marketer…this is just my opinion based on what I see..what have you experienced?

Blog Written By: Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish is Principal and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. She is the author of “Rise of The Revenue Marketer” and is passionate about all elements of Revenue Marketing – especially the leadership required to drive this transformation

What if Your Leads Just Aren’t That Into You?

Lead SegmentationA few years back, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo wrote a book called “He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys.” According to Behrendt and Tuccillo, “He’s just not that into you if he’s not asking you out.”

I like to use the dating analogy when talking about building a relationship with leads. If your leads are not opening your emails, “They are just not that into what you have to say.”

Here are some common excuses we hear over and over again, along with best practice tips for turning these excuses into buyers.

The “Maybe they’re just not ready to buy” excuse:

Dear #RevMarketer,

I have these leads that just don’t seem to respond to any of my emails. We have a long sales cycle and I’m reluctant to stop communicating with these leads because I don’t want them to forget about us when they are finally ready to buy. I want to make sure they remember we’re here. We strive to stay “top of mind.”

Dear Forgettable,

If your leads are not opening your emails, they are just not that into your message. If your content was compelling, reaching the right audience and addressing a specific need, believe me, your leads would respond. Relentlessly sending the same blanket message over and over again, “hoping” that eventually someone will open it is costly. You might be “top of mind”, but you don’t want to be remembered for being annoying.

One way to engage your audience and learn more about their preferences and interests is to launch a ‘stay in touch’ campaign that actually asks those exact questions. In reality, you’ll always have some leads that don’t engage or unsubscribe, and that’s ok. What you will gain in return is far more valuable and that’s a greater understanding of those who really are interested and how best to communicate with them.

The “But, they gave me their email address” excuse:

Dear #RevMarketer,

We recently returned from a trade show where we gathered several hundred business cards with email addresses as part of an iPad giveaway. We loaded all of these leads into our MA system and have launched an email campaign with a call to action that asks to set an appointment with one of our salespeople. Only 3 people have completed the form. Two of them were looking for a job and the 3rd was already a client. On top of that, about 3% of them unsubscribed. I don’t understand why we haven’t converted more of these leads. It’s my job to show ROI for this event. What can I do?

Dear Coming on too Strong,

Who among us doesn’t have iPad envy these days? I would gladly give up my email address for a chance to win an iPad. But that is not an indicator of my willingness to buy a company’s product or service. While these tactics have their place on the trade show floor, it’s important to remember that, at this point, they are nothing more than a prospect.

Timely trade show follow up is crucial. I applaud your efforts on this point. But what is even more important to quick follow up is the message. The truth is, these prospects don’t know you that well. Now that the show is over, they’ve moved on to trying to catch up after being out of the office for several days. And, they are used to being bombarded with post-show emails.

The natural tendency is to hit delete or unsubscribe. If you really want to engage your trade show audience, provide them with a piece of content that helps them get to know you better before you ask them to “go steady”.

Here’s a Bonus Tip: Divide your trade show attendee list into two categories. Those you actually spoke to about your product or service and those who just dropped their card in a fish bowl. Different messages will resonate with each group.

The ”They may not be opening my emails, but they didn’t opt out” excuse: 

Dear #RevMarketer, 

I have roughly 200,000 contacts in my database. About half of them have not responded to an email in over a year. If they weren’t at least somewhat interested in my content, wouldn’t they just opt out?

Dear Head in the Sand,

There is a phenomenon out there called the “passive unsubscribe” and it’s real. Think about the first thing you do when you log into your email account. You clean out the junk. It takes far less effort to delete than it does to unsubscribe. By hitting the delete button, you are passively communicating your lack of interest.

If the target you are emailing doesn’t know you, or your subject line doesn’t resonate, he will hit delete. The same holds true even if the target does know you, but she just doesn’t find your message compelling. What if the person you’re emailing isn’t the right point of contact? You guessed it… delete. 

Many marketers are reluctant to ask the question: “Do you still want to hear from me?” because they are afraid of the answer. However, there is power in knowing your audience and weeding out those who “just aren’t that into you”. It’s far more costly to keep them in your database as inactive than it is to opt them out. By giving people the opportunity to opt in or out, you are learning valuable information about your database that will enable you to market to them more effectively.

The “More Is Better” excuse:

Dear #RevMarketer,

People keep talking about the importance of segmentation and sending the right message, at the right time, to the right people. I just don’t buy it. We have a large database of leads and I really feel that the more people I try to reach, the greater chance for conversion. After all, it is a numbers game, right? 

Dear More Is Not Always Better,

Why is sending an email to your entire database not a great idea? For one, it is skewing your results. Let’s say that you are holding a live regional event in Georgia. Consider the vastly different results based on the following three scenarios.

