Includes industry commentary, reports and latest happenings in the CRM Lead Management market sector.

Akkroo and Integrate for $34M

Akkroo Acquired By Integrate for $34M

I’ve been thinking about the news I heard last Thursday, April 4th 2019, that a company called Integrate acquired Akkroo for $34M. Consolidation in the martech space is nothing new. In our six years in business, we’ve seen it happen over and over again, Oracle acquiring Eloqua, Upland Software acquiring LeadLander, Adobe acquires Marketo…the number of acquisitions goes on and on. Just look at the list of recent acquisitions on MarTech Today.  As you scroll through, I bet you’ll recognize a few companies that were acquired. Then, you’ll murmur “I was wondering what happened to them”. Give it some time, and I’m betting you’ll say the same thing with this acquisition. I’ve never been one to be shy about comments. I’m not letting my thoughts marinate any further, and wanted to share a pragmatic view, as well as a dogmatic and slightly cynical one, and say congrats to Integrate and Akkroo. You’re going in the right direction.

Pragmatic View

Brand dilution wasn’t my first thought after hearing the news. Instinctively, I thought – “how does this change our company?” The answer – it doesn’t change it, it helps it. The news about Integrate acquiring Akkroo only validates what Lead Liaison has been doing since the infancy stages of our business. We’ve been developing a sales and marketing solution that unifies top-of-funnel lead capture, converts leads, closes deals, and helps retain customers. Don’t believe, check our home page. We’ve had the “Attract, Convert, Close, Retain” message on our home page forever. So long that we even branded that on the back of our company t-shirts – no joke.

As I further dwell on the acquisition, I read that in January 2019 Integrate announced it acquired ListenLoop to grow its set of tools and solutions for account-based marketing (ABM) advertising. We unveiled Lead Liaison’s ABM solution in late 2017 with resounding cheers from our client base.

The news also reinforces the investment Lead Liaison has been making to simplify event lead management for the entire event tech space. B2B companies are spending more money on events as they recognize the impact that trade shows and other corporate events have on their top line. In fact, spend is on the rise as experts estimate 22% of a B2B company’s marketing budget is spent on events. Check out these 40 other shocking event marketing statistics. There’s no denying the event industry is becoming more high tech than ever and niche technologies will continue to be absorbed as event marketers demand more control and ownership over their event leads.

Rest assured, we’ve long understood the value of in-person events as a viable lead generation channel. We began our company as a tracking solution and evolved into a robust sales and marketing automation company that helps businesses grow at scale. Over the years, customers pushed us to add more capabilities and introduce marketing features and sales solutions, peppered with a high dose of automation. Establishing our roots in automation has given us a leg up over our competition for quite some time now. When we rolled out GoExhibit!, our solution for capturing and managing leads at events, it was a natural progression for our platform as trade shows and marketing events were yet another top-of-funnel channel too irresistible not to support.

Dogmatic and Slightly Cynical View

Akkroo pulled off a major heist of $34 million dollars with a promise to eventually modernize the Event Market. At Lead Liaison, we have been at the forefront of bringing better solutions to market since the infancy stages. We welcome the competition, but fear that the true losers of this endeavor will be the investors.

Let’s face it, we’ve seen this scenario play out a million times in technology. Big Brother (company A) buys company B and assumes they can force feed the new “solution” to their market at a greatly marked up cost.  They throttle support in ways that only big companies know how to do and what was once a friendly relationship becomes very vendor-customer oriented. Customers will expect price increases at their next renewal. 

What happens next? Investors start to think: we aren’t making as much money as we hoped when we overpaid for this company. What do they do next? They cut product development, and make another slash to support. Next thing you know, you are paying a premium for a product that looks just like it did three years ago…and nobody will answer your calls anymore unless it’s to tell you that a bill is due.

Congratulatory View

I feel honored to see other companies following suit as it further reinforces the direction of our company and justifies our continued growth. We’re incredibly proud of the fact that we’ve enhanced our solutions on our own, without needing to buy anything. Everything we’ve built is homegrown, from the ground up. Our customers benefit from this as they experience a fully integrated solution, with better support. Integrating companies is not easy.

