Category Archives: Marketing Operations Strategies

Process Improvement: It’s Not All About You

OK, so we’ve talked about some of the hidden pitfalls of driving real process improvement in sales and marketing. When we last visited our (process) hero, we saw how stepping up and taking ownership of a process can go a long way to ensure that activities will be continuously optimized. But now you’re saying, “What do you mean it’s not all about me?”

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The Case for Marketing Enablement

B-to-b marketers are very familiar with the concept of sales enablement. As external ambassadors to prospects and customers, salespeople need to speak knowledgeably about an organization’s products to different buyers, and be able to match solutions to their needs. The benefit of a well-trained sales force is pretty obvious – it means a quicker path to closed deals and greater revenue. Because this is so important, organizations put significant time and effort into sales enablement (e.g. new hire orientation, sales methodology training, sales portals stuffed with content, annual kickoff events). But what about marketing?

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Big Data and Analytics: Five Foundational Elements

In my previous post, I explained what b-to-b marketers can gain from using advanced analytics. But because many marketers lack the foundation for planning, implementing and using big data, adoption of advanced analytics remains low. Without putting in place the required elements for an analytics foundation, marketers will continue to find that fulfilling the promise of big data’s benefits is out of reach. To get the most leverage from their analytics efforts, organizations must first ensure the following five elements are in place:

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Process Improvement: If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?

In my last post on exposing the hidden hurdles to real process improvement in sales and marketing, we explored how being an efficient middle man can give a false sense of security. In this post, we’ll delve into another topic: lack of ownership. While process improvement may be urgently needed, marketing and sales leaders are often reluctant to take on yet another challenge. “Sure, I can see how messed up this process is, but it’s not up to me to fix it,” they say to themselves. “No way I’m taking on THAT political battle, and besides, I’ve already got enough on my plate. The last thing I need is some special project.”

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Why Bother With Advanced Analytics?

There’s no shortage of discussion about the possibilities of big data and advanced analytics for today’s b-to-b marketers. Sales and marketing analytics covers a spectrum of data and techniques, from historical to exploratory to predictive analysis. Historical analysis, which examines past activities or results across a range of categories, is used to report on marketing and sales performance, monitor process compliance and improve future effectiveness. Exploratory analysis conducts what-if analysis to identify scenarios that may result in improved outcomes. Predictive analysis uses the outputs of historical and exploratory analysis to anticipate outcomes and find the best ways to improve effectiveness. Big data plays a role in all three forms of analysis, although more so in exploratory and predictive analysis.

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Are You the Efficient Middleman?

Be more efficient! Be more effective! If I had a nickel for every time I heard a sales or marketing professional pair those buzzwords in the last couple of years, I’d have, well, a whole lot of Jeffersons in my piggy bank. If everyone is so jazzed about getting better at these things, why aren’t we seeing dramatic cost reductions or huge leaps in revenue? The pitfalls are a little sneakier that you might think. In this, the first of a series of blog posts on the topic, I’ll clue you into some of the not-so-obvious gotchas that hold back real process improvement, what you can do to avoid them, and how to emerge as a process hero. Today’s lesson: The Fallacy of the Efficient Middleman.

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Heard on the Street – Trending Marketing Operations Topics for 2014

As an operations person, I’m an absolute sucker for lists. I have them for daily to-dos, vacation plans and everything in between. One thing I love about this time of year is the variety of lists that are published on a wide range of topics. I recently networked at three MOCCA events in the Bay Area and got to listen to what people are talking about. So, in the spirit of list making, I’ve rounded up the issues that are top of mind with marketing operations pros as we kick off 2014:

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How to Tell the Real Story of Marketing’s Impact This Year

Now that we’re closing in on the end of the quarter, and for many organizations the end of the fiscal year, let’s take a moment to reflect on our marketing results. Looking back at everything you did, what would you say made the biggest impact on financial results? How do you know? Yes, this is a loaded question, and it’s getting harder to answer. For many of our clients, 2013 saw a shift away from marketers focusing exclusively on demand creation toward more balanced support for reputation, sales enablement and market intelligence objectives, along with demand creation. Many of these efforts involved account-based work such as helping sales source demand in target accounts and providing post-sale customer experience support. In 2014, this shift will accelerate, as non-demand-creation activity becomes an accepted part of marketing’s charter. Even for companies that focus mainly on demand creation, there’s change: We see a shift to maintaining marketing involvement way before and long after the lead goes to sales, based on customer preference for continued online interactions.

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Marketo Acquires Insightera

Today, Marketo announced the acquisition of Insightera, a dynamic-content-based personalization platform vendor based in San Mateo, CA. Insightera will bring the following features to Marketo’s platform:

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SiriusView: Marketing Resource Management Vendor Evaluations

In the research brief The Sirius View: A New Way to Look at Technology Vendors, we detailed our rigorous technology vendor assessment methodology. The model scores vendors and focuses on the differentiators between them and the challenges they face. Over the last several months, my colleagues and I have interviewed and evaluated vendors offering marketing resource management (MRM) solutions. We define MRM solutions as those that include four components vital to b-to-b marketers: budgeting, project management, asset management and communications.

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