Mother Nature has shown no mercy this winter with the amount of snow she’s thrown our way. Now don’t get me wrong, winter in New England is great. But when you haven’t felt your toes or fingers since November it gets pretty old. For those lucky enough to live in 80 degree weather year-round you probably can’t relate to our winter blues and being buried in snow, but I’m guessing you know what it’s like to be buried in dirty data.
Dirty data is an epidemic sweeping the nation, poisoning marketing databases and destroying businesses’ sales and marketing efforts from Boston all the way to Hawaii, and around the world. In fact, experts at Dell estimate that duplicate and bad data combined cost the U.S. economy over $3 trillion every year. That’s two times the national deficit. So what do you do? Do you grab a shovel and slowly start digging yourself out or do you call an expert to get the job done?
At NetProspex we do all the heavy lifting for you, leaving you free to do what you do best – generate leads. As a centerpiece of the NetProspex Workbench solution, Data HealthScan assesses the health of your database across four critical elements: data quality, data completeness, your data profile and new opportunities. Armed with this assessment, you can then determine what next steps to take whether it’s cleaning up your database or filling in your missing fields with firmographic or demographic information to help enable better targeting and segmentation.
You’ve worked hard to fill your marketing database with quality leads; don’t let dirty data pile up. Take action to understand what’s in your database and keep it clean and actionable for each of your campaigns. As winter turns to spring, put away those shovels and start planting the seeds to keep your database healthy and growing. You’ll see the benefits from increased sales pipeline to marketing generated revenue.
Today, marketers are struggling to keep their contact databases clean, accurate and up-to-date. Incomplete databases prevent marketers from building advanced programs in their marketing automation systems and it affects their ability to deliver results. Keeping a marketing database in pristine condition can prove particularly difficult for complex companies with global offices and multiple products. However, no matter how big a company is, brilliant programs can’t be successful without a complete and current database that a marketer can trust.
So how can we as marketers make our data trustworthy and ready for action? Follow these tried and true steps to achieve healthy marketing data management:
Assess: Understanding what issues exist in a company’s marketing data is the first step to getting ahead of them. Unless marketers obsess over their database every week, it’s probably riddled with duplicate contacts, incorrect email addresses and phony phone numbers. The good news is that it is simple to get a clear picture of what’s already there without having to review the database on a constant basis. Marketers can run a Data HealthScan and find out the state of their data in minutes. Much like an annual doctor’s appointment, by assessing the health of their data, marketing teams will have a clearer picture of what they need to invest in for optimal data health.
Cleanse: Once marketers have reviewed their database, it’s time to clean it out by finding and fixing the bad records. Marketers can hire companies to handle it for them or go the DIY route. A key point to remember is that data quality is not a one-time event. Marketers must define their data management habits and then wash, rinse and repeat, as people change jobs and get promoted all the time.
Enhance: Once the dirty work is over, marketers can finally take a breath, as they’ve just taken the major steps necessary toward best-practice level data management. Next steps? Appending their data with things like industry, location and company size to ensure they can trust their marketing automation programs to reach the right people, while delivering the best message.
Tomorrow is the last day of the year, so naturally, people in the office are talking about New Year’s resolutions… the goals we achieved, the goals we missed, and the goals we want to accomplish next year. In 2013, I was able to hit my goals because they were challenging but not impossible. I ran a half marathon, hit my marketing generated revenue number with the team, and was nominated for MarketingProfs “Best B2B Marketing Project” of the year. It was a pretty great year.
In 2014, I’m centering my business goals around three areas: the customer, the content, and the database. Here’s a quick look into my plans:
Build out the customer portion of our sales cycle We spent 2013 mastering the SiriusDecisions waterfall. From training our inside sales team, to building out new campaign tracking in our CRM, we spent a great deal of time focused on the buyer’s journey. Next year, I plan to close the loop on our reporting, by making customer marketing analytics a primary focus. At NetProspex, we pride ourselves on our 1:1 customer relationships and our sales team truly loves our clients. By building out trend reports to better track our customer needs, we can provide the exact solution needed at the exact moment necessary, while gaining valuable information to fuel our demand generation campaigns.
