In many ways, robots are one of the foundations of modern luxury and comfort. From heavy industrial manufacturing to something as commonplace as vacuuming our homes, robots have been incorporated into nearly every facet of our lives. Despite their general utility, robots do pose a particular problem for email marketers. Bot traffic clogs up our databases and can interfere with the expected actions of our own attempts at harnessing the power of automation using the Adobe Marketo Engage platform.
B2B marketing frequently runs into a problem where email service providers “test” links in emails as part of their efforts to categorize spam. Out of the box, Marketo lacks the ability to automatically tell the difference between an ESP testing links and a human click. Without the ability to properly discern actual, actionable clicks, your records can end up improperly triggering the actions you have spent so long planning and building in your Marketo Engage instance.
One of the most obvious impacts occurs in the realm of scoring. Since scoring is one of the most impactful connections between Marketing and Sales, keeping everyone’s trust in the system is paramount. The false positives from the spam testing performed by email service providers could push more records into a MQL status which could in turn increase the amount of records Sales team members reject as not actually qualified. Similarly, email alerts and interesting moments generated by click throughs could be negatively impacted by common bot behavior.
Marketo Engage has an option to enable bot activity filtering. However, this option is not activated by default. As a Marketo administrator, it falls on you to toggle this useful feature on. If you find yourself inheriting an old instance, we would always advise you to take a look to see if the feature is enabled, and immediately turn it on if it is not.
Adobe recently released an update to the bot activity filter. Marketo Engage now allows two different kinds of filtering behaviors. You can either use the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) bot list or use proximity matching. Proximity matching identifies when two activities, such as two clicked links, are taken in under two seconds and considers that proof of bot activity. We recommend turning on IAB filtering in nearly all cases. Proximity matching is more aggressive in its filtering. Therefore, we typically recommend only activating proximity matching if bot activity continues to be a problem after you enable filtering by the IAB list.
When using the IAB list, you are able to completely filter any bot activity identified by the list from being recorded by Marketo at all, but be prepared to see possible declines in your open and click rates in your reporting. Either method allows you to have Marketo log the noted bot activity in lead records. If you keep the activity logged, you can use smart filters and their constraints to filter out the bot activity from your intended audience.
Human Intelligence Beyond the Automation
Leadous has years of experience dealing with bot activity and its deleterious impact on the Marketo Engage Platform. We would be happy to explain to you in greater detail why you should care about and how you can mitigate the problems that bot activity can introduce. While we are certainly happy that Adobe now includes native support for identifying bot activity, we have actually been helping our clients deal with it for longer than that feature has been available. If you find yourself in a place where the automated filtering still does not bring your bot activity in line, you can trust Leadous to provide you with other options and solutions.
Reach out to see what Leadous and our team can do for you.
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You’re Playing the Game, It’s Halftime
What do your analysts tell you to reset your strategy to get you to the W?
Hopefully your team is giving you feedback and providing insights by data – numbers, percentages, and ranges. Just like the end of a game, the end of the year is approaching, probably faster than you think it is. How has your team measured up against the benchmarks it set for itself? Were your plans realistic? Are you on track to deliver? If you have not started asking yourself these questions yet, know that the stakeholders behind you have. You can get ahead of the end-of-year crunch by setting up a reporting framework and get insights from your data. This framework could also allow you to assess what, if any, corrective actions you need to take as we close in on the last quarter of the year, whether that is focusing man hours on a specific area or maybe just adjusting everyone’s expectations.
The Goal Line
While every deal and sale are unique, when you look at your company in aggregate, you can put together an “average” journey for your prospects and customers. What does the average new sale net in revenue? How long does it take to go from unknown to a sale? How likely is an unknown prospect to end up as a customer? Do you know what these statistics are for your business? Once you do, you can start reverse engineering how far you are from your revenue goal.
Without a proper reporting framework across the entire sales funnel, you are left trusting your intuition. However, modern Martech stacks include platforms like Adobe’s Marketo Engage include robust reporting tools. If you properly utilize these tools, the typical nebulousness of marketing begins to take shape into more concrete figures. You can then take those figures and make decisions based on data rather than a gut feeling.
Let’s take a look at a very basic theoretical case. Back in January, your company set a goal of $500k in net new revenue. You know any given prospect has about a 25% chance to turn into a closed-won opportunity (and a tip of the hat to your team for their high numbers). You also know that your average sale brings in $1,000. Working backwards, it takes marketing to four prospects to bring in every $1,000. Now that we are entering the last quarter of the year, you know you need another $150k to meet the yearly goal. So, unless you can also change your averages as the year closes, you know you need to be marketing to roughly 600k prospects to meet your revenue goals.
Calling the Right Play
When you know what worked and when it worked, you can leverage that knowledge in forming your game plan, choosing which moves to make, and when to make those moves. However, it takes preparation to make sure every campaign can be measured in such a manner. Adobe’s Marketo Engage has a vast array of features that can be utilized to get you this kind of data. Obviously metrics like clicks and opens are available, but a well developed reporting framework goes beyond that to include even more data points like program statuses.
As you dive into reporting, it can do more than just show what you have done. It will start to guide what you choose to do. Say, theoretically, as you evaluate your reports, you come to find that your webinar series is a short circuit in the sales process. You can prove that you always gain new prospects from it, and that these prospects actually have closed sales at double your average. Once you see this pattern, you can start leveraging your webinars at crucial times by perhaps scheduling a webinar event for a sales push.
Working with Your Team
A proper reporting framework breaks everything down to a very granular level. You can report on marketing programs in aggregate, by program type, by individual program, down to individual email. Marketing, as a department, has to work with other departments and under executives. Communication with those other groups becomes much more effective when you can use the common language of math and statistics, that in many cases also connect the data points through integrations. Facts carry more weight when they are backed up with data.
Even under ideal circumstances, navigating unfamiliar terrain is a challenge. Depending on just how far out of your element you are, you can end up in a situation where even basic observations can become guesses. Is that a harmless patch of vines or is it a bunch of poison ivy? If you are wrong, you could be dealing with the uncomfortable consequences for weeks. Even someone generally knowledgeable about nature can still make mistakes if they venture into areas they have never been. To avoid making mistakes, you can hire a local guide that will make sure you avoid any rash decisions. The same is true of your company and its business decisions. Consider Leadous and its team of Marketo Certified Experts to be your local guide for your Marketo Engage platform.
Getting the Lay of the Land
Perhaps internal staffing changes mean your in-house Marketo expert left without anyone to truly take over in their absence. Whatever the circumstances, you might find yourself in charge of a Marketo instance and not know everything you should about it. An inherited Marketo instance can have a lot of moving pieces interacting with each other. Before you get overwhelmed, you can have the Leadous team perform an in-depth review of your instance.
Our review starts from the ground up, beginning with a check of your technical setup. Did you get Marketo’s Munchkin tracking code installed on your company’s website? How about using branded domains to send your emails and host your landing pages? These might seem like very basic questions, but we make no assumptions during our discovery. We want to make sure that the foundations are sturdy for whatever advanced lead gen initiatives you have planned.
We will go on to more generally familiarize ourselves with the instance looking through the programs and campaigns in your instance. We also check in on the general state of the records in your database. We work with Marketo customers across all industries, both B2B and B2C, so we can help provide industry-specific best practices suited to your particular use case.
Producing a Detailed Map
If you want to figure out where you are and where you want to be, often the first step is to get a map. As we gather our information, we start mapping the path for your instance. Are your folders and programs named and structured consistently? Does that consistency conform to typical best practices? Do you have a center of excellence and what does it look like? What do your data hygiene practices look like? We have a standard set of areas we know are important to chart, and we will make sure to check all of them for you. Of course, if you have any specific areas of interest, you can let us know, and we will add that as a focus during our discovery.
As we begin to clearly see everything, we can start to make some recommendations about what would make your instance better. For instance, think of your folder structure and naming conventions as the trails on your map. If you are trying to hike on overgrown, unmarked trails, you can easily get lost. However, if the trails are properly maintained and have legible signage, getting around the area becomes much easier. Establishing and sticking to a standardized folder structure and naming conventions is how you maintain those trails in Marketo.
Looking Toward the Unknown
Maybe you are looking for more than just discovery. You know you need an expert’s help because you want to venture out into entirely new territory. Once we become familiar with your instance, we can recommend new initiatives that companies in your position typically implement to further leverage the power of the Marketo Engage engine. Whether you have a particular goal in mind or a more general drive to continue building out your marketing automation, we lay out a plan that gets you ready to expand your operations.
Marketo is an incredibly versatile and powerful tool. It is very capable of driving a global, omni-channel marketing strategy that gives you very granular information about your prospects’ journeys through your revenue cycle. However, that endgame relies on smaller initiatives and campaigns that build on each other and themselves. Leadous has developed a next phase marketing automation progression model audit with benchmarks that show you how to build from simple email blasts to a top of the line, best in class Marketo instance.
The audit goes a long way toward understanding where your company fits on that model. It also identifies the steps you need to take to reach the next phases. As your company advances through the phases, they will find increased personalization for their targeted audiences, more robust reporting, and generally better returns on their marketing budgets.
Leadous Brings Expert Support
Whether you find yourself completely overwhelmed or just want an independent opinion about your Marketo instance, Leadous and its team of experts will meet you where you are. Whether that is extra man hours, access to our deep pool of specialized knowledge, or to get some training for your staff, we can help your company fill any of its present gaps. Reach out to have one of our experts talk to you about an instance review and see how you can better leverage your Marketo instance to support your marketing strategy.
Get in touch with an expert today to review your current setup!
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The approach to staffing marketing resources has always toggled back and forth between hire or contract. Budgets and resource requirements have steadily drove the decisions of which, in 2022 that is no longer the case. With the use of marketing technology exploding and the connection between creative and technically savvy intertwines it is often hard to find the right generalist that can provide a depth of technical expertise to help initiatives accelerate. Many times those generalists teach themselves how to use platforms and end up getting things to move forward, but by necessity instead of best practice, leaving large messes for the next to clean up as soon as they can market themselves with that specific technology experience and move on.
Although the marketing technologies have done tremendous jobs at building out certification and training programs, many companies and individuals are not willing to make the investment to ensure the technology can be fully utilized and don’t understand how to evolve from a foundational approach to one that is more advanced.
We have watched the market for automation platforms over the past 8 plus years, and this is what we know. First, it is hard to have experience in one platform and move to another without a ramp period – the platforms are not the same no matter what they tell you. Second, the companies that believe in a cross discipline approach of having marketing and technology on the same team excel. And lastly, there is no comparison to the speed of trying to troubleshoot and figure things out on your own versus seeking the advance of an expert.
So how do you accomplish this? Staff for the generalist that can help push the strategy forward, the one who understands your industry and how to connect the dots between data, content, messaging, and technology. Next if headcount is open, staff for the email campaign and social execution resources due to sheer volume and associated cost. Then augment for the detailed expertise. The resource you need to do the one time things and/or provide a flux of help when needed and an expert that can align with your team so if resources move on your progress won’t take a hit.
Managed services options allow clients to control the amount of expert support they need to augment their teams and drive initiatives to success. These services include everything from troubleshooting support for execution teams, to feature enablement, to custom integrations, instance administration, and just sheer extra hands when the team can be overloaded. Usually, organizations that offer these types of staff augmentation resources offer flexible plans for hours and volume pricing to make the investment worth it, letting organizations throttle up or down based on the support needed at any given time.
The biggest challenge in this approach is knowing how to partner with an organization that is top notch. This list is the top 5 must haves:
They are an official part of the ecosystem of the technology provider, whereby they receive advanced training and insider updates to keep their joint clients happy.
They are certified. This is often overlooked by someone who has ‘experience’ but you can’t trade experience for the breadth of best practice training that a certified consultant has experienced.
They have a long term vision or methodology of how they help their clients evolve and have customer references to back it up.
