by Tom Hardy on Dec 9, 2012 1:55 PM
Those of us who enjoy a bottle of wine or who have a few gray hairs know that things get better with time. The key to personal or professional growth is learning from your experiences and improving each time around. This week, we looked at the learning process marketers go through when they begin using a marketing automation tool. To add some competitive spice, we compared how different industries learned at different rates.We looked at several measures of marketing effectiveness, including open and click rates. We found across all industries these rates actually decreased over the first five months of marketing automation. Examining the number of emails sent and qualified leads captured, we found successive increases as marketers learn and adjust their approach toward the end goal of delivering MQLs to sales. Zoom in Next, when we examined Lead Efficiency, defined by MQLs generated per 1000 emails sent, an obvious leader jumps to light: Across all industries, Lead Efficiency increases approximately80% over the first months of execution. However, marketers in manufacturing increased Lead Efficiency by approximately 3 times in the same period. Furthermore, they demonstrated steady month over month improvement and eventually the highest Lead Efficiency at scale. It seems that the principles of continuous improvement have leaked from the factory floor to the marketing suite!
B2B email marketers: writing a business-themed email? Use terms such as “money,” “revenue,” and “profit” in the subject line, and avoid words such as “ROI,” “asset,” and “industry.” That’s one of many takeaways from anew report [Download id not defined] by Adestra, which analyzed almost 1.2 billion B2B emails sent within the past 12 months. The study examines performance metrics across a number of subject line themes – including discount, news, and content – and also looks at subject line length and personalization.
This latest study from Adestra follows from its July 2012 report, which was not limited to the B2B sector.
What Works, And What Doesn’t
See the article here
MarketingSherpa published a great case study yesterday about a software company’s decision-making process when selecting a marketing automation vendor.
You can follow along with the steps they took and at the end of the article you can see the results of their efforts – 341% reduction in unqualified leads over 2011, deliverability increased from 81% to 99.6%, and more.
It is assumed that if you have experience of email marketing and web analytics that you will have the skills to implement a Marketing Automation platform. It is true that the platform includes many of the same elements; an email engine, landing pages and a web analytics component but the universe of activities of the Marketing Automation platforms is much wider.
Marketing Automation is about driving leads from an initial interest through to a fully qualified sales lead. It requires the planning and professional support of automating any business process. The Marketing Automation platform is there to support the business process not to define it. Technology should only be implemented after the planning is complete.
Put the business decision first and the technology second. Three factors common in successfully implemented Marketing Automation are;
1) Clear objectives 2) Strong planning 3) Support from experienced Marketing Automation professionals
We will explore these areas in our next three emails but if you want to read them now click below; Clear Objectives Strong Planning How to choose professional help
Marketing Automation content is fundamental to success. It will not work if you have only one piece of content which is being repeatedly pushed out – albeit in a different guise.
We can debate how much content is needed till the cows come home but a number which is suggested by many is 35. Getting together 35 different pieces of content may be ‘daunting’ but not having enough will hold the success of your business back in many ways.
Some tips to help you build your content library; 1) Repurpose 2) Function specific 3) Understand the buyer’s journey. 4) Provide variety for your buyer.
The better the quality of the content the better the results of the Marketing Automation. If you’d like to read the detail of these 4 gems please click here.
Your board or CEO should appoint a key person to “own” the project regardless of whether they plan to be the eventual head of Marketing Automation. A pivotal role will be to underwrite the uptake of the system to make sure you get the maximum benefit from it. They should be a business person rather than an IT bod. The role should include;
Understand the company’s revenue generation process from gathering the first lead to closing the sale Understand operations and how data flows through the organisation Understand the system and its full potential Be able to communicate new concepts in a way that is relevant to individuals to maximise uptake and design input Be flexible enough to help individuals or departments map out their content requirements Understand metrics and how they benefit aspects of the process
The other critical team members of your Marketing Automation team will be the lead qualification team. Telephoning all of your contacts in order to qualify them can ensure that effort is put in where it counts. The system may also help build the profiling data with emails, web activity, and scoring. This process must be done properly as it will be an integral part of the system moving forward.