Expand our content marketing strategy While having a company blog is a great way to establish our thought leadership reputation, it’s not the only valuable tool in the content marketing sphere. We plan to spice up our strategy by adding videos, social media outreach, infographics, and an underground newsletter to the mix. What’s an underground newsletter? Stay tuned to find out.
Have a complete profile for every single contact/lead When it comes to our marketing database, the more you know the better. Mass marketing no longer works. Period. Today’s consumers demand a certain level of personalization, which means you need more than their email address or phone number to effectively target them as a lead. Knowing exactly who exists in your database is worth its weight in gold. We spent a great deal of time cleaning out the junk in our marketing database in 2013, knowing it would serve us well in 2014. Now that the garbage is out, I can build out campaigns using data I trust. You can be certain I’ll be measuring my lead conversion and how much faster a deal takes to close.
So those are my primary goals for 2014. Not an impossible list, just a targeted approach to what matters: the customer, the content, and the database. What areas are you focusing on for 2014? Share your goals in the comments below.
To learn more about our marketing data services, click here.Or if you’re looking to plan out your 2014 content strategy, check out our badass B2B Marketing Planner.
As marketers sit down to write their final Christmas wish lists, one thing that will certainly top the list—besides an all-expense paid trip to SXSW—will be hitting their marketing generated revenue goal. After all, it’s the least Santa can do after we’ve put a year’s worth of work into crafting the best marketing strategies.
Luckily for the NetProspex marketing team, Christmas came early! We hit our marketing generated revenue number earlier this month. But that didn’t happen without some hard work and long hours at the office. And since Christmas is a time to share, we thought we’d give you the three key things we did differently this year.
1. Integrated our website with our marketing automation tool: To give our customers a more customized user experience, we connected our marketing automation tool, Silverpop, to our website. We can determine which buyer persona a person fits based on their website activity, and then we offer them custom content based on their persona and their stage in the buyer’s journey. This content is offered via email, our programs, and on our website. Not only did this facilitate a 1×1 buyer experience across multiple platforms, but it also allowed us to gain a better understanding of who was buying what and why. Our inbound revenue more than doubled from 2012.
2. Increased presence at industry tradeshows: This year, instead of attending all of the biggest industry tradeshows, we concentrated on building a larger presence at fewer events. This strategy allowed us to make more personal connections with potential consumers. For example, we partnered with MarketingProfs and their B2B Forum and SiriusDecisions at their annual conference to boost brand awareness within our target industry. With the bigger budget for fewer events, we were able to throw a huge party at the Profs Forum and gave away three custom NetProspex bicycles at SiriusDecisions. Our events generated revenue has more than doubled and the average deal size increased by 3X.
3. Spent ample time working on our own marketing database: B2B marketing data management is the lifeblood of our company. We live and breathe it every day. However, even our own marketing database has to be analyzed, studied and tested to ensure optimal cleanliness. We spent a great deal of time and energy getting our marketing database in shape. We cleaned out thousands of old records and appended new information to the clean database, which will allow us to personalize our content even further. Next year, our goals are going to be even harder to reach. To get there, we’ll need repeatable, predictable revenue… and our marketing database is the key.
So that was 2013 for NetProspex. Next year, we’ll be focusing on a whole new set of priorities, which I’ll post in my upcoming New Year’s Resolution blog. In the meantime, share in the comments: What did you do to hit your MGR this year?
To learn more about our marketing data services, click here.
What can you, modern marketers, learn from a data player like NetProspex? I mean, come on, you have already turned your lead generation into a battlefield-ready machine. You have tuned your forms perfectly for frictionless conversion. You have convinced the rest of the exec team to invest in a kick-ass Marketing Automation software. The marketing factory is humming, leads are scored and routed, nurturing programs are in place.
The factory is humming.