They are a cultural match and easily fit like a puzzle piece with the other resources you have. Almost to the point you feel like they are on your team and not a partner resource.
They have a track record of flexibility so they can morph to what is needed at any given time and have a history of going above and beyond.
At Leadous, we refer to our managed services offering as Campaign MentorTM. These services offer support in any area that touches the automation platform. We are a 8+ year 100% certified Adobe Platinum partner for Marketo Engage and leverage the Marketing Automation Progression ModelTM to help our clients realize the value of automation.
Even if you aren’t one yourself, everyone is familiar with the work of the farmer. You plant your seeds. You tend your crop. You reap your harvest. It takes a lot of effort, patience, and attention to details. However, the work is critical to the foundation of everything else. Without a steady supply of food, this whole enterprise we call society would evaporate pretty quickly. The same can be said for supplying a company with leads and sales. Those leads are your seeds, you tend them with your marketing initiatives, and your sales team comes in to harvest those closed opportunities.
Planting the Seeds
You have new contacts. It is time to plant some new seeds. If those seeds are going to successfully grow, they will need proper attention. You have to make sure that the dirt they grow in is tilled and clear of weeds. In terms of a Marketo Engage instance, that means having operational programs to manage your scoring, status tracking, and data hygiene. Then those seeds will need sunlight and nutrition. This will come from your marketing campaigns.
Working the land is a never ending task for the farmer, and so is maintaining the operational programs that sustain a healthy Marketo instance. The Sales and Marketing Teams should be constantly collaborating with each other to identify the actions with the highest predictive value for an eventual sale. Scoring programs need to be developed and kept up to date. Other programs will move records through your sales lifecycle based on the criteria your company determines. This kind of constant maintenance leads to healthy soil for your seeds, and healthy soil means a better chance for a bountiful harvest.
Those seeds need their own food, water, and sunlight to grow. This sustenance is provided by your marketing initiatives. From simple email sends to webinars to advanced nurture programs and everything in between, Marketo Engage can automate your processes and help you track your audience’s actions. You can set your own controls to make sure you supply the right combination of nutrients and avoid overexposure.
And They Sprout!
Your Marketo programs will make sure your crops stay watered and fertilized. Every time one of the records interacts with your campaigns, it stores just a little more energy and grows a little more. Maybe it was your monthly webinar series, or maybe it was your presentation at a tradeshow. All of these pieces of marketing start to add up, and the seed is now sprouting toward the heavens.
Eventually a seed has grown enough that you consider it ready to pass along to your Sales team. This is one of the primary purposes of your scoring program, to determine when a record meets this qualification. Upon meeting this threshold, the record becomes what is known as a MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead). Through their ongoing collaboration, Marketing and Sales have agreed that a record with that score will typically be ready for the sales process to start.
The Sales Team will then do their own assessment of the lead. If they like what they see, the Sales Team will accept the MQL turning the record into a SAL (Sales Accepted Lead) as it continues through the sales process. If the Sales Team thinks the record is not quite ready, they can simply recycle the lead back into the general marketing initiatives.
Continuing to Care for Your Leads
In real life, you tend to make your harvests all at once. However, a Marketo instance using a well maintained lifecycle model will utilize in its design a series of campaigns listening for triggers to recycle those records rejected for whatever reason by the Sales Team. So instead of having to harvest and discard a record that did not bear fruit, you can instead continue to nurture it. As the record once again engages with your content, it will start accumulating points again leading it back to its status as a MQL.
This kind of per record analysis and sorting allows you to take as long as you need for each contact to be at its perfect opportunity to harvest. You can keep records in your automation flows with minimal staff effort. In fact, advanced marketing strategies can be developed to specifically target those records that have been recycled by Sales, hopefully bringing them back to Sales with a higher chance of success. This automated process keeps your salespeople free to focus on the most fruitful records.
SALs Need Love Too
Even if a record is a SAL and being specifically targeted, it remains rooted in the soil of your Marketo instance. Using the proper logic, you can use Marketo to automate announcements, reminders, or other notices to your SALs. These automated processes again can free up your salespeople to do what they do best, sell, instead of having to reach out personally in every instance.
As Sales continues to work with the record, they could determine that they were too overeager in their assessment, and the record should not have become a SAL. They can still choose to recycle a record to a previous status in the life cycle. Or, if they continue to like what they see, they can decide the contact is ready to become a SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). Usually, a SQL becomes associated with a sales opportunity which means those records are ready for harvest.
The Sales Team actively works with their sales opportunities, answering questions and keeping the contact engaged. Marketo can still be leveraged at this point in the life cycle with the ongoing collaboration between Marketing and Sales determining its role at this late stage.
Unfortunately, nature can still ruin a harvest through no fault of the farmer. Likewise, even the most seemingly likely opportunities can fall apart through no direct fault of Marketing or Sales. You have nourished and guarded your crops, but a small twist of fate can ruin your harvest. You can only fight so hard against a drought. If that turns out to be the case, and the opportunity was lost, the Sales Team can make the decision to recycle the record to a previous status or move on to other contacts.
Sure not every individual seed will grow into a useful piece of produce, but taken in aggregate, your well tended crop will yield a bountiful harvest of closed won opportunities. What started as a load of stored potential inside your tiny seeds has grown into delectable fruits and vegetables that your company sustains itself on. From their humble beginnings as anonymous seeds in the dirt, your records were nourished and cared for by well designed marketing initiatives until the Sales Team was able to come and pick all the valuable yields.
Reach out to Leadous today to see how we can help you make sure you produce a bountiful cornucopia from your fields.
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Webinars have long been a very productive marketing tool. Their use in overall marketing plans has only grown over time as video conferencing technology continues to advance. The circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic only increased their prevalence and effectiveness. The companies powering the various webinar products allow you to sort through attendance and invite data. Once this data is brought into the Marketo Engage platform, it can be leveraged to trigger an advanced set of automation tools that were built to save you and your staff time and missed opportunities, let us explain.
The internet changes at a rapid pace. Whereas it was the stuff of science fiction films in the 80’s, video conferencing has since become a de facto part of everyday life for virtually everyone with a smartphone. Since most people are now familiar with video interactions over the internet, even putting the pandemic as an accelerating issue aside, it makes perfect sense that taking conferences and presentations online has become a popular, cost-effective way to market products and services.
As more and more companies incorporate the practice into their business plans, webinars have become and will continue to be central in the execution of marketing strategies. They are a great way to provide a personal, human touch but still allow that interaction to scale across multiple users. Webinars can also increase your credibility as an authority. It can really demonstrate your understanding of the subject matter when you can participate in conversational dialogue on the topic. You can also bolster your credibility by inviting other experts into your conversations potentially leveraging any audience those experts have as well.
Marketing is often judged on its ROI. Webinars usually offer a great ROI because they can contribute to so many tasks early in a sales lifecycle. Webinars are about creating awareness in your audience and building engagement simultaneously. Webinar formats that include Q&A sessions are literally combining both aspects in real time. They also offer your team a chance to showcase particular people and their personality. You can allow them to lay the foundation of a relationship with many potential customers at once by putting a face, voice, and personality to otherwise written communication.
Making Sense of the Data
As you host your webinars, you will also be producing a significant amount of data around who was invited, who RSVP’d, and who actually attended, and even who asked qualifying questions during the webinar. Some of this data will be useful in an after the fact analysis. Some of it can be leveraged during pre webinar communication to hopefully nudge the overall success of the program upward. In any case, sorting through all of this data in any sort of manual fashion is unwieldy and prone to error. However, all of the information can be managed by the Marketo Engage platform which will remove human error in processing all the data points.
Using your own customized logical flows, you can manage an entire webinar campaign from the initial invites to scoring the attendance of each member of the campaign. Outside of managing the webinar program itself, Marketo also allows you to merge the individual webinar into larger strategies your organization may be pursuing. For instance, as previously mentioned, your audience’s actions can be incorporated into your scoring strategy, or the very conception of your webinar could be rooted in an ABM strategy, essentially accelerating conversion and visibility of leads through the funnel.
As a leader in marketing automation, Marketo Engage offers integrations with the major webinar providers. These direct integrations for platforms such as Webex, GoToWebinar, and On24 make managing webinar events even easier by automatically sharing information like attendance status. However, even if you are using a smaller webinar platform without a pre-built integration, all it takes to get the pertinent data into Marketo is the invention and adoption of procedures around exporting lists from your provider and importing them into your Marketo instance. You could even look into your own custom API integration if you don’t have the resources for the more manual transfer.
Since we want to make sure we can always provide our clients with the best Marketo experience possible, we are of course well versed in running webinar campaigns using the platform. If you are looking for the technical knowhow to put together a best practice webinar program, our team can provide you with a fully tested build. If you need help targeting your audience, our team can help you strategize. We stay on top of trends and can help guide your company when questions come up such as, “What day of the week should we host this event?” or “How far out should we start promoting our webinar?”
Whatever your individual needs or limitations, Leadous’ experts can help bridge the gap between where you are and where you need to be. Get in touch with our team to find out what Leadous can bring to your webinar strategy.
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Science fiction has long promised us a future where we are assisted in our day-to-day lives by robotic assistants. While we haven’t progressed to our own personal robo-butlers quite yet, we have started to see technologies like chatbots begin to rise to prominence. Adobe has now released a Marketo Engage-integrated Dynamic Chat solution that your company can leverage to provide targeted, personalized engagement for your audience.
Design Your Virtual Assistant
Dynamic Chat allows you to build multiple dialogues that will define how you want to approach your audience. Each dialogue will have three components to its design that control its behavior. The first two components are logistical in nature. First, you will need to define where you want the chat to appear. In other words, which web page(s) should your bot use to engage your customers? Next, you need to define who you want to engage. The dialogue you present to an unknown visitor could be designed entirely differently from the one you give to someone you know is a member of the C-suite at a company you are specifically targeting.
The third, and most involved, aspect will be designing the actual prompts, content, and logical paths you want the conversation to use. Each prompt can lead to one or multiple paths as your bot assists your visitor. Obviously, as a savvy marketer, you have a desired outcome in mind that you are driving your audience toward. For your reporting and analytics, you can mark steps in the conversation as goal steps. Think of a completed goal step kind of like a successful status in a Marketo program. This will help you track how successfully each dialogue is performing.
The visual aesthetics of your chatbot are yours to design. You have control over the coloring, font, and even the avatar you show. Take the time to make sure your bot follows your brand guidelines. Before you send your chatbot out on to the world wide web, you will need to give it a name. Some brands choose to be transparent, naming their chabot something that clearly indicates you are dealing with a machine. Other brands choose to use a human name. Find what works best for your brand. Dynamic Chat’s UI allows easy control when implementing these decisions.
Dynamic Chat also allows integrations with your sales team’s calendars in Outlook or Google. Once the setup is complete, you can offer your website visitors the option to schedule a meeting directly from the chat window without anyone on your payroll taking the time to set it up. In case your sales team is worried about being flooded with unqualified leads, you can reassure them that you can set up the dialogue to only present the option to those records that meet certain qualifications.
Take Advantage of the Marketo Connection
Make sure to take advantage of the Dynamic Chat solution’s integration with the Marketo Engage platform. The conversations you design can fully leverage Marketo’s token functionality. This will grant you the ability to personalize your messages. We all know personalized marketing campaigns perform better than marketing to a generic audience.
Dynamic Chat will also open up a new suite of smart list filter/trigger options that you can use. With access to this new logic, you can seamlessly incorporate chatbot interactions into your overall Marketo plans. This allows you to perform actions like basing a triggered email upon reaching a dialogue goal, targeting all the people who interacted with the chatbot, and scoring the action of scheduling an appointment with one of your representatives. Most organizations will start their deployment of the chatbot small with some specific use cases. However, if you take the time to plan out what the projects need, the chatbot can be fully incorporated into advanced ABM strategies and play an important role in your multi-touch attribution model.
