- Customer intelligence: Data.com enriches contact and account information with fresh feeds from sources such as LinkedIn and many others. Enables both sales and marketing to create detailed contact profiles for segmentation, targeting and campaign management.
- Social advertising and content management: The recent Buddy Media acquisition provides support for a wide range of social channels (social, web, mobile) and formats including contests, videos, and photos. Users can coordinate their publishing and advertising activity and measure impact throughout the social sphere.
- Social listening and analytical tools: Radian 6 monitors popular social services such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, as well as blogs, forums, communities and more. Supports 17 languages and mobile access.
- Core CRM functionality: Salesforce.com consolidates resources to provide sales reps with a single source that can connect them with other applications, contacts, colleagues and workflows. Pulls data together into account/opportunity context. Delivers reporting data to sales and sales managers and can provide opportunity and pipeline performance data into other systems such as marketing and order management.
What’s the most commonly heard word in marketing organizations today? It is “Transformation.”
Dramatic transformational change is sweeping through marketing functions in most industries. And the main “change agent” is the customer. Or what we at the IDC Executive Advisory like to call the “New Buyer” . Our customers and prospects today are crafting their own routes to learning about products and services. They are motivated and skilled at educating themselves and learning from peers. They travel through numerous digital pathways in their exploration process. And by the time they come to a meeting with the vendor sales person, they are smart and savvy. They are empowered.
Marketers need to ask and answer these questions: Where did our Buyers come from? What do they know already? And above all: How do we add new value to where they are in the process of discovery about our product or service? The New Buyer dynamic creates volumes of new data and customer intelligence analysis opportunities for vendors.
In turn, Those in the marketing job function must be able to bring better data into any planning meeting, including discussions on budgets and investments; programs and campaigns; or performance measurement. Hard data needs to complement the “softer side,” or the “art,” of marketing.
The tools for accessing and mining data, and turning data into insights, are now plentiful for today’s marketers. And, The marketing job function might be the last of all an organization’s major functions to become automated.
The marketing winners of tomorrow will be masters of rapid data management — able to turn data into intelligence, intelligence into analysis, and analysis into decision support and execution. Achieving this will be the first step in the rudiments of sales-to-marketing cost control.
For the CMO, there are three critical, inter-departmental, data-driven intersections that need to be created and nurtured. Marketing is now too important to run in isolation, so here are the three key intersections:
1. The Marketing and CIO intersection. New IDC research shows that the investment in marketing automation technologies in 2012 will be at three to four times the rate of 2011 levels. Automation technology development is going to sweep through sales and marketing over the next 10 years.
2. The Marketing and Sales (CSO, or Chief Sales Officer) intersection. Today, the CMO needs to be able to connect sales technologies, such as CRM, with new marketing automation technologies.
3. The Marketing and CFO intersection. The CMO needs to deliver a return on investment in measurable terms in order to have meaningful budgeting and planning discussions with the CFO. Measuring impact of push programs in terms of conversion to leads, opportunities, and revenue is the game today.
I like to say that there will be more change in Marketing in the next five years, than we have seen in the past 25 years combined. These Marketing data and IT automation issues will be at the forefront for the next generation of successful CMOs.
- It is self-regulating – contacts update their own data via social tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. greatly improving data accuracy and timeliness
- It is real time – individuals have a vested interest in updating their social profiles asap
- It has practically infinite scalability and reach.
- It is equally available to all customer facing functions from marketing to sales, as well as fulfillment, finance, service and support, etc.
- It provides insight into relationships – account contacts can be sustained and expanded even in the face of departures, and corporate hierarchies can be better understood and tracked.
- Inconsistent definitions for customer attributes (account name, industry, segment, organizational hierarchy, contact name/email, etc.)
- Fragmentation of the data across multiple databases and applications
- Departmental perspectives on customer relationships
- Lack of an enterprise customer data management approach
Whether you pursue a lead through direct sales or a partner it doesn’t really matter how you get the lead. But what happens next? With your direct sales, you track the nurturing process as the lead develops into an opportunity. You measure your sales reps by the number of meetings they get, the deals they close. You may even have a closed loop reporting process that shows the efficiency of your marketing and sales funnel.
With your partners, your lead gets passed off and … then what? Does the partner accept the lead? Do they follow up? Do their marketing outreach programs conform to your policies and expectations? How much time and how many touches does it take them to close? How do you decide which partner is qualified for which leads? How do you efficiently identify the productive partners, those that need encouragement and those that should be dropped?
Multi-Billion Dollar Channel Management Questions
These are critical questions that have a tremendous impact on businesses with significant indirect revenue. A recent IDC study of large IT companies found that on average channel revenue was $2.4B. It was generated by 34 channel marketing staff managing 8,500 active partners. That equates to $45 million of revenue per channel marketing staff member but only $1.2 million per partner. The dirty little secret – there are also on average approximately 19,000 inactive partners!
Your CRM and SFA are not going to answer any of the critical channel management questions – although many companies think their CRM system is where they should be “managing partners”. In fact, a partner management system fulfills a role more like an SFA – it tracks all the activity that occurs after the lead is generated. It should also facilitate the process of lead distribution – managing all the partner credentials and accreditations need to qualify for a particular lead. Then there’s deal registration where the partners accept the lead so that it is not poached by another partner or … ahem … the direct sales force. And when you consider some of the other requirements of partner management, the CRM fallacy becomes clear:
- Recruitment and on-boarding
- Training and development
- Business Planning and Reporting
- Compensation and Incentive program management
- Marketing and Sales support
Are these capabilities that your CRM can provide? Your SFA? Would you even want them to? The answers should be no, no, and no. Don’t be thrown off by that last bullet – the marketing and sales outreach your partners require is very different than the corporate outreach that marketing operations is doing. They rebrand, reschedule, embed, and otherwise repurpose marketing content, making a direct translation from corporate marketing to partner marketing wholly inappropriate.
If you have (or want to have) a significant amount of revenue going through the channel, you need a dedicated partner relationship management (PRM) system to automate more than just marketing and sales activities. Don’t look to your CRM, SFA, or even the newer marketing automation vendors to provide you with the full set of capabilities necessary to effectively manage channels. Those solutions are focused on a very different set of requirements. They may have slideware and inch deep functionality, but that’s typically it. Do ask about integrating a PRM with these systems as reporting should roll up easily across direct and indirect sales.
A number of key capabilities to consider when implementing a platform channel marketing automation:
- Manage partner profiles and contacts
- Deliver and track training, certifications, etc.
- Set business rules for lead distribution
- Handle deal registration
- Provide a single system of record for partner and channel management
- Provide detailed performance reporting (12-month rolling review)
- Track partner outreach campaigns
- Manage market development funds (MDF) and co-op spend
With these issues on the table, it should be clear that automating channel marketing requires a dedicated, purpose-built solution. It will be costly and painful and meet substantially lower expectations otherwise.