Demand Generation (new!)

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Intent Data – what is it?

What are the business benefits of Intent data?

Improves conversion odds. Intent helps your sales team identify which accounts are more likely to be interested or ‘in market’ vs. others, thus increasing the odds of successful pipeline conversion.

Prioritizes large number of accounts for sales to work through. When there is a one to many approach that your sales team is tackling, Intent data helps prioritize which accounts are more likely expressing some level of interest in your topic/product vs. other areas. 

Enables account targeting with appropriate nurture campaign air cover and/or banner interest based on account need. Intent data can trigger use cases of better web banner advertising (e.g. a surround sound effect on targeting) and improved nurturing odds based on what an account is actually interested in.

Improves ROI/utilization of existing Marketing & Sales Technology. Intent when integrated with the marketing automation or CRM platform can be used in a more aggressive way than using those same platforms without intent data.

There are a variety of intent data providers – G2 Crowd, Bombora, Big Willow (recently acquired), & TechTarget to name a few.

How are you using Intent Data?

 

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Waterfall Metrics

Many companies, particularly older SaaS companies, are still stuck with a lead based sales and marketing system while testing an account based system.  For those with a lead based system, the handoff points between sales and marketing can be critical.

In many client scenarios, we see low conversion rates between MQLs and SALs.  This is a sample set from all Marketo customers that ranges from 20% to 33% based on the maturity of the company of their funnel conversion.  The conversion rate is a function of Average Selling Price, Total contract value, sales cycle length and sales cycle type.  

In our experiences of seeing a pattern of low MQL to SAL conversion, this situation can usually be traced to 1 of 4 items or combo of items:

  1. No rigid acceptance criteria by the receiving function (SDRs) and/or no clear lead definition criteria agreed upon by sales and marketing – no accountability by parties or dashboards that can trigger non-compliance alerts and thus finger pointing.
  2. Too high of quantities of MQLs pushed to SDRs that are of low quality or low value – this is what we see most frequently as evidenced by actual conversion rates
  3. Lack of capacity of SDRs to execute on MQLs that marketing produces, so SALs are left untouched.
  4. SDR function that works for head of sales who is more motivated to do pure outbound ‘dial for dollars’ than to follow up on inbound.

Sometimes Marketing is unfairly asked to contribute even MORE to pipeline year over year across a flat or minimally growing budget against a weak conversion point that we spelled out above – we see that phenomenon quite a bit in the first quarter of the year.  In some cases, this calculation makes sense as investors want to see a more efficient sales/marketing engine as evidenced by a lower Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) over time.  However, Marketers are asked to make a “step function” change in CAC which is extremely risky to hit expectation wise.

There are ways to combat this increased pipeline challenge of marketing shouldering all the burden and other ways to improve revenue for the company that marketing can influence:

  • Fix the MQL to SAL problem – depending on the cause as identified above, one could address this overall conversion issue.
  • Reduce churn – with customer marketing, you can help drive better LTV and with better churn numbers, you can reduce the pressure sales AND marketing feel on generating new business – you have to generate fewer new MQLs to sustain revenue
  • Ask your CFO what he/she thinks about the sustainability of a step function change in CAC;  in our experiences, that is not a scalable solution in any SaaS environment, a good CFO will know that and may come to your defense.

Addressing any of these areas will help for better sales and marketing alignment, improved stakeholder satisfaction, and longer term tenure by a head of marketing.

What trends are you finding in your waterfall lead metrics?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Top 5 MarTech & ABM Challenges for Marketing Leaders

At the 2018 Marketo Summit (#MKTGnation), we covered five common mistakes for MarTech and Account Based Marketing (ABM) deployments.

If you don’t have time to watch the embedded video, this is a ‘tweetable’ summary of each bullet point of our findings.

We began with some background.   Not every company uses the words ‘ABM’ but many companies are on a journey of account based selling and marketing.  Then we jumped into each of the five points below.