So, while we congratulate those that got a nice cash in; we invite the existing customer base of Akkroo to learn more about Lead Liaison. Congrats to Integrate as well. Fully integrated solutions are the way to go.

Reflections on Marketing Automation in 2016

Reflections on Marketing AutomationWe live in a time of extraordinary change. Marketing has come a long way in a small amount of time. And the industry is just continuing to refine itself! To be able to entirely appreciate the current state of marketing automation, it’s best to briefly acknowledge where it has been.

Marketing automation first came into existence in 1992, focusing on email alone. Businesses did not have a lot of online presence at the time, so there wasn’t really a huge opportunity for it to take off until the late 2000’s. Now, it has grown its capabilities so greatly that it is able to help companies deliver various marketing content through different channels to customers based on their online behavior.

As digital platforms become increasingly more powerful, there is more untapped data at our fingertips than ever. The need for organizing, integrating, and maximizing the benefits of that data has become essential. The phrase “work smarter, not harder” rings true. We have access to increasing demographic, psychographic, historical, and behavioral information. It’s information overload!

Marketing Automation now has the ability to capture all of this data, listen to it, interpret it, and utilize it in the most effective ways possible. The field of marketing automation is something that started small, exploded, and is now refining itself. Technology is more intuitive. Platforms are becoming easier to navigate. Consequently, the tools are more often used to their fullest potential. Companies such as us have mastered content personalization, customizable resource centers, and integration.

What’s to Come in Marketing Automation

The marketing automation industry is somewhat saturated. This can be beneficial to the end user, in that companies must listen to their clients’ needs, wishes, and dreams. Even more customization, personalization and integration (with systems like mail or additional CRMs) is in the near future.

Another thing that is fast-approaching is an upgrade to the customer journey, or more specifically customer journey optimization. Instead of combining many customers’ courses of action into a few general paths, automation is challenged to grow to support infinite customer journeys. According to industry expert David Raab, this is “quite different from pre-determining an ideal customer journey and trying to force customers to follow it.” The industry seems to be taking back control over the user experience, instead of just reacting to it.

It’s an exciting time in marketing automation. With every challenge comes greater exploration and innovation. What do you see on the horizon for the industry? We look forward to hearing your feedback below!

How to Make Your Mobile Marketing Work Harder

This article was posted as a Guest Blog Post relating to Salesforce.com.

Does your mobile marketing match your consumers’ use of their devices? If you’re like most companies, the answer is “Probably not.”

There are different types of mobile users—regular, super, addicts, all of whom can be affected by mobile marketing in some way. How you reach them depends in part on the individual setups they have—push notifications, for example. Of course, push notifications equals more times opening an app. But push notifications can’t and shouldn’t be random. They should be designed to create an experience and action, as should SMS marketing.

The majority of customers wouldn’t mind more contact from brands using SMS marketing. Those messages get the attention of customers in a crowded world, and they often result in very quick review of a message.

There is a great gap between how much time we spend on our phones, and how much (or little) companies are investing in mobile advertising.

How important is mobile marketing

 

How can you make your mobile marketing work harder and smarter? To learn more about the potential in mobile marketing and the various ways to engage customers, check out Marketing Cloud’s article Mobile Marketing Examples to Energize Your 2016 Campaigns.

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Marketing Automation Software Competitive Analysis Report – Lead Liaison and University of Dallas

University of Dallas

University of Dallas and Lead Liaison Provide Marketing Automation Competitive Analysis Report

The marketing automation software market size was approximately $750M in sales revenue last year (2013), which represents an astounding growth of 50% year over year for the past several years. By the end of 2014, the market is expected to grow to $1.2B, 60% year over year. According to IDC, marketing automation will be growing faster than any other CRM segment over the next three years. Gartner finds marketing automation will lead CRM application segment growth with a 10.7% compound annual growth (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a total market value of $4.6B.

A research study performed by the University of Dallas, Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, called the Marketing Automation Software Competitive Analysis Report, revealed that smaller marketing automation providers offer the same amount of features to small to medium sized businesses as larger competitors. Their offerings prove to be advantageous to small companies looking to save money and increase reach to potential leads.

