Risk of Not Using Revenue Generation Software

Risk of Not Using Revenue Generation SoftwareExperts estimate that only 2-5% of all companies use marketing automation, a component of revenue generation software. Businesses not using revenue generation software are at risk relative to their competitors who use these platforms. In this article we’ll look at the disadvantages of not using marketing automation and revenue generation software.

Revenue generation software can provide a considerable advantage for a business. With this software, B2B marketers have the ability to interact with leads in ways their competitors cannot. For example, competitors not using revenue generation software might dismiss a lead while the marketing automation adopter would place the lead into a lead nurturing program and close a deal later in time when they lead matures. Adopters can also take advantage of the opportunity to become experts on revenue generation software to stay one step ahead of their competitors. The longer companies wait to adopt these types of tools, the longer it will be until they establish expertise. This is even more relevant as revenue generation software adds more features and capabilities. It will be hard to learn all at once vs. learning iteratively.

In addition to gaining competitive advantage, there are many disadvantages of not using revenue generation software.

What are the risks of not using revenue generation software?

1) Website traffic will continue to be monitored at a macro level (a la what Google Analytics provides) instead of at the visitor level. Read our article entitled “track your website” to understand how lead tracking results differ from macro analytics packages.

2) Leads will continue to be passed from marketing to sales without proper qualification. Sadly, 80% of all marketers continue to send unqualified leads to sales. Read our article on sales and marketing alignment for more background.

3) The salesperson may have to manually check in with a large number of prospects on a regular basis. This is a continual problem and will only get worse as a company’s database and business grows.

4) Pulling reports may be tedious and sourced from incomplete or inaccurate data.

5) Sales and marketing people become inefficient as resources spend too much time on tasks that could be automated such as lead follow up, lead distribution, lead nurturing, email marketing, and sales prospecting.

6) Execution is slowed as the creation of new marketing resources like landing pages and web forms may be slowed down by the need for IT or web developer assistance.

Small, medium, and large sized businesses will greatly benefit from revenue generation software. Lead Liaison’s technology can help your business reduce the risk of not using revenue generation software. We can help your business save time and money while increasing revenues and leaving your competitors in the rear view mirror. Take the next step and see more benefits of revenue generation for marketers and more benefits of revenue generation for sales and contact Lead Liaison today.

What do you feel are the risks of not using revenue generation software?

To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

How to Make Marketing Automation Successful

How to Make Marketing Automation SuccessfulMarketing automation has been around for over a decade. However, it’s only recently that awareness and adoption of marketing automation has increased exponentially. In this article we’ll discuss one of the major issues facing marketers when adopting a marketing automation system. By reading this article you’ll get a better understanding of how to make marketing automation successful.

Although adoption is skyrocketing, analyst data suggests marketers still face some of the problems which marketing automation solves.

Analysts take on challenges facing marketers:

In 2010 Marketing Sherpa conducted a survey that showed 78% of marketers list generating a high quality lead as their top challenge

In 2010 Frost & Sullivan reported 44% of those who own marketing automation said that insufficient processes was an obstacle to success

Furthermore, Jonathan Block of Serius Decisions provided research in December 2010 that compared companies using marketing automation with a process in place vs. those that did not have a process in place. The results are astonishing. Companies that had a process in place yielded the following benefits:

  • A 366% increase in sales accepted leads
  • A 416% increase in closed deals
  • $570,000 in more revenue

Our take away from this data is that marketing automation cannot stand alone without a proper process supporting it. You can buy the nicest sewing machine on the market but you’ll never make the best clothes unless you learn how to use the sewing machine and have a design, implementation and execution plan in place. The sewing machine will not sew the clothes for you without proper training and management. Similarly, marketing automation will not automate marketing for you. Don’t fire your marketing staff quite yet.

Three steps to marketing automation success

What process should companies follow? It’s really quite simple actually and can be accomplished in three steps.