The Future is Now
We are likely just on the cusp of what automated assistants like chatbots will be able to offer to you, your organization, and your customers. Industries such as retail, healthcare, and banking are all already adopting chatbots meaning consumers’ familiarity and comfort with them is likely only to increase. Younger generations that have grown up on the internet already expect instant service 24 hours a day. Chatbots help fulfill this need.
Here at Leadous, we pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of delivering the best Marketo experience possible. The Dynamic Chat solution will be available to all new Marketo Engage customers, and Adobe is currently in the process of rolling the feature out to existing accounts. No matter your history with Marketo, we can help you incorporate this new engagement stream into your instance and marketing strategy. Let us guide you through your launch and then help you develop advanced campaigns that help improve your customer experience and ROI.
Reach out to a Leadous expert today to discuss Dynamic Chat in more detail.
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Unicorns are considered mythical creatures, the flying horse with the horn, a rainbow mane, this rare creature is so unique one has never been captured and has only been seen in fairytales and as a design on men’s dress socks. Could you imagine having a unicorn, this thing so unique and special there is just one? You might be saying ‘a unicorn’, I would never want one. When in all practicality you probably do want one, just not in the form of a flying horse with a horn.
A Marketing Unicorn
As marketing has moved more from creative to technical and also now spans into sales, the job description has turned into a laundry list of attributes that are so difficult to find – making these marketers ‘unicorns’ – mythical creatures that cannot be captured. So you want someone with two different automation platforms because you are migrating from one to another, CRM experience, know design products, can write a press release, and can align efforts to sales goals to help the team win? That is actually about six people and would cost a company upwards of $750,000 all in with benefits. But, alas, instead we look for the unicorn.
Companies spend months combing through the interwebs trying to find these specialized resources. Meanwhile, marketing is losing traction to hit their lead gen goals and time is wasting away. The fact of the matter is they do not exist. At least in the form that is being sought after.
How to Find a Unicorn
The most specialized skill sets require support from an organization that is connected to the industry and understands the requirements. If you are migrating – do you really need someone with both automation platforms or the one you are moving forward with? Could you use a third party to provide that level of expertise for 30 days and then be done? Your CRM – do they need to know how to run the CRM or be able to simply add a field? Would an online training course get them the skills set they need? Do any other resources on any other teams share any of the responsibilities?
This type of questioning can help you quickly target what type of unicorn you are really looking for. Three simple steps to get you ready for the hunt:
Decide on the key attributes, must-haves, of the candidate. Note ‘culture fit’ should be on that list. You should also consider other characteristics that would ensure they can get up to speed quickly.
Decide on key long-term priorities. The short-term ones you should outsource. From the scenario above, they need to know your old automation platform – but only for a minute, let that requirement go. Is the skillset general enough that a training course could get them enough knowledge?
Take those lists along with your job description to experts in the field. You wouldn’t take a fishing guide turkey hunting? So why would you go hunting for a unicorn without a guide?
Expect to hire someone in 60-90 days. If they come sooner, great. But plan for a longer-term strategy to find the right person. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to fill in the gaps. At Leadous we find ourselves helping with the recruiting from our industry connections, at the same time, filling gaps with our consultants to help clients stay on track. It’s not a bad idea to have a guide, a trusted partner who knows the path that can lead you on your hunt and knows how to support you along the way.
You’ve Caught a Unicorn
It’s not impossible to find the perfect candidate, so long as your expectations are aligned, you can get close. By close, it may not have the horn or the rainbow tail, but you get one of them. Your work however isn’t done there. Unicorns, as one would imagine, require special handling, so make sure you have a development plan in place and are willing to pay to keep the unicorn healthy. Because just when you think you’ve captured one. They will escape. And you’ll be on the hunt to capture another one.
Let’s face it: if you’re not converting in-person or online visitors into customers, you won’t be in business for long. Sales drive revenue, which powers everything you do.
Lead conversion is the ultimate goal of your marketing. To be successful, your lead generation campaigns and marketing efforts must convert leads into business opportunities and sales.
Lead conversion is a significant challenge for many marketing professionals. This issue is made worse because many business owners and marketers don’t know their lead conversion rate, so they don’t know how well or poorly they are converting.
It’s important to understand lead conversion and how to measure it. You can then develop strategies to improve your lead conversion rates and get more value from your lead generation activities.
What is Lead Conversion?
Lead conversion is the point at which a visitor performs an action that turns them into a lead. Anytime a prospect transitions from one stage to another in the lead generation process can also be considered as lead conversion (e.g., a lead converting into a paying customer).
Lead conversion involves using a combination of strategies to convert visitors into leads. It can involve a different set of strategies to convert qualified leads into customers.
Leads follow several steps on the way to becoming customers. This is not what we do at Chili Piper, but the traditional conversion process involves nurturing:
At each step, you must create opportunities for the lead to take some action to move to the next step. Every business follows a different process, but the ultimate goal of lead conversion is the same: to convert leads into customers.
Lead Conversion Metrics
Lead conversion metrics help you to objectively measure the success of the marketing and sales teams to generate leads, convert them into customers, and do it efficiently. Two of the most common metrics are lead conversion rate and lead-to-sale conversion rate.
Lead Conversion Rate
The lead conversion rate is the ratio of the number of leads to the total number of visitors. It measures the effectiveness of your ability to convert visitors to your website into leads.
To find the lead conversion rate, you must calculate the ratio of leads within a period against the total number of visitors in that period. Use the following formula:
Lead conversion rate = (Number of leads / Total number of visitors) x 100%
You take the number of leads divided by the total number of website visitors and then multiply it by 100%.
Example: A company generates 200 visitors to its landing page. Of those 200 visitors, 15 fill out the lead capture form and become a lead. The lead conversion rate is: (15 / 200) x 100% = 7.5%
Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate
The lead-to-sale conversion rate measures your company’s effectiveness in converting a lead into a customer. This metric focuses on how many leads turn into sales and drive revenue.
To find the lead-to-sale conversion rate, you must calculate the ratio of the number of converted leads to total lead volume. Use the following formula:
Lead-to-sale conversion rate = (Converted leads / Total lead volume) x 100%
You take the number of converted leads divided by the total lead volume and then multiply it by 100%.
Example: A company generates 500 total leads through its lead capture forms. Fifteen of those leads convert into customers. The lead-to-sale conversion rate is:
(15 / 500) x 100% = 3%
Relationship Between Rates
There is a direct relationship between lead conversion rate and lead-to-sale conversion rate. The quality of the leads will affect the conversion rate.
So, if you convert a lower ratio of visitors into leads, but the leads are properly qualified, then your lead-to-sale conversion rate will be higher. Therefore, rather than focusing on the number of leads, you should focus on the number of qualified leads.
For example, one way to improve your lead-to-sale conversion rate is to use Chili Piper’s Concierge. You can double the number of inbound leads by instantly qualifying, routing, and booking meetings with sales reps.
Other Lead Conversion Metrics
You can use other metrics to measure the effectiveness of your lead conversion activities. Use the following lead conversion metrics to dig deeper into your lead conversion rates.
Lead to Opportunity Conversion Rate
Lead to opportunity conversion rate is how many of your leads convert to opportunities, shown as a percentage. It’s a really important metric you should be constantly optimizing.
Cost per conversion
Cost per conversion is how much it costs to acquire a customer. To calculate cost per conversion, you divide the total advertising and marketing cost by the number of conversions.
Conversion ROI is the return on investment per conversion. To calculate conversion ROI, you subtract the cost from the lead value and divide that by cost.
Lead value is the value of the leads to the success of your business. To calculate lead value, you take the total sales value and divide it by the total number of leads.
Time to Conversion
Time to conversion is how long it takes a visitor to become a lead. To calculate time to conversion, you take the total time spent by website visitors and divide it by the total number of leads.
How to Increase Lead Conversion
According to Unbounce, the median conversion rate for landing pages for businesses involved in the SaaS industry is 3%, with most pages ranging from 2% to 12%.
The form conversion rate for businesses involved in SaaS is 2.4%. Compare this to the click conversion rate, which is 10.1%.
Consider the following tips and strategies for improving your lead conversion and lead-to-sale conversion rates. These lead conversion strategies will help to turn more visitors into leads and turn more qualified leads into customers.
1. Optimize Your Lead Capture
Before you can convert a lead into a customer, a visitor must become a lead. That means qualifying the lead and capturing their information.
The key to lead capture—and to improving lead conversion—is to capture the right information. Beyond their name and email address, you’ll want to consider what you need to know (and how much you should ask for) to properly qualify a visitor before they become a lead.
There are many ways to capture visitors’ information for the purposes of qualification and eventual lead conversion. Some methods include:
Once you’ve selected a method for capturing leads, you should then focus on optimizing that method to convert more visitors into leads. Optimization should include lead qualification, which will improve the quality of the leads you capture and increase your lead-to-sale conversion rate.
Some strategies for optimizing lead capture can include:
Customizing the lead capture method for specific campaigns
Ensuring the lead capture method maintains your marketing promise
Tailoring the call to action (CTA) to the message and method
Including a valuable offer that matters to visitors
2. Improve Lead Qualification
Quantity is not better than quality, especially when it comes to dealing with leads. Lead-to-sale conversion improves when you have better quality leads.
Spend more time upfront to qualify leads before spending time to convert them. This requires getting sales and marketing on the same page for what’s required to qualify leads.
Set a clear framework for the sales funnel and the buyer’s journey. Answer the following questions:
How do you differentiate between MQLs and SQLs?
What is required for an SAL (sales-accepted lead) to become an SQL?
What actions and criteria indicate that a lead is sales-ready (i.e., showing sufficient interest and intent to buy)?
Who is responsible for verifying the quality of the leads?
Being able to instantly qualify leads from your lead capture form will result in more qualified held meetings (QHMs). This also means less time spent on leads that are less likely to convert into customers and better lead-to-sale conversion rates.
For example, you can install Chili Piper’s Concierge on your lead capture form to instantly qualify leads.
3. Nurture Your Leads
Once a visitor becomes a lead, it takes some work to convert them into customers. That involves nurturing the lead along the path you want them to follow.
Lead nurturing is an effective way to convert qualified leads into customers. It involves segmenting the leads into groups and using targeted content to market to leads within those groups to engage and lead them toward a decision to purchase.
Once you’ve captured the lead through your landing page, lead capture form, or other methods, the nurturing process begins. It involves:
Following up with relevant messaging
Grouping the lead according to their interest and behavior
Using triggers to send email marketing messages based on specific actions and responses
Forwarding the leads to sales when they’re ready to buy
Speed to lead is an effective strategy for converting leads into customers. The faster you can make contact with a lead, the more likely the lead is to convert.
One way to reduce the time to connect with a lead is to instantly qualify them through your web form. You can add an appointment scheduling app that enables leads to book a time to speak with a sales rep.
For example, adding Concierge to a lead capture form enables the lead to immediately arrange a telephone call or make an appointment with a sales rep. This reduces the speed to lead to its minimum, as the lead will be reaching out as soon as they are ready to meet.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to know your lead conversion and lead-to-sale conversion rates so you can measure the effectiveness of your lead management process. You can then apply lead conversion strategies to improve your results, turning more visitors into customers in the process.
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Let’s talk about hygiene. We all know there are some things we do have to do in the background to keep up with our own. When you neglect your hygiene, it might not always be immediately apparent, but inevitably, something unpleasant will make itself known. This is true for your personal habits, and it’s true for your Marketo database.
What are the consequences of poor database hygiene? There are a few common ones discussed below. None of them are positive. Any marketing automation strategy developed on top of a poorly maintained set of records is going to be flawed in its execution over time.
