Why is incomplete data a fact of life in marketing automation?

broken_gear

By Dmitry Grenader, Director of Product Management, NetProspex

This article is in response to our new Data Enrichment App for Eloqua

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 dgrenader@netprospex.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.

How to use a marketing funnel calculator.

Demand Creation Waterfall

We’ve developed this handy marketing funnel calculator to help marketer’s figure out how much activity is needed at the top of the funnel to meet revenue goals.

So why use a metrics funnel?

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!

Fueling the B2B revenue machine

Ferrari

The latest in our series: You bought a list – now what?

We always talk about marketing automation as the engine in a Ferrari – it only runs with quality fuel, in our world, that means quality B2B data.

Robert Rosenthal recently posted a great article “B2B Marketing Is Now a Revenue Machine. Really The post is a great summary of the opportunity for B2B marketers today to create demand with on-demand data prospect services, digestible content, short videos, and powerful marketing automation.

Until recently, it could take B2B marketers years to dramatically expand a prospect database. Now, thanks to newer data sources, you can do it quickly – for a small fraction of the conventional cost.

These records include email addresses in compliance with CAN-SPAM. So you’re able to regularly market to prospects via cost-effective email advertising – without constantly paying rented media or offline production charges.

One question that NetProspex customers face when using a targeted list is what to send this list. The content is just as important as the list. Robert suggests videos without a registration form, as they’re educational, fascinating, and easily digestible. We just finished a similar video for our Data Assessment Report, check it out!

Of course, this also means prospects can tune you out by ignoring your email – or simply opting-out. And if you ask prospects to fill out a form to receive a reward, the overwhelming majority will essentially say “Thanks but no thanks.”

So while B2B marketers are able to grow the database rapidly, they won’t win hearts and minds so fast. What’s typically needed is an email campaign that breaks through, makes the right impression on prospects, and gets them to act.

Web video is an increasingly popular way to educate B2B prospects. It’s the power of television, without the waste. Video enables you to run a conceptual series packed with emotional ideas – pulled off in brand-appropriate ways. When Web video is executed properly, engagement rates often soar.

To get the most out of every prospect list, Robert suggests automating your marketing efforts.

Marketing automation technology not only takes results reporting to another level, it transforms the relationship between sales and marketing. The two functional areas agree on precisely what constitutes a sales-worthy lead. Marketing finally stops hearing “All the leads suck” from sales. And sales continually sees more genuine prospects to pitch through real-time reporting and instant lead-routing; triggered campaigns; and other good stuff from the marketing team.

Place all the stars in alignment and B2B marketing really, truly can become a consistent revenue machine.

Read the original post. 

Thanks for letting us share your thoughts, Robert!

What NOT to do if you’re a B2B technology marketer.

Business Oops

If you’re a marketer for a technology company, chances are you’re fighting for the attention of professionals that are exposed to plenty of messaging from competitors.

Read on for 5 important things NOT to do, listed in reverse order of importance. Take heed; unless, of course, meeting your goals is not important to you.

Did you miss  5 B2B Technology Marketing Tips?

Don’t…

1 …skip the persona building exercise.
It would be great if your customer came to work today and said “I don’t have any problems. I think I’ll read a bunch of marketing materials to figure out how I should spend my day.” The reality is: your customers have real, day-to-day needs, and as a marketer it’s your job to understand these needs, and help them see why and how your product/service/or solution can help make their lives easier.

2 …overlook your client’s technology environment
Understanding your persona’s technology environment can be an important predictor of a company’s willingness to adopt your solution. If your company provides a cloud-based product, knowing a company has adopted other cloud-based technologies tells you precisely how to message to them. Also, use technology-install data to identify companies using your competition, and don’t be afraid to message aggressively. Targeted messaging to companies with competitive installs packs a 1,2 punch because it helps increase your market share while decreasing that of the competition.

3 … engage with only the final decision maker
Have you noticed? The length of the B2B tech buying cycle has increased more than 20% in just three years. Why? CIO’s readily admit that their own companies are to blame for most of the waiting period – 60.8% of the delay is due to their own buying process complexity 1 .  The truth is, more people are now involved in each decision. Failing to engage all of them with your content means missing opportunities to align them around your product, and build internal champions. Increase your opportunity to make a sale by engaging enough of the influencers at your target organizations. (Yes, this means you’ve got to build more content geared to their needs as well. Sorry.)

