Material specific to marketing automation such as needs, best practices, lessons learned, and benefits of marketing automation.


ActiveConversionLooking for an alternative to ActiveConversion? If yes, then we welcome you to learn more about Lead Liaison by clicking the button below. ActiveConversion is a strong point solution and focuses on a few areas; namely, lead scoring and visitor tracking. They leave sales prospecting, email marketing among other capabilities to third parties. They have a few other nice features but ultimately, that’s where vendors in this space fall short. B2B companies want integrated solutions, not disparate features. Unfortunately, vendors (and consequently many businesses) have fallen into a trap. “Marketing automation” is the me-too phrase in the industry. It’s the buzzword that vendors and consumers have latched onto. Many vendors claim to do “marketing automation” – why not, it’s gets them the exposure they need. We’ve said it many times – no one wants to automate marketing but everyone wants to generate revenue.

We’re Different from ActiveConversion

Lead Liaison is not following the me-too model. Since the genesis of our company in 2008 we’ve focused on extending our Revenue Generation Software™ platform. The operative word is “platform”. Marketers need a holistic solution to generate, qualify, nurture and manage leads. CRMs such as serve as an excellent accounting system for leads, contacts and accounts; however, they don’t give businesses the structure they need to truly perfect their lead management process and cultivate an environment around revenue generation and sales and marketing synergy. We’re the revenue engine for a business that unifies sales, marketing and executive teams. We’re different from competitors and companies like ActiveConversion because of our focus on delivering solutions to sales and executives in addition to marketers. Our integrated solution also sets us apart. Instead of relying on 3rd party email marketing services that don’t delivered a closed-loop experience, we’ve developed our own professional-grade closed-loop email marketing system running a world-class email engine under the hood. We’ve tightly integrated CRM solutions such as into the DNA of our product. We’ve also spent thousands of hours on the user experience. If we can automate a feature, make a drag-drop component or in any way give our users the visual experience they need to simplify their job then we do it. Add our “no-limit” business model on top of the aforementioned benefits and you’ll see why our solution is so attractive to businesses. In summary, here are a few reasons why you should consider Lead Liaison over companies like ActiveConversion:

  • We’re highly adaptive to our customers needs. We don’t create our products, our customers do.
  • Hands down, the easiest solution to use.
  • We’re a platform, not a product.

We invite you to see a different solution from ActiveConversion and encourage you to learn more about Lead Liaison by speaking with one of our Revenue Success Managers. To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

Revenue Generation Software is Red Hot

Revenue Generation Software is Red HotRevenue Generation Software may be the best thing you’ve never heard of. It’s a sales and marketing engine that’s loaded with fuel, ready for the ride of its life. Now is the right time and right environment for marketing technology to step up. In this article we cover why there’s a red hot market for marketing platforms like Lead Liaison’s and a huge opportunity for marketers to continue to reap rewards of these emerging solutions for years to come.

Three primary events are lighting fire to the space:

• Marketing budgets are on the rise
• The technology is extremely disruptive
• Data is finally easily accessible and abundant

Firstly, marketing budgets are on the rise. According to Gartner, In 2011 B2B marketing budgets as a percentage of revenue were three times higher than IT budgets. Gartner reported marketing budgets at 10 percent relative to IT budgets at 3.6 percent. In 2012 marketing budgets will grow faster than IT budgets according to Gartner. IT budgets will grow 4.7 percent, all marketing budgets are predicted to grow 9 percent and high tech marketing budgets are expected to increase 11 percent. Looking five years out:

By 2017, a CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. – Laura McLellan, Gartner Group

Secondly, Revenue Generation Software is a disruptive technology. It forces companies to think about what matters most – revenue – and how they generate and measure performance around it. It gets companies to think about the transformation of a sales cycle into a revenue cycle. It brings sales, marketing and executive teams together to map out their processes for driving revenue. Marketing platforms that drive and measure revenue are here to stay.

Thirdly, marketing data is growing at a rapid pace. Compounded by changes in buying behavior – sales and marketing is forced to change the way they traditionally operated to better interact with data and prospects. As marketing databases grow there’s an opportunity for better transparency and usability of that data. CRMs make good use of data for sales people by acting as a system of record for the pipeline and the funnel; however, there is no equivalent for marketing. A layer of technology around marketing data helps to analyze data and create automated processes. With Revenue Generation Software businesses can finally leverage data for the benefit of driving marketing insights and measuring downstream prospect/client activities against their marketing spend.

Here’s a snippet from Ajay Agarwal, managing director at Bain Capital Ventures’, that highlights four primary causes of data growth. Ajay talks about how the web is a catalyst for the availability of data which fosters the perfect environment for marketers to leverage software as a service (SaaS) solutions like Lead Liaison.