Deliverability. Poor deliverability is probably the most consequential over the long term. Keeping a clean database reduces the chances of sending email out that reduces your deliverability credibility. If your credibility is poor, you are more likely to be classified as spam. Being spam is obviously going to reduce your effectiveness as an email marketing machine. Recovering credibility after sustained losses is not typically an easy undertaking.
Cost. On a financial note, poor database hygiene increases the difficulty of managing record bloat. Marketo Engage licenses include size limits for each instance’s record database. When those limits are reached, Adobe will alert the account owner that they need to reduce their database’s size or license a larger database. At bare minimum, good database maintenance will allow for timely identification of records that can be purged, keeping costs down. More aggressive database hygiene will automate at least some of the record removal process slowing down the database’s growth rate in real time.
Data. Lastly, on a more personally strategic level, poor hygiene leads to flawed data. Clean databases keep their records up to date. Marketing teams spend a lot of time making important decisions about who to target for their campaigns. The realization that the audience or trend is not, in fact, what everyone thought it was because of flawed data leads to frustration. Frustration leads to finger pointing, and no one enjoys finger pointing.
Leadous has plenty of experience helping clients implement and expand their database hygiene plans. Typically, the first thing we see and recommend is clients setting up different campaigns to handle various kinds of potentially problematic records. For instance, the response to a record that received one soft bounce response is going to be different from a record that received an email is invalid response. Our consults help our clients identify the various categories. Once the categories are defined, we can also advise what to do in each case. Then we can build out smart campaigns to comb through all of the records and take those actions.
Once the problematic categories start being identified, some of the responses taken in response to those records will help address record bloat. How aggressively they choose to do so is another strategy the Leadous team can help guide. In any case, once the time for an active purge arrives, previous database maintenance will have identified the categories that are likely targets for elimination. From there, it would be a relatively simple task to actually remove the records.
Keeping records accurate is also part of the maintenance required for a healthy database. An important part of that is data normalization campaigns. In a pretty traditional example, country names typically need to be normalized into an expected value. Automation enforcing standardized names prevents future ambiguity. Why include “USA, US, United States, United States of America” in all future filters? Instead, one campaign can look for all the potential variants and change them to a singular, preferred standard. Some data fields that typically benefit from a data normalization campaign include state, professional title, and professional role among others.
These ideas represent just the beginning of database hygiene. All of the advanced phases of Leadous’ Marketing Automation Progression Model depend on the foundation created by trustworthy data. The effort required for this foundational work pays off in the short term, but it also yields additional dividends down the line. Team Leadous loves helping our clients address their data challenges and ensure they have a funnel that is quality from the bottom up.
Everyone knows you need a trusted mechanic. We all trust this person to diagnose and maintain the vehicle we use to navigate our lives. We can often take for granted how complex the machine we depend on daily actually is. Everybody can relate to the frustration and helpless feeling when your car breaks down unexpectedly leaving you stranded. So, you go to your trusted mechanic for preventative maintenance to try to make sure you are not caught stuck on the side of the road, right? Speaking of complex engines we too often take for granted, when was the last time you had a Marketo Certified Expert audit your operation? Let Leadous take a look under the proverbial hood.
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
Just like with your car, you need to make sure your Marketo instance is running efficiently. It’s worth the time and effort to catch a problem before it becomes a mess that needs to be dealt with. So, a platform audit starts from the bottom and without assumptions. From the basic technical setup to the general state of marketable records in the database, the Leadous team wants to make sure the foundations of your instance are sturdy and ready to support your lead gen initiatives. This includes checking that your website uses Marketo’s Munchkin tracking code, making sure you are using custom domains for your landing pages and emails, and analyzing the health of your database.
From there, our experts will familiarize themselves with your instance. That means looking through your workspace(s) at how your programs and campaigns were built and how they currently operate. We can analyze how your habits compare to industry best practices. Even if you think everything is running well, an engine can usually use some form of tune up.
A Full Diagnostic Check
Does your instance have a center of excellence? Do all of your programs follow a best practice folder structure? Do you even have a consistent folder structure, much less one that follows industry best practices? A Marketo instance has so many moving parts, it can be difficult to make sure everything everywhere is working at its top capabilities.
Leadous will look your instance over from top to bottom. Any area where we see room for improvement, our team of experts will lay out a plan to get your company to the top of its potential. We will then take all those various recommendations based on immediate, short-term and long-term priorities and the benefit they would bring, and work with your team to refine everything into an action plan tailored to you and your goals.
Upgrading the Engine Parts
Maybe you are looking for more than a tune up. You decided you need an expert’s help to increase the power of your machine. Once we know what’s going on in your instance, we can recommend the typical next steps to continue leveraging the power of the Marketo Engage platform. When we compile our list of recommendations for improving your current build, we will include new processes you can introduce that will enhance your marketing efforts.
The Marketo Engage system is a hugely powerful and expansive tool. Leadous has developed a phased progression model with benchmarks that build toward a full Marketo implementation for a true global, omni-channel approach that is tracking and analyzing your contacts’ journeys through your lifecycle. Think of it like putting higher and higher performance parts into the engine getting more and more power out of it.
Our platform audit goes a long way toward understanding where a new client is on that model and what steps they can take to reach the next phase. As a company works their way up the progression model, they will see greater personalization in their campaigns, more thorough reporting, and improved return on marketing.
Everyone Needs Some Help Sometimes
Even the most savvy at-home gearhead eventually runs into a problem that’s better solved with some professional help. Maybe the shop has an expensive tool that is not worth personally purchasing. Leadous and our staff of experts can be your trusted answer for when Marketo requires more resources than your team can currently bring to bear.
Sometimes a company just lacks a resource for a specific project. Leadous can certainly help finish out whatever project you have planned. Other times, your company needs to learn a new set of skills. The Leadous team is well equipped to train your staff with the knowledge they need. Even a very Marketo-savvy company sometimes just needs some reinforcement of man hours for a large project. Whatever we uncover in our platform audit, the Leadous Team can help your company get the most out of your Marketo engine.
Click here to reach out to a Leadous expert today.
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Consumer Privacy and Marketo
Change has already come to the online marketing space. International law such as the GDPR and Canada’s CASL already affects the way online marketers are forced to operate. While the United States has yet to enact any similar legislation, the passage of California’s CCPA shows that individual states may be willing to experiment with their own versions of legislation addressing consumer privacy.
Meanwhile, outside of government regulation, companies such as Apple and Google are implementing their own changes that are making marketers rethink their strategies. These new options for the public have begun to impact metrics and the way they should be evaluated. For instance, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection means companies relying heavily on email opens will need to pivot to new strategies. When Google Chrome phases out third-party cookies, even more changes will be coming to the world of online marketing.
Reacting to the New Normal
All of these changes restrict what online marketers can see and do with consumer data. There is really no getting around that these particular changes will be difficult for anyone comfortable with the status quo. From a work-process standpoint, online marketers will need to literally perform more work to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Even trickier, from a brand perspective, the new normal is going to require building even more trust in the relationship with target audiences.
Building and maintaining trust in the relationship between brand and consumer is a difficult problem to solve, and it will never be solved permanently. Your communications and calls to action need to encourage the kinds of behaviors that can still be tracked and measured. Future calls to action should incorporate ways to have your audience volunteer information to you.
While not a direct substitution for the loss of tracking cookies, information willingly given feels less invasive when leveraged. However, keep in mind that frequent calls to action need to be balanced against annoying the audience. Balancing the need to get audiences to interact against overwhelming them with noise will be a stunt worthy of a circus acrobat.
Create Trust with a Preference Center
One of the key elements in a trustworthy relationship is not feeling bombarded with unimportant communications. Using a preference center helps ensure that people in your database only receive emails they want to receive. This is a simple way to have audiences volunteer their interests, valuable information under any circumstance. A successful preference center will be carefully considered so the variety of options presented represents a useful array of distinctions to help categorize audiences while not overwhelming people with perceived minutiae. Yes, thought should be put into building trust at all levels of this undertaking.
As an additional bonus, a preference center can potentially save a record from unsubscribing in a couple of ways. First, if someone has stated they want to receive emails about a topic, they are much less likely to be annoyed at seeing an email they do not care about and unsubscribe on a whim. Second, if someone does want to unsubscribe and is instead presented with a well-designed preference center (which should include the option to totally unsubscribe), they may instead opt to update their communication preferences potentially turning what was going to be a person lost forever into volunteered information.
Once your audience has volunteered their interests to you, make sure to respect them. After a preference center is up and running, consider which subset of your overall audience would care about the new content. Imagine the sense of betrayal a consumer would feel if they took the time to fill out their preferences stating they only want to hear about certain content, and you do not filter out anything after they do so. No one likes wasted effort.
Making the most of Marketo
By building out best practice programs, Marketo can ensure you comply with all the pertinent laws and regulations. Fortunately, doing this work is a one-time investment. Build the campaign, test it, set it, and forget it. Until regulations change, assuming the programs built satisfy all the necessary requirements, Marketo will continue to meet those requirements in perpetuity.
That’s not the end of Marketo’s usefulness for building trust. Use Marketo reporting to determine when your audience’s still measurable behavior is shifting. This means decisions should be based more on trends than any one particular action. Guide your decisions by following the data.
Finally, one of the most concrete and impactful actions to start building trust in this new era is the implementation of a clear, concise preference center. You can of course build out a fully customized preference center using Marketo.
As a smart man once said, “The only constant in life is change.” This change is already underway and is still evolving. There will surely be a period of transition as consumers gain more privacy protections. Fortunately, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The average MQL should increase in value because their interest in the product will be more demonstrable. Additionally, since consumers will be voluntarily receiving solicitations and submitting personal information, the confidence level in leads should increase.
Leadous can help make sure Marketo Engage is doing all the work it can for your company.
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The 2021 Adobe Summit was a record-setting event, virtually connecting with 50,000-plus companies and driving more than 20 million video views to date — and the excitement and innovation were just beginning.
Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President, CEO at Adobe, kicked off the keynote reflecting on the past year, “We’ve gone from a world with digital to a digital-first world, and there’s no going back,” said Shantanu. The rest of his speech focused on what it takes to excel as we all shift into a post-pandemic landscape. And how best to follow up that message, with none other than tennis champion Serena Williams, sharing her perspective on the impact of digital.
You don’t have to imagine what 2022 will bring! ‘Reimagining Experiences’ Summit 2022 is taking place March 15th – 17th. Register HERE.
If you missed last year, here are a few highlights:
Moving Forward | Bringing the in-person experience online
Anil Chakravarthy, EVP, GM Digital Experience Business at Adobe, noted that while we move forward and everything is still being shaped, we know it won’t go back to how it was even a year or two years ago. Every business has to rise up and rapidly pivot as customers expect deeper engagement, more personalization, and a deeper experience, virtually.
“Customer personalization done right drives business growth.”
-Anil Chakravarthy, EVP, GM Digital Experience Business at Adobe
‘Sneaks’ previews the future of customer experience
An annual favorite, Adobe Summit was also a chance to present the latest from the Adobe labs. This year, Emmy winner Dan Levy hosted Sneaks, walking through seven finalists:
Catchy Content, which uses Adobe Sensei’s AI technology to “read” content and gauge everything — from colors and objects to compositions and writing style — so it can deliver more personalized experiences.
Daily Content, an AI assistant in Workfront that helps reprioritize and re-organize tasks intuitively as needs shift throughout the day.
Account Ace, a tool that taps into AI technology to manage customer journeys by analyzing cross-platform “signals” and building personas.
Live Wired, which brings together APIs to turn Adobe XD into a drag-and-drop interface that syncs with Adobe apps via a developer-friendly, low-code platform.
Savvy Search, is an actionable search bar that sits across Analytics, Target, and Journey Optimizer and helps customers find what they need to complete specific actions.