4 … ignore how the customer wants to buy
IT executives have consistently told IDC that they’d like their buying cycle to be shorter. Three months feels about right to them – which is 40% less than what they experience currently1. About 36% of the delay, according to IT leaders, is caused by poor marketing and sales processes on the part of their vendors1. It’s time to figure out the sell cycle of your clients, because marketers are getting part of the blame.

5 … send product-feature email blasts.
‘Nuff said. Yikes.

1 IDC’s 2012 Buyer Experience study.

FURTHER READING:

Click here to download 5 B2B Technology Marketing Tips

Looking for technology-install data? Click here to learn more about TechProspex: find contacts at companies using over 800 specific technologies.

 

 

NetProspex and AG Salesworks Announce Partnership to Drive High Quality Leads for B2B Organizations

AG Pipeline Connect

New England-Based Companies Launch Joint Solution Guaranteeing Fully Qualified Sales Opportunities

NetProspex, leading B2B data services provider, today announced a partnership with AG Salesworks, an expert in developing highly qualified sales opportunities for B2B technology firms. The new joint solution, AG Pipeline Connect, delivers a critical need for B2B organizations: high quality, targeted leads that convert into profitable customers. Leveraging NetProspex’s verified contact data services, AG Salesworks will deliver full service marketing and sales campaigns that guarantee fully qualified sales leads.

As data from marketing programs and sales efforts often exist in disparate locations, B2B companies can lose visibility into subtle changes in their target market. With 25 percent of the workforce changing each year, a business contact database is continually degrading in quality. To position each client for success, the joint solution begins with a comprehensive database overhaul. NetProspex first determines a client’s ideal buyer profile, ensuring a prospect database is properly targeted towards the correct decision makers. Next, the company delivers a quality cleanse based on their proprietary CleneStep™ methodology, identifying incorrect contact information, appending missing fields, enhancing records with key demographic or firmographic details and adding net-new contacts to ensure sufficient database coverage.

Once this process is complete, AG Salesworks applies a proprietary and proven methodology to develop qualified sales opportunities from this data. This process includes campaign messaging, followed by outbound email marketing and teleprospecting. Real-time campaign analytics are delivered in detail, along with closed loop feedback on all leads passed to clearly show return on investment. With this model, the NetProspex and AG Salesworks solution demonstrates clear return on investment, with a 20X guarantee in stage-1 pipeline.

“This solution has allowed us to forecast with far more confidence,” stated Joe Federbush, vice president of Sales and Marketing at ESI. “With 87% of the leads generated by AG progressing to next steps, we are seeing an excellent return without the costs and challenges of having this in house.”

NetProspex President, Michael C. Bird, says, “Properly-targeted contact and company information is at the core of every successful lead generation program. By pairing NetProspex data with the powerful opportunity-development of AG Salesworks, this is a combination that will create the pipeline B2B technology organizations need to reach their goals.”

The joint solution is immediately available to B2B technology organizations. For more information, interested parties may visit http://www.agsalesworks.com/services/ag-pipeline-connect/.

View release on Marketwire.

 

 

NetProspex – crowdsourced but verified contacts

NetProspex on ZDnet

By  for Virtually Speaking | May 24, 2011 — 03:32 GMT (20:32 PDT)

I spent some time speaking to the folks from NetProspex about how they develop highly accurate contact lists for business. Having purchased expensive and moderately to highly inaccurate lists to conduct surveys over the years, I was interested what they had to say. I know that this is way off topic, but I thought that it might be interesting to some of the readers of Virtually Speaking.

NetProspex has developed an interesting way to help companies discover and then connect with targeted prospects. It starts when members share a portion of the contact information that they have gathered. This information is then verified and then it is made available to other members. NetProspex calls its verification technology CleneStep. At this point, NetProspex is claiming that they have gathered accurate contact data for over 20 million business professionals.

I’m planning on playing around with their system a bit to see what else I can learn.  If I learn anything interesting, I’ll let you know.

Source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/virtualization/netprospex-crowdsourced-but-verified-contacts/3119

The Mechanics of the Outbound B2B Campaign

NetProspex in Funnelholic

Posted: March 1, 2011 | Author: 

I present a webinar with Mark Feldman of Netprospex titled “You Bought a List, Now What?” that over the years has been one of the more popular presentations we have done together, as 1000s of people typically sign up. We are doing it again on Wednesday, March 2 and Thursday, March 3 at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET).  I have made some updates to the webinar and have new rantings on the topic (thus prompting me to write this post).