First, companies must understand what processes they currently have and, more importantly, do not have. Conduct an audit on your organization to better understand your lead management process. Document your findings. Focus on how leads enter and exit the sales funnel.

Second, define your new and improved process in a document. We suggest creating a Service Level Agreement, or SLA, to accomplish this. The SLA is a single document that governs the lead management process established for your business.

Depending on the scope of your business and needs, the SLA might include ideal customer profiles, definitions of a lead, lead scoring models, how to respond to a lead, how to distribute a lead, lead nurturing programs, metrics to measure, and sales and marketing responsibilities. Your SLA should serve as a working foundation for your sales and marketing process and be approved/supported by your executive team.

Finally, adopt a Revenue Generation Framework that delivers solutions to satisfy your process. Lead Liaison’s provides Revenue Generation Software that accomplishes just that. The Software includes the following solutions:

  • Sales Prospecting
  • Database Segmentation
  • Lead Tracking
  • Lead Qualification
  • Lead Distribution
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Metrics

By leveraging a revenue generation system such as Lead Liaison to provide the proper framework and adhering to the policies defined in your SLA you’ll make marketing automation successful.

To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

How Lead Nurturing Helps Sales

How Lead Nurturing Helps SalesThe majority of articles on lead nurturing are written from a marketing perspective. The benefits of lead nurturing for sales are rarely highlighted. Let’s take a moment to discuss how lead nurturing helps sales.

Three key benefits of lead nurturing for sales:

1. Aligns the timing of a buyer and sales
2. Builds trusting relationships between sales and the buyer
3. Increases sales productivity

Most top performing sales people would agree success comes from being in the right place at the right time and through relationships with prospects and customers. Additionally, few would argue that success comes from being productive and focused on important deals. Lead nurturing technology is a natural fit with how sales people are successful and complements the selling process.

Here’s what analysts say on how lead nurturing helps sales:

What analysts say:

  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing are able to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead – Forrester Research, Inc.
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing have 9% more sales reps make quota, and enjoy a 10% shorter ramp up time for new reps – CSO Insights
  • Six months after inquiring, 23% of the surveyed subjects had bought the product or service, from the promoter or from a competitor. An additional 67% indicated that they still intended to buy but they were not ready – Sales lead expert, Mac McIntosh.
  • Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads – DemandGen Report.

Let’s look at a specific use case on how lead nurturing helps sales. Without lead nurturing sales people must manually keep track of follow up. When they follow up they’re leaving multiple voice mails and emails in an effort to “touch base”. Sales people really want to know if the prospect is ready to buy. Sales people get burnt out and frustrated and often alienate potential opportunity by subjectively cherry picking only the best leads.

With lead nurturing prospects are automatically sent relevant and personalized content on behalf of a sales person. With the help of lead scoring and website visitor tracking technologies sales will know when a prospect “raises their hand” and is ready to speak to a sales person. Lead nurturing technology helps sales by framing discussions in the buyer’s mind and separates you as a trusted advisor vs. another annoying vendor dialing for dollars. Your buyer’s will feel a sense of gratitude for staying in touch and helping them make a more informed decision.

Additional resources:

  • Lead nurturing campaigns compared with traditional email marketing campaigns
  • Getting started with lead nurturing

To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

Marketing Content

Marketing ContentMarketers are tasked to continually create useful marketing content to disseminate to prospects, customers and partners. The advent of lead nurturing and marketing automation has further fueled the need to have a library of marketing content on hand. Additionally, marketing campaigns typically leverage marketing content for a call to action. However, creating effective content is hard work and takes time. Marketers can focus on two rules of marketing content creation and follow a few tips to simplify the process.

First, think like the buyer, not the seller. Marketers must empathize with their buyers and put themselves in the buyer’s shoes. If you were a buyer what marketing content would you be interested in? Second, map out the phases your buyers go through before purchasing a solution. The B2B buying process varies with each company.