Adobe hints that what is coming next is…EVERYTHING Learn more about the cutting-edge innovation by tuning into on-demand sessions, including all Innovation Super Sessions, Sneaks, and keynotes. Then, go to the Community to revisit networking opportunities, explore customer success stories, and discover some great work-from-home tips in Take 5. You can also learn more about your Experience Maker type and get tailored on-demand session recommendations in our interactive Adobe Experience Maker Type quiz.
WATCH ADOBE SUMMIT ON-DEMAND
Join a community of Experience Makers from around the world to learn, be inspired, and make connections that will empower you to create better, more personalized customer experiences.
Leadous is a revenue performance agency focused on maximizing high growth and enterprise brands that invest in Adobe’s Journey Orchestration products, specifically Marketo Engage and Bizible, to drive predictive revenue. Leadous’ certified consultants support digital marketing transformation initiatives, giving Marketers the confidence to increase the capacity, efficiencies, and effectiveness of their marketing operations to drive measurable growth. The Marketing Automation Progression ModelTM is the foundation for how Leadous guides brands through their evolution based on the people, process, and technology it takes to be best in class. 8-year proud platinum Adobe partner.
Batman & Robin, Han Solo & Chewbacca, Will Smith & Carlton Banks, Marketing Automation (MA) & Account Based Marketing (ABM) — they’re all iconic duos but only one can leverage the power of your data to grow revenue across your key accounts.
Combine the technology of a MA platform like Marketo Engage and the focused data used in ABM and a more powerful strategy is produced: Targeted Account Management (TAM). Marketo Engage users can use TAM to identify the best matches in your lead database for your sales teams and monitor engagement just for that group. Ultimately leveraging different channels to creatively target specific leads using ABM can accelerate customer acquisition while supporting retention, and expansion revenue opportunities for your marketing, customer success, and sales teams.
Teamwork is key to success with this strategy. Like the classic duos above both marketing and sales must be stakeholders – aligned and working together.
Identifying the Target
Pull lists of accounts that can be targeted together by industry, location, company size or what makes sense to your company. Determine account personas that can be reached across multiple channels. Get sales and marketing teams to align on definitions and share what is currently working to move leads through the funnel.
Have touch points across many channels. Marketo Engage allows your team to create multi-channel content and create campaigns that allow you to analyze and learn how to optimize your approach.
Highlighting Lead Scoring
Marketo Engage allows for scoring to measure behaviors that indicate engagement. Make sure both marketing and sales have agreed on what qualifies the best leads and analyze lead behavior to reveal how leads turn to opportunities. Review lead scoring campaigns regularly to determine the level of engagement of your accounts.
Leadous’ Marketo Certified Experts can walk through this live to get a feel for where you think your team is at as 2021 draws to a close. Depending on how in-depth your team would like to get with training and how much strategy is already in place we can assist with optimizing your company’s ABM and TAM- Contact Our Experts today.
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A quick search for ‘Lead Scoring’ tells you all about the methodology of assigning leads points for their demographic and behavior data to better qualify people for sales teams. Adobe has ‘The Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring’ and countless other docs to tell you what and how. They all agree and so do we, that without automation and CRM integration lead scoring is a nightmare! This spooky season I want to share more eerie, spine tingling stories of ghostly lead scores that decay, scoring models brought back from the dead and leads that never die, they live on as lifelong customers.
Ghosts and Decay
A simple first step for implementing lead scoring is to initially grant points for specific demographic and firmographic data. Marketing teams are often stuck at this level of scoring and scoring models are abandoned because a solid scoring model needs more data. To build a robust lead scoring system a company needs to account for behavioral data as well. Marketing Automation platforms allow for tracking how the lead interacts with company communication. It also allows for tracking when a lead stops interacting with the company and how long it has been since the lead showed interest. In other words – how long have they been ghosting you? If a lead hasn’t interacted with the company, hasn’t opened emails or visited your site it’s time to implement score decay and begin to subtract points from their lead score. This insight helps sales teams filter which leads are responsive and which are unresponsive.
Leadous Brings Scoring Models Back From the Dead
Many companies have some version of scoring in place but lead scoring is a dynamic process; it requires constant attention or it dies. Refreshing your existing lead scoring process produces the most current and effective lead scoring model. It allows marketing and sales to collaborate on the Ideal Customer Profile and strengthens alignment between the teams as they work toward a common goal. Leadous will help you maximize your efficiencies, develop a strong lead generation strategy and build out your lead scoring capabilities to bring your current system back from the brink of death or help you iterate your model so it works for today.
Leads that Never Die (They Just Live On as Customers)
Lead Scoring models are built to qualify leads so that sales can start conversations with the most qualified leads and eventually turn those sales accepted leads into opportunities, but often these leads are lost to marketing once sales is involved. By utilizing marketing automation and CRM integration in lead scoring, marketing teams can track the quantity and value of their work from the first moment a customer raises their hand throughout the entire sales process. By tracking the amount of MQLs that turn into SQLs, marketing can prove their effectiveness and provide efficiencies for their sales team or uncover opportunities to redefine the Ideal Customer Profile or the entire scoring model. The best leads don’t die, they live on as your best customers.
The Role of Marketing Automation for Customer Service Teams
As you know Marketing Automation plays a crucial role in the sales and marketing world, and automation in the customer service space can be a way to drive new value from your investment in a marketing automation platform like Marketo Engage. Since this business function is key to driving overall growth and developing deeper relationships with customers and other partnerships within your organization we have highlighted some areas where you can optimize your marketing automation platform to increase customer service response and deepen engagement.
Consistency – As we all know it can be a challenge to constantly engage in a meaningful way with customers. Marketing Automation facilitates an overall cohesion across all communication which increases brand trust and builds customer loyalty.
Personalization – Based on how people are engaging and where their interests are, Marketing Automation can personalize content, trigger product suggestions, suggest solutions and customize an experience based on each individual’s preferences or areas of interest.
Measurement – Built in reports and key measurements that tie back to the success indicators help build a story and create deeper customer engagement opportunities.
Responsiveness – Marketing Automation makes it easy to be more responsive so customers are not left unaddressed with their questions or changes in interests. Triggers can be set up accordingly to respond throughout a customer’s lifecycle.
Growth – As organizations grow, attention to each customer is key. Marketing Automation can scale with your growth and become increasingly adaptive to the changes your customers experience with their unique needs.
Have any questions about how to leverage Marketing Automation to drive Customer Service and take your success to the next level? Contact us.
The way to take your business to the next level is making successful automation principles work across your enterprise. In other words, Marketing Automation isn’t just for your marketing team anymore! From Finance and HR to Recruiting and Customer Service, automation drives efficiency and reduces costs – no matter how big or small a project.
By applying trusted automation functionality teams reap immediate benefits.
Even with the fastest technology at your fingertips, manual tasks such as sending follow-up emails, responding to texts, updating social media, creating event updates and collecting data can slow productivity for anyone, in any part of your business. Automation is designed to streamline and optimize your outreach while tying activities to goals. Leveraging a powerful Marketing Automation technology like Marketo Engage in business units across your organization is a way to make the most out of your company’s investment in a marketing automation platform and uncover opportunities for growth and cost savings.
Leadous can share step by step best practices in leveraging Marketo Engage’s Marketing Automation across key functional areas to improve alignment, efficiencies, and effectiveness. Contact us.
Have any questions about how to leverage Marketing Automation across multiple business functions and take your success to the next level? Contact us.
Driving results from your marketing automation strategy is always going to circle back to one key area: data. That’s right. Data is the key to your success as a marketer.
From preparing data for customer onboarding and implementation, to launching new demand gen programs, or simply keeping data storage costs down, clean data is central to it all. Ensuring you have clean dataready to go for your next big marketing initiative comes down to your data hygiene processes and workflows.
Data hygiene processes usually look for the following data records to either update, merge or delete:
Unstandardized Contact Information
By implementing best practices and workflow data management rules centered on data hygiene, you can root out where the above data may be causing issues, and ensure you are setup for success. Ultimately, you’ll also be able to deliver improved lead tracking, personalization, and engagement from a clean database. So you’re on board with revamping your data hygiene processes, but where do you begin? Here are 5 best practices to keep in mind as you embark on your data cleaning journey (and remember, you can always call on a partner like Leadous to help).
Think beyond the admin
How are you or your team using your database now, and how do you plan to use it in the future?
If you don’t know what your internal stakeholders (including marketing, sales, customer success, c-suite leadership and of course, database admins) are looking for in the data, it makes it harder to keep a well-ordered database that works for everyone. It also probably means you’re saving a lot of superfluous data that’s costing you money to store.
Take a look at the data your teams need, and make sure it matches up with the data and fields you’re currently collecting.
Consider each of your internal stakeholder’s needs for the CRM (what are they trying to accomplish with the data or analyze within the data) and list out the information you’ll need in order to achieve those goals.
Setting up the data with your end goals in mind ensures you’re using the right fields, collecting the right data, and getting the most out of your system.
Data standardization is your friend
Once you’ve got a firm understanding of who is using the data and why, start applying some common standardization across it all.
Use the same field labels and define terms for team members that may not know them. Stay consistent, and encourage anyone using the database to do the same – in fact document your standards and share them. And then share them again in a quarter and the quarter after that!
Simple workflows to add include verifying email addresses, standardizing mailing addresses, abbreviations, and numbers.
Make sure it’s all in one place
If you already have your CRM and marketing automation platform working and talking together, kudos! (If not, let’s talk,we can help.) But are there duplicate contact records across systems? Do you have automated workflows to flag and merge those records?
Map out the journey of your data and start documenting and standardizing the workflows that need to happen to keep that data clean across systems. Make sure your organization is in agreement with where the single source of truth is for all your data, and stick to it.
Roll up your sleeves
Your business goals and the extent of your existing data hygiene processes will dictate how extensive your database cleanup needs to go. Do you need a database overhaul? Or just to update a few contact record fields? It helps to go back to the goals of your database and start there.
Are you trying to find loyal clients to run upsell campaigns? Re-engage stale leads? Start organizing data according to the goal you’re looking for, all the while building programs to clean out duplicates and inactive contacts (or putting them into a re-engagement campaign).
This process can be tedious at times, but there are many experts out there who can take on that burden to quickly and efficiently clean up your data. Check out our data hygiene services and contact us if you’d like more information.
Mark your calendar
The purpose of a good data hygiene strategy is getting processes and automated workflows in place that mean you won’t have to do it all the time. Once you have these processes in place, try to still schedule regular data check-ins to make sure all is running smoothly and nothing needs to be adjusted. Even a weekly 10 minute check on your various data hygiene cleanup workflows is usually sufficient to stay on top of any new data issues.
Looking for more information? Leadous experts are ready to help, with best practice driven strategies to get your data clean. Contact us now.
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Check out the updates coming to Marketo Engage this month as well as details regarding a bounce error from Gmail.
Marketo Engage January ‘21 Release
Marketo Engage will release the following updates starting on January 15, 2021
Additional features supporting workspaces and partitions, which includes the ability to share folders between workspaces.
The enablement of multi-channel personalization with continuous syncs to the Adobe Experience Cloud, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as the ability to use tokens for program member custom fields.
A new API which allows Marketo Engage to pull data from non-Marketo Engage forms and mimic the same functionalities.
A new Landing Page Preview API which can render fully personalized previews of landing pages without logging in to Marketo Engage and enable end-to-end editing with integrated third party applications.
Marketo Engage was made aware of an error at Gmail that caused sends to valid emails to hard bounce in error. The error impacted sends between 12/14/2020 at 6:00 AM PST and 12/15/2020 at 3:51 PST.
For more details on this issue and how to correct it in Marketo Engage please check out Marketo Nation. Of course we’re always here if you have questions as well, contact us.
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Leadous has partnered with Adobe to bring best in class automation into the hands of those that are evaluating marketing automation platforms through the introduction of MAaaS – giving everyone the opportunity to leverage automation and experience the value.
