“Among the Blind, the One-Eyed are King”, and other Musings from CRM Evolution 2011 Conference in NYC

Written by Rockannand on August 25, 2011 – 10:31 am -

The Rock Annand Group has hit the conference speaking circuit again after a (too long) hiatus. My 3 favorite cities to visit for conferences are San Francisco, New York and Boston and I hit all 3 in August and September, starting with New York two weeks ago for the CRM Evolution 2011 annual event, hosted by CRM guru Paul Greenberg.

While this conference is not one of the biggies when compared to Dreamforce 2011 (I’ll be there next week) or the Inbound Marketing Summit and Hubspot User Group-HUGS in Boston (I’ll be there too mid-September), I will say it is no less relevant and substantive. There were some great speakers and panel discussions about what’s working and what’s not in CRM and social CRM with some impressive companies telling their stories.

So what’s behind the provocative title?
Well it comes from something my old boss Dave Simbari,  currently CEO of SupplyPro, always says when talking about sales and marketing execution. “Henry, don’t get wrapped around the axle, or boil the ocean when you do this. Keep it simple and follow through and things will turn out fine.”

Translation: most of the pack is too busy trying to define the perfect strategy or building the perfect program and never get anything done and fail to execute. They are blind, so by focusing on the basics, what I call the fundamentals, you can develop and execute sales and marketing programs, supported by CRM, that deliver results even a CEO with ADHD will love.

A Social Business is Just GOOD Business
That simple message could be found in countless sessions the week of August 8th. Even though the conference organizers attempted to dress things up by putting the word “social” in front of the somewhat tired and old CRM acronym, the presenters stayed away from the hype and buzz of social media as something new to try and stuck with the reality of the social phenomenon.

This point was best brought home by R “Ray”  Wang, principle analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, when he said, “a social business is just GOOD business.” What Ray was saying is that being social has always been the key to building relationships and winning business. Businesses and buyers have always conducted conversations about their problems and how they plan to solve them. The difference now vs 5-10 years ago is that they are carrying on their conversations online with peers in a myriad of communities and discussion forums. The question is whether today’s businesses want to listen and participate in those conversations.

Listen and Observe More, Talk Less
The reality is the vast majority of businesses ARE blind (and deaf) to what’s being said about them and their competitors online. Tell me what sales rep would not want to know what their best customers and prospects have said about them or their competitors before their next sales call?

Today’s CRM solutions and the multitude of sales enablement plug-ins allow companies to know so much more about their target audience then ever before. Countless examples were shared (Volvo Trucks) showing how B2B marketers have opened the eyes and ears of sales and executives with more qualified deals.

Ray Wang’s 5 Rules to Adopt to Become More Social
My question is why companies continue to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in their buyers’ world? As Ray Wang  so correctly stated, “We are using disruptive technologies at home and we need to figure out how to bring them into the enterprise. How can IT become more social?” Ray went on to identify 5 rules that businesses need to adopt to become more social:

  • Trust is the new currency.
  • Social is a cultural shift for the enterprise.
  • Building community is the goal.
  • Person-to-person (P2P) is today’s reality – not B2B or B2C – frictionless commerce is where its at.
  • A social business is just GOOD business.

Amen Ray. And I don’t mean Ray Charles ;).

Listen to our 8/11/11 Webcast:

 Create a Winning Lead Strategy in 90 Days


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Posted in B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Marketing Automation, Marketing Automation Monday | 2 Comments »

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 4: Moving from “Good” to “Best”

Written by Rockannand on December 13, 2010 – 5:28 pm -

In part 1 of this series, we noted from Sirius Decisions recent research that the market leading companies, using the same number of leads are able to

  • Close over 4 times the number of deals as “average” firms
  • Close twice as many deals as “good” firms.

These are eye-popping numbers to consider, especially with economic times that demand that businesses make every opportunity count.

What does “Market Leading” Mean?
The market leading firms are adept at aligning their people around marketing-to-sales processes enabled with CRM and Marketing Automation tools that optimize their efforts and maximize target audience reach. The best B2B marketing organizations are almost exclusively focused on lead quality. They emphasize buyer behavior and compare to well defined buyer personas in order to build targeted campaigns that move prospects through the buyer stages. They have metrics in place that clearly show management and sales the impact of demand generation programs on the pipeline, closed deals and corporate revenue.  Marketing and sales are tightly aligned in terms of people interaction, lead flow process and the use of technology to support every aspect of client acquisition and retention. They practice Lean process improvement principles to eliminate waste in marketing and sales resources and optimize every dollar of sales and marketing spend.