Primary Causes of Marketing Data Growth – Ajay Agarwal

As more and more businesses across all sectors of the economy move to the web, this kind of data — and a massive amount of it — is finally available.

• A web business can mine thousands of signals from its prospects based on the hundreds of actions a consumer might make on a website (checking a price, looking at an image, reading a review, typing in a detailed search query, etc.).
• The holy grail of closed loop marketing is finally here. With sophisticated technology and analytics, marketers can link spending on customer acquisition directly to a set of downstream customer actions — whether those actions take place on the web, on a mobile device or in a physical location.
• Consumers with smartphones are conveying their intent while scanning QR codes, downloading mobile coupons or simply walking into a store with their location-aware device.
• Social networks are providing a new source of demographic data that, combined with Facebook’s Open Graph, offer marketers a new treasure trove of information.

Ajay further explains, “I am excited about this next wave in enterprise technology. Marketing will finally emerge from the backwater and will give rise to several multi-billion dollar companies.”

Want to learn more about this explosive marketing technology and why Revenue Generation Software is red hot? Please, let us tell you.

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1) Five Years From Now, CMOs Will Spend More on IT Than CIOs Do
2) Marketing is the next big money sector in technology
3) Marketing Automation Getting VC Attention

A Simplified Perspective on How Marketing Automation Works

How Marketing Automation Works - Simplified ViewMarketing automation is a simple concept if you’re in the industry or familiar with these types of solutions. But, what if you’ve never heard of marketing automation before? Take five minutes to read this simplified summary of how marketing automation works.

Eric Wittlake made some very important points about marketing automation. Let’s summarize what Eric says about the premise of marketing automation:

Marketing automation is built on the premise of delivering the right communication to the right person at the right time. When your competitor’s delivery of content is more timely than yours, you have been trumped. Even great content will not engage your audience if the need has already been met by someone else’s more timely delivery. – Eric Wittlake, Babcock & Jenkins

Eric also highlights what fuels the marketing automation engine,  successfully delivering the right content at the right time hinges on data. Data that is provided explicitly by prospects, and more importantly, data that is provided implicitly through their engagement with your communications and content.

Eric does a great job summarizing the marketing automation workflow. It’s important to note that marketing automation is only as strong as its weakest link. If any of the three links mentioned below break down then the marketing automation model loses strength. Eric discussed the drawbacks of removing a link in the workflow. We’ll invert Eric’s thinking to view the benefits of continuing the marketing automation cycle.

• Continued database profiling and lead qualification enables accurate follow up communication.
• With accurate follow up communication, prospects will engage.
• With engagement, lead profiles and lead scores are updated to deliver the right message at the right time.
• Rinse and repeat…

Check out our other articles to learn more about lead scoring and how to do database profiling.

Eric Wittlake (@wittlake) heads up the media practice at Babcock & Jenkins and is an active B2B and digital marketing blogger at B2B Digital Marketing.

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Automating Business – The Buick Way

Automating BusinessOne of our founders recently bought a Buick Enclave. Most of the folks on our team are not car experts. Needless to say, we knew little about Buick Enclaves. When we heard she bought a Buick, we thought – “that’s an old man’s car”. Buick Regal, Roadmaster, Park Avenue, LeSabre – the list of old school Buick’s goes on. Why wouldn’t we formulate that opinion? Several of us got to take a spin in her new Enclave. Let’s just say this; it was a real eye opener. It reminds me how one can be so ignorant about new things. After all, you only know what you know. It got us thinking, if Buicks have evolved like this how has business evolved?

Business, in particular sales and marketing, has evolved considerably. Similar to what technology has done for Buicks, technology has given business a boost. For example, consider our founders Buick Enclave. The vehicle is OnStar equipped. Our co-founder showed us the OnStar iPhone app. We were amazed she could remotely unlock, lock and start her vehicle with the press of a button. And check this out – she remotely started the vehicle and it adjusted the climate control inside the vehicle based on the temperature outside. Wouldn’t it be nice if one could automate business with the press of a button?

Guess what, we can! Sales and marketing is no longer the old school Buick. Marketers have an opportunity to “OnStar-their-business”. Businesses can take advantage of software that automates common marketing processes. For example, with a few button clicks marketers can automate lead nurturing, or drip campaigns, lead qualification, lead distribution and alerts that highly benefit sales. Let’s draw from another analogy in the spirit of Buick/OnStar. While having the iPhone OnStar app up, our co-founder showed us how to find a place using Bing, say the closest Indian restaurant, and push that destination to the in-car navigation or turn-by-turn system. When she jumped in the vehicle her Buick asked her if she wants to go to the Indian restaurant.