You start by mapping your business’ unique processes beginning with your sales funnel. Some helpful pointers;
1) Definitions – Consistent definitions used by the whole company eliminates confusion; (click here for some generally used)
2) Metrics – It is essential to have measurement criteria to benchmark your plan. If current metrics aren’t known or feel inadequate then research those used in your market or by those of companies you look up to.
3) Know what your buyers are doing – Understanding what your buyers are doing can give you a real advantage and enable the creation of relevant and appropriate content. You will be able to provide content they need in order to take the next step towards the sale.
Together with your defined process and plan you can then begin to evaluate systems on the basis of how well they will support YOUR business processes rather than making your business fit some pre-loaded processes of a software developer.
It is no longer a question of if companies will implement Marketing Automation but rather when. Sales departments already accept the need for CRM systems, and finance know they want ERP as automation offers a great competitive advantage. As your competitors benefit from the automation, your business will be significantly disadvantaged if it doesn’t.
What we learn from CRM and ERP implementations is that just choosing a good software provider and installing the system is NOT going to provide the best solution.
To succeed in Marketing Automation you need more than just software, you need to have three key factors supporting it;
1) Methodology – the entire process being correctly mapped out right from beginning to end; from lead generation to the sale (and beyond if you really want to max-out your ROI).
2) Key personnel – the key individuals critical to the success of the project are the board and company management team. Without them onside you are sunk before you start. From there you need to pool resources to win the hearts and minds of everyone else.
3) Content – Content is King; original, structured, targeted, timely, engaging good quality content is priceless.
1) Clear and simple Making your communications easy to understand and to the point is critical to keeping your prospects’ attention. Complexity is a key reason that prospects don’t want to deal with a company or buy a product; complexity in communication, too many choices or perceived difficulty in implementation, all feature in research.
2) Be knowledgeable Knowing your stuff and making your communications with prospects valuable is the key differentiator from your competitors. If you can provide information which is valuable to your prospects they will be happy to receive it, keep it and even look forward to receiving more. And guess who they’ll speak to when they’re ready?
3) Make it relevant to each recipient Knowing your prospects are short of time means you’ll understand that none of them will be interested in your products or services until they reach the final steps of their sales cycle and are ready to reach a decision between suppliers. Until then they are interested in the key drivers for their businesses. Your communications need to focus on these – the business benefits of using you.
4) Focus your time and effort where it’ll make the most difference By gathering market information and monitoring key changes in prospect companies you can develop unique communications that depict your proposition in your prospects’ environment thereby demonstrating your good fit and business edge over its competitors.
Whether it is one person or two separate departments there has always been disconnect between the sales & marketing disciplines. The problem is who is responsible for not reaching targets; lead generation marketing or sales conversions?
Today reaching these decision makers is harder than ever and if you want to reach them then your marketing and sales departments need to work in harmony to grab their attention and win their business.
Issues are further complicated as new-business Prospects are overloaded with information and interruptions which makes it even harder to be noticed; cold calls rarely get through, messages are rarely returned and emails are often deleted instantaneously. On average nine calls need to be made before a sales person gets to speak to their target and when they do the sales cycles are now longer and have more people involved in the decision making process.
Marketing Automation can deliver great value to most companies if they recognise that there is more to it than just technology. To get it right you will need to focus on your communications in order to put yourself ahead of your competitors.
The top tips are; 1. Be clear and simple 2. Be knowledgeable 3. Be relevant to each recipient 4. Focus your time and energy on what’ll make most difference
Building a database of prospects and pre-planning your communications with them with means that sales teams can concentrate their attention on those prospects who are ready to buy now. Imagine how much easier it is to reach a contact who you know has opened your emails, clicked on links in it, read your articles and forwarded them on to their colleagues?
We’ll elaborate on these four cornerstones next week.