What Should “Good” Firms Focus on to Become “Market Leading”?
In part 3 of the series, we detailed the steps required to move from “average” to “good” performance. With those practices in place, we can now turn our attention to the following programs to implement in order to achieve marketing leading lead management status

  • Establish lead quality teams consisting of marketing, inside sales, sales admin and possibly the sales team and conduct weekly lead hand-off reviews.
  • Develop comprehensive buyer personas that profile key buyer types such as end-user, influencer, buyer/decision-maker and executive (CXOs).
  • Develop progressive profiling programs that deepen the intelligence for each buyer type in your CRM/Marketing Automation database. Utilize prospecting tools such as Cardbrowser, Hoovers, Netprospex, Zoominfo, etc to automate the process of keeping contact information fresh and complete.
  • Create comprehensive content maps for the key buyer types and for each buyer stage:

Awareness > Inquiry > Consideration > Purchase.

After mapping existing content, create and/or re-purpose content to fill any gaps. Ensure that content consists of whitepapers, webinars, short articles, case studies, videos (2-3 minutes) and podcasts (5-7 minutes).

  • Develop lead nurturing campaigns that segment by buyer type and buyer stage. Deliver personalized value propositions by these segments to deepen engagement and optimize buyer stage conversions.
  • Develop metrics based on corporate objectives such as revenue growth and customer retention. Use marketing dashboards and reports to present marketing’s contribution to revenue and pipeline to senior management on a monthly/quarterly basis.

Comments from others on the earlier installment in this lead nurturing series have highlighted other resources and approaches to consider. I will wrap things up with a final post that links to these resources.

Related Posts:

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 3: Moving from Average to Good

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 1: Making the Case for 2011 Marketing Plans

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 2: Where do I Start?

Case Study: Lead Nurturing Through Thought Leadership Content


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Posted in B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Lead Nurturing, Lead Quality, Thought Leadership, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 1: Making the Case for 2011 Marketing Plans

Written by Rockannand on November 12, 2010 – 6:57 am -

I just finished assisting a client develop a marketing plan for 2011 and they needed the most help with the justification for the expanded programs for lead generation and lead nurturing. Here are some of the arguments we used to educate the executive management team. We started by asking the team to consider these statistics that have been reported (by many B2B marketing authorities) over the past few years for B2B tech product companies:

  • Only 3-5% of new lead inquiries are “sales-ready”.
  • 70-80% of the other inquiries are latent demand that will buy within 2 years, BUT are not called on by sales.
  • 87 out of 100 deals are left behind by sales.
  • It takes 7 to 9 proactive communications to gain a B2B decision-maker’s attention.
  • Best-in-class sales and marketing teams generate 4x closed deals than average teams from the same pool of leads.

My message to management team was to optimize their efforts at converting the leads they already had into deals vs. only generating leads at the top of the funnel. I used Sirius Decisions’ recent study showing the sales and marketing waterfall conversion numbers of average, good and best companies to get the executive team’s attention.

Sales Lead Funnel

Funnel Stage

Average

Good

Best

Inquiries

10,000

10,000

10,000

MQL

5%

7%

10%

500

700

1000

SAL

58%

65%

75%

290

455

750

SQL

50%

58%

60%

145

264

450

Closed

22%

26%

30%

32

69

135

Source: Sirius Decisions 2010

We developed budget scenarios of program costs required to impact the number of closed deals. Scenario 1 involved generating more inquiries at the top of the funnel. Scenario 2 involved lead nurturing campaigns to increase the conversion rates at each step in the waterfall. The cost difference was significant – almost twice the program cost. And Scenario 2 included the cost of a new marketing automation system to replace the old email “blaster” they were using.

The case is just too compelling FOR lead nurturing supported by marketing automation technology. In the next three parts of this series on lead nurturing, I will look at proven approaches to get started and how to focus efforts that will move an “average” performing marketing team to “good” and for a “good” one to attain market leading status. With a 4x improvement opportunity, what CEO and CFO would not listen to reason.

Stay tuned.

Related posts:

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 2: Where do I Start?

Case Study: Lead Nurturing Through Thought Leadership Content

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 3: Moving From Average to Good

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 4: Moving From Good to Best


Posted in Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, Lead Quality, Marketing & Sales Alignment | 4 Comments »

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