The study compares four companies, Act-OnSharpSpringeTrigue and Lead Liaison. The companies were chosen because they specialize in offering marketing automation solutions to small to medium sized businesses. Standard offerings for marketing automation software include email, social media, search engine optimization, blogging tools and CRM integration. Act-On is considered a leader in the market by its competitors as they offer a full package for automation software and have been used by departments in larger organizations. The study found that Lead Liaison, a marketing automation upstart in Allen, TX, offers almost all the same capabilities as the leaders in the market and provides distinct advantages to small to mid sized businesses. A rich and easy to use interface, comprehensive lead qualification, and a multi-channel communication engine that sends email, text messages, direct mail and other physical marketing items standout as superior capabilities. The research study also revealed unique services tailored for small businesses, such as content creation, where Lead Liaison offers businesses a portal to generate marketing and leadership content for SEO purposes – necessary for small business with resource constraints. Act-On and Lead Liaison offer flexible payment plans including an offering on a monthly basis. This provides small companies with tight budgets the flexibility to manage cash flow and reduced risk by knowing they don’t have to commit to a contract for several years. These platforms are valuable to the small to mid sized market as they help attract customers and increase sales and awareness.

The research study also offers guidance on what small businesses should consider before choosing a marketing automation solution. Some areas of consideration are; update your CRM data, dedicate time for training, develop a sales and marketing process, develop content to provide to customers and prospects, and understand how others have implemented marketing automation. Please feel free to download the report published on 1/21/2015.

About Lead Liaison:

Learn more about Lead Liaison’s solution for marketing automation for universities and education providers. Lead Liaison provides cloud-based marketing and sales automation solutions that help businesses worldwide attract, convert, and close leads. The company markets to small to mid-sized businesses and focuses on providing a user-friendly and innovative Revenue Generation Software® platform. Their software delivers powerful solutions that accelerate sales, improve efficiency and build stronger relationships with prospects, customers and partners through the use of automation.

About University of Dallas:

The University of Dallas is a co-educational, Catholic university founded in 1956. Our students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs through the Constantin College of Liberal Arts, the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts, the School of Ministry and the Center for Professional Development. The University of Dallas has its main campus in Irving, Texas, and an international campus near Rome, Italy.

The main campus, in Irving, is only minutes from downtown Dallas in a city of 200,000 residents. The campus is an oasis of nature in the center of Metroplex, on 225 rolling acres that overlook both the Las Colinas Urban Center and the skyscrapers of Dallas. The University of Dallas is about 10 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Press inquiries:

Amber Turrill
VP, Corporate Communications
corporate(at)leadliaison(dot)com
888.895.3237 (888 89 LEADS)

2014 Marketing Automation Industry Report

2014 Marketing Automation Industry ReportTexas-based marketing automation company Lead Liaison was recently featured in Marketing Growth Strategy’s 2014 Marketing Automation industry report. This publication covers the top companies in the marketing automation vertical and profiles size, featured products and relevant contact information.

The report highlights Lead Liaison’s ‘impressive user interface’, business model and consistent growth since inception. Lead Liaison’s robust marketing features and support capabilities are also highlighted. Screenshots from the Lead Liaison interface demonstrate the platform’s flexibility and user-friendliness.

With the addition of even more helpful features to its interface and industry-wide recognition as an increasingly strong leader in the marketing automation space, Lead Liaison is set for more success and notability throughout the remainder of 2014.

Download Marketing Growth Strategy’s 2014 Marketing Automation report using the form below:

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25 Lead Management Statistics That Prove Marketing Automation Works

25 Lead Management Statistics That Prove Marketing Automation WorksAre you a numbers person? Do you want figures that show how lead management through marketing automation actually provides better results? Take a look at these marketing automation and lead management statistics. What marketing automation statistics do you have to share?