We’ve all heard the term “do more with less” – and it’s often one of the first things applied to a marketing team that needs to scale up and support a growing business without a drastic increase in budget.
Marketing automation is often the driving force behind these scaling marketing engagement and growth strategies. It can help scale operations for your sales and marketing organization. As your business grows, often so does the workload (and expectations of ROI) on your marketing and sales teams.
But managing the complexity of a marketing tech stack that can support high-growth is a time consuming, and often expensive process. Enter the rise of Marketing Automation as a Service, for businesses that value efficiency, speed, and value from their technology.
In this white paper, we will examine Marketing Automation as a Service, why marketing automation is so valuable to organizations, the costs, and complexities of marketing automation, and finally how Marketing Automation as a Service (MA-aaS) can solve these challenges.
Your audience list is carefully curated, your email flow steps are ready to fire and you’re just one click away from sending your next impactful email campaign… but wait, is there something preventing your hard work from ever seeing the light of the inbox?
After putting the time and effort into building out your email campaigns, the most important factor is that your email actually makes it to your subscriber’s inbox. Without ensuring that your email makes it to your subscriber’s inbox – your catchy subject line and beautifully designed HTML simply won’t matter.
Below we lay out key steps to optimizing your email deliverability and maximizing your reach by covering three key areas you should know about email deliverability: • What deliverability is and why it matters • Major factors that affect deliverability and how marketing automation platforms can help with some of the heavy liftings
• 7 best practices you can implement to improve your deliverability
What is email deliverability?
You can’t improve email deliverability without first understanding what it means. Often when we think about email deliverability we consider the email delivery rate (ie 98% emails delivered).
Deliverability is the rate at which emails arrive at the inbox, not just those emails that are delivered. The difference here is important. Your emails can have a great delivery rate, and still not be making it to the inbox.
Maybe only 2% of your emails are bouncing, but actually, an additional 10% are making it to the Email Service Provider (ESP) server and then being pushed into a SPAM folder. Sometimes deliverability rates can block out entire ESPs. For example, if Gmail flags you, all your emails that are currently sent to a Gmail inbox could be going to SPAM, which may equate to a significant portion of emails that will never be read by your subscribers.
ESPs and IT teams are always on the lookout for SPAM to keep emails out of subscribers’ inboxes that they deem irrelevant or potentially a security risk. If your email is flagged as SPAM continuously, this potentially significantly lowers your deliverability rating and can further damage your sending reputation.
Why deliverability matters
You’re most likely not coding, designing, and meticulously writing and proofreading emails just for fun, right?
You (or your marketing team) are most likely creating emails with a purpose: upsell a new product, announce an upcoming webinar to get more attendees, overall provide value to your subscribers.
If your emails look like they’re being “delivered” (not bouncing) but they’re never actually making it to the inbox, your subscribers never get the chance to engage, and you just wasted a lot of effort for an email that will auto-delete in a SPAM folder in 30 days. That’s not going to get you closer to that upsell goal, or that webinar attendance goal. No one wants that!
Major factors that affect email deliverability
So it’s clear you want your emails delivered to the inbox so you get the chance to meet your marketing goals.
There are a few hoops your emails need to jump through first in order to get there. You can distill the inbox deliverability of your emails down to three areas: authentication protocol, reputation, and email content.
The first step of deliverability is confirming that you are who you say you are. ESPs use Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys (DKIM), Reverse DNS and Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) to verify your sender identity. These protocols prevent spammers from forging your email address and passing off messages on your behalf.
SPF and DKIM can be configured with most major market automation platforms (including Marketo, the platform we use and support at Leadous). If you’re sending high volumes of email, go through this process (you will likely need the help of your Network Administrator) to configure and prove your sender authenticity.
Your reputation is the next factor in deliverability. This is calculated based on how trustworthy your emails are to subscribers and a number of factors play in here, including whether your IP has been blacklisted or reported as spam, the percentage of bounces in your email list, and engagement levels of your subscribers.
You can use tools like https://www.senderscore.org/ to closely monitor your reputation metrics. Sender score will look at your IP address’s “sender reputation including spam complaints, how many unknown users you email if you’re on any industry blacklists, and more.” By keeping an eye on all these factors, you can more closely hone in on where you may need to improve your deliverability strategy for reputation management.
If you are on an email blacklist, you can then get started on a strategy to improve your reputation. There are multiple free tools out there that can help you determine if you’re on a blacklist and which one. By remediating any issues with sending spam messages and contacting the blacklist with your remediation steps, you can often do the heavy lifting to get off the blacklist.
Marketing automation tools, like Marketo, can help to sort out what your blacklist issues are as they maintain relationships with major blacklists to control their own sending reputations. If you think you’re on a blacklist, contact your marketing automation provider, or partner, first to go through the steps to ensure your database is clean and remediate any of your reputation issues.
The last factor affecting your email deliverability is the actual email content. Whereas authentication protocol and reputation are partly out of your control and up to ESPs and subscribers to determine, optimizing your emails for deliverability is 100% within your control.
Optimizing your email content for deliverability involved avoiding spammy subject lines (a lot of punctuation and capitalization is out; clear, simple language is in). Everything down to the images, content, links, and code making up your email is analyzed for a deliverability rating.
How Marketing Automation Platforms Help With Deliverability
In full disclosure, Leadous is a Marketo Engage platform partner. So from our experience here, we focus on the features Marketo has, but we can confidently say that many marketing automation and email marketing platforms have some type of email deliverability support.
Talk to your marketing automation platform provider about their deliverability features. Many platforms have built-in tools to test your emails for clean code and images or subject lines that could get flagged as spam, and even help you preview your emails across different ESPs to make sure it’s rendering correctly. For Marketo customers, check out this article on the email deliverability features they support.
Best practices to improve your deliverability
Institute a deliverability initiative
Improving your deliverability starts by taking up a clear initiative to monitor, manage, and improve on existing deliverability. Make deliverability a central tenet of your email marketing strategy, not a side project that you look at for a month and never look at again. It’s an ongoing process. Create a standard email deliverability checklist that you can go back to for every campaign. Set recurring checkpoints to go back and monitor success. Here’s a great in-depth design and deliverability worksheet from Marketo to get you started.
Clean your data
Much of your deliverability rating will come back to the quality of your subscriber lists. If a significant portion of your lists is unengaged, this will lower your deliverability rating. Consider archiving subscribers who haven’t engaged in 60 or 120 days, or simply segment them out for a “last chance” nurture and allow them to choose whether they re-opt in or not. Keeping stagnant subscribers in your lists who never open your emails sets you up for possible spam flags and lowers your success rate. Re-engagement campaigns are also an excuse to get a little more creative with your emails, it’s your last chance to capture their attention after all! Here’s a few creative examples:
Sidenote: cleaning your lists also means taking a look at where you are getting your subscribers from. Stop buying lists. We’ll say it again, stop buying lists! Purchased lists (with no verified opt-in) can seriously harm your deliverability with spam traps at worst, and will likely be completely unengaged from your emails anyway, also harming deliverability ratings.
Segment your audiences
Related to cleaning up your audience data, also consider more detailed audience segmentation. How can you ensure that the emails you’re sending are going to subscribers who will be interested and engaged?
As an overarching example, if you have an event that is only available in a certain area – are you segmenting your audience invite list to the targeted geography?
More granularly, when you opt-in new subscribers, are you asking them what subcategories they’re interested in? Segmenting your audiences and campaigns allows you to keep your content relevant, increase your engagement, which improves your deliverability. If they’re already opting in to get communications from your brand, they likely have a sub-area they’re more interested in where you can provide more value. Try to approach the opt-in process with subscriber value in mind (what will they get out of these emails) instead of just the value to your marketing program to help you keep your messaging relevant to your subscriber needs!
Check out our next best practice for some cool examples!
Launch a Preference Center
You may not want to think about the audience members you want to unsubscribe when you’re building out your email programs, but your subscribers really need a clear way to unsubscribe. You need to have unsubscribe links clearly marked in all your emails. You’d much rather have an unengaged reader unsubscribe than just become unengaged or hit the SPAM button–both of which will much more negatively affect deliverability than just an unsubscribe would.
Beyond a clear path to unsubscribing, consider launching a preference center to help your subscribers customize their email experience with you. Let them choose subcategories they’re interested in or email frequency. It just might be what you need to get them re-engaged and subscribed to your emails! Ust doesn’t forget, you need to make it easy to unsubscribe. If you’re going to allow subscribers to opt-in and out of multiple lists, always include an option to “unsubscribe from all” at the same time as well.
Here’s a few examples of preference centers with clear opt-in preferences for segmentation, as well as an easy way to unsubscribe.
Create engaging & personalized content
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. Subscribers opted in at some point to receive emails from you, so please, make sure that you’re sending the emails that they asked for!
Keep your messages clear and provide actual value related to your business. Don’t take advantage of their trust, you’ll only receive unsubscribes, disengagement, or worse, SPAM complaints as a result.
By taking the time to be thoughtful with your email strategy, you can ensure your subscribers will be glad to see your email hit their inbox.
And don’t forget to test your emails before you send them. Use tools like Litmus or others included in your marketing automation platform to evaluate your deliverability rating and make sure your emails will render right across ESPs. Litmus in particular can send a sample of your email across 90+ different ESPs in seconds, so you can quickly check for rendered images. It also checks for bad links, missing alt tags, excessive load times, and more. Don’t lose subscribers from simple fixes you could’ve caught if you had just spent a few minutes testing before sending.
Send consistently and not too often
Don’t overwhelm your subscribers with too many messages, you don’t want to lose their trust or interest by bombarding them with messages! Plus, if your subscriber has 4 emails in their inbox from you to wade through, chances are they will ignore some, affecting the engagement rates of those emails.
Create an email sending schedule (it can be the first thing you implement with your deliverability initiative!) and stick to it.
Monitor… and then monitor again!
As you implement more best practices, your deliverability should improve, but it’s a constant ebb and flow that you need to monitor. Keep an eye on your sender scores and check blacklists through sites like senderscore.org, and prioritize areas where you can continue to make headway on your deliverability.
There are many factors that go into your email deliverability, some more technical like SPF and DKIM, where you’ll need the help of a network administrator to set up. Others are as simple as deleting all those exclamation points from your subject lines. No matter your technical prowess, you need to start somewhere.
Because if you’re going to put the time, budget, and hours into email marketing (which you should, since the ROI of an email is $38 for every $1 spent), then it’s a no-brainer that you want that email to actually get read! Follow these initial best practices and you’ll be well on your way to inbox placement.
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As the beginning of a new year looms closer, marketers are counting down the days until something bigger, and possibly scarier, than a new decade comes along – the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
With General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) only recently in the rear view mirror, January 1st, 2020 will usher in the latest data compliance and privacy regulation: CCPA. And like the new data regulations that came with GDPR in 2018, CCPA gives consumers more control of their data protection, including how it is shared, sold, processed and collected. Who does CCPA effect?
CCPA specifically applies to any of the 40 million residents of California. If you are a for-profit company doing business in California, which is likely many of you since California is also the fifth largest economy in the world, and meet any of the criteria below, you’ll need to comply with the regulations.
annually buy, sell, receive, or share for commercial purposes the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or
derive 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information
According to this Marketo University blog, “the consumer must be aware—at the point of data collection—that information is being collected, informed as to how the data will be used and then given the option to opt-out from sharing or selling that personal data.”
In the case of CCPA compliance, personal data applies to personal identifiers like name, email and address, down to IP address, purchase and browsing history. Basically, anything that could be used to identify or be attributed to an individual, is protected under CCPA. Here are three areas to pay attention to in your Marketo instance to make sure you’re covered!
Do You Have A Privacy & Subscription Management Center?