That’s similar to configuring an automated marketing campaign and pushing it out to your business. With marketing automation software marketers can configure their prospects route, navigating them through your business and driving them forward along the revenue cycle. Marketer can send automated emails and other actions as part of an automated program and either run/activate the program or schedule it to start at any time in the future.

It’s time to harness technology and start automating business.

For a demo of OnStar and Lead Liaison ping us!

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Why Marketing Automation for Small Business?

Why Marketing Automation for Small BusinessWhy choose marketing automation for small business? If you’re a micro-sized business (< $5M in revenue) or a small business (< $20M in revenue) then there’s less than one percent (1%) chance you’re using marketing automation technology to help grow your small business. Interestingly, when comparing penetration rates of marketing automation (reference our write-up on the “Marketing Automation Market”) for micro and small-sized businesses to penetration rates of mid-size and large businesses, micro and small-sized businesses have the lowest adoption rates. Adoption rates should be much higher than mid-size and large businesses.

Small businesses stand to gain a lot from marketing automation technology. Two fundamental needs are commonplace in almost every small business:

Two fundamental needs of a small business…
• Rapid growth
• Large presence

First, small businesses need to grow rapidly to satisfy investors. When there’s growth, especially fast growth, there’s interest from additional investors in injecting capital into your company’s business. In the venture capital (VC) world, entrepreneurs win when multiple VCs want to invest – VCs end up competing against each other, fighting for their (unfair) share of your business.

Second, small businesses need to appear large, as a formidable competitor in their space and as a viable company customers are willing to invest in. Very few potential buyers will find interest in a company that appears small and unstable with limited resources. Appearing larger improves the chances of your business “winning the deal”.

Fortunately, marketing automation help small businesses grow and appear larger. In particular, marketing automation technology introduces a great deal of personalized automation thereby reducing the need to have dedicated resources managing mundane, yet critical, tasks. Lead Liaison goes many steps ahead of traditional marketing automation packages with our revenue generation software that automates emails, lead qualification (lead scoring, buy signals, lead activity), lead distribution, lead nurturing, lead capture and more. Our software provides a cost-effective framework for small businesses to help structure their lead management process.

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Marketing Automation in CRM

Marketing Automation in CRMAdding marketing automation in CRM will help your sales team be more efficient. In today’s information age, it’s not about how much information you receive, rather, it’s about how you receive the information. Most CRMs cobble together leads and contacts into a few buckets, offering no way to separate hot leads from cold leads. Without a systematic way to prioritize leads, opportunities get lost in the shuffle, important opportunities get buried in the database and important leads are masked as yet another database record. Businesses finally have a way of differentiating their leads and optimizing sales people’s time with marketing automation in CRM.

Lead Qualification in Your CRM

Most solutions offer a host of additional marketing automation features in CRM. Adding leads/contacts to a lead nurturing campaign, sending an email campaign and customized dashboards are a few examples. One key area of integration is lead qualification. With marketing automation in CRM, vital lead qualification criteria is extracted from the marketing automation system and injected into the CRM to streamline access to high priority leads.

Various industry methods exist to prioritize leads. Lead scoring, buy signals and total activity are just a few examples. When CRM records are enriched with lead qualification criteria sales people can easily plan their day by running prebuilt dashboards and reports to expose highly qualified leads. The best part about these processes is the automation. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it model. With marketing automation in CRM, data is bi-directionally shared between both systems in real-time (usually every 5 minutes). Changes to data in one system are automatically updated in the other. With both systems in harmony, sales people only need to access marketing automation data in their CRM – simplifying the number of tools required to do their job.

Adding marketing automation in CRM is near effortless. Most CRMs, such as, offer some type of marketplace for apps. For example,’s marketplace is AppExchange. Installing Lead Liaison’s marketing automation in can be done in less than 10 minutes. Configuration usually takes an additional 15-30 minutes.

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2011 B2B Marketing Budgets

B2B Marketing BudgetsA recent study by Marketing Sherpa showed a breakdown of B2B marketing budgets in 2011. Frankly, I’m shocked to see how businesses are allocating their marketing dollars. I propose B2B marketing companies re-prioritize their budgets by re-allocating dollars from one marketing investment to another to produce a higher ROI and generate more revenue. Specifically, marketing investments in website design and trade shows should be decreased while marketing investments in social media, marketing automation and lead nurturing should be increased.