  1. Sales teams process over 58% of marketing-qualified leads (MQL) with a close rate of more than 23% – AcquireB2B
  2. Lead scoring provides an ROI of 138% versus companies that don’t score leads (78%) – MarketingSherpa
  3. Lead nurturing programs result in 2x open rates and 3x click-through rates compared to one-off email blasts – Silverpop
  4. 47% higher order value on nurtured sales versus non-nurtured sales – Silverpop
  5. 75% of companies using MA see ROI within 12 months, 44% within 6 months – Focus Research
  6. Companies using MA source 45% more pipeline than those who don’t use MA – Marketo
  7. Sales agents spend 22% more time selling when MA is deployed – Marketo
  8. MA drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead – Nucleus Research
  9. 28% of marketers saw an increase in revenue per sale attributable to marketing automation – Chief Marketer
  10. 350% return on investment and 100% annual revenue growth while saving $400K and generating $2MM in incremental gross revenue – Acteva
  11. 70% companies declare that MA met or exceeded ROI expectations – Focus
  12. Mature marketers achieve 32% greater revenue through the use of MA than non-mature marketers – Marketo
  13. Full deployment of MA reduces close rates from 1:221 to 1:20 – Marketo
  14. Companies using MA for nurturing experience a 451% increase in qualified leads – The Annuitas Group
  15. MA provides 225% increase in prospect volume that convert to sales opportunities – ShipServ
  16. 3x more leads passed to sales after one month – Marketo
  17. MA reduces ignored leads from 80% to 25% – Bulldog Solutions
  18. Companies that automate lead management see over 10% increase in revenue in 6-9 months – Gartner Research
  19. 47% of MA-nurtured leads make larger purchases than non-nurtured leads – The Annuitas Group
  20. Companies achieve a 15% savings on creative productions with MA – Gartner Research
  21. Companies that deploy lead nurturing through MA generate 50% more SQLs at 33% lower cost – Forrester Research
  22. MA-generated personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates over 10% – The Aberdeen Group
  23. Event-triggered messaging saves approximately 80% of direct mail budget – Gartner Research
  24. MA-generated emails with high relevancy drive 18x more revenue than traditional email blasts – Jupiter Research
  25. Companies using MA achieve 5% less marketing waste than non-MA companies – Gartner Research

As more companies adopt lead management through marketing automation, there will be more statistics to share!

Marketo IPO, Eloqua and Pardot Buyouts, Silverpop Funding are Signs of a Booming Industry

Marketo IPO, Eloqua and Pardot Buyouts, Silverpop Funding are Signs of a Booming IndustryThe B2B marketing automation space has established itself as one of the most vibrant industries in the United States. Recent activity, including a $78 million Marketo IPO, a $100 acquisition of Pardot by ExactTarget, a $871 million acquisition of Eloqua by Oracle, and a $25 million venture funding of Silverpop, suggests the marketing automation industry is growing at a breakneck pace.

Marketing automation has become the bellwether of online marketing for B to B marketers. Companies in business-to-business industries from IT consulting to manufacturing have been adopting lead generation and management applications at a furious rate since 2009.

The industry is still in its infancy. None of these big hitters is even 15 years-old: Eloqua and Silverpop were founded in 1999, Marketo and Pardot in 2007.

These marketing automation industry players are leading (in terms of capitalization) a group of smaller but no less effective MA vendors. For example, Lead Liaison’s Lead Management Automation™ cloud-based platform is a competitive lead management solution because it allows marketers to expand their email delivery without overage charges. There are several other examples of competitive advantages that smaller players have which MA vendors like HubSpot, Pardot, and LeadLander do not provide.

Since 2005 digital marketing has grown substantially. PPC advertising, social media marketing, and SEO have all played a part in marketing B2B solutions. However, marketing automation software appears to have one important differentiator from other B to B digital marketing components: while buying behaviors may change (such as reduced PPC click-through), capturing and managing Big Data for marketing purposes is not vulnerable to changing online behavior trends. The function of marketing automation will remain viable for B to B companies for decades. Perhaps this is why companies like Marketo, Eloqua, and Lead Liaison are forging a sustainable path for this booming industry.

Salesforce.com Understands the Power of Marketing Automation

Salesforce.com Understands the Power of Marketing AutomationLast week’s announcement of the $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce.com had the marketing automation space buzzing – with good reason. Sales force optimization remains a key objective for most companies, and marketing automation is quickly asserting itself as a primary contributor to sales force effectiveness.