If not, it’s time to start one. Lean on your legal team to ensure you’re in good standing and make sure you’re accurately depicting how you collect, store, and use your visitors’ data. Subscription management centers need to allow an opt out from selling or sharing data. And an explicit opt in to your communications is a given.
Have You Put Data Processing Best Practices in Place?
Have you recently audited your data for old, incomplete or junk information that should be deleted? Have you documented what you do with your data, and any requests for opt outs and deletion that you receive? Make sure your marketing automation staff is trained on best data practices, or bring in a partner to help you audit, clean up, and train or maintain your database moving forward!
Are You Following Best Cookie Practices?
This one is a little easier for Marketo users. In the last year, Marketo has removed pre-fill form functionality from its forms, using data stored in Munchkin cookies. Now, the only time a form will pre-fill in Marketo is when someone clicks a link in a Marketo email. Make sure you’re applying similar cookie practices across your digital marketing.
The Impact of Non-Compliance with CCPA
The full impact is yet to be seen, but violating the CCPA and not complying within 30 days of notification from the state incurs a civil penalty of up to $7,500 per violation. On top of that, non-compliance of CCPA can mean facing civil damages of up to $750 per violation, per user. According to PrivacyPolicies.com, this means that “sizable data breaches for companies with thousands of customers in California could quickly total up to around $1 million in CCPA fines.”
Data Regulation Beyond California
Not affected by the passing of CCPA? Don’t ignore this one just yet. States including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Washington are already considering (or have passed) similar legislation. It’s also important to remember that California passed the original form of the CAN-SPAM act, before it was later enacted federally. So it’s possible some form of CCPA will turn into federal law in the future.
To net it all out, compliance and data privacy are here to stay, no matter what regulations you comply with currently, you need to get your data processing plans in order!
Leadous is here to guide you through any questions.
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For Leadous’ first Deep Dish Mini Workshop, we wanted to tackle a subject we get a lot of questions about: Account Based Marketing in Marketo.
Marketo Account Based Marketing (ABM) helps marketing and sales work together to engage their target prospects from a high-level account-based mindset. It’s a logical approach – there are different decision makers and influencers that sales need to talk to in order to close a deal – now marketers can align their strategy and execution to target those same contacts in an organized fashion.
Of course, it’s easier to successfully execute Account Based Marketing when you have a marketing automation platform in place that supports this strategy. Thankfully, there’s an Account Based Marketing Add On for Marketo clients.
In our Deep Dish mini workshop, we walked through some of the benefits our clients have seen from turning on Account Based Marketing in Marketo, including:
ROI – ABM sees the highest ROI compared to any other B2B marketing strategy.
Interested in setting up Account Based Marketing in your Marketo instance? Let us know, we’re happy to help!
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Emoji use by brands in campaigns has risen a huge 609% year-over-year (from 2016 to 2017) in digital communications – Email Marketing Daily
Emojis are, for better or worse, a huge trend for consumers. So it’s no surprise that more and more brands are choosing to incorporate emojis into their email subject lines. But do they work?
A couple studies have come out recently saying they do, if used appropriately.
Emojis have some pretty clear benefits for email marketing. By using emojis in place of some text, you’re able to convey more in less characters. The average mobile inbox only shows 30-40 characters in the subject line. By incorporating one or two emojis, you can take full advantage of that space.
Plus with a couple of emojis in a sea of text subject lines you’ve got a better chance of grabbing your reader’s attention without affecting deliverability.
According to the Emoji Use in Email Subject Lines report, which looked at emojis in emails compared to text-only subject lines throughout one year, subject linesusing emojis has a higher read rate than comparable text-only subject lines.
However, there is a risk of emoji email oversaturation as emojis become more and more popular for brands. In a recent Mailjet study using a/x testing (testing up to 10 variations of the same email) they found that overall open rates with emails using emojis went slightly down from 31.5% in 2016 to 28.1% in 2017. The ❤️ emoji being the top emoji for open rates.
So how do you make sure your emoji-laden email is one that gets opened?
Stay consistent with your brand and tone — as a marketer you know your organization and audience better than anyone, if an emoji isn’t in line with your brand, stick to your gut and take it out!
Test, test and test again before sending. Verify whether the emojis you want to use will render correctly across email clients and browsers.
Implement A/B testing for your email campaign with a subject line using emojis and plain text to collect performance data.
Don’t overdo it! Use emojis in moderation so you’re not oversaturating your audience.
Make sure your emojis have a purpose. Whether they’re conveying an emotion, visualizing your brand, or just telling a story, don’t just add them because you feel like it.
Do you ❤️ the idea of emojis in subject lines? Check out the Emojipedia for a full encyclopedia of every emoji that you can copy and paste into your email subject lines. You can also see how certain emojis should render on different devices or browsers.
If you’d like more tips on using emojis for your audience or have some examples of brands doing emojis well, leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!
Bringing marketing automation into any organization requires buy in from a variety of executives. For marketers to make a case for an automation platform at an executive level, it is important to outline a plan that considers the benefits and ROI that apply to the entire organization.
Recently, Leadous hosted an event featuring marketing leaders from across the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to talk about just that – how your marketing team can convince your C-Suite to see the true value of marketing automation for your company.
Below are some of the key takeaways from the panelists:
Angie Franks, CEO/Chairman of the Board, Central Logic
LeAnn Case, EVP of Marketing, CU Companies
Sam Archbold, Director of Digital Marketing: B2B, US Bank
Getting your C-suite to pay attention
The key question to ask (and answer!) when getting your C-suite on board with a new technology purchase is, “What problem will this help our company solve?”
“Technology does not solve problems, it enables your team to solve problems,” said Angie. Make sure you bring that specific problem (and the way the technology will enable your team to solve it) when you are suggesting marketing automation as a solution; don’t just present it as a piece of technology you’d like to have. At the end of the day, “trust from your senior leadership is important,” added LeAnn. “They should trust your judgement in this investment, and know what to expect from your decisions.”
Stay focused on the data
At the end of the day, marketing automation is providing you with a tool to interpret and act on data. “That data can support decisions across the business, even if everyone doesn’t like it,” said Sam. How your team may talk internally about products and services differs from how customers interpret it. Use the tools within marketing automation like A/B testing to know what customers are actually responding to versus what we think they’ll respond to.
Marketing automation broadens the effect of marketing on the business
Beyond just lead generation, marketing automation allows for a multi-tiered marketing approach for all stages of the customer funnel. “From onboarding new customers to upselling additional products and services, marketing automation is a tool that can help support the entire lifecycle of your customers,” said Sam. “Provide cross-sell and upsell opportunities, go through onboarding, specific content tracks, and other activities that go way beyond lead generation as supporting documentation for the value of marketing automation. It can become a communications distribution tool for all stages of the funnel.”
By presenting marketing automation as a versatile tool across the lifecycle of the customer, it also becomes more of a problem solver (see “Getting your C-suite to pay attention” above) to support the broader organizational goals. The more departments you can get on board with your overall marketing strategy, the more agile and invaluable the work you’re doing with marketing automation will become, and you’ll have fewer silos across the organization, along with a more cohesive brand identity. That’s a win for everyone.
A new relationship between sales and marketing
Marketing automation has the potential to truly change the game between sales and marketing. It arms sales with new data “to understand who they’re calling and why,” says Angie. By understanding the value and lifetime per client, you can determine how to best replicate the buying behavior through marketing paths and bring your sales team more qualified leads, more efficiently. What sales team wouldn’t be on board with that?
The number one takeaway
“Go beyond simple lead generation to focus on your overall company’s growth strategy and how marketing automation can support that,” Angie said. Look at where there are specific problems and inefficiencies and how marketing automation specifically solves those problems. By translating marketing automation into a company problem-solver (not just a marketing department problem-solver), the C-Suite will see the true value that marketing automation can deliver.
Once you’ve convinced your C-suite to get on board, your next step is a successful implementation to make sure you’re set up for success.
For top insights and assistance with the marketing implementation and optimization process, click here.
What do you get when you pick the brains of five digital marketing experts, representing partnerships with some of the most popular martech platforms on the market? You get everything marketing automation: the good, the bad, the ugly, and a whole lot of wisdom gleaned from the trenches.
Welcome to Authentic Brand’s first “virtual panel”: a Q&A exchange with five leaders in the Twin Cities digital community.
These business leaders know their stuff, and together represent several decades of digital experience, supporting businesses of all types, sizes, and industries. Best of all, these panelists are good peeps. I know each of them personally, and have worked with all of them in one capacity or another. It’s my pleasure to bring you their perspectives here, and as any good moderator, I’ll limit myself to simply asking the questions. (If you want to hear my perspectives on this topic, you can check out a couple recent blogs here and here.)
Now, let’s get this party started! Allow me to begin by introducing our panelists (subsequently referred to by first name in the conversation that follows):
Q1: What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding that companies have about marketing automation?
(BRENDON) At the most basic level, a lot of business owners still don’t know what it is. Others think it’s limited to lead nurturing with email workflows. For those that do understand everything marketing automation entails, we still find that they’re naive or unrealistic about the amount of work it takes to get it up and running and monitor performance. Then rarely, if ever, do we come across a company that gets it, understands the full commitment, and uses data to inform their decisions or make improvements.
(RYAN) Time and time again I run into people who are sad and disappointed by their marketing automation results. I ask them what were their goals and what process were they trying to automate? I usually get a blank stare with a response of something like, “Well, marketing!” and, “We needed more leads.” Okay great! But were you trying to scale a process that’s currently working? ….. Silence.
The most common misunderstanding I run into with marketing automation is that it’s some sort of system that fixes bad sales and marketing. The reality is: marketing automation is not a robot that magically churns out leads, and it’s never, ever a replacement for bad process. Sadly, too many companies get dazzled by some really flashy marketing from martech providers and end up disappointed because they should focus on their strategy and process first before jumping to technology. (See more about this topic in my recent LinkedIn post here.)
(ADAM) Too often, business leaders see fantastic demos or videos from the various technology providers and come to believe that the technology itself is the answer to all of a marketers’ problems. Technology is no doubt an important piece of the puzzle, but companies must realize that the technology alone isn’t the answer.
Marketing technology must be supported by a sound strategy with a clear focus on delivering value to an audience throughout the customer journey, and a plan to achieve that vision. Additionally, companies must empower their people to dig into the tools, learn new skills, and try new things. Successful programs aren’t built overnight. Programs may fail, but the team will learn, and campaign performance will improve with every new insight.
(TRACEY) Eloqua, Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, and others; kudos to these marketing automation companies for selling what seemed to so many marketers as a magic silver bullet. The reality is, there is no silver bullet. You don’t just turn on your marketing automation platform, see leads start instantly flooding in and your business growing exponentially. It takes a plan, analysis, and iteration on a constant basis; making tweaks based on the data your platform is collecting.
The technology itself is just the beginning of a marketing automation program. You also need a database of targets and a content portfolio that you can leverage on the platform to start to engage. Then, based on the data, you need to build flows that are personalized based on the action that they took, or didn’t take. You need to review the data and regularly report the movement in metrics – with a focus on one percent improvements at a time. You need to understand what goal you are trying to hit for sales and get real time feedback on the leads so you know how to best deliver quality leads that sales can convert.
Marketing automation is an amazing strategic tool that can change how you market. It won’t however replace a great product, tight process, or grit. Don’t do it too early or it will be a waste, don’t do it too late or you’ll miss out.
Q2: What are the greatest benefits to working with a marketing automation consulting / agency partner? When should businesses consider a partner vs. building a team entirely in house?
(BRENDON) Agencies give businesses direct access to experts across a variety of marketing disciplines right away, rather than having to prioritize which key hires can be made over time, as budget allows. It gives businesses more flexibility and typically allows for a quicker ramp up as the agency partner has done it before and has a process to do so efficiently.