Increasing B2B Marketing Budgets

Marketers must recognize it’s a buyer’s world. More and more buyers conduct research online before ever contacting a vendor. The internet-era changed the landscape of sales and marketing. Data sheets, white papers, webinars, blogs, forums, public profiles, employees, competitors and more can be researched without ever picking up the phone. It’s the same concept as in the B2C world when consumers buy a car. Case in point, Polk and conducted a survey of 4,005 U.S. consumers and found 71% of those surveyed conducted research online before buying their car.

2011 B2B Marketing BudgetsThe same process applies to the B2B world. More than 80% of B2B buyers research the internet for answers about products and services before calling a sales rep. With the proliferation of mobile phones and tablets this percentage will surely rise. B2B marketers have got to be in the right place at the right time (social media), monitor/listen to buyer’s behavior (marketing automation) and engage prospective buyers (lead nurturing). As the volume of online and/or digital activity increases, so does the opportunity to interact and engage with potential buyers. Lead nurturing helps B2B marketers create meaningful dialogue with prospects based on their research and interests. The net result of lead nurturing is stronger relationships and shorter sales cycles as prospects will keep you top of mind through consistent and on-target communications. For these reasons B2B marketing budgets should include social media, lead nurturing and marketing automation as a high priority.

But, what if there’s no more money in the budget for these items? That’s an easy problem to solve. Reduce investments in website design and trade shows and re-appropriate the funds.

Decreasing B2B Marketing Budgets

Trade shows are generally a thing of the past and put pressure on B2B marketing budgets. We’re not implying you completely do away with trade shows; however, reduced investment should be considered. Trade shows are expensive and usually cost about $10,000 minimum just to get in the door. Do yourself a favor and analyze ROI from past trade shows. The easiest way to do this is to look at past sales wins and identify if the lead came from a trade show. If you can’t tie revenue to your trade show investments they’re not worth it. Although, attending a trade show might help prospects recognize your brand/image; sometimes you’ve just got to show up. My advice is to pick a few select trade shows that you must attend and get an exhibitor pass for the others.

As for website design, I encourage B2B companies consider moving their website into a content management system (CMS) such as Drupal or WordPress. These tools have very professional off-the-shelf themes and several plug-ins for search engine optimization, blog authoring and more. You might spend a little more up front to change your site but its well worth it over time. Many of the processes which you rely on 3rd parties for can be automated and you’ll have more control over your content and of course, reduce costs.

Take your money saved from trade shows and website development and invest in social media, lead nurturing and marketing automation.

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The Marketing Automation Mistake

The Marketing Automation MistakeThere’s a big marketing automation mistake. The marketing automation industry is growing fast. At least $200M was spent acquiring marketing automation software over the past year. That’s a staggering figure considering the “marketing automation mistake”. If some very fundamental misnomers were avoided in the infancy stages then the market would not just grow, but grow rapidly.

Misnomer #1 – Marketing automation is a horrible name. Think about it. If I were a marketer and heard about marketing automation for the first time would I want to automate my job? If I did, I might not have a job. That’s like hiring your replacement. No one would volunteer for that. What these solutions do is automate very mundane or historically expensive tasks such as building web forms, landing pages or email marketing campaigns. Marketers no longer have to rely on creating html or 3rd party IT resources to get the job done. Now, they can do it on their coffee break. Marketers can visually build web forms and landing pages to easily wrap lead capture around any marketing campaign or event. These solutions also automate the process of following up with leads and building relationships with prospects over time via personalized and relevant communications- also known as “lead nurturing”.

Misnomer #2 – Lead scoring is a really poor term and misconstrues the real benefit of this feature. What lead scoring does is help sales and marketers automatically qualify prospects and/or customers. Why wouldn’t vendors call it “lead qualification” then? By using the term “lead scoring” it’s caused several other vendors in the space to follow suit and *only* score a lead. In reality, lead qualification is much more than just associating a number to a person. It’s about listening to what a prospect/customer wants and monitoring their overall engagement with your company. It’s much more meaningful to measure overall activity as well as key buy signals to properly qualify a lead.

Educators in the marketing automation space preach – “think like the buyer, not the seller”. I wish initial vendors in the space did just that. If they did, we wouldn’t be talking about “marketing automation” or “lead scoring”. Instead, we’d be talking about revenue generation and lead qualification – what matters to the buyer.

Weeding through the varying vernacular and various misnomers could lead to a serious headache. We side with advice from one of the industry’s top analysts, David Raab. If you’re looking for a solution from a vendor in this space do as David suggests:

…there’s just one right way to select software, and that’s to have vendors walk through scenarios based on how you plan to use it. – David Raab, Raab Associates Inc.

What mistakes have you seen in this space? What do you disagree with in this article? We’d love to hear from you.