Salesforce.com has long recognized the benefits in automating customer relationships, but the move last week confirms that the company views the marketing cycle as an important contributor to optimizing B-to-B sales force automation. It’s clear Salesforce.com understands the power of marketing automation.

It Starts With a Click

Rare is the sale today that doesn’t start with a mouse-click. From the Pew Research Center to Gartner, study after study shows the marketplace, b2b or b2c, conducting online research prior to a purchase. Through its acquisition, Salesforce.com recognizes the benefit in tracking lead behavior from the first point of contact.

80% Do Not Buy at First Contact

Marketers understand that most prospects require multiple touch points to be effective. Using a marketing automation system like Lead Liaison’s Lead Management Automation™ platform, an enterprise sales force can manage each relationship prior to the sales engagement. Lead nurturing through MA saves sales agents time; Salesforce.com has shown that it understands how critical lead nurturing is to sales force optimization.

Cold Opportunities Get Hot

Research has shown that just because a prospect doesn’t convert immediately into a sales opportunity, that prospect should remain a lead. Sirius Decisions found that nearly 80% of qualified leads that don’t buy initially go on to make a purchase within 24 months. Marketing automation provides the tool to maintain TOMA throughout that period. This factor, among others, has led vendors like Lead Liaison to focus on SFDC integration in order to provide a seamless transition between platforms.

Changing Marketing Automation Landscape

As MA becomes an integral part of sales force automation, companies like Salesforce.com, Marketo, and Lead Liaison must continue to improve their offerings to adapt to evolving marketing and sales practices. But as the evolution of marketing automation continues, one business principle remains constant: providing quality support following implementation is important to effective sales force automation. Without customer-centricity, some MA/CRM vendors may face the same fate as early dot.com failures – even in the wake of a $2.5 billion transaction.

Magic Quadrant for Lead Management

What is Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Lead Management all about? Some high profile names such as Marketo, Eloqua, Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce.com were mentioned. Lead Liaison was not in the Magic Quadrant for Lead Management, but that’s easily to explain. We’re still a relatively young company and have yet to clear the $20M revenue threshold that’s required to be part of the report. The future looks incredibly bright though as we’re blazing our own trail of innovation in the marketing automation industry. If you don’t have a copy of the lead management report we can give you a quick summary.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Lead ManagementIn all honesty, 95% of the report is about vendor profiling. 12 companies are placed across four quadrants, called leaders, challengers, niche players and visionaries. I think it’s fair to say if Lead Liaison was added to the report we’d be in the visionaries category. The other 5% of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Lead Management covers a few areas we’re fond of. Namely market definition/description, market overview and primary characteristics of CRM lead management. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of those two segments of the report for those of you who want to skip the vendor spiel:

Market Definition:

  1. Lead management integrates business process and technology to close the loop between marketing and sales and to drive higher-value opportunities through demand creation, execution and opportunity management.

  2. The input to lead management processes is unqualified contacts and opportunities from various marketing sources.

  3. The output to lead management processes is qualified, scored, nurtured, augmented and prioritized selling opportunities handed off to direct or indirect sales channels for action and closure.

Market Overview:

  1. Investments in CRM marketing automation and applications and services (including lead management) grew by more than 20% in 2011 and 2012. Gartner expects investment to continue to rise during the next several years. This means more and more companies recognize the importance of marketing automation and lead management in particular because it does three primary things as described below.

  2. Marketing automation and lead management increases enterprise growth, attracts and retains new customers and maximizes productivity of sales organizations.

  3. Factors driving the growth of marketing automation and lead management are the overall growth and success of the CRM markets and investment in digital marketing.

  4. Recent M&A and IPO activities underscore market interest in this sector (Marketo IPO, Eloqua bought by Oracle, Pardot bought by ExactTarget).

  5. B2B marketers are adopting marketing channels normally used for B2C marketing such as social media.

Three Primary Characteristics Define CRM Lead Management:

  1. Focus on business and marketing processes

  2. Focus on products or services that represent a sizable investment  (also known as “considered purchases”). Businesses selling high-value products or services tend to get a higher return on their investment.

  3. A handoff of qualified leads to a direct salesperson or an indirect sales team (value-added reseller or distributor), an inside sales team, or an automated channel.