Just a week after a great time at Eloqua‘s “Brave New World,” The Marketing Consigliere had the pleasure of attending another very crowded B2B event in the Washington, DC area. Silverpop held a session of its “B2B University” and he was surprised to see it was a standing-room only event for the B2B crowd; DC is not known for its B2B community; there’s not even a Business Marketing Association chapter here. And what makes an event like this even more rewarding is meeting professionals from companies he’s never heard of before. It humbles him to discover companies that have been around for years that he was oblivious to.
Adam Needles (@abneedles), Silverpop’s Director, Field Marketing and B2B Marketing Evangelist, moderated the afternoon and explained their version of a “Brave New World” in which buying centers involve more people in decision making, and are massively multi-channel in their search for information to help them make those decisions. “Interruptive” media (that from vendors; tradeshows, etc.) are declining in utilization. Content matters, so B2B Marketers can take advantage of the buyers’ need for content.
Carlos Hidalgo (@cshidalgo) of the Annuitas Group spoke about how the buyer is driving dialog; organizations have to adapt to that new buying process. With 70% of leads not getting followed up, the key is to manage leads, not just generate them. This requires a process based approach, but do not approach technology as the “solution;” technology supports the lead management process to facility operational response to the buyer. And because sales are complex, the selling organization must have cross -functional discipline internally when approaching all the players of the buying center. Other things Carlos emphsized for you to think about: 1. Determine the validity of your database. How old are your records?; 2. Determine approach to data hygiene and who owns/stores it?; 3. What is the ideal customer profile? 4. What do you do with leads? What are the qualification criteria?
Jep Castelein (@jepc) of LeadSloth described his definition of Marketing Automation with the acronym “DECLAWS:” Database, Email, Campaigns, Lead scoring, Analytics, Website, and Sales tools. You must start with quality data. Email remains very important for inbound marketing and many factors affect the success of an email execution. With regard to campaigns, What are the automated sequences you can create that places a prospect in the most appropriate, escalated campaign? Since a prospect is usually in more than one campaign, you need need to triangulate where they are in the buying process, and lead scoring will help that. Analytics is one of the hardest topics in marketing automation because many customers don’t really understand what metrics they really need on a regular basis – especially how it affects ROI. With websites, do the tracking, of course, but take advantage of landing pages, microsites, and registration forms. Landing pages and forms can be created easily with SaaS applications that do not require the process slowing inclusion of an IT department. Sales tools include CRM systems; they must be populated by qualified leads nurtured by the Marketing automation process.
M.H. (Mac) McIntosh (@B2B_Sales_Leads) of Mac McIntosh, Inc. kept the late afternoon lively. He hammered the need to show ROI – marketing’s efforts must drive sales. Marketing must make sales look good – and do what it can to reduce the cost of sales. Position Marketing automation as a “lower cost-per-touch” way to free up salespeople on the “more” expensive cost-per-touch opportunities. He narrated a case study where Marketing decreased the cost of customer acquistion by 35% due to a disciplined lead management process, and Marketing was involved in 52% of successful sales that accounted for 61% of the firm’s revenue because they were targeting better than sales was.
Amanda Greene of Blackboard and Eric Lecky (@elecky) of ICF International were panelists that Adam Needles spoke to before the crowd. Since they were Marketing practitioners, they described some core challenges they had. Amanda gave a great visualization of trying to reshape a sales funnel from looking like a martini glass to looking like a pint glass. The martini glass indicates that very little is converting from “lead” to “opportunity,” while a pint glass implies a better flow of leads that properly are nurtured. Regarding Demand Generation/Marketing Automation, Eric warned to “walk before you run.” It’s important to take your time and build slowly, just to show it works. Even qualitative success stories can help when you need to communicate to the executives of your organization. Amanda added that you measure what you’re doing – Marketing is no different from other departments in that respect.
Rather than feature pictures of all the speakers, The Marketing Consigliere thought it would be good to show what a great audience Silverpop had. Here are some of the better pictures that The Marketing Consigliere took at the event:
the Pros from J. Spargo & Associates, an event management company based in Virginia.
Driving all the way from Philadelphia, the Frontline Placement Technologies team, led by David Peltz (l). They are a SaaS provider that automates the process of filling schedule openings and managing employee absences.
Compared to each other, The Marketing Consigliere thought that B2B University was for “undergraduates” in Marketing, while Brave New World was for “MBAs.” That is not saying one was better than the other; both provided world-class speakers. While Eloqua’s content was more sophisticated and appropriate for larger Marketing organizations, Silverpop’s curriculum was probably more appropriate for small to medium sized organizations that perhaps are still exploring the current Marketing automation technologies and have not necessarily deployed any yet. You should be going to one of these types of events no matter what.