Think of your demand generation as a factory for a moment. The most basic element is a “lead” (or a contact). You attract, create, manage, cultivate, and refine them. You have them moved from conveyer belt to conveyer belt until the worthy ones are wrapped and shipped to sales for follow-up. But often, what you know about each contact is limited – mainly by the need to keep forms short and by the necessity to keep the lead-gen entry barrier low. You certainly have the basics like name, email and company. Sometimes you have title and company size, but not always. Not having complete details seems to be one of those “facts of life” limitations for marketers.
There’s a better way.
I never understood why it had to be this way. At NetProspex, we believe in a world where you as a marketer have actionable data at your fingertips – firmographics, like industry, company revenue and headcount, as well as detailed contact information – available to enrich each record. This opens new vistas and possibilities for you in lead-scoring, routing, campaign targeting, and for various other higher-consciousness programs you have not thought of yet.
Think of this data augmentation as enrichment for your contact data. It’s available from premier B2B data services companies like ours, but here are a few aspects to consider, to help you know that you are getting the real thing.
1. Data quality: Data cleanliness is of paramount importance today. Lists are a dime a dozen, and a ton of new-fangled data players exist with more of the same, low quality information. Look for a partner who has a documented, sophisticated, and believable process for record cleaning. (Okay okay, I’m plugging our CleneStepTM validation process. Marketers love it.)
2. Level of automation: The data augmentation you choose needs to natively work and integrate with your Marketing Automation System. It also needs to work in real-time. The good news is that marketing automation companies are taking a page from other SaaS players and have introduced marketplaces like the Eloqua AppCloud and Marketo Launchpoint to deliver greater value through integrated partner applications. More resources are available than ever, and more tools are added every week
3. Control: This is critical! When designing workflows to add data to your campaigns, you should have full control over how the data is augmented, what is added or overwritten, and when. Ultimately, you want the ability to configure this process to fit your organization’s unique approach to marketing data.
4. Simplicity: If people start talking to you about “paradigm shifts”, and the need to “buy into the new vision” – run the other way. Data enrichment needs to be simple. It is a utility that knows its place, and should work in tandem with your lead scoring, followup, and other automated systems. Data enrichment should not require you to reengineer your world.
5. Price: Everything in life comes at a price. Do make sure that you receive volume discounts, and the pricing package is tuned to your needs. Getting technical for a moment, we priced our Data Enrichment App by records matched – not by how many attempts are made to find a match. We believe marketers should not have to pay an arm and a leg for better, more actionable data.
I enjoy the chance to speak with modern marketers whenever possible. I want to hear about what lead data issues you face, your wish-list of B2B data services and tools, and how we can continue to empower marketers to get better results from their marketing data. I can be reached at email@example.com or @dgrenader on Twitter.
Shameless plug: we worked really hard on the new Data Enrichment App for Eloqua! The app appends and normalizes data from completed forms on your website, or currently within your programs and campaigns. Check it out, and try it free for two months if you sign up before December 31st.
Last week NetProspex hosted a webinar revealing Content Marketing trends for technology marketers. Our panelists discussed the findings and shared their best advice. Here, we’ve answered 5 audience questions from that live event. To watch the on-demand recording, click here.
Writer & Consultant Stephanie Tilton
Ten Ton Marketing
Strategist & Thought-leader Samantha Stone
The Marketing Advisory Network
Practioner John T. Frankot
1. Where does SEO fit into the content marketing equation?
A. SEO and content marketing go hand in hand. It starts by understanding the language your ideal customer uses to describe his or her pain points, goals, along with the terms used to conduct searches during the research and decision-making process. This should come out when developing buyer personas. You then work those phrases/terms into content titles, abstracts, etc. to optimize for search.
A. I agree with Stephanie. SEO and content marketing are linked in important ways. In my experience starting a content creation project with SEO as the primary goal has the unintentional consequence of degrading the quality of insight provided. Rather, it is best to focus the content on the target audience, then optimize for search. If we understand our audience well, the SEO efforts should be a natural output of the writing process. 2. Can you comment on the notion of repurposing content across multiple formats? I’m keen to leverage content, and hit different audiences…BUT am scared about prospects feeling the material is redundant/repetitive if they happen to see it in multiple places. Thoughts?
