May 4, 2010
The question central to this session was, “How can marketing automation help produce higher quality leads and foster a better relationship with sales?”
The format involved Laura Ramos asking each panel member, all of whom represented marketing automation vendors, to respond to a specific scenario that she had cooked up. As the panelists responded to the challenges, here’s some general insights and thoughts that surfaced.
- Lead automation tends to be primarily about new customer acquisition but good marketers use these systems to manage the entire customer life-cycle and look for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. (Jon Miller, Marketo)
- It’s not about automation per se. It’s about automating good process. (Kristen Hambelton, Neolane)
- Along the same lines, creating a lead scoring system is an iterative process. Additionally, the automation system itself has to be easy to use. (Parker Terwin, Genius.com)
- Testing and optimization (of subject lines, landing pages, etc.) is key to effective marketing and your automation system should help you do that. (Jon)
- On the ROI front, the emergence of the SaaS model has really changed how marketers need to think about the investment (cap ex vs. op ex), but it is also changing the conversation from one focused on ROI and one focused on TCO. (Jon and Kristen).
- This led to a broader discussion of ROI in which Brian Kardon of Eloqua pointed out that, for a marketing automation implementation to work, a lot of marketing processes have to change and, therefore, the conversation shouldn’t necessarily focus on the investment. Instead, you really need to uncover whether or not the organizational will is there to see this process through.
- It’s not hard to accumulate a lot of data, the question is, what do you do with it? Ideally your systems will talk to each other so that you can see the data and act on it all from one place. (Kristen)
- On that point, Jon talked about the power of integrating the insights from your analytics and automation tools actually show up where your sales people are looking.
- When integrating the various tools with salesforce.com, you need to make sure that changes to your implementation don’t break the connection with the marketing tool and that you aren’t asking your sales people to learn how to use a new tool.
An audience member (from Daxko) asked each panel member to say something positive about the other panelists’ products. Kristen said that Marketo has helped increase adoption of automation. Jon said that Genius.com has pioneered automated response. Parker said that Eloqua is the Cadillac of solutions. Brian said that Neolane is a good product with a lot of happy customers.
Of all the things I heard in this session, the one that really stuck with me was this one made by Brian Kardon: It’s not the technology that’s the problem, it’s the soft things.