After thinking like your buyer and mapping out your buyer’s stages begin creating content relevant to each phase. For example, most buyers go through an “awareness” phase. Create marketing content commensurate with this phase such as analyst reports, glossaries, industry articles or checklists. Focus content on education and problem solving. Make the messaging all about them, not you. Create fresh content that helps your buyer meet their goals such as ROI calculators and measurement or optimization tools. Useful content can have 5X return over “self indulging content”. Don’t try to close the sale with a prospect right away, that will come after you build the buyer’s trust and garner a relationship.

Here are some more tips for creating marketing content:

Marketing Content Tips

1. Start by conducting a marketing content audit to assess your resource library.
2. Eliminate rarely used marketing content.
3. Separate content that’s all about your product or service (data sheets, eBooks, website copy) from marketing content that helps the buyer.
4. Keep your content short. It’s not necessary to write multiple page documents or 5 paragraph articles. People are busy and like to consume useful marketing content in bits, not bites.
5. Consider a compilation of check lists, glossaries, analyst reports, executive briefs, and industry overviews.
6. Think about how you can repurpose your marketing content. For example, take screen shots of videos and make a transcript of the audio for a blog post or document. Produce various iterations of a “How to Buy Product ABC” based on your customers industry or persona.
7. Stay committed to content marketing. Creating relevant content is not a one-time event and should be viewed as a long term commitment.

Check out the Content Rules book for additional content marketing tips. They discuss how to create killer blogs, videos, eBooks, and webinars.

Also, our article on 101 Business to Business Lead Generation Ideas and Tips might also stimulate ideas for good marketing content.

To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

What is Marketing Automation

What is Marketing AutomationThe term “marketing automation” has been used extensively and possibly incorrectly in the industry. Many definitions exist and many vendors claim they offer marketing automation. As a result, no one vendor offers the same marketing automation solution. We’ll clarify some of the confusion for you and help you answer the question, what is marketing automation?

What is marketing automation according to analyst Mac McIntosh?

“The use of technology to generate, nurture, score and qualify leads, and drive sales, using customized, multi-touch marketing communications tailored for each contact’s profile, level of interest, behavior or place in the buying process.” – Mac McIntosh”, sales-lead-insights.com

Marketing automation has been referenced as the “second coming of email marketing”. The truth is, it might be to email marketing companies; but it’s not, and it’s much more than that. In layman’s terms, what is marketing automation? Marketing automation is a broad description or category name for a set of features and/or technology which help reduce repetitive, high value tasks associated with marketing processes. Repetitive tasks are usually manual and include things such as marketing segmentation (database segmentation), campaign management, database cleansing, and lead nurturing. Marketing segmentation is the process of dividing a contact database into individual marketing segments commensurate with a marketing campaign. For example, dividing a database into companies in the financial industry interested in security solutions. Campaign management is the process of setting up, automating, and measuring campaigns. Setting up a landing page with a web form in conjunction with an email marketing effort is an example of a campaign that’s managed with marketing automation. Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships and automating prospect/customer engagement in a personalized way through a combination of email, web sites, micro sites, and direct mail. The variance in vendor’s marketing automation solutions is attributed to the multitude of features. As suggested above, basic components such as email marketing could be construed as marketing automation. Analyze marketing automation features and benefits carefully when deciding on a vendor’s solution.

What is marketing automation without a way to measure results?

“Without a measurement and analytics component, all “automated” technology is of little more value than a car without a steering wheel. Thus, in order for any customer engagement component to be valuable, it must return actionable data that can be analyzed and benchmarked over time to consistently improve performance…” – Ian Michiels

Marketing automation value is enhanced with lead tracking. Lead tracking “listens” to online visitor behavior to identify prospect’s relative interest to purchase. Tracking creates a digital fingerprint of your prospect’s activity. When combining analytics with marketing automation the solution becomes a powerful tool to help businesses make continuous improvement in their revenue generation cycle.

