Category Archives: lead management

Process Turns Marketing Automation Into Revenue

Today I read a blog post about 7 trends that speed up the adoption of marketing automation. It mentions the importance of valuable content, the increasingly longer sales cycles and the “consumerized” B2B sales processes. These are all important trends, and many people will wonder: how do I get started?

The Software is Great, But…

Marketing Automation software is often positioned as the be-all and end-all. It’s as if you would just sign up with one of the vendors, take a day to set everything up, and you’re done. Unfortunately, there is more to it than just technology. The result today: too many Marketing Automation users use their expensive system as an email marketing tool. Essentially, they changed their technology without updating their processes.

Process First

The companies that are successful with Marketing Automation take a different approach. They think strategically about their sales & marketing processes. They understand the capabilities of the technology, but think “process first”. An example: they determine what their most important customer segments are, what content they need in the different phases of the buying process, and how leads will be routed throughout the organization.

Technology & Process Go Hand in Hand

Once I tried to implement advanced lead management processes without the budget to buy a Marketing Automation system. That was hard. Actually, I felt frustrated that the lack of good technology was holding me back: it’s wasn’t just a lot of extra work, but certain features like behavioral lead scoring are simply not possible without Marketing Automation. To get the full benefits, Marketing Automation software and more effective Lead Management processes should be implemented at the same time.

Getting Started

In his post “Technology, alone, is not enough“, Adam Needles published an interesting graph about the the biggest roadblocks in maximizing a marketing automation solution:

Source: Bulldog Solutions/Frost & Sullivan (click to enlarge)

The top three issues are people, processes and content. Marketing Automation and Lead Management are complex, so you need to have someone in your organization who has experience with this. The most junior person on the marketing team is often not the right person. If you don’t have the right resources, you may need to hire someone, or work with a consultant.

Once you have the expertise in place, you can also design the right processes. This is usually a collaborative effort between marketing and sales.

The third roadblock from the survey was insufficient content. However, many organizations have more good content than they realize: check old blog posts, recorded webinars and other valuable content. But usually, it also requires a renewed focus on creating content that focuses on the buyer’s issues, rather than your own products.

With people, processes and content in place, you are well on your way to Marketing Automation success!

Webinar, Tue 10/19: Using Lead Nurturing to Turn More Leads Into Revenue

In 30 minutes get practical tips from Jep that will turn more deals into revenue, using list segmentation, email marketing and irresistible content

Info & Registration:

Impressive Marketo User Summit

At this week’s Marketo Summit, I realized we’re right in the middle of B2B Marketing Event Season. MarketingSherpa’s B2B Marketing Summit was last week, Pardot’s user conference was 2 weeks ago, and the Eloqua Experience is coming up next week. In this post I’m giving a short impression of the Marketo Summit.

The Marketo User Summit was BIG: 600 customers and partners were attending. It was also very professionally done: from the full color program guide and the loot bag to the well-balanced program and fun Mardi Gras party. With the exception of some Wifi issues in the beginning, it was running extremely smoothly.

Marketo University

The program started with the Marketo University, with a beginner and an advanced track. I attended the advanced track, and it was a nice combination of detailed feature descriptions and lead management best practices. They covered the main parts of the Marketo application: Lead Database, Design Studio, Marketing Activities and Analytics.

Global Marketo Roll-Out

After the University, Douglas Laird and Jonathan Moody showed how QlikTech managed to roll out a Soccer-themed Marketo campaign in 15 countries and 13 languages in a matter of months. This is an good example of how Marketo is now also being used in bigger implementations.

PR Newswire Integration

The PR Newswire session announced an integration that makes it much easier to distribute press releases, videos and other content right from Marketo. Additionally, it will make it possible to measure the results of your content marketing efforts more accurately.

Forrester Lead Management Overview

After that, Andre Pino, the new Forrester B2B Marketing principal analyst gave a nice overview of lead management. Some people thought it was a somewhat basic, but I thought it was a key component of this User Summit. He told the story in a nice way, and illustrated it with a good case study.