  • FOMO, Technology, and ABM Starting Point
    • Most companies have a ‘fear of missing out’, react, buy technology, realize that none of integrates.
    • Like a gym membership, people think having a gym membership (ABM technology) gets you in revenue shape (ABM strategy).  In reality, you need personal trainers to accelerate your progress with your gym membership.  Technology is not a strategy.
    • There are common elements of ABM deployments:  assessments, strategy, targeting, measurement, and XDR cadences.
  • Selecting the right targets (ICP, Accounts, Contacts)
    • Define your ideal customer profile based on qualitative and quantitative data.
    • Bounce it up against total addressable market and technologies to derive TAM.
    • Assess your data completeness at the account and lead level.
  • Lack of the right ABM Intent Data strategy
    • Account intent can be valuable when used for a personalized outreach.
    • Intent requires careful keyword selection and integration into business process.
  • Missing system and process requirements for ABM
    • Defining the customer experience on ABM is key.
    • Account disposition treatment is a critical arrangement across sales & marketing.
  • Not hiring the right internal and external talent
    • Internal talent needs to be well rounded across sales, inside sales, marketing, XDRs.
    • External talent needs to be a virtual extension of your team, agile, knowledgeable.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the sharpest audience issue that was felt was surprisingly the talent side of things – finding the right partners to augment the skills internally.  Initially, I would have thought Data as the #1 issue.

What trends are you seeing in Account Based Marketing?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 4.  Lessons Learned in an Account-Based Approach (ABA)

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

 

In our industry conversations and experiences with over 100+ Account based deployments, we find that many marketers, particularly SaaS companies or large enterprises, believe they’re “already doing account based marketing.” When we dig a little deeper to uncover what that means, we find it means their progress is very different for a lot of companies.

 

(See article on MarTech Advisor)

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 3. What kind of talent is required for ABM success?

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

As Gartner recently pointed out in their October 2017 survey, nearly half of all discretionary marketing spend is dedicated toward internal people or external agency support.

In today’s series, we’ll talk about key resources needed to successfully pull off an ABM strategy to build on our earlier ABM posts of when to create a strategy and how to convince stakeholders of the strategy.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 2 – How to convince stakeholders ABA is worth doing.

 

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

 

In Part 1 of our series, we talked about when an Account Based Approach (ABA) should be embarked upon.  In today’s piece, we’ll talk about how to enlist stakeholders that ABA is worth doing.

 

Account-Based Marketing or selling can not happen only within the Marketing department, which makes it very challenging for those of you in cultures that need to prove success out before embarking in a larger initiative. You need executive support, as well as the support of your peers in sales.

 

(Click on the link above for the rest of the article as published in MarTech advisor!)

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 1 – When is Account Based Marketing needed?

 

As Published in MarTech Advisor

 

We have all heard the buzz; Account-Based Marketing, Account Based Selling, Account Based Revenue, Account Based Everything…the acronyms are plentiful.  I’ll add one more to the mix.

 

An account based approach (ABA) represents an omni-channel coordinated sales and marketing approach, one that reinforces B2B sales and marketing fundamentals, but more hyper-targeted than in times past.  It includes very personalized and customized experiences across ANY automation tool for sales AND marketing.   Analysts are catching onto this trend:

 

(See MarTech Advisor for full article)

 

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

What’s The Impact Of The New Demand Unit Waterfall?

As published in DemandGen Reports, May 2017

By Jon Russo, Founder B2B Fusion, @b2bcmo

For B2B revenue leaders that are contemplating adoption of the new SiriusDecision’s Demand Unit Waterfall, here are five impact areas on B2B strategies and initiatives to consider:

  1. Develop a data strategy: install proper data processes, match leads to accounts (Ringlead, Full Circle, Lean Data, etc.) and establish the right global account hierarchies. After Fuze CMO Brian Kardon and his team invested significant time and energy in a data strategy, his team experienced massive growth success.
  1. Embrace an Account Based approach. CMO Peter Herbert of VersionOne describes his very successful Account Based journey as, “real progress B2B revenue teams are making towards a more intelligent, proactive, and efficient way of going to market.”  This new approach reinforces a need for an ABM strategy of account identification and investments (Engagio, DemandBase, Radius, Everstring, Oceanos, Terminus, Kwanzoo, Big Willow, etc.)
  1. Align and measure. Herbert says, “B2B teams are shifting from working in silos to capture and handoff leads to working together to engage — in a more compelling way.”  Build supporting Salesforce structures, data lakes with Business Intelligence overlays like Anish Jariwala at Informatica has created, or leverage tools that measure most of this new waterfall (Engagio, Full Circle Insights, etc.)
  1. Select attributes of the buying committee but...anticipate challenges identifying the right buying authorities from scouts or key influencers, especially if roles change deal to deal. Expect assumptions and manual intervention as Sales uses Salesforce contact roles sparingly, Marketers create personas, and roles change.
  1. Retain the right internal and external talent to support this new waterfall and maximize technology investment ROI. Augment internal teams with knowledgeable external sales and marketing performance firms that extend internal strategy reach and best practice system capabilities to improve odds of visible success and to move in a more agile manner.
by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

2015 Sales & Marketing Predictions: Data Relevance

Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computers, recently said, ‘Data is the key competitive differentiator in today’s business environment.’  I believe he is right.  Data is the star of the 2015 sales and marketing show; enterprises will generate new business, optimize their current state of data, and close more deals as a result of the improvement in data quality.

According to Aberdeen, nearly 91% of B2B Enterprises have not properly optimized their lead flow process.  Proper data is a key ingredient in that optimization.  Despite data not being a ‘balance sheet’ item historically was overlooked by non-marketing executives, executives will begin to assign company initiatives to improve data as they realize the direct correlation of the effectiveness of the inquiry to close conversion process to that of the quality of data in their customer relationship management and marketing automation databases.  CMO’s career credibility relies heavily on the data quality when reporting on their impact to the business and they, too, will invest more cycles in improving the current state of their data.

From this point, companies will begin to experiment with data predictability models.   SaaS based enterprises with large volumes of inquiries and with client usage data will continue to be earlier adopters of such predictive data technology.  SaaS companies will sort out the most probable to deal close or most probable to upgrade, with other companies eventually following suit.  The overall predictive market in 2015 for marketers using data will still be very nascent (<$100M for all companies in the sales and marketing use case) but will be the fastest growth as a percentage quarter over quarter of any marketing technology in 2015.

Lastly, the term ‘Big Data’ will become increasingly meaningless in 2015 as the executive question will pivot from ‘what are we doing in Big Data?’ to ‘how can our data be used to increase productivity…increase sales…decrease customer churn…etc.?’

What do you think will happen in 2015?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 1 Comment

Marketing Credibility: 2015 and beyond

credibility

Here is a valuable blog today from what appears to be a US head of sales in how he views marketing in his business in a tech company contrasting to a non-tech company – it can be inferred from the post that marketing’s compensation is getting tied to revenue performance, that’s where we also see the puck headed for all companies and where true marketing credibility comes into play – it isn’t just in the gymnastics or theory of SLAs, scoring, definitions, or dashboards – it’s in the output of where he (and others) can depend on marketing’s annual growth, lead contribution, and bookings for the business overall and where marketing can belly up to the bar with their own revenue contribution.

The most salient excerpt:

We are fanatical about complete sales and marketing team alignment.  In addition to corporate and product marketing, our marketing department is responsible for directly contributing to 50% of our annual pipeline growth and 50% of our new business bookings every year.  Marketing has SLA’s (service level agreements) with sales for qualified lead definitions and we have specific target goals for those numbers as well as the top stages of our single, shared lead/opportunity funnel or pipeline.  We track, measure and report on our performance at each of those stages in terms of both the actual number and the conversion ratios for lead movement from stage to stage.  We also benchmark our performance for all of that against an industry standard for comparably sized SaaS technology companies.

We see these trends in enterprises as well – though sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees when a company needs to embark on transformational change.  They get bogged down in tactics (predictive analytics, scoring, SLAs) – which are all fundamentals – but lose sight of the overall goal.

Excellent article.  What are you seeing?