Surprisingly, a recent study conducted by Aberdeen Group showed that 67 percent of the 130 respondents indicated they relied on multiple separate silos or niche solutions for automating marketing activities vs. leveraging a single integrated platform. When researching what is marketing automation look for a holistic solution; basically, a platform not a product. Lead Liaison considers marketing automation to be one leg of a multi-leg stool that encompasses lead generation, sales prospecting, and automatic lead qualification (lead scoring). Together, these constituents form our revenue generation software platform. To learn more about how you can leverage Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software and/or further discuss what is marketing automation contact us.

To continue education of what is marketing automation reference our three part series on the need for marketing automation, benefits of marketing automation, and lessons learned from marketing automation.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What is marketing automation to you? To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

Getting Started with Lead Nurturing

Getting Started with Lead NurturingA study by the CMO Council showed 80% of leads are lost, ignored or discarded while 73% of companies have no process for revisiting leads. If they’re not the “Glenngary leads” they’re gone, wasted, trashed – bye, bye. Experts estimate businesses have an opportunity to close 38% more deals by using lead nurturing. Getting started with lead nurturing is not challenging as long as you have a recipe for success.

Andre Pino of Forrester Research, Inc. published this article on how to start building a lead nurturing program that delivers results. It’s an excellent article worth reading. Before getting started with lead nurturing define what lead nurturing is, set your objective, and identify your approach. Andre does a great job discussing these three elements so we’ll quote him:

Framework for getting started with lead nurturing:

Definition: Lead nurturing is a process by which leads are tracked and developed into sales-qualified leads. Meaning that they are ready and worthy of a salesperson’s time. Of course, it is critical that you jointly establish the definition of a sales-ready lead with the sales team.

Objective: Our objective is to lead our prospects on an educational journey that moves them down the qualification path and results in a prospect that is highly qualified and ready to enter the sales process.

Approach: Developing a lead nurturing strategy does not need to be a daunting task. A simple approach is best, one that is focused and meaningful to your buyers.

Items to consider when getting started with lead nurturing:

While getting started with lead nurturing take the following six elements into consideration as you work on your plan:

1. Ensure you have a database or list of contacts to start with
2. Focus on the prospect and how B2B buyers buy
3. Consider simple database segmentation (see marketing segmentation) like industry or role to send pertinent content
4. Outline a process that’s relevant to your customers B2B buying process
5. Create great content
6. Be consistent with your messaging

Getting started with lead nurturing is not as hard as you think it is. Lead nurturing is a process of iterations. Begin with a basic program and expand from there. Good luck getting started with lead nurturing and contact Lead Liaison if we can help.

To learn more about how Lead Liaison’s lead nurturing can help you contact us today.

To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Lead Nurturing CampaignsEmail marketing campaigns are very different from lead nurturing campaigns. Unfortunately, many marketers believe they already nurture leads by sending random, generic, and untimely email messages to their database. In reality, what they are doing is annoying prospects and diminishing return on assets. Marketers must understand that lead nurturing campaigns infuse consistency, relevance, and patience into traditional email marketing campaigns.

“If all you do is send generic email marketing messages to your early stage leads over and over and over again, you’re missing the point. Consistency is good but being relevant and then consistent is even better.” – Brian Carroll, B2B Lead Blog

Lead nurturing campaigns create consistency

Let’s examine a few key words in Brian’s statement. First, let’s discuss “consistency”. Email marketing is typically a very manual and inconsistent process. In the world of email marketing it’s very easy to forget about sending a campaign or lose track of a marketing plan. Marketers must manually schedule email messages on a periodic basis. There’s no systematic way of scheduling campaigns. The frequency of traditional email campaigns is usually monthly or quarterly in the form of a newsletter. Lead nurturing campaigns are different as they allow automatic scheduling of emails. Experts estimate it typically takes 8-12 touches for a lead to start becoming familiar with you. Lead nurturing makes it easier for marketers to be consistent and build relationships over time by automatically scheduling a series of relevant and consistent communications.