How Marketo Uses Marketo

Jon Miller and Bill Binch presented a session on how Marketo uses Marketo internally. One of he things Bill illustrated was how Sales Development Reps have to follow up with leads within a certain of days, otherwise their boss or even the executive team will be notified (using Marketo). This pretty much ensures a timely follow-up for each and every lead that reaches the lead score threshold.

Jon showed how Marketo is using a sophisticated decision workflow to start the right campaign at the right time: on every change, a “Traffic Cop” campaign decides which other campaign will be started next. It looked great, but also somewhat hard to understand and maintain. It’s a big contrast with Pardot’s pragmatic approach, in which they give every lead a 60 second look – manually – and then decide how to route the lead.

Webex Integration & Other Product News

J.D. Peterson, VP Products, presented the product roadmap. The big announcement was an upcoming integration with Webinar software, starting with Webex. GotoWebinar will follow, but GotoWebinar first needs to add an API to their product (please do so ASAP!).

There was a whole list of other planned improvements. One of them is the continued development of the Analytics module, including campaign influence measurement and revenue forecasting. That’s something that I’m really looking forward to, because it will make it much easier to show how Marketing activities influence current and future revenue.


There were many different tracks, so this post only gives an impression of the sessions that I was able to attend. I didn’t even mention the great presentation by Avinash Kaushik (Web Analytics Guru), who is a very energetic and humorous speaker: a great choice for the final presentation of the conference. Overall, it was a great conference and I learned a lot.

If you attended, please leave a comment about your experiences. What did you like, what could be improved?


PS. the presentations are here:

Learn Holistic Lead Nurturing

Would you like to learn how Lead Nurturing can turn more of your leads into revenue? On a single afternoon in New York City, Silverpop brings together several expert speakers to discuss Holistic Lead Nurturing strategies. The agenda covers B2B marketing trends, marketing infrastructure, nurturing dialogs, campaign development and implementation advice. Speakers include Adam Needles (Silverpop), Jay Hidalgo (Annuitas Group), Mac McIntosh (Acquire B2B) and myself. See below for an overview of Holistic Lead Nurturing.

Date & Time: September 14th, from 12pm to 5.30pm, with cocktails afterwards
Location: Affinia Manhattan Hotel, 371 Seventh Avenue
Cost: FREE for qualified marketers

Register here:

Other locations: Boston (October 19th),  San Francisco (November 2nd); see the full schedule

What Is Holistic Lead Nurturing?

For those of you who can’t make it, I’ll give a short overview of the event. First of all, what does “holistic” mean in this context? It means that you identify market trends, then define a strategy for lead nurturing, and then implement it. So it’s not just “let’s do some drip emails”, but a more comprehensive approach to get the most out of your lead nurturing campaigns.

The Changing B2B Buyer

The B2B buying process has changed. There is more information available online and in social networks, and sales people get involved at a much later stage. That also means that Marketing will be involved much longer: not just to generate leads, but also to nurturing the leads until they are ready to talk to a sales person.

New Marketing Technology

At the same time, technology solutions enable a new way to design and automate campaigns. Marketing Automation systems make it possible to design automated multi-step email campaigns. Also, they can track the responses at a very detailed level, including monitoring of website visits. Based on that activity, lead scoring gives an indication of the interests and sales-readiness of leads. And by integrating with the CRM system, sales can also be kept in the loop.

Creating a Dialog

With the new buying and technology environment, you can create a new type of nurturing dialog. It’s about understanding, tracking, scoring and routing leads. However, to succeed you need to put these individual activities together in a process to help leads along in the buying process. That is holistic lead management, which will help you turn more “raw” leads into qualified leads.

Generating Demand

And that brings us to the next step: optimizing your nurturing campaigns to generate more demand for your solutions. This starts with designing multi-track nurturing campaigns, based on the overall lead flow from the previous step. These campaigns should be aligned with the steps in the buying process, they should include appealing offers, leverage Buyer Personas, and possibly also integrate telesales or direct mail.

Putting It Into Practice

Because lead management and lead nurturing are pretty new, it’s sometimes hard to visualize how it will actually work in your organization. First of all, there are few organizations who have implemented all best practices: it can take years to build out a holistic nurturing program, but you can see the first results in just months, by taking small steps towards the ultimate vision. I recommend talking to peers at other organizations to see what they have accomplished with their lead nurturing programs.