First, allow me to get on my soapbox. What we are talking about is outbound vs. inbound, or push vs. pull. The vast majority of chatter in the marketing blogosphere is about content marketing, earned media, inbound marketing, and so forth; in other words, everyone is advocating for pull. One of my good friends Adam Needles basically called outbound email “stupid s#!*” in our Focus Roundtable together. I am a gigantic advocate for pull marketing as well. I believe in the tenets of inbound marketing. Hey, who doesn’t want someone to walk into their store? But it’s just not realistic all the time. Sometimes you need to put out the sandwich board and entice people to come into the store, and if it works, why wouldn’t you do it all the time?

Random thoughts on why the Outbound b2b campaign lives on:

  1. You have to go outbound for targeted prospects. If you are trying to reach a particular buying persona, you have to push/outbound. If you want to wait for content to get you the leads you need to feed the beast, you will be sitting on the unemployment line. This does not mean you don’t create remarkable content and develop long-term trusted content relationships with prospects. It means you figure out whom you want to talk to and reach out to them via phone, email, and so forth so you can get to them today instead of tomorrow.
  2. You don’t have time. A blog post or even months of blog posts won’t yield the number of conversations you need to fill the pipeline. I get bummed when I hear the startup VP of Marketing talk about his/her plan for content marketing over the next nine months, and it doesn’t include generating leads now. It’s not their fault; they read the blog posts and are doing the right thing.  The problem is, if you don’t have a plan for near-term pipeline, you’re in trouble.
  3. Sales reps are doing it right now instead of waiting for you. I asked one of my favorite sales experts Tibor Shanto what topics resonate most with sales folks and he said “prospecting.” In other words, sales needs leads. Actually, I did a webinar awhile back with Jill Konrath, and she said the same thing: “What sales needs right now is leads.” So, marketing: Is our answer to write some more blog posts and get more tweets? No, it’s to drive pipeline, and that necessitates action.
  4. You can do both (push/pull). Until the content marketing machine can drive the numbers you need from the right people, you have to do something. In most cases, that means outbound or paid media.  But do both; the long-term win of having a content marketing/nurturing strategy is the right thing to do.

In my preso, I try to break the essentials for successful outbound activity into simple components:

  • Planning: It sounds simple, but people just buy names and don’t flesh out what they want to do next.
  • Persona building: Determine “who” you want to target, understand what makes them tick, and then the message works for them.
  • Content/offers: Content marketing is a big deal in the outbound campaigns. What you offer people is extremely important. This should be driven by buyer personas (for examples, an executive may want one thing whereas managers may want another).
  • Multi-channel targeting: Successful outbound requires a mix of different ways to reach out to the prospect. The most common and most successful is a combination of phone and email. This also includes nurturing and social media.
  • Metrics and optimization: This should be standard operating procedure in this day and age, but it isn’t, so I have to remind you.  Figure out what you need to know and make your programs better.

If you have time, join us here for “You Bought a List, Now What?” on Wednesday and Thursday of this week 11 a.m. PT (2 pm ET).

Source: http://funnelholic.com/2011/03/01/the-mechanics-of-the-outbound-b2b-campaign/

How to Fix Your Prospecting in a Single Day

Image Credit The Idea Desk, Flickr

by Kendra Lee

Image Credit The Idea Desk, FlickrSales prospecting is a lot like exercise.

We all know that we need to do it, we usually have a good idea of how to do it, and we can be pretty certain of what the long-term results will be… and yet, that doesn’t make it any easier.

The issue, of course, comes down to discipline. To enjoy that pipeline full of fresh, qualified sales leads later, we have to do some things that might be inconvenient or uncomfortable today.

The good news, however, is that the discipline you need to prospect isn’t as hard as you might think. Here’s how you can fix your prospecting problems virtually overnight.

First, set aside one day per week for prospecting. This might be the hardest part of the process, since it’s going to feel unnatural at first, and there’ll be lots of other issues clamoring for your attention. But, unless the office is burning down behind you, put them aside for the day.

What you’ll get in return is eight or nine uninterrupted hours devoted to generating new leads and sales opportunities.

Honor the time you’ve set. Don’t give in to the temptation to schedule over it when business feels too busy. Seclude yourself from interruption and focus on prospecting.

Spend some of this time cold calling, networking and email prospecting. Sellers love networking events because they get face-to-face with potential prospects. While networking might give you good leads, it often doesn’t produce the volume you need to hit your sales goals.

Once a month use a portion of your prospecting time for networking, then reserve the rest for phone calls and email prospecting.

Always have a list of prospects you want to call or follow up with. You may have met them at a networking event, gotten their names from a trade show, or simply have a list pulled from Netprospex.

