SiriusDecisions: 2014 Marketing Automation Report

How much can a market really change in 12 months? In the marketing automation market, quite a lot! Over the past year, Salesforce.com and Adobe entered the market through acquisitions (ExactTarget/Pardot and Neolane, respectively), the percentage of b-to-b companies using marketing automation platforms increased, and marketing automation capabilities expanded beyond emails and registration forms. All of this means that when we drafted the 2014 version of our SiriusView: Marketing Automation Platforms, it involved more time, more effort and more spirited analyst debate than last year. Last year, we surveyed 11 marketing automation platforms. This year, we surveyed 17 vendors and scored them across six categories. Below, I have listed each of the vendors we included and SiriusDecisions’ take on when they should be considered.

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Healthcare Sales and Marketing Teams: Stopping the Sibling Rivalry

I hear it all too often from clients. When I think about it, I’ve probably said some of these myself: “I’ve been in marketing here for two years. I’ve never even talked to a customer.” “I had no idea sales was targeting the chief medical officer. I thought we were still selling to the CIO.” Marketing has no clue what it takes to get a client to commit. They just make stuff pretty.” In the complex healthcare buying cycle, the lack of a symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing can make executive leaders feel like they are mediating the worst sibling rivalry in history.

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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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Product Management Is Not User Experience

Let’s get one thing clear right away. Product management and user experience (UX) are both necessary roles in pretty much any company that creates products. But they are different. This is a bit personal for me, since I was a UX practitioner for many years before transitioning into product management. It was a natural transition for me, and my UX experience and skills served me well in product management. Many friends and colleagues during my UX days are now in product management roles or are considering them.

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My Three Biggest “Aha” Moments (So Far)

Here are the most memorable personal insights I’ve had as an analyst (so far) and the most impactful lessons I’ve learned during my last four years as a SiriusDecisions analyst. I shared these recently during Microsoft Dynamics’ take on a TED talk on marketing leadership at Convergence 2014 in Atlanta.

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The Correct Way to Define a Lead

Too often, when marketing leaders sit down with their counterparts in sales to discuss lead definitions, the only factor considered is what sales wants. While this discussion is relevant and valuable, the result is typically one of two scenarios:

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The SiriusDecisions Startup Naming Process

With nearly ubiquitous high-speed broadband and fiber optics saturating every corner of the known world, creating a tech startup has never been any easier. But coming up with a witty name for a new company continues to be the thorn in every entrepreneur’s side. Fortunately, SiriusDecisions has the answer. After studying hundreds of best-in-class startup names, then running them through proprietary linguistic algorithms, we came up with a simple, seven-step process to guide budding entrepreneurs, marketers and salespeople in creating the best company name possible. By adhering to most, some or even just one of these steps, you can take advantage of our foolproof process to name the startup of your dreams – even if you don’t have a product, service or dream quite yet.

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B-to-B Transformation: A New Take on an Old Theme

On May 21, my good friend and colleague Tony Jaros will present a new model on transformation at our upcoming Summit. It won’t be the first time our delegates have pondered this idea; after all, we’ve been talking about sales and marketing alignment for nearly a decade now. Business transformation, in general, is not really a new concept. Those of us over 40 have likely lived through a business transformation or two. Many members of our Summit audience have seen both sides of a transformation, as providers of software and services that enable enterprises to modernize and transform various functions (e.g. HR, finance, supply chain). So with all of this experience and hard data to rationalize the effort, why does broad-based transformation of b-to-b sales, marketing and product still elude us? We can’t answer that question in a single blog post – or a single conference, for that matter. We can and will, however, share some of the perspectives we’ve gained from witnessing hundreds of organizations attempt to transform their sales, marketing and product functions. In his talk, Tony will share a few stories of success – and a few of the “crash and burn” variety, as well. But more importantly, he’ll introduce a new framework that’s purpose-built to transform sales, marketing and product functions in a sustainable way.

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Why Content Marketers Should Be Certified in Your Sales Process

When you think about whether to certify sales reps on the sales process, the answer is obvious – of course you should! Reps use the sales process every day and need to understand how the sales stages relate to the buyer’s journey. Reps also use the sales process as an activity checklist to drive intended outcomes. Reps are coached on the sales process, which is reinforced by first-line managers, and success is confirmed by buyers’ actions. However, one group that often is forgotten in the certification process is marketing, especially marketing roles who create content for reps. Unless they have gone through sales training, they may be unaware of how reps and buyers actually engage with one another, and how reps use and present content during those meetings. Yup, classic misalignment.

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