Is Holistic Marketing the Future?

What is your take: should every B2B organization with a complex sales process adopt Holistic Lead Management practices? Or do you feel it’s too comprehensive? Did I forget any steps? Please let add your comments.

Finding Untapped Revenue in Your Marketing Database

It’s sort-of like living on top of a goldmine, but you have to dig to get to the gold. Lead Nurturing takes a lot of effort, but it’ll pay itself back ten times over. With a solid nurturing strategy you’ll find new sales opportunities from leads who you thought were not interested. But how do you create a solid lead nurturing plan?

In Manticore’s Quintessential Marketing Automation GuideBook I’ve written a chapter on how to find untapped revenue in your marketing database. It consists of 6 steps that are guaranteed to uncover new opportunities:

  1. Choose The Right Audience
  2. Know All About Your Audience
  3. Create Content That Your Audience Needs
  4. Make Offers They Can’t Refuse
  5. Have Conversations
  6. Collaborate With Your Sales Team

My chapter is only 1 of the 10 chapters in this book. Several of the leading marketing practitioners and consultants have written chapters on topics ranging from sales & marketing collaboration to conversion optimization and content marketing:

  • Jill Konrath: Candid Letter from Sales to Marketing
  • Craig Rosenberg: Process, People, and Content: The Keys to Success with Marketing Automation Technology
  • Jeff Erramouspe: You Need Good Technology, But…
  • Sue Hay & Cari Baldwin: Supercharge Your Demand Generation with Marketing Automation
  • Andrew Gaffney: Focus on the Marketing Metrics That Matter
  • Ardath Albee: Use Content Intelligence to Drive Pipeline Momentum
  • Robert Walmsley: Why Marketing Automation is a Must-Have For Every B2B VP of Sales
  • Brain Massey: Conversion Stack: Marketing Automation for Performance Marketers
  • Jonathan Block: A Roadmap to Marketing Automation Success

So a great guidebook, chock-full with valuable advice on marketing automation and lead management. Download it here.

What Lead Nurturing Content to Send When?

On Thursday I’m presenting a webinar with Treehouse Interactive, called “Lead Nurturing 101”. One of the registrants sent me the following question:

How much of this webinar will be about content, i.e. exactly what to say in each subsequent email in a series designed to move someone from prospect stage to buying stage?

The webinar will only cover this briefly, so therefore I’m giving some more details this blog post. By the way, you can still register for the webinar.

What Is Lead Nurturing Content?

Lead Nurturing content contains information that prospects need to make a purchase decision. It can come in various formats: (blog) articles, whitepapers, webinars, videos, podcasts, and so on. The content can be on the vendor’s website, it can be sent out via email, or sent out by sales people. In this post I’ll focus on content that is sent out via automated email campaigns (drip campaigns).

Mapping Content to Buying Stages

Different people need different content at different times. You can develop buyer personas and describe the content they need in the various buying stages. This process is called ‘content mapping’. Steve woods wrote a great primer on content mapping. With content mapping you can make sure that you cover all questions and objections that typically come up during the buying process.

However, it can be hard to apply content mapping to email nurturing. On your website, prospects will select the content they find interesting themselves, but in an email you are making a choice for them. So how do know what content they need at what time?

One option would be to assume that all new leads are just starting their buying process and need 6 months to make a decision. But that’s not how it works in real life: different people have different needs and are on a different schedule. The solution is to learn more about your prospects before you decide what content to send to them.

Content for Nurturing Emails

So to send the right content by email, you need to monitor prospects’ behavior. Web visits, document downloads, form submissions and email clicks will all give you an indication of the stage prospects are in. Based on their actions, you can enter prospects in the most appropriate nurturing campaign.

For example, if prospects download a whitepaper on the trends in your industry, they may also be interested in analyst reports or customer case studies. Or if they register for a demo of your product, a logical next step my be a product trial or a free consultation.

Once prospects have been entered in a particular lead nurturing track, keep monitoring their responses. For example, if prospects who downloaded a whitepaper earlier are now registering for a demo, you may want to switch campaigns. When the drip campaign has come to an end before the prospects are ready to buy, enter them in a long-term nurturing campaign.