On your prospecting day, call and email prospects from your list. Over time you’ll find that these contacts add a steady flow of fresh, new opportunities to your pipeline and expand your client base.

Contact lost prospects! I often wish there was a way to calculate the value of the missed opportunities that got away, only to never be followed up on again. Sellers are sometimes hesitant to reconnect with potential clients who didn’t bite, but they can be a massive source of future income.

Think about it this way. How long did you spend deliberating on your last major purchase? And would you necessarily make the same decision next time?

Your lost prospects are the same way. Things change. Sometimes projects don’t go as expected. Their businesses evolve and grow.

Unless you burned the bridge by being rude or unprofessional with a lost prospect, this could be a hidden goldmine for you. Follow up with these contacts at least every six months.

Take advantage of your Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) software. That means both learning it and using it.

Just as it’s incredibly important that you follow up on prospects that got away, you’ll want to remember the details of what you talked with them about in the past, not to mention how long ago it was that you touched base.

It builds confidence when you can tell a prospect that you last spoke in March right before their cruise, and then ask about the trip. You have solid information you can use to restart the conversation.

It isn’t a cold call.

It’s a follow-up and your CRM allows you to differentiate yourself from other sellers because you took a moment to note that tidbit about your prospect.

Note bits of information like the cruise and their business situation. Schedule your next follow-up. Then monitor your CRM to see what calls you need to make.

Make your prospecting follow-up calls on your scheduled prospecting day. After all, these are your prospects. When your scheduled prospecting day rolls around, you have a list of people you’ve spoken to in the past combined with new contacts to call.

It does take some discipline to get your prospecting effort moving. But if you can get started and stick with it, you’ll begin to see new accounts flowing in faster than you’d imagine – and that’s bound to make your sales life a lot easier.

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.741.6636.

 

Search by Job Function: The Weirdest Titles in the NetProspex Database

Elvis

One of our current projects here at NetProspex is to get our
customers into the zone quicker by rounding up related job titles into common
job functions.  In essence, you could
search our database for only the job functions of your target audience.

Our aim
is to make it easier to find what you want- even if it’s ‘Buyer – Ladies
Bottoms’

We’re a little bug eyed from scrolling through thousands of
job titles in the NetProspex database.
With over 9 million business contacts contributed by our user community,
the range of job titles in the database is huge.  There are some funny ones, some confusing
ones, some incredibly long ones, but they’re all available in the NetProspex database. (Did you know searching is totally free?)

And now, for the weirdest job titles in the NetProspex database:

– Buyer – Ladies Bottoms, Variety
Wholesalers Inc
., Henderson, NC

– Joke Teller, Fly Fishing
Outfitters
, Avon, CO

Head of Noodle Technology, Canadian
International Grains Institute
, Winnipeg, MB

– Vice President Candles, The
Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs Inc
, New York, NY

– Owner and Style Driver, Vain,
Seattle, WA

– Vice-Chair of the Taste and Odor Committee, American
Water Works Association
, Denver, CO

– Small Animal Receptionist, Pilchuck
Veterinary Hospital
, Snohomish, WA

– Computer Monkey, City of
Winnipeg
, Winnipeg, MB

Search for YOUR perfect audience by job function. Searching is free.

To steal from the King, we need a little less conversation a
little more action, baby, All this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me. 

That’s a great mantra (sorry to go all eastern
mystic on you, Elvis) for a business information company.

Among business information companies, there
should be less friction in finding information- the benefit is increased time using that information. (Selling!)

Time in the zone for sales and marketing is
not going through a database looking for relevant contacts, but using that time
to communicate with potential buyers.

The more you are in the zone, the better the results. After all, people are in
business to do business, and we believe it’s good practice to be found.. even
if you’re a Head of Noodle Technology. Now get in the zone!

NetProspex part of a sales 2.0 solution.

NetProspex on TMC Net

Excerpt from article:

“Companies are increasingly using Web
analytics to uncover new opportunities for their sales teams, in real
time, as those opportunities emerge.”


“InsideView’s social intelligence software has been integrated with NetSuite’s cloud-based CRM software.

The integration allows NetSuite users to
have instant access to data harvested from emerging social media, such
as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Jigsaw and NetProspex, as well as
editorial sources such as Thomson Reuters and Capital IQ (a Standard & Poor’s Company), within
NetSuite, thus empowering users to significantly improve business
efficiencies across sales, marketing, billing, procurement and HR
operations.”

Full Article:

http://www.tmcnet.com/channels/crm-software/articles/68677-insideview-netsuite-partner-deliver-insideview-netsuite.htm