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Remove Politics for Marketing Automation Success

Remove Politics for Marketing Automation SuccessThis is the final article on our blog series related to marketing automation obstacles. The last obstacle has to do with challenges inside an organization. Unfortunately, dealing with corporate politics is something we all have to go through. Politics are not as “thick” with small companies vs. large companies; however, it still persists to a certain degree. When it comes to having a hyper-efficient sales and marketing process, one political barrier that must be removed is communication between head of sales and head of marketing. It’s important to remove politics for marketing automation success.

Sales and marketing alignment is a vital component of a successful business. Although creating alignment is priority number one, maintaining alignment is equally important. Sales must work with marketing on demand creation activities to help create, qualify and nurture leads. After all, sales is good at selling, but they can’t sell if they have no one to sell too. That’s where marketing steps in. Marketing creates leads and sales closes them. Marketing must be equipped with the right marketing content, lead management technology and lead nurturing solutions to meet the demands of any sales organization. At Lead Liaison, we take sales and marketing alignment seriously; so serious that we’ve created a contract between our sales and marketing teams. The contract, or Service Level Agreement (SLA), gets our teams on common ground – providing them with a framework for common definitions, metrics and responsibilities. Let us know if you’d like a copy of it. As mentioned above, alignment is the first step and maintaining alignment is the second step. Make sure you have periodic meetings to review progress against your desired goals. Also, have a set of common/shared goals that benefit both teams and leverage the core competencies of each respectively. Matt Smith, Executive VP and Co-Founder of 3forward, noted there are four shared metrics for sales and marketing to follow to align their efforts.

1. Mutually define a sales-ready lead
2. Decide how many sales-ready leads must be created each month
3. Set a shared target % for how many sales-ready leads convert to qualified pipeline opportunities
4. Agree on the target % for how many qualified opportunities become new wins

What are the political barriers you face between your sales and marketing teams? How have you been able to remove politics for marketing automation success?

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New Marketing Technology

New Marketing TechnologyEarlier this week we published a blog post entitled “marketing automation challenges – avoiding status quo”. Our second post in the marketing automation challenges series covers new marketing technology. The primary challenge marketer’s face in adopting new marketing technology is lack of awareness. Marketers need to know that new marketing technology exists that represents today’s minimum marketing requirements.

Let’s begin by comparing old marketing technology with new marketing technology. The marketer using old marketing technology feels their “batch and blast” email program works just fine. They use the email program to send the same email bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly or bi-annually to their entire database. They track opens and clicks to measure campaign effectiveness. Sadly, they feel this is adequate.

Conversely, the modern marketer uses new marketing technology to communicate with prospects and customers. The modern marketer uses marketing segmentation and sends tailored email communications to related groups within their database on behalf of sales (appearing to come from the sales person). They schedule a series of relevant email communications and track how recipients respond and interact over time. They setup optimized landing pages and use lead tracking technology for lead capture. Finally, their new marketing technology automatically qualifies leads for sales and alerts sales when a hot lead is ready to buy.

Additionally, the modern marketer integrates newsletters, testimonials, content libraries, events and more into their company’s website and uses landing pages and other opt-in strategies to grow a segmented database.

Are you a marketer using old or new marketing technology? Below is a table that further compares old marketing technology to new marketing technology. Lead Liaison provides new marketing technology that transforms Flinstone marketers into Jetson marketers. Please ping us if you’re still in the Flinstone era!

Comparing Old to New Marketing Technology:

Old Marketing TechnologyNew Marketing Technology
“Batch and blast” email marketing toolIntelligent, closed-loop email marketing
Communication to a single database of contactsAbility to quickly and easily segment database by various parameters such as demographics, company information and interests
Leave contacts that have hard bounces in their databaseMarks the contact as “graveyard” status and/or adds “email opt-out” automatically to the record
Automatically opt-in contacts to their batch and blast emailUses landing pages, web forms, email campaigns and email client plug-ins to opt-in contacts
Manually pull reports to count opens and link click throughReal-time updates of whose interested and when. Tracks current and future page views to build a prospect profile and prepare sales
Subjectively qualifies leadsUses automated lead scoring technology to find only the hottest leads ready to speak with sales
Uses google analytics to measure website trafficUses real-time lead tracking technology to identify businesses and people visiting your site
Relies on web forms to capture informationUses real-time lead tracking technology to capture web form submissions as well as general website visits
Has no way of auto-responding to leadsUses intelligent automated campaigns to send relevant, personalized and automatic email communications based on a prospects interaction with your website and marketing content
Consults a web master or IT group to build a landing page or web formMarketers do it themselves using PowerPoint-like tools to visually build web forms and landing pages in minutes

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