Scenario 1:  Send invite to entire database of 200,000 leads, which consists of people located all over the world. 100 people submit the registration form. This results in a 0.0005% conversion rate. This would be considered a failure.

Scenario 2:  Employing a bit of segmentation, to cull the list to include leads located in Southern and Mid-Atlantic States, results in 10,000 leads. This yields the same 100 form submissions, but results in a 1% conversion rate. Not stellar. But, improved.

Scenario 3:  Take those 10,000 leads in the southern and mid-Atlantic states and narrow them further, filtering on job titles. Let’s assume this results in a list of 1,000 leads. Sending that same email invite to the highly targeted list of 1000 also yields 100 form submissions, which results in a 10% conversion rate. That’s a huge difference. 

The bottom line here is that the best results come from knowing your audience. A one-message-fits-all approach rarely works. If you are relentlessly emailing your database without regard to their preferences and interests, or if you’re coming on too strong, too soon, your results will suffer.

Don’t fall prey to the “he’s just not that into you” rut. If a target isn’t interested, find out what does interest him and provide content that appeals to that interest. If she still isn’t interested, move on to someone who is and spend your efforts cultivating that relationship throughout all stages of the buy cycle. You’ll be glad you did.

Blog Written By Margaret Angell

Margaret Angell is Director of Revenue Marketing at the Pedowitz Group. A certified Revenue Marketer, Margaret is also Eloqua 10 Partner certified. She has been working with The Pedowitz Group for about a year. Margaret has more than 20 years experience in Marketing and is passionate about the relationship between Marketing and Sales.

Engaging Sales – An Action Plan for Adoption of Marketing Tools

Sales Marketing AutomationYou’ve spent time and money building a comprehensive marketing plan and buying fancy marketing tools and implementing them. You even bought the sales tools that go with your marketing automation platform – so now what? You just turn on the tools and run, right? Not quite.

Unless you have fewer than five sales people and they are all very, very deeply involved in your marketing organization, there’s a good chance they have no idea what you’ve just invested in or why it isn’t just another shiny object for them. They don’t have a clue how these tools will truly benefit them.

So how do you get sales to buy in and adopt these new tools?

Sure, you can go to the Marketo or Eloqua websites and pull screenshots galore and gather PDF documents that extol the virtues of the various tools you now own. But try convincing Joe Salesguy why he should be interested in reading all of those.

Let’s be realistic and put on our marketing hats. You wouldn’t send emails to your marketing universe that were less than relevant, so why do you think you can pass out generic stuff to your sales team and hope they will read it and find value? Yes, it might sound like a lot of work to build a marketing plan to engage sales and then execute it, but isn’t it worthwhile? After all, you bought into the Sales Insight or Discover toolset because they are supposed to empower sales, so let’s go one step farther and really enable them.

Here’s how:

  1. Build a buzz. Prior to launch, pick a small subset of your sales users for a pilot. You will want to get some of your more engaged, “willing to experiment” sales folks. With this group, you are doing two things. First, you are making sure these tools work for your sales team. Second, and most important, you are creating an internal case study. *Note: If you’ve already launched, then go fishing for some case studies. We all know how powerful they can be in a sales cycle, so think of this as your own internal sale!
  2. Set up in-person training time. At launch time, plan to have a few in-person workshops at different times and locations (if need be), so that you can connect personally with the sales users. Here is your chance to explain the tools, gauge their reactions, and then assist them in setting up and using the tools. Be ready to have some sample contacts/leads for them to test sending out emails. Use this test to demonstrate how to follow and watch the buying signals in the tools you’ve built.
  3. Don’t set it and forget it. Build internal resources to support continued adoption of the tools. Everything from an internal email nurture program to a webpage with resources, FAQ docs, and samples will go a long way towards helping your users after training. These documents are definitely not one time use only. Get the team who trains your new sales users involved in creation of these resources, because if they have a stake in it, chances are good that sales will continue to leverage these assets going forward.
  4. Reach out in multiple formats. You don’t send one-dimensional campaigns to your prospects, so don’t do it here, either! Engage your users with video, blog posts, emails, and any other format you think might help them.
  5. Track use. After you’ve gone through all of this and gotten sales engagement, you need to track usage of the tools. Listen for case studies where sales is successfully using the tools and socialize those case studies – not just with sales, but throughout the company! Make sure the tools continue to be utilized so that you’re able to show some return on the investment.

As you roll out new software for your teams, start out by asking these crucial questions and you’ll be much more successful:

How are you socializing your sales tools with the sales teams? 

How do you measure user engagement and define what is “success” for your company?

Blog Written By: Lauren Kincke

Lauren is a Revenue Engineer for the Pedowitz Group. She is an Eloqua Partner Certified Consultant, Certified Salesforce.com Administrator, and has a wide range of experience with various marketing and email automation platforms. 

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