2 Table of Contents Introduction When to Buy a Solution? Do you covet a well run Lead Management process? Do you know your prospects well? Are you losing out due to the sales and marketing divide? Is it hard to prove ROI for your marketing efforts? Are you a start-up operating on a shoestring marketing budget? Objectives of a System Checklist for evaluating a Vendors Campaign Management and Design Marketing Drip Marketing and Lead Nurturing Website Analytics and Anonymous visitor data Landing Pages and Form Data management Lead Management CRM integration Sales Enablement Reporting Professional Support & Customization Security and Scalability Pricing and TCO
3 Introduction This is how Wikipedia defines - The use of a marketing automation platform streamlines sales and marketing organizations by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions. has a focus on lead generation with targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company s products and/or services and nurture leads from first interest through to sale. A simple analogy would be to think of is as a platform for automating & managing marketing campaigns and process. In a B2B organization, marketing campaigns are run to build awareness for the product or solution with an objective to generate prospects for the product or solution. Marketing Automation tools can help in understanding a prospect s mind and analyze behavior in context of a purchase cycle. This helps in easily structuring interactions with the prospect both in terms of nurturing and lead generation. And the added advantage is that all this can be achieved without need for manual intervention. Traditional programs such as trade shows, direct mail, and print advertising are quickly being replaced by pay-per-click sponsorships, search engine optimization, blasts, Webcasts, and other online marketing initiatives. At the same time, average response rates are declining at a rapid pace and marketing budgets are shrinking, while sales teams continue to demand greater volumes of qualified leads. With marketing automation software, a business can enhance all aspects of cross-channel communication and lead generation. Prospect and customer databases can be managed and segmented more effectively, promotions can be deployed in a more targeted and personalized fashion, leads can be tracked more closely, and results can be measured more accurately.
4 The key benefits of software include: Increased productivity - with marketing automation software, marketing staff can eliminate the tedious, cumbersome, and repetitive tasks often associated with campaign planning and execution and launch programs faster and more efficiently. Reduced costs - by minimizing waste and redundancy caused by manual campaign execution, marketing automation software can significantly cut expenses. Additionally, marketing automation software gives companies an in-depth insight into campaign effectiveness, so they can abandon unsuccessful initiatives before they drain financial resources. Enhanced flexibility - marketing automation software makes marketing teams more agile, so they can react instantly to changing marketplace conditions and shifting communication strategies. Advanced intelligence - the kind of intelligence-driven planning and execution required to maximize response and conversion rates is made possible by marketing automation software. It provides timely, valuable information that can be analyzed to determine what works, what doesn t, and most importantly, why. As a result, it enables better, more informed decision making regarding future campaign plans. Improved personalization - with marketing automation software, marketing teams have the tools they need to launch initiatives based on the specific needs and wants of a target audience, so content is more targeted and more relevant. And, studies show that the use of personalization can boost response and conversion rates, shorten sales cycles, and increase return on marketing investment.
5 When to Buy a Solution? Keeping a healthy sales pipeline is a desired objective of every organization, also the only way firms can sustain themselves in the marketplace. However finding good business leads is no mean task. If you are a firm that is struggling to keep your sales funnel buzzing, a marketing automation tool can really help. Unlike B2C organizations and e-commerce sites, B2B websites have primarily been used as a company brochure online. All marketing activities, be it be online or offline, do direct a number of company s prospects to their website, but these are hardly noticed. Research by LeadFormix and other leading agencies has shown that visitors who fill forms on a website and identify themselves stand between 5 and 10%. This clearly indicates that organizations are actually losing out on getting to know almost 95% of the people who have shown some level of interest in their company or product by visiting their website for more information. Marketing automation tools can help in such a scenario because they provide insights on both the kinds of enterprise visitors those who disclose their identity and those who abandon the site, without so much as dropping a Hi! (who we call anonymous visitors). It is not difficult then to imagine how many more leads you would have in your database to follow-up with if you have a system that can accurately monitor them; the fact that these are warm leads (unlike your paid cold calling lists) makes it worth the investment.
6 Do you covet a well run Lead Management process? If generating leads is tough in a B2B set-up, then managing leads and tracking their progress from a warm lead to a closed deal is even tougher, considering most B2B cycles are month long. Keeping track of a lead s activities, their varying stages of interest and pushing the irrelevant ones out of the system are all essential part of Lead Management and can make all the difference when it comes to successful sales closures. The marketing automation tool eases and simplifies the process of Lead Management, it makes it easier to track the activities of leads, and scores these leads based on their interactions with your website and even helps you automate the s to leads keeping in mind their levels of activity and interest in your product. Marketing automation helps your company prioritize your leads, keeps the communication channels with the lead open and informs you when the lead is ready to be graduated as a prospect and sent to the sales team for final pitch and closure.
