The Marketing Automation Universe’s Center – Part I

The Marketing Automation Universe’s Center – Part I

This week heralds the very first DemandCon, the brainchild of Shawn Elledge(@IMSummit) and Steve Gershik (@SGersh).  Launching in San Francisco, the event is, in our opinion, the center of the Marketing Automation Universe.  Here are some highlights of the great keynotes and panels that we got to hear.

The crowd was comprised of 300 leading edge marketers from companies like IntelSamsung, and Office Depot.  Steve reviewed the flow of the day and the agenda.  His comments were quite eloquent and timely, as he defined Demand Generation as “the practice of creating a customer’s propensity for and ability to buy from you.”   You as the marketer and sales person need to help customers do their job better because of their association with you.  The AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action) is old- buyers have more power.  Something has to change.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, as much as 60-90 percent of marketing content produced by marketers is not used by sales.   Something has to change.  Additionally, 50% of all sales people do not make quota.   Those that don’t get fired.  Then the next line of people to be fired are those that make the quotas.  Why were they off so much?  Something has to change.  91% of customers have unsubscribed to B2B emails they previously opted into.  The opt in with the hope that you are going to be less intrusive and more useful.  This attrition rate means we are not doing our jobs.  If there is this much inefficiency in our marketing and sales processes, we need to be better.  This conference  is all about learning how to create solid processes.  This stuff is hard and requires thoughtful planning and execution, along with well trained people to make the processes work.

Jeff Ernst (@JeffErnst) of Forrester Research spoke about how marketing anid sales have always been disconnected.  A shift of thinking is required (or as Allinio says, a transformation).  Bury the sales “funnel.”  Here’s a myth:  The funnel represents buyer behavior.  That’s no longer true.  Being so focused on the funnel has become a “not seeing the forest for the trees” scenario.   The funnel struggles to account for new realities; it’s volume centric and does not account for customer lifetime value.

The better model is the customer lifecycle model.  It puts the customer at the center.  It’s a continuous cycle over a long period of time.  You need to re-earn the customership of these people.  Think of the customer experience that you want to deliver during the relationship.  Think of things on a much longer time horizon. Align with the buyer.  People don’t buy your product, they buy into your approach to solving their problem.

Jill Konrath, (@jillkonrath) of SNAP Selling fame then took the stage, giving her experience as a salesperson  who could not get what she wanted from marketing and learned how to bridge the gap.  Most Marketers face increased objectives, shorter timeframes, and fewer resources.    Many of them also face competing agendas & hidden conflicts.

She conducted a role playing exercise to emphasis the “typical day” of a sales manager.  Allinio’s President, Joe Zuccaro, played the role of a key distributor along with luminaries in the sector like Ardath Albee (@ardath421)  and Matt Heinz (@heinzmarketing) and others were the director of customer service, VP of Marketing, a family member, CEO, HR director and regional sales manager.  The impromptu role playing of a day without script gave a familiar glimpse into what we all face every day.  With so many distractions, it is hard for a manager to pay any attention to opportunities to find new solutions to business problems.  That is unless you think about the following factors.

Her SNAP Factors – Simple vs. Complex, iNvaluable vs. Ordinary; Aligned vs. Irrelevant; Priority vs. Nicety.  You need to heed the former of each phrase and avoid the latter; and the person who needs to do this most pre-sales is the salesperson.  Your salesperson IS the brand. You have an imperative to upgrade the skill level of your salespeople because they bring ideas to their customers.  The role of selling changing fundamentally, just as the role of marketing is changing fundamentally.

Christopher Justice, (@MegaJustice) CEO of SparkSight.  Was high energy but blunt – There are no secrets.  He was frank and said that that data is readily about who we are, what we do, what we buy, and why we buy.  Additionally, the face of marketing is rapidly changing to keep up with the data, which comes in many forms from many directions.

Jon Miller (@jonmiller2), VP of Marketing for Marketo and Bryan Ehrenfreund(@ehrenfreund), VP of Digital Strategies at Televerde both emphasized that most marketers track engagement, not buying intent.  Marketers need to learn how to measure buying intent and some ways to do it are to have metrics for visits to pricing pages, long form demos, late stage content like analyst reports, and using the company name as a search term.

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