The Best Email Sequence

Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. If you know the email campaign, how do you decide which content should be in it, and in which order? I can share some approaches that work well for me in my consulting practice.

To determine the pieces of content, make a list of all the questions people typically ask in this stage. If you don’t know, ask your sales people, or simply call a couple of prospects and ask them. Also try to find out typical objections. Ideally, you provide content that addresses all questions and objections that prospects have in this stage of the buying process.

In your email campaign, start with a couple of educational emails that contain helpful content. The tone-of-voice of these emails should also be helpful (as opposed to being sales-oriented). Then start mixing in some more promotional content, which could be offers or product-related content. Once the campaign is running, carefully monitor open rates and click rates so you can optimize your messages. You’ll have to iterate a couple of times: it’s hard to create the ‘perfect’ campaign from the start.

Keeping It Manageable

There are only so many campaigns that you can realistically create. How can you keep it all manageable? My first recommendation is to focus on the most promising customer segments first. It’s better to do a great job nurturing the most important 20% of your prospects than do a bad job nurturing your entire database.

Second, keep the campaigns relatively simple. A simple but consistently executed campaign will give better results than a complex campaign that is hard to manage. It’s often best to start with linear campaigns: just sending one message after another, rather than branching based on the prospect’s behavior.

Let me know your tips for creating email nurturing content!

Live Webinar: Lead Nurturing 101

Learn how to nurture your leads and bring more revenue to your company. This webinar shows what you can do today to begin or enhance your lead nurturing programs. Thursday at 1pm PDT.

Register now »

MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Summit

San Francisco: October 4-5 / Boston: October 25-26

Just like last year, I will be a blogging partner for MarketingSherpa’s B2B Marketing Summit. Again, they have created a great program for B2B Marketers, covering both lead generation and lead nurturing strategies.

What is nice about this summit is that most speakers are marketing practitioners, not vendors. Also, MarketingSherpa team members like Brian Carroll and Sergio Balegno are known for their excellent presentations.

Just some highlights:

  • Integrating Social Media with B2B Email – Daryl Nielson, Marketing Manager, Email B2B, HP and Mia Dand, B2B Social Media Marketing Manager, HP WW Enterprise Business Marketing
  • Lead Scoring and Nurturing – Melissa Centrella from Virgin HealthMiles
  • Content that Converts – Marko Muellner and Thom Schoeborn from Webtrends
  • Social Media for the B2B Marketer – Alex Plant from NetApp and Natascha Thomson from SAP
  • Balancing Your Marketing Portfolio: Choosing the Right Mix of Tactics to Maximize ROI on a Limited Budget – Greg Sherry from Verint Systems

More info on the program »

LeadSloth Discount: $500 extra off

MarketingSherpa has been very kind to create a special offer for LeadSloth readers. Normally the event is $1,695, regular discount is $200, but you get an extra $500 off. That makes $995. I think that’s a very good deal.

Visit this registration page to get the discount »

Tip: if you’re coming to the San Francisco summit and you like affordable and delicious Thai food, check out Siam Thai: it’s inside the Parc 55 hotel where the conference takes place.

25 Great B2B Content Marketing Articles

While doing research for my webinar on creating content that converts, I found many great articles on B2B Content Marketing. Here are the 25 articles that I liked best. Most are blog posts, but I’ve also included some eBooks.

My focus is on B2B, rather than B2C. Often, some of the basics are the same, but not always. For example, the complex sale is usually unique to B2B selling, and that’s when you would map content to stages in the buying cycle. So here are the articles:

Overview Articles

Joe Pulizzi, What is Content Marketing?

Michele Linn, A 7-Step Plan for Getting Started with Content Marketing

Doug Kessler, The B2B Content Marketing Workbook

Ardath Albee, 23 Reasons Why Content Marketing Fails

Adam Needles, What’s Behind the Rise of Content Marketing

Russell Sparkman, Creating Consistent Content – A Content Marketing Plan


Adam Needles, Why ‘Personas’ Are the Key to Achieving a ‘Mass One-to-one’ Strategy

Stephenie Tilton, Do You Have Any Idea Who You’re Talking To?

