Here at Marketo we are very excited about our upcoming 2012 Global User Summit. We have a stellar lineup of keynotes including LeadMD CEO & Chief Marketing Evangelist, Justin Gray. We are pleased to welcome him to the blog to share strategies and best practices for attracting today’s elusive buyer and rising above the choppy economy to achieve unprecedented revenue growth.
Please tell us a little bit about LeadMD and how your company aligns to deliver/support cloud services to your customers?
Gray: I founded LeadMD in 2009 to help businesses generate and manage leads better through marketing automation processes and technology. LeadMD helps develop, streamline, and maximize lead generation programs for both SMB and enterprise customers. We also offer holistic marketing and sales services to our customers that include website design and usability, search engine optimization, content strategy and the company’s own managed services to help clients at whatever point they need assistance. Our knowledge of Marketo is, in fact, so deep that Marketo often asks LeadMD to assist its own clients that want to better utilize their marketing automation investment.
In your opinion, what are 3 critical components needed to maximize marketing automation return on investment?
Gray: First, define success. Organizations should be able to actually predict sales revenue based on their marketing pipeline, yet few take the time to develop this pipeline properly and therefore fail in forecasting. A “work backwards” mentality is helping marketing organizations understand what metrics drive revenue. By understanding pipeline from cold to close, marketers can better predict pipeline impact and efficiently allocate resources accordingly. Creating an analytic model that will measure success should be the first step organizations take.
Next, develop a process. We must map out the journey of the buyer, make it as simple as possible, and remove the pitfalls so it can scale. The customer lifecycle can serve as a great model for effective marketing and sales communication with the buyer. On the other hand, it also enhances internal alignment by understanding the path to purchase. By understanding the progression path of existing customers, marketers can optimize future campaign efforts.
Thirdly, create the conversation. The proliferation of online and digital channels has created an environment in which each phase of the buying process is exposed online. From buyers attempting to fully understand their issues and how others have solved them — to deep commentary on solution alternatives — marketers are now presented with greater opportunities and challenges.
What is the value of these components and why are you urging clients to use them?
Gray: The value is tangible. It is both monetary and educational. Last year we saw our customers increase their company revenues by an average of 36% using simple keys like those listed here. We collected data from over 8,000 customer-marketing programs implemented through the Marketo platform and discovered that these programs yielded more than $300 million in marketing-created, top-line revenue. After six months of lead management utilizing marketing automation, LeadMD customers saw an additional $10.2 Million in net new monthly revenue. Those are real results. Why? Because there is always the tendency to focus on the “now”. “We need to get this campaign out” or “we have to generate MORE leads this month”! We are there to fight that fight.
Marketers must also take a more comprehensive approach and map out the big picture. Create a process; create a machine that speaks to buyers that is powered by great content. Ultimately that’s what we want to do, we want to build something that will react appropriately to anything we throw at it. Once we implement and dial in a systematic process to marketing, we can start to change our thinking. No longer is it a numbers game. Of course there will always be a correlation between quantity and output but that model is incredibly inefficient. We need to focus on quality of interaction, acquire data, nurture interest and let the machine work. I’ll know we’ve done our job when marketers view content as their number one priority. It’s the most difficult piece of the equation and also the most important. It drives the conversation. We are just starting to assemble enough success metrics after 3 years of this to slap marketers in the face and get their attention. The types of success metrics we are talking about are staggering and it’s scaling year after year.
What trends do you expect to see in cloud computing over the next 12 months?
Gray: Everything today is about providing hyper value. Never before have we seen so many great solutions flooding the market. From CRM and ERP to customer service and middle office solutions to storage – we are seeing low cost, high value across the board. The days of expensive, hard to purchase technology with marginal benefit are over. Agile technologies that allow the buyer to consume a right-size solution with flexible pricing and low footprint TCO are dominating the marketplace. Today consumers are starting to actually get what they want – that will continue over this year and beyond. Piggybacking on this trend I think you will see cloud vendors reinforcing their offering with value add solutions. You’ve seen Salesforce taking steps like this with strategic purchases such as DimDim and Jigsaw – even Marketo’s foray into social with Crowd Factory demonstrates movement along those lines.