A. Samantha said it best during the webinar – prospects aren’t going to remember all the content that they consume so repetition never hurts. In fact, because prospects are likely consuming content from so many different companies, you need to make sure your message gets through and sticks, and that requires repetition. That said, it never hurts to slightly reword/recast the same information.
A. We should all be so lucky as our audience gets bored with our content because they remember it well! The truth is while we are familiar with everything that we produce, our audience reads very little of what has been published; and remembers even less. Some repetition is not only OK, it’s advisable. Of course, balance the repetition of messages by being creative with the format by which information is produced, along with varying the context by which it is provided.
A. Frequency and consistency are important and beneficial. However, it is advisable to have enough content to cover the major perspectives with which a readers’ interest is coming from, or to tailored to particular industry or application. I would venture to say as long as it is good, relevant content a reader is not going to think negatively about seeing it broadly distributed. 3. In enterprise sales, do you really think Marketing knows better than a Sales person who a C-level exec consumes information?
A. Marketing likely knows best what the audience is consuming in the earlier stages of the buying cycle and sales likely knows best what they’re consuming later on. But the best source is prospects and customers. Ask them what information they’re looking for at each stage of the buying cycle, along with their format preferences.
A. The best source of information consumption is our buyers. Both sales and marketing professionals have many opportunities to learn from them. Never be afraid to ask questions of potential buyers and clients alike.
A. It comes down to who has the better data, which often is a result of asking good questions of your current clients and prospects. This type of intelligence gathering should be a collaborative effort between Marketing and Sales.
4. Given the #1 currency that we are fighting for is time, how does awesome content get you out of the spam folder or “delete any vendor e-mail immediately” problem?
A. “Awesome” content stands out by being relevant, compelling, and timely. When people see useful information that’s applicable to what they’re trying to achieve, they’re open to receiving it. And when a vendor consistently delivers that type of information – instead of a product pitch time and again – its seen as a trusted source of information.
A. Building a reputation for providing compelling content will lead your target buyers to open more emails, but it is a mistake to think of your content strategy as your email strategy. Building a successful email campaign requires strong content offers, but it also requires careful consideration of subject line treatment, visual formats, timing and frequency. To maximize the value of content investments remember to distribute it across a wide range of vehicles, of which email is one of them.
A. Our philosophy is trusted content sources are valued, sought after and approved so they don’t land in the SPAM folder. As we well know, prospects are bombarded with vendor efforts to connect. You really need to find a trusted entry point and be relevant in your content distribution, enough so it is more content pull verse a push.
5. What characteristics do a white paper must have? Size? A bunch of tips or a more technical perspective?
Many folks feel gypped when a white paper just skims the surface of a topic. The paper should be as long as necessary to explore a topic in a meaningful way. If you have so much to say about a topic that you can produce 15 or 20 pages or more, create a series of white papers. Such an approach shows a respect for your readers’ time while also providing a terrific way to keep them engaged over an extended period as part of lead-nurturing efforts.
One common mistake is when companies produce ultra-short white papers that are nothing more than brochures in disguise. Keep in mind what stage of the buying process the paper is meant to serve. Early on, prospects are not looking for product details; they want to understand industry trends, best practices for solving their issues, what to look for in a solution, etc.
A. Agree with much of what Stephanie shared. In general, nobody is in need of another product brochure. You need to identify with a readers problem, help them explore, and guide them to potential solutions. The content we see resonate best are thought leadership style white papers (4-6 pages), case studies, third party solution studies and eBooks.
Today, marketers benefit from marketing and sales automation tools that capture data about what is happening with a lead over its lifetime. And, when used correctly, this information gives marketers a leg up when it comes to planning. Studying the performance of your leads as they go through their buying journey allows you to build a predictive model that can determine how many leads will turn into customers. There are many names for the process of measuring lead conversion throughout the sales cycle. Regardless, the more that you study the metrics in your marketing funnel, the more you will understand which levers to pull to improve program performance.