7 Do you know your prospects well? Reading your prospect s mind would require years of sales and marketing experience limiting to only those prospects you might speak to or meet in person (Tip: Keep Allan Pease s The Definitive Book Of Body Language handy). In an age where prospects are well researched and armed with information about your company as much as you are, the only differentiator in clinching that deal will depend on how informed you are about your prospect s needs, which is no small feat. But it is important, nonetheless, to ensure that your prospect comes to the negotiation table. Wouldn t it help, if you knew what your prospect was looking for even before your first interaction? I d say, it s a boon, because that d mean you can customize your marketing activities, lead nurturing programs and sales pitches to ensure a warmer response than a cold call/ which just sells.
8 Are you losing out due to the sales and marketing divide? It is a proven fact that sales and marketing can rarely think alike and this misalignment might prove expensive to the organizations. Reasons could be lack of communication, mismanagement of leads and expectations, untimely responses to prospects requirements, lack of common processes and strategies that enable to achieve the common goal of increased sales revenues among others. is seen as the most promising solution for this persistent problem within organizations. The solution requires the organization s marketing & sales teams to define a good lead, which becomes the base criteria for scoring and qualifying Leads. This has to be a joint effort and once this common definition is in place, it helps in stopping the blame game at least as far as the quality and qualification of leads go. Also, marketing automation tools provide both sales and marketing with more specific information about their end customers, which helps them in focusing their respective energies in customizing their pitch, ensuring better returns for both. Having common data to look at, pursue and measure against, ensures a smoother run for the warring departments.
9 Is it hard to prove ROI for your marketing efforts? Marketing your offerings requires a considerable budget, but often organizations find it difficult to measure the ROI on their investments, irrespective of how they measure it, against the number of leads generated or the brand value created. If you are a company which spends a major chunk of your marketing budget on online marketing or a company which never forgets to mention on all your marketing collateral For more information, please visit our website then a marketing automation tool can be the solution you have been waiting for. These tools help you measure the effectiveness of marketing channels which generate leads through your website. So it not only helps you evaluate the marketing activities yielding the maximum results but also identifies channels which are popular with the target audience. The tool helps you optimize your marketing spend by helping you focus your resources on channels that gives you the maximum bang for your buck.
10 Are you a start-up operating on a shoestring marketing budget? Start-ups are always short on resources and are looking for means to get the maximum out of their minimum investments. tools can be can be a real value-add to find unexplored business opportunities on the website or automate their lead nurturing programs using the marketing tools that come with these solutions. What works in favor of solutions is that these can be both integrated into your existing CRM systems making them more effective or can be used independently. According to Gartner, B2B marketing automation is predicted to become a more than $3 billion industry by This means scores of organizations across the world will be adopting this tool. Once convinced of the need to use a system, it helps to have some objectives to help you track your goals.
11 Objectives of a System If you are looking to use a Solution, you need to have a set of objectives that are in place before you start identifying vendors. Some of the common objectives of a Marketing Automation system are To have a single source for creating and managing different kind of Marketing messages for your clients To enable Marketersv to have full control in creating and managing their messaging to the clients across multiple media To determine the response to different campaign and to measure their effectiveness To provide sales with actionable insight for use in their pitches to the prospects To enable determination of ROI through closed loop analytics On-demand or SaaS products dominate the landscape. This helps you reduce your initial spend and the need to invest on expensive hardware and people to manage these systems. You will need to evaluate your own internal requirements from such a system and evaluate the different vendors that are in the market. To help you with this, LeadFormix provides a checklist of some required features and processes that will help you identify the right vendor.