Lead nurturing campaigns send relevant communications

Second, let’s touch on the key word “relevant”. Blasting out generic email campaigns demonstrates you don’t understand what your prospects care about. Marketers typically send email messages to the entire database. Lead nurturing campaigns allow marketers to leverage marketing segmentation to segment a database based on demographics, likes, dislikes, website activity or any other profile information stored in the database. Knowing your prospects interests enables lead nurturing campaigns to send tailored and relevant content. Sending relevant content increases the chance of advancing a prospect through the sales cycle through personalized and intimate communications.

Lead nurturing campaigns instill patience

Most marketers who send “static” email campaigns are impatient. They feel once they obtain a new contact/lead they’ve got one chance to turn that contact/lead into an opportunity. If they can’t, they ignore the lead. Marketers must go through a paradigm shift in the way they think about a lead. A lead should be a lead for life. Lead nurturing campaigns help marketers continually leverage their database as a holistic asset by providing frequent and relevant contact touch points with the lead regardless of their stage in the sales cycle. Patience truly is a virtue. Once the lead is ready to “sprout”, you’ll know about it. Brian Carroll shared an interesting analogy related to lead nurturing campaigns:

“…in Minnesota, where I grew up, I worked on a farm with a seed corn farmer and he said you don’t dig up your corn to check and see if it’s growing. That’s the truth with lead nurturing, it’s something that you’re investing in over time and building a relationship with someone” – Brian Carroll, B2B Lead Blog

Lead nurturing campaigns “ready” leads by feeding them topical information to keep your company and solutions top of mind with your prospects. The automated and dynamic capability of lead nurturing campaigns makes lead nurturing very different from email marketing campaigns. If marketers are patient and invest in lead nurturing for the long haul they’ll learn to grow their seeds and harness the fruits of their labor.

To learn more about how Lead Liaison’s lead nurturing campaigns can help you contact us today.

To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

B2B Buying Process

B2B BuyingKnowing where your prospects are in the B2B buying process helps improve communication with your prospects and increases the chance of turning prospects into customers. First, companies must define what buying stages are specific to their business. Only then can companies use strategies to identify where a prospect is in the buying process. In this article, we’ll explore how to define the B2B buying process, strategies to identify where your buyers are in the process, and discuss the benefits of having this information.

Defining your customer’s buying process

Every B2B buying process is different; however, they commonly share three stages:

1. Awareness
2. Discovery
3. Validation

The B2B buying process generally mirrors the AIDA (Awareness Interest Desire Action) stages of the consumer buying process. However, businesses buy in a different way than consumers. Businesses typically make decisions with multiple people, or committees, and have a higher level of accountability, which makes the process more complex. We discuss the evolution of B2B buyers further in another article. Ron Brauner of Integrated Marketing Strategies defines eight buying stages a prospect will typically progress through. The eight stages are listed in the diagram below. We highlighted three stages common to most B2B companies in red:

B2B Buying Process

Sit down with members of your sales, marketing, and executive team to come up with the stages your B2B buyers go through. Start with the three common stages at a minimum and extrapolate from there if necessary.

Strategies to identify where your buyers are in the B2B buying process

There are three ways to effectively identify where your buyers are in the buying process. Leveraging the use of technology will help with all three approaches.

Identifying the B2B buying process stage:

1. Deduce the prospects behavior during their website visit(s). Did they attend a webinar? Were they looking at pricing or product pages? Did they search for your company using certain keywords?

2. Directly ask what stage the buyer is in on a landing page.

3. Make various unique offers commensurate with the stages of your B2B buying process such as webinars, phone consultations, and self-assessment checklists and gauge your prospects response.

Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software provides lead tracking, landing page creation, lead scoring, and lead nurturing technology to help B2B marketers execute the aforementioned strategies. Lead tracking logs website visitor’s actions as they visit your site picking up search terms, pages viewed, landing pages/web forms, and responses to offers. Landing page technology builds dynamic landing pages using a visual, drag and drop editor to create landing pages in minutes. Lead scoring automatically qualifies leads to identify when to hand the lead off to sales. Finally, lead nurturing automates the process of sending relevant content (usually via email) based on a prospects interest and/or stage in the buying process, triggered from their activity or demographics.

Benefits of identifying the buying process

By identifying the buying process you can send relevant content that your prospects are interested in. Lead nurturing, a feature of marketing automation, delivers this capability. For example, if your prospect is looking at a webpage discussing your market or problems you solve then the prospect is most likely in the “Awareness” stage. At this point, marketers may want to send educational material, such as ROI statements or testimonials, to raise awareness. Alternatively, if your prospect is looking at a specific product webpage or pricing webpage they’re probably in the “Discovery” phase. At this point, you may want to send product-specific content using your lead nurturing system to further educate your prospect. Much like a fisherman catches fish, a marketer can “bait the hook” to develop prospects using material they are likely to care about. Sending relevant content to your prospects will help your company better communicate with your prospects needs, build the relationship between prospect and vendor, and get the prospect to revenue faster.

Also, by demonstrating an understanding of the B2B buying process marketers can better measure marketing effectiveness. The lead funnel can be understood and shared with other members of the team. Additionally, gaps in the revenue cycle as the lead moves from marketing to sales can be identified. Pinpointing gaps allows marketers to better understand why prospects are not moving forward in the buying process. With this information, marketers can refocus their marketing strategies to rectify gaps in the funnel.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What do you do to identify the stage your prospective buyers are in?

To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

Lessons Learned from Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation Lessons LearnedIn a series of three posts we share feedback from other senior-level marketers on why marketing automation is needed, benefits of marketing automation, and highlight their lessons learned from using marketing automation. This post covers the lessons learned from marketing automation.

Forrester Consulting interviewed 15 senior level marketers who use marketing automation. The data below shows the percentage of marketers surveyed who provided the answer. When marketers were asked about the lessons learned from marketing automation, here’s what they had to say:

Lessons Learned from Marketing Automation

Lessons learned from marketing automation – key takeaways and recommendations:

1. As mentioned above, a SLA will help you define your process and plan while revenue generation software will help you execute that plan.

2. When it’s time to get buy-in from sales and executives it’s important to convey the benefits of using marketing automation technology to each respective group. This data is a true testament from other marketers. Additionally, we wrote this article which talks about the benefits of sales and marketing alignment, which executives will like. The broad benefit of this technology will not only help executives but will help sales and marketing as well. See our article on revenue generation for marketers and revenue generation for sales to learn more. The reason we don’t call it marketing automation software and instead use revenue generation software is because this technology helps multiple teams. At the end of the day, what is important is revenue generation, something all teams care about – or should.

3. When working with a vendor to integrate marketing automation technology, make sure you get good, intimate support to help with training and overall adoption. Adoption is an iterative process as features are consumed over time.

4. When finding the right set of features to use, don’t be overwhelmed. There are a lot of capabilities within marketing automation. It’s vital to start small and think big. For example, start with a simple demographic lead scoring campaign. Alternatively, start by using lead distribution or lead response features to automatically deliver leads to sales and respond to inquiries. Next, progress to advanced nurturing campaigns that trigger off of changes in a lead’s activity and interest.

We hope this data on the needs, benefits and lessons learned of marketing automation were helpful. If you’re interested to hear how you can better align sales and marketing teams, gain control over marketing programs, measure marketing effectiveness, and strengthen your sales pipeline contact Lead Liaison. Our revenue generation software includes marketing automation as well as lead generation and sales prospecting technology to help your business.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What lessons have you learned from using marketing automation? To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button. Feel free to read part one, need for marketing automation, and part two, benefits of marketing automation.