How does the funnel work?
A funnel, is only as good as the data behind it, so be sure to do your homework ahead of time. Most companies have put considerable time and effort into determining how to qualify each opportunity stage a buyer has reached and howto show that in their forecast. Due to the challenge associated with this, don’t feel bad if your sales team and marketing team haven’t agreed on what it takes to become a lead AND how to mark the proper lead stages before they get to the opportunity stage. Obtaining alignment with sales as to what the definitions are for an MQL, SAL and SQL are critical to your joint success.
Companies with best-in-class processes vs. companies with average processes achieved 25% or greater improvement in Waterfall Conversion Rates
– SiriusDecisions, Field Marketing 2.0: The Heart of Growing Conversion Rates
The funnel uses conversion numbers between lead stages to help determine how much you must put in the top of the funnel to meet a certain goal at the bottom or, it can do the opposite – track how much you will get out of the bottom if you put a certain volume in at the top. Either way, there is a lot to be learned from tracking how these leads convert from one stage to the next. Define the stages for yourself using the guidelines below:
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). A contact who has engaged with your marketing efforts enough to meet your company’s definition as ready to be passed from marketing to sales
Sales Accepted Lead (SAL). An MQL that has been determined by a member of the sales team (likely an inside sales rep) to be accepted and worth exploration by a sales person. Companies use different methods to determine an SAL, the BANT method is a popular one.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). A lead that has been explored by a salesperson and determined to be qualified for their pursuit. This is often considered to be the beginning of the sales process.
Make sure that you set up a way to track these conversions within your marketing and sales automation tool so that it is applied consistently and has a time/date stamp to capture each conversion. You’ll be able to use your own conversion numbers within the funnel to predict outcomes of your marketing programs. And, you will be stunned at how useful the information is!!!
Where to start?
Don’t have historical conversion data? You have to start somewhere, how about beginning with an educated guess. Turn to industry thought leaders like SiriusDecisions, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, or your favorite marketing experts to develop a baseline using their program averages or best practice numbers. The first time you build a funnel it is scary (especially when you’re using someone else’s conversion data), but remember, everyone has to start somewhere. Put a stake in the ground!
As the year progresses, you should compare your actual data to your starting funnel. Build a funnel to support your annual plan, but also make stand alone versions for each of your major campaigns. By measuring programs in flight alongside how you are doing against your annual goal, you will be able to make course corrections quickly to ensure your overall success.
Pathway to success:
Now you are able to step up to the table and provide an actual forecast – based in real numbers – about the impact that you can have on your company’s bottom line. Using the funnel tool you have a method to forecast your contribution and also manage your performance against it. Good luck!
With the US athletes exceeding their goals in London right now, we thought we should keep the winning momentum going with a post originally written for Business2Community by NetProspex VP of Marketing, Maribeth Ross.
1. Assess the quality situation – Your marketing database of prospects and contact records is at the core of your future pipeline. How accurate is the contact and company information in this database? In 2011, 37% of the workforce changed jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. NetProspex research shows that an individual contact records degrades in quality at the rate of 2% each month. Is poor data mucking up your marketing and preventing your pipeline from growing to its full potential?
2. Assess the targeting situation – Ensure that you have crossed the “T” in targeting. To ensure you have all the right targets in your database, look at historical purchase data. Identify as much as you can about the target buyer and other influencers that were involved in the buying process. This is a great time to append missing contact info (phone/address) and demographic/firmographic info (industry/title) or append installed technology data. In addition, take note of the length of the buying cycle. It will tell you a lot about what you need to do today to hit future goals.
Once you’ve confirmed your target buyers and influencers, you’ll need to evaluate your prospect databases to confirm that it has these buyers, both the primary targets and influencers. The shortest path to a sale is to involve all the influencers from the beginning to get them aligned and marketing can play a key early role in doing this.
