Today we would like to welcome Mason Power as our guest blogger. Mason is CMO of iLevel Solutions in New York and markets a cloud-based software platform to private equity firms worldwide.
The 2,800 of us attending last week’s Marketo Summit all came for various reasons and got the opportunity to attend different agenda tracks. As a CMO, I’m not necessarily hands-on with marketing automation, but I went to the Summit to optimize my plan for content marketing and sales and marketing alignment.
Below are my 5 “bring back to your office and implement” takeaways:
1. There’s no perfect answer for sales and marketing alignment – it’s about disciplined communication [Tweet This]
As a CMO who has seen the worst of sales and marketing friction and is building a start-up software company and partnering with a great new VP of sales, I was keen to brush up on helpful techniques for my upcoming marketing automation roll-out to sales. One speaker reminded us about a common pitfall – “We’re marketers. We communicate with the outside world all day long but we often forget to communicate with sales. Then we wonder why they are on a different page”.
Another speaker suggested a marketing newsletter to sales and one (less often and more high level) to employees at large. Another suggestion was monthly refresher courses on marketing automation training, tips. and Q&A – “and why not bring a Starbucks card and give it away to whomever answers your quiz question” (and make the quiz question basic).
Tips about what to communicate included upcoming campaigns, reminders where to find e-mail templates to send specific contacts, how to recycle leads to the right nurture program, and how to read “the interesting moments mashup in Salesforce”.
2. The inside sales rep is key to ensuring proper lead handling and is the day-to-day grease to your alignment engine [Tweet This]
Sales says “those leads are junk”. Marketing says “those leads are just sitting there”. Sales gets paid to close business. Demand gen marketers get paid to send leads to sales that will close. Trouble is, neither party knows for sure which leads are most likely to close. The reason I bought marketing automation software is to better predict which people in our CRM are most ready to be sold to (to sales this means “who you should call next”). Reps spend most of their time with deals that are likely to close this month or this quarter. Usually, leads which might be sales ready next month or next quarter are “noise” or “distracting”. It’s now time for us to invest in an inside sales rep to mange our MOFU (speakers referred often to “Middle of Funnel” activities).
I was able to get good ideas about how to track performance for these inside sales resources: most speakers and attendees said that just as marketing should be judged on how many MQLs (Marketing-Qualified Leads) convert to SQLs (Sales Qualified), inside sales will need to be selective about allocating their time to the SQLs that are most likely to become SALs (Sales-Accepted).
3. There is no magic formula for revenue attribution to marketing [Tweet This]
How is your contribution to revenue measured? I heard marketers judged by lead quantity, conversion quality, % of revenue, and a mix of these. My CFO wants to track cost of sale [new bookings/(sales expense + marketing expense)] and to track length of sales cycle. Without marketing automation this is a BRUTAL process consuming so much time that you can’t spend actually marketing. You should have seen the CFO’s “Aha moment face” when he saw the opportunity tracking analytics in the marketing automation systems we evaluated. But how do you attribute an opportunity to marketing so that you can track this?
In one of the sessions I attended we spent an hour comparing “first touch” versus “last touch” versus “multi-touch” attribution. The speaker had a particularly gnarly project of centralizing four marketing teams on four instances of marketing automation in addition to four attribution models after a VC rolled up four companies. His team decided to freeze the most recent touch prior to a lead becoming an opportunity because sometimes “first touch could have been years ago and not relevant”.
You need to spend a lot of time with your CFO on this topic before you buy a marketing automation platform because it is an important requirement that might guide your platform selection.
4. If your engagement is invisible because nobody associates people with opportunities in your CRM you can’t get full attribution [Tweet This]
If you’re not on Salesforce.com you may have different nomenclature here, but you get the point – marketers speak to people. Those people can be called lots of things (they are usually “leads” in your marketing automation platform’s database, then they can be “leads” or “contacts” in Salesforce.com), but when it comes down to the short strokes of sales, opportunities are primarily associated with companies. So if your product’s sales cycle is like ours (we are B2B), there are many people involved in one sale. Each one of these personas may have a unique buying journey, but in the aggregate, the more quality engagement you have with people at a company (measured by lead scoring in your marketing automation platform), the more ready the company is to buy.
So if your engagement is invisible because nobody associates people with opportunities in your CRM, you can’t get full attribution. Marketing automation often can show engagement by firm. One attendee even told me to hire a developer (and of course he “knows a guy”) to run batch jobs to associate all people to opportunities. Maybe my CFO and I will walk before we run here. Ultimately what should matter is tracking which of our marketing activities lead to revenue.
5. Don’t forget to check the marketing jargon at the door [Tweet This]
The keynote speech reminded us all about another common mistake which we all make. Think of a time when you were excited about the results of a campaign and went into an executive’s office to relay the good news only to leave feeling devalued or defeated thinking “they just don’t get it”. The problem isn’t that they “don’t get it”; it’s that you didn’t explain it to them correctly.
Speak in plain English or in the vernacular of the audience you’re addressing. If the Board wants to know about revenue growth, don’t talk about clicks/opens. If your manager is measuring the end result, don’t just show up with metrics about the means to that end.
Make a grid of your firm’s top 5 priorities or those of your boss in one column and in another column, write down your achievements. Then start matching your achievements to priorities and translate them into the language of your audience.