Adele Revella, How Kristine Developed a Great Buyer Persona

Tony Zambito, 10 Rules for Buyer Persona Development

Content Planning

Michele Linn, Is Less Content Better? 5 Steps to Simplify B2B Marketing Content

Stephenie Tilton, How Much B2B Content Is Enough?

Michele Linn, Need Content? 20 Formats to Consider

Ardath Albee, Content Marketing is for Customers Too!

Rick Burnes,5 Common Content Marketing Challenges — And Simple Solutions

Ardath Albee, Forgettable Follow-up on B2B Content Offers

Content Reuse

Ardath Albee, The Rule of 5 for B2B Content Development

Michele Linn, The Dos and Don’ts of B2B Content Reuse

Michele Linn, Got Content? 10 Steps to Repurpose Your Best B2B Assets

Joe Pulizzi, BtoB Content Marketing: Six Places to Find Hidden Content Gems

Content Mapping

Barbra Gago, Content Mapping 101 – part 1, part 2, part 3

Steve Woods, The Buying Process; Auditing your Content Assets

Steve Woods, The Content Gap – Lead Nurturing and Content Creation

Steve Woods, Buyer Roles, Buying Stages, and Perception Challenges

Jeffrey Ogden, Mapping marketing content across the buying cycle and personas

Please let me know if I forgot any seminal articles!

On-Demand Webinar: The Secret To Creating Lead Nurturing Content That Converts

With the right content strategy, leads will move through the buying process more quickly and you’ll boost your conversion rates. To learn how, view this 30-minute on-demand webinar.

View the Webinar recording »

Webinar: Using Segmentation & Personas to Increase Conversion by 50-400%

Live Webinar: Tuesday July 27th, 2010, 11am PDT/ 2pm EDT (recording available)

Segmentation of your database and development of personas allow you to develop the right messages, content and offers. This will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your lead nurturing campaigns. This 30-minute webinar presents a step-by-step approach to segmenting your database and developing personas for your most important target groups.

The following questions will be addressed:

  • Do segmentation and personas really increase conversion?
  • How many segments should I create?
  • Do I segment my database by title, influence, industry, or something else?
  • Which personas should I develop?
  • How can I develop an insightful persona quickly?
  • I have created segments & personas, what now?

In 30 minutes you will get practical tips that can result in conversion improvements ranging from 20% to 400%. I hope you can make it!

Click Here to View the Recording of the Webinar

Webinar Recording: 7 Steps to Finding Untapped Revenue

This is the recording of the webinar about the 7 Steps to Finding Untapped Revenue in Your Marketing Database, which took place on June 22nd, 2010. Please click the ‘play’ button to start. The total length is 28 minutes.

To see the slides, please visit SlideShare.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction by Jep Castelein
2. 1848 James Marshall Discovers Gold
3. How Much REVENUE Are You Missing Out On?
4. NURTURE Leads to Assure More Revenue
5. 50% of Leads are NOTReady to Make the Jump
6. 23% BUY from a Competitor 6 Months after Initial Inquiry

7. Nurtured Leads Produce 20% MORE Sales Opportunities
8. # 1: COLLABORATE with Sales
9. # 2:CHOOSE the Right Audience
10. # 3: Know them WELL
11. # 4: Provide VALUE
12. # 5: Make OFFERS They Can’t Refuse
13. # 6: HAVE Conversations
14. # 7: Track & MEASURE
15. Case Study
16. The Complete Process
17. Need Help Finding those Gold Nuggets in Your Database? Let’s Talk!
18. Q&A

Plugging the Leak in the Middle of the Sales & Marketing Funnel

I’ve recorded an introductory video on lead nurturing and how it can turn more raw leads into qualified leads. Effective lead nurturing will prevent prospects from falling out of the funnel before they are ready to talk to a sales person.

This video is a preview of Tuesday’s webinar “7 Steps to Finding Untapped Revenue in Your Marketing Database“, which covers a comprehensive 7 step process to design a lead nurturing strategy.

The webinar is now available for watching on demand.