Author Archives: Jason Hekl

About the Author

Jason Hekl is Service Director, Demand Creation Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. With an emphasis on developing and executing demand generation strategies to accelerate growth, Jason has sourced, developed and closed millions of dollars in new business throughout his 19-year career. Follow Jason on Twitter @the_hekler

When Best Practices Aren’t Best Practices

The more time I spend as an analyst, the more I dislike the term “best practice.” I think it is often misapplied. Let me explain. What's best practice for me may not be best practice for you. What may be best practice today is unlikely to be best practice tomorrow. And when you believe you've achieved a best practice, don't be surprised when that victory proves fleeting because the definition of the best practice has evolved. Best practices are not something you achieve – best practices are something you continually pursue. More importantly, don’t expect to go out and mimic someone else's best practice and see the same results. It doesn't work that way. What you can see and replicate is just part of the solution.

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SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall AQL Stage

The AQL: A Missed Opportunity With Lead Scoring?

SiriusDecisions recently launched the Demand Waterfall Conversion study, a new survey that focuses on conversion rates of leads as they progress through stages of the demand waterfall. The objective is to determine what best-in-class performance looks like for different types of b-to-b businesses. This is the second in a series of posts focusing on the questions the survey is designed to help answer. Today’s topic is the automation qualified lead (AQL) in the marketing qualification phase of the demand waterfall.

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SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall: Inquiry Phase

Inbound vs. Outbound: Are You Asking the Right Question?

SiriusDecisions recently launched, with support from marketing automation vendors Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot, a new survey to measure conversion rates as leads progress through stages of the demand waterfall. The objective is to determine what best-in-class performance looks like for different types of b-to-b businesses. This is the first in a series of posts focusing on the questions the survey is designed to help answer. Today's focus is the inquiry phase of the demand waterfall.

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B-to-B Teleprospecting: Capacity Planning and Load Balancing

The core curriculum of most MBA programs includes operations courses that introduce concepts like throughput, kanban and capacity planning. These concepts were designed initially for manufacturing applications to ensure optimal utilization of resources to meet production goals. That said, they can be applied to marketing and sales functions as well, including teleprospecting functions that operate between the marketing functions that feed them, and the sales functions they serve. For teleprospecting functions, capacity planning and load balancing are critical. Here are key points to remember about each of these concepts include.

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Developing Marketing Messages? Turn to the Phone

Who speaks to the greatest number of prospective new buyers of a product or solution? Here’s a hint: It’s not sales or marketing. The answer: The teleprospecting organization engages the most prospective buyers in actual conversations, making it a critical cog in the demand creation wheel that connects marketing programs to sales pipeline. Marketers are increasingly evaluated on pipeline and revenue contribution (and less on activities), and thus are dependent on the teleprospecting team’s ability to qualify marketing inquiries into leads. For this reason, it’s critical to take into account how messages are delivered and received via the phone channel.

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Marketing to Anonymous Web Site Visitors

Look at the universe of people who visit your Web site. Some may be known, but most are not. Most anonymous visitors take no specific action to identify themselves, so how can b-to-b marketers most effectively market to them to drive higher conversion to inquiries?

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A Rant on Engagement

I’ve got a gripe with the term engagement. I think it’s misleading. What most marketers are calling engagement is really content consumption. The content may be presented contextually; it may be presented dynamically by industry or role; it may be specific to a prospect’s buying cycle stage. Ultimately you’re serving up content for someone to consume. Personally, when I read an e-book, attend a webinar or watch a video, I don’t consider myself engaged. I’m consuming. For me, engagement requires a back-and-forth between two parties, an authentic conversation that can’t be fully scripted. There is no better mechanism for engagement than the phone. Many people frown on phone work, but consider this – as a former head of marketing, my contact info was never hard to find. I would get my fair share of cold calls every day. However, those paled in volume to the spam I received. True, I did not answer most calls, and most voicemails were hardly worth listening to. But, and this is important, if calls are relevant, or voicemails are specific to me, your likelihood of success in engaging me is much higher via phone than via email.

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Use Marketing Automation to Communicate More Effectively With Sales

In the competitive world of b-to-b marketing, we hinge on every quarter-point movement in open rates, clickthroughs and conversions. But here's the rub: We're missing an important audience. SiriusDecisions' CMO research indicates that marketing and sales leaders are growing less concerned with filling the top of the waterfall -- many organizations already understand which levers to pull to increase or decrease inquiry volume as needed -- and more concerned with middle-stage and late-stage programs to enable sales organizations to sell more productively and accelerate demand through the waterfall. If that's true, marketing should be spending a lot more time focusing on internal communications to field, channel and teleprospecting functions that they support with enablement and acceleration programs.

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Challenging Sales and Marketing Entitlements

In b-to-b, salespeople and marketers are often guilty of taking each other for granted. But that doesn't mean those who are taken for granted are powerless to change their situation. Consider what could happen if marketers challenged a few of the most common "entitlements" plaguing the profession. Here are some examples.

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Making the Case for Teleprospecting

At SiriusDecisions Summit 2012, we revealed our updated demand waterfall, and in the process clarified the important role the teleprospecting function plays in demand creation. Many organizations, however, are just beginning to make the case for incorporating a teleprospecting team (internal or outsourced) into their demand creation efforts.

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