3. Play the volume game – To really understand the volume of marketing activity you’ll need to hit your target for the quarter, run numbers through a marketing waterfall or marketing funnel. (Try this handy demand-gen funnel calculator: http://bit.ly/funnel-calculator) Using conversions at all stages (either your own or published averages), you’ll be able to predict how much activity you’ll need to generate in order to hit revenue numbers. Sometimes, marketers will find that their prospect database does not support the amount of volume they need to generate. This is a great exercise to help identify the need to augment the database with new, targeted contact data.
4. Line up your messaging – Double check your messaging. Is it truly matched to your buyer persona’s pains and needs? Does it clearly show how your solution can alleviate their challenges? In order to resonate with buyers, your content needs to address the challenges they are currently facing in their business.
It should be clear that you understand their challenges and have experience solving challenges for others in similar situations. Ideally, your audience will understand th
at your solution is in a unique position to help them meet the challenges based on a combination of your understanding of their issues, your experience with others, and your ability to sell the way they want to buy. Finally, ensure your message is carried throughout the entire buyers journey, from the marketing website to call scripts
5. Qualify your leads – are all of your marketing leads being qualified? Fully qualifying your marketing leads into sales ready opportunities via teleprospecting can dramatically improve the amount of leads that end up in your sales pipeline.
More often than not, many marketing leads are never followed up on (as much as 80% in some cases), as sales folks who are also responsible for closing business do not have the cycles to fully qualify and convert marketing leads. However marketing leads that are fully qualified into sales ready leads are followed up upon, particularly if sales and marketing sit to agree on what constitutes a fully qualified sales ready lead.
With tougher economic conditions, sales teams are under more pressure, have bigger quotas/territories, smaller average deal sizes, and even less time, so it really does not make sense to provide them with any leads that are not fully qualified sales ready opportunities.
6. Get Feedback – Close the loop on all the leads and opportunities passed – how else will you be able to truly assess the level of success of your marketing programs? Set up a process to close the loop on all the leads and opportunities passed to the sales team, as getting their feedback is essential to ensuring success. This feedback will allow you to optimize the process, ensure all the leads are being followed-up (or added to a nurture campaign if appropriate), and will provide you with a complete data set to measure your results.
7. Measure and Analyze – measure the effectiveness of your campaigns in real-time, and adjust to ensure you are meeting your goals. With the tools available today there is no excuse for not being nimble and adapting in real-time. This analysis will not only allow you to more effectively meet your goals, but it will enable you to plan and scale for growth.
This article was written in partnership with AG Salesworks – a B2B teleprospecting and marketing services firm that helps technology, media, financial services, and communications companies si
gnificantly increase their sales pipeline. With NetProspex contact data services, AG Salesworks offers AG Pipeline Connect, a solution guaranteeing fully qualified sales leads.
Contact data quality is a problem that plagues B2B marketers, yet a company’s prospect database is at the core of every lead generation program. Often, companies build this database over time, from multiple sources, with data that is constantly decaying. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, one third of a marketing database goes bad in the course of one year.
Our CleneProspex™ service is used to assess and improve the quality of a client’s prospect database. The service identifies and removes records with an undeliverable email address, potential email threats, out of date phone numbers, missing fields, or duplicates. With this service, marketers improve their program results, reduce costs and risks associated with bad data, identify gaps in their prospect database, and realize greater business value from their contact records. Clients can then fill in missing data from a massive, crowd-sourced database of business contacts.
Yesterday, our Senior Director of Demand Generation, Tamara Graves, presented alongside Ellen Valentine, Product Strategist at Silverpop, and Talibah Mbonisi, Manager of Marketing Operations at Silverpop. The event was hosted by Kate Maddox, Executive Editor at BtoB. Register and watch the on-demand recording here.
It was a jam-packed hour full of actionable insight as to what it takes to build the marketing dream team at a B2B organization today. If you couldn’t make it, here are 11 takeaways from the event:
1. Marketing is changing, our teams must change with it.
The four major drivers of marketing change today include the rise of social media, buyers’ self service mentality, new marketing technology and solutions, and smartphone/tablet proliferation.
2. The role of marketing operations is taking the place of email specialists and database managers.