Monthly Archives: February 2010

5 Ways to Use Social Media in Marketing Automation

This is the first of three posts for the Silverpop B2B Marketing University, March 3rd in Washington DC. I will be speaking about Marketing Automation features, the marketing technology ecosystem, and the impact of Social Media. In this first post I will give an overview of my talk on Social Media: if you’d like to hear the full story, please come to the DC event, or wait until the University comes to a city near you (London, Palo Alto, Boston confirmed; Dallas, New York, Atlanta and Chicago announced).

Social Media

When talking about Social Media, most people immediately think of Twitter or Facebook. I define it much broader: Social Media facilitates any online social interaction, where monologues have been transformed into social dialogs. So it’s about having conversations with your (potential) clients rather than just blasting out your message. Let’s look at the 5 Ways in which Social Media is changing Lead Management and Marketing Automation.

1. Lead Generation

Where do your potential clients “hang out” when they browse the web? Are they on LinkedIn, do they Tweet or are they part of an online community like Marketingprofs? After some initial research, start interacting on the preferred Social Networks and measure the results: add tags to your social media interactions, so you see if it drives new people to your site. Use your Marketing Automation and CRM systems to see if this traffic converts to qualified leads and sales opportunities.

2. Lead Nurturing

It may take a while before potential clients are ready to buy or even want to talk to a sales person. In the beginning, they may not even register on your website, so they are still anonymous. No worries, with Social Media you can offer prospects multiple ways to stay in touch: if they’re not yet ready for your email newsletter, maybe they want to “fan” your company on Facebook, or simply subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed. If you incorporate Social Media interaction in your lead score, you can measure the effectiveness of these Social Media activities.

3. Lead Intelligence

Sales & marketing alignment is finally getting the attention it deserves. Marketing is starting to see sales as a customer who demands high-quality leads. With the right technology you can incorporate information from various online sources, so sales people are better prepared when they make the first call. It’s not just status information like the employment history from LinkedIn, but also real-time info from sites like Twitter.

4. Intra-company Collaboration

Social Media does not just transform how you interact with external parties, but also how you run your marketing operation. If multiple people work together on campaigns, it’s extremely useful if you can collaborate in the application itself. This is already commonplace in office applications like Microsoft Office and Google Docs, where you can add notes in the documents themselves, rather than putting those in an email. In the marketing space, the most well-known example is Google Analytics which lets you add annotations below each graph (click on the small triangle to show the annotation pane).

5. Customer Support

Often, Customer Support is in a separate department, and it’s seen as a cost center. Especially for subscription-based businesses, marketing should be closely involved in providing customers with the best possible experience: retaining customers is a lot cheaper than acquiring new ones. Companies like Zendesk, Helpstream and Get Satisfaction provide social support platforms, where existing customers can help each other, rather than channeling all questions to a support technician. You can also use Social Networks to keep customers informed of new products and services, and giving them the opportunity to provide feedback.


Many of today’s customers interact with Social Media. As a vendor, you can take advantage of this by actively participating on external networks, and adding social features to your own applications. I hope this post gave you some ideas to create a comprehensive Social Media strategy, and how to justify this with the right metrics.

B2B Marketing Events 2010

What are the key events to attend when you’d like to learn more about B2B Marketing, Marketing Automation, Lead Management? I’ve compiled a list of the events that matter:

I’ve started with a much longer list, but decided to focus on those events where Marketing Automation vendors exhibit, and where the speakers cover lead management and marketing automation. Some featured events:

Silverpop B2B Marketing University

I’m speaking at the B2B Marketing University. Although it’s organized by Silverpop, it’s primarily a thought leadership event: no product demos, customer cases, or other company promotions. Other speakers are Carlos Hidalgo (@cahidalgo), Malcolm Friedberg (@LeftBrainMktg), Mac McIntosh (@B2B_Sales_Leads), David Raab (@draab) and Adam Needles (@abneedles).

Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference

Even though the name makes you think otherwise, the Sales 2.0 Conference also covers Lead Management. Forward-thinking sales people realize that Sales & Marketing alignment is essential to increase sales (just like forward-thinking marketing people). Because of this, there will also be a Sales & Marketing 2.0 conference this fall! That’s an exciting development, and I will certainly try to be there.

MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Summit

Last year I attended the MarketingSherpa events in San Francisco and Boston. They have high-quality presentations on both lead generation and lead management. I can highly recommend these events.

User Conferences

The Marketing Automation vendors with a bigger installed base have their own user conferences. I hesitated whether I should include these, but ultimately decided that they would fit my criteria: the presence of a Marketing Automation vendor, and relevant talks.

Final Words

There are several interesting events if you want to learn more about Marketing Automation. I hope you will be able to attend one of these events (or more, of course). Let me know if I missed any events. If you are organizing an event, I’d happy to speak or join a panel discussion (contact info).

PS. For more events, see the Marketing Consigliere’s list.

B2B Marketing Analytics

On Saturday I presented a session about B2B Marketing Analytics at AnalyticsCamp in Chapel Hill (slides here). My specialty is Marketing Automation, but Analytics and Reporting come up in pretty much any project I do. Even though I almost flunked my Statistics class in college, there’s no denying that Marketing Automation and Marketing Analytics are two sides of the same coin.

Why Analytics?

Part of the attractiveness of Marketing Automation is that marketing processes finally become repeatable and measurable. So it’s no wonder that marketers who believe in automation also want to see reports on marketing performance. But what exactly do they want to do with that information? This is my take:

  • Optimize marketing tactics
  • Optimize marketing budget
  • Optimize ROI
  • Predict revenue

Challenge 1: Choose Your Metrics

To accomplish the above tasks you need to choose the right metrics: rich enough to provide insight and simple enough to be actionable. When I made my presentation I put them in 4 categories, and I’d love to have your feedback on them:

Basic Metrics

This is the flawed but still-important number of inquiries (raw leads), plus the number of qualified leads. You can use lead scoring or a phone call to see whether a lead matches your ideal lead profile. If yes, you have a qualified lead. This should be fairly simple to capture, but not every company is doing this yet.

Revenue Metrics

Step 2 is to tie campaigns to revenue. You need to link marketing automation to CRM so you can link campaigns to sales opportunities. At first, you can attribute the full revenue to the first campaign, but as you get more sophisticated you may want to set up a multiple attribution  model (not for the faint of heart though!).

Process Metrics

SiriusDecisions did a lot of work here by defining the demand generation waterfall model: Inquiries > Marketing Qualified Leads > Sales Accepted Leads > Sales Qualified Leads > Won Business. If you measure the ratios between the stages, you can see where the bottlenecks are in the sales & marketing processes. SiriusDecisions can also provide benchmark numbers.

Justification Metrics

These are the metrics to cover your back. Keep track of how much of the sales pipeline is generated by marketing. This clearly shows how much revenue potential marketing is responsible for. This also makes it possible to calculate the ROI, which – hopefully – shows that the investment in marketing pays back for itself (don’t do this until you know it’s going to look good ;- ).

Challenge 2: Collect Data & Run Your Reports

Part of the data you need comes from your website and partly it is from your CRM system. You probably also want to measure whether leads respond to your emails, and you want to input some cost data. So in principle, a Marketing Automation system should be able to capture most of this data. In reality, you may still have to do some customization to be totally closed-loop.

Support for reporting in Marketing Automation systems is very mixed. Simple systems often have only basic reporting, the larger systems tend to have an embedded BI tool, which is powerful but not necessarily easy to use.

What I Want

I’d love to have Google Analytics for Marketing Analytics. Just hook it up to your Marketing and CRM databases, and do your analysis. I’ve seen some promising products, like YouCalc and GoodData (a client of mine), but it’s not as easy and comprehensive as Google Analytics is for Web Analytics. What do you think: can we expect such a tool in the near future?

PS. Also let me know your opinion on my slide deck