12 Checklist for evaluating a Vendors As a prospective buyer of a solution, it is imperative that you evaluate various features and services that have to be part of marketing automation software. Ensure that your vendor provides all these features and more. Don t compromise on quality, it is after all the question of increasing revenues for your organization! Campaign Management and Design As a marketing person, you will obviously look to plan, develop and measure multi channel Marketing Campaigns. Your marketing automation system therefore needs to support multiple Marketing channels and tie the response back to individuals or companies as desired. Some features you should be looking for in your MA vendor s solution include: The ability to create and manage multi channel campaigns. The different marketing channels can include , Webinars, Social Media, SEO, SEM and others. There are newer media channels coming into vogue and an open platform that enables easy integration of more sources The ability to create segments and measure the effectiveness at campaign level or individual channel level The ability to create reusable business rules that will drive the working of campaigns
13 Marketing Marketing is one of the major channels to connect with your prospects. This should go above just being an marketing solution to enable as one of the channels. Here are the features you need to look out for in the marketing module of your marketing automation solution: The ability to create and manage campaigns in a multi user environment, including sharing of campaigns, contacts and templates across users. Access to B2B specific templates. Personalization of content and dynamic content creation Ability to preview s in multiple clients and evaluate spam risks Ability to send s through personalized ids and send on behalf of sales teams Full deliverability management including mailbox monitoring and ISP feedback integration Can-SPAM compliance, automated opt outs and bounce Management List Hygiene Maintenance, automated de-duplication management and rule based automated list creation Supplement contact information with data from social media to fill the blanks on all contacts
14 Drip Marketing and Lead Nurturing Not all prospects that are part of your database are qualified. There is a need to interact with them regularly and with most relevant content. So ensure your Marketing automation system incorporates these features: Auto reply an alert facility to respond to hot leads quickly Pull and push based multi step campaigns. Ability to start nurturing campaigns from a known list or based on specific actions (those who downloaded a whitepaper) Ability to restrict the number of s sent out throttle Ability to integrate this with lead scoring for lead prioritization Reporting on successful drip marketing campaigns and integration with CRM for enabling full cycle analytics
15 Drip Website Analytics and Anonymous visitor data Majority of the visitors who come in to your website are anonymous. Analysis of this data will help in targeting the right companies and in evaluating important behaviors. So the marketing automation tool you zero in on needs to be able to: Track anonymous data and be able to identify the company visits and the behavior exhibited by them Supplement the data with Firmographic information for easy sorting (based on target market definitions e.g. All companies from US, with greater than 500 million in revenues) Automated fetching of contact information for easy 1st level contact with potential stakeholders on specific triggers Company level view of data and scoring on anonymous contacts to find those companies who don t choose to identify themselves Landing Pages and Form Data management Landing Pages are important for capturing form data during each campaign. Landing Pages need to be created easily and be in the control of marketing teams to reduce time delays. Your marketing automation software should allow you to: Create Landing Pages and modify existing ones easily without the need to know HTML Deploy them in your server or host on vendors servers Capture the leads generated through these pages and assign to specific sources Capture form data from pages without the need for them to be instrumented using the vendors system (some forms may not be in Marketing control and some may be older forms, moving which will take time in a complex organization).
16 Lead Management Leads generated through the multiple sources are not all ready to be handed to sales. There need to be processes and rules to move them according to specific criteria. So, look out for features that cover: Lead Prioritization rules that support both automated business rules and manual qualification which can be customized as per company process Automated rule based routing to Sales teams Complex lead scoring criteria that take profile, behavior and CRM parameters to define the rules CRM integration The analytics that is captured in a Marketing automation solution should be mapped into the CRM. This ensures that both Marketing and Sales are on the same platform for analyzing lead data. Ask yourself if your marketing automation tool provides: Bidirectional API based integration of data between and CRM Customizable rules for defining what data to map, what fields to map them to and the frequency of mapping to get a customized solution Ability to customize the integration in case of specific business scenarios Support for multiple CRMs to ensure that the system is not too focused on one CRM
17 Sales Enablement Sales teams of the company need to be able to access the data that the Marketing automation system provides and be able to interact with prospects via the system easily. So your prospective MA system must have: Ability to view specific information related to prospects in CRM without any manual intervention (Web visits, activity, form fills etc) Ability to define triggers to alert salespeople to important activity which needs their action Ability to add prospects to nurturing campaigns from within the CRM in case they are not yet fully qualified Reporting The advantage of having a system like is that it makes it easy to create closed loop Marketing Analytics for measuring campaign performance. It can also help provide insight into all marketing activities. Make sure these essential features are covered: A centralized dashboard for viewing the KPIs for senior management Customizable reporting for individuals based on their requirements Ability to create closed loop marketing reports in integration with the CRM to measure ROI Ability to get detailed analytics on each campaign that is done Ability to export the data in multiple formats spreadsheet, PDF or via .
18 Professional Support & Customization Every organization has its own processes for Marketing and lead generation and no system is completely able to have everything built in. There needs to be inherent customization capability in the platform and the ability to plug-in these for customers: Ability to customize rules and reports for specific users Ability to support multiple rules, reports, content for different users Ability to integrate with other systems via API Ability to have a professional services team assist in strategy, implementation or execution Security and Scalability systems thrive on speed of execution and it is important that the system is scalable. Security is also a vital parameter as the system holds vital information from a business perspective. Here are some features that need to be supported: SLAs and support levels offered with respect to uptime and resolution of issues Data backup and redundancy to overcome any disasters Scalable architecture to support increase in volume of activity. This should be transparent to you as an end user
19 Pricing and TCO companies are mostly priced on a SaaS basis. But each may have their own pricing levers and additional prices that will increase the total cost. You need to look at the following Base price and levers for that Module based pricing User level pricing Pricing for professional services Pricing for support Custom pricing e.g. reputation management, dedicated IP etc With the market flooded with a lot of marketing automation software and tools, it is important to sift the grain from the chaff and ensure you make a wise and informed decision before opting for a marketing automation system. Make sure the system you choose in line with the marketing objectives your organization/you set. Your tool should be one that you can use effectively in the present while being scalable and adaptable enough to be used in the future as well.