(RYAN) I wrote about this topic recently in a blog post here. There are a couple of big benefits to working with an inbound partner. First, the benefit of experience.Partners gain experience across a diverse set of industries and learn to optimize process. They know what works. Working with someone who has been in the trenches gives you a competitive advantage compared to starting at zero.
Then there is the benefit of comprehensive planning.Most consultants start by putting together a plan. What they will work on every month. That’s not to say the plan won’t change based on data and insights as prospects interact. But often, planning and the process can be a struggle for most organizations. Knowing that there is a set of monthly activities develops a cadence and consistency crucial to the success of marketing automation.
(MIKE) You really should consider working with a MA consulting partner even before bringing on a MA platform. There is a certain amount of strategy and change management that needs to happen within an organization in order to make MA truly successful. Find a consulting firm who understands all facets of the marketing automation is very important. That includes sales and marketing alignment, service level agreement (SLA) creation, lead routing, and organizational governance in addition to implementation, CRM integration and ongoing support. Finding the right partner to walk alongside your organization can often mean the difference between success and wasted time and money.
(TRACEY) Marketing automation is a relatively new concept. I’ve read that only 5% of companies use marketing automation and only 20% of them come close to exhausting the depth of features. Because of that, the answer isn’t vice versa, it’s both.
Consulting partners are the difference-maker in getting businesses implemented, trained, and supported. The best partners will also show you how to leverage the components that are right for your business and keep you up to date on new features that you should be looking into leveraging. They help marketing teams go from novice to experts – supporting more complex automation techniques that could take a beginner months to put in place.
Q3: With more and more agencies and consultancies offering digital services, there’s a huge range of expertise and pricing models on the market. What is the best way for companies to find a partner that is well-matched to their business, and offers the right level of expertise, at the right price point?
(TRACEY) Let’s be honest – marketing automation technology is not an inexpensive undertaking, and neither are the services of the partners that support it. The type of team you have [in-house] and the level of expertise they bring to the table has a huge impact on choosing the right partner, and how much you’ll pay. Technical implementation, content, data analysis, campaign planning, messaging…How much help do you need in these areas, and for how long?
Once you determine where you have gaps and for how long you need support in those areas, you can put together the priority requirements. The [technology] platform provider you choose should be able to direct you to a list of their partners. Based on your priority list, you can select from among partners that have matching expertise. Look for partners with flexible pricing models who can ebb-and-flow based on the needs of your team and budget. They should be talking about up front scope and project work, transitioned through phases to long-term support and troubleshooting. Don’t forget to ask for references to help validate that you’ve made the right choice.
(MIKE) There are all sorts of agencies that exist in the space. They range from traditional agencies who have picked up marketing automation as one the myriad services they offer, all the way to traditional Systems Integrators who focus simply on implementation. While there is no perfect consultancy out there, try to hone in on your top two or three needs: Do you need a lot of help with digital strategy or change management? Do you need creative services? Do you have a complicated integration you need to tackle? Your top needs should drive the type of agency you work with.
Once your top needs are figured out, make sure you pick an agency that demonstrates expertise and gives you peace of mind that they know what they are doing. Areas to evaluate: How long have they been doing this? How many clients do they work with? Do they work with clients that are more sophisticated than you are (so they can help you grow in your sophistication)? How many certifications do the they have? This kind of qualification can help ensure you aren’t having to hire someone else down the road to fix all the issues created by a firm that didn’t know what they were doing.
When it comes to price, obviously the cost is always a factor. I do caution people to not focus on solely on price. You do get what you pay for. I have seen far too many people take the “Spirit Airlines” approach because they were driven by the price per hour. In the end, they were very unhappy with the process, got nickel-and-dimed the whole way, and swore they’d never take that trip again. Find the right agency for your business needs. Sometimes that costs a little bit more. The extra expense is usually worth it.
Q4: Just 10 years ago, there were only a handful of email and marketing automation tools on the market. Today, there are hundreds of tools that have similar or overlapping functionality. Where and how should businesses begin to assess the best tools for their needs? And what business requirements are foremost to that decision?
(ADAM) The first thing that companies should do is outline what is most important to their business. Is it a powerful, scalable platform? Reputation for success? Ease of use for the end users? Flexible, dynamic data model? Specific marketing channels or messaging features? Understanding the must-have requirements will be critical in narrowing down vendors to a small group of finalists.
(MIKE) I actually wrote a blog on this very topic recently! There are a mind boggling amount of MarTech and AdTech tools on the market. Every day our inbox is a barrage of the next “up and coming” technology solution vying for our attention. But at the end of the day, there are some tools that are fundamental and others that are nice to have add-ons. Focus on getting the fundamentals right, and using them correctly, before moving to an additional nice to have. Here are the tools I think are fundamental for a modern digital marketing team:
Social listening tool
Customer engagement/Advocacy platform
Beyond these, most things are nice to have add-ons.
(RYAN) I advocate for crafting a marketing tech framework that’s aligned to personas and customer journeys. Why? Because they are aligned to business goals driving the who, what, why, and how of an organization work in reaching and engaging.
The reason I advocate for documenting some sort of framework is so you don’t end up with redundant systems and functions in your organization. Before you know it, you have three or four email platforms, maybe a couple different CRM-esque systems, each with a form plugin on your CMS and a landing page generator. No one knows where all the data is going, and no one is centralizing any of it to make any sort of meaning for sales or marketing.
As a first step, map out how people get to you, the steps they go through in your sales process, and make sure everyone across the organization is on the same page with that process. Then highlight areas where automation can help, which systems need to interoperate with each other, and lock it in.
Q5: What advice would you give to businesses about the “total investment” of building a content and marketing automation program? What should they be thinking about beyond the cost of the technology itself ?
(BRENDON) The cost of the software is a drop in the bucket compared to the full investment in inbound marketing. Aside from just the various skill sets needed to execute on an inbound strategy, it takes a lot of upfront work to get started:
researching and understanding your buyer persona(s)
mapping out and developing the content they’ll want throughout their buyer’s journey
determining the timing and process for the hand-off to sales
setting up all of the marketing automation components
training/educating sales people on the CRM to close the loop
Businesses have to be committed and patient because there’s no instant gratification and it takes constant iterations to get it right.
Q6: For businesses who are established with inbound programs and tools, how do you see these brands taking marketing automation to the “next level”?
(ADAM) Brands should ask themselves this question: What opportunities exist to enhance the customer experience across our most important audiences? Where are the opportunities to create additional value for your most important customers? Very few companies would give themselves an A+ rating on their marketing automation programs as it relates to their customer journeys across the entire revenue lifecycle. Opportunities for enhanced engagement always exist. And even when opportunities for new messages or campaigns are running thin, content for existing campaigns can always be optimized.
Do you run monthly A/B tests on their most critical campaigns to identify opportunities for improvement?
Can your messages be more targeted or more personalized?
Are there opportunities to automate communications in operational processes related to sales or service channels?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then there’s opportunity for improvement and work to be done!
(MIKE) The idea of creating a Center of Excellence (COE) is a hot topic that we’re hearing a lot about lately. Usually the discussion begins with the realization that there needs to be some sort of governance around what’s allowed and what’s not. We recommend starting with a COE committee that’s comprised of stakeholders from across the organization – marketing, sales, legal, customer support, etc. This team sets the rules for who can get what level of access, how change requests will be handled, how to set up foldering and naming conventions, etc. Basically, how do you ensure everyone is playing within the rules and no one is going rogue.
Once organizations reach a level of sophistication with their COE, they begin to tackle bigger issues. The discussion turns from “setting the rules” to system optimization, evolving business process, inter-departmental strengthening and customer experience improvement.
Establishing a COE early, with the right stakeholders, is something every organization should consider. When you get everyone on the same page and make decision to improve process and improve the way the organization interacts with customers can quickly become a strategic advantage over your competitors who haven’t even thought about walking down the COE path.
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Marketing automation platforms understandably receive a lot of hype among marketers today as the “silver bullet” that can magically grow your revenue and increase the impact of marketing.
While marketing automation platforms can yield awesome results, the reality is, there is no one silver bullet for marketing. There’s no easy button to push on a marketing automation platform that will instantly flood your inbox with leads and grow your business exponentially, unfortunately.
The expectation of instantaneous results from marketing automation is a dangerous one. It’s not good for your marketing team, especially since you’re justifying the dollars you spend and are on the line for the results you bring into the company.
Here are a couple misconceptions about marketing automation to avoid when you’re considering (or in the midst of) implementing your marketing automation system.
1. Once you’re implemented, you’re done.
This takes us back to the easy button. In order to implement a successful marketing automation platform, it takes careful planning, analysis and iteration on what seems like a daily basis based on the data your platform is collecting. The process of optimizing your platform is never really done if you’re doing it well!
2. All you need is Marketo. Or Pardot. Or Hubspot. Or Eloqua. Etc.
Marketo is an enormously robust platform. But if you don’t have have a database of targets or a content portfolio that you can leverage, you are seriously limiting the impact you can make. Marketo shines in its ability to handle large swaths of data and personalized content paths that engage your audience based on their behaviors. So if you don’t yet have much of an audience or content to engage with, you might want to think through some of the supporting marketing activities that will make your marketing automation platform truly sing.
3. Marketing is the only team that needs to be involved in the purchase of marketing automation.
I don’t know what your marketing-sales dynamic is. You could be besties. Or constant frenemies. Either way, you know that both of your successes are tied to one another, which means with a platform as important as marketing automation, you need to have sales involved in the decision, setup and calibration of the platform. It’s important to understand what goals you are trying to hit for sales and get real time feedback on incoming leads so you know how to best deliver quality leads that they can convert. At the end of the day, you’ll both be better off for it.
Marketing automation is an amazing strategic tool that can change how you market. It won’t however replace a great product, tight process or grit. If you want help getting started or optimizing your Marketo platform, contact Leadous!
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On our blog we’ve covered all things lead scoring with Marketo from what lead scoring is, to where to begin scoring leads at your company, to common mistakes made when scoring. Now it’s time to get into some of the more advanced techniques you can employ when lead scoring with Marketo. Moving beyond just behavioral and demographic lead scoring for a minute, there are three additional strategies you can use to better predict which leads are most likely to buy, giving you more insight than ever into your prospective buyers.
1) Product Scoring
Product scoring can be a complex strategy to implement depending on the size and scope of the product offerings at your organization. The concept, however, is simple. Product scoring measures a lead’s interest and fit for a distinct product or service (assuming your company offers more than one).
By scoring based on product interest, you can also prioritize your most popular (and profitable) products to steer your prospects into a lead nurturing campaign with a cohesive message that shows your company and products in the best light possible.
2) Account Scoring
Most of the time a purchasing decision is not made by one person, but a team of people. Depending on the cost and industry, there could be a whole buying committee reviewing your product. That’s where account scoring can come in handy.
If multiple contacts from one account are engaging with your marketing, you (and your sales team) want to know about that quickly and easily without having to wade through the data to figure it out. Using account scoring, you can group together contacts from one account to track their activities and determine sales-readiness. More on account scoring from Marketo can be found here.
3) Score Reduction
In marketing, you could argue that one of the most important things to focus on is a clean database. And your scoring model is no exception to that rule. With lead scoring, it’s easy to focus on the positive/action-driven scoring models. But you also need to think about leads who may be giving you all the signs that they’re engaging with you, but aren’t actually sales prospects. These could be job seekers for your company downloading brochures and visiting your careers page. Or they could be prospects who became clients. Or prospects who won’t be ready to purchase for a long time.
Either way, you’ll want to set boundaries on your lead scores to ensure a clean marketing pipeline. Putting a scoring reduction model in place that caps or removes scoring points after a lead is inactive for a certain number of days, visits the careers page of your site, becomes a client, and so on is an essential strategy to keep your pipeline accurate.
These three advanced strategies will help give your marketing and sales teams a crystal clear view of your lead pipeline and the prospects who are ready to buy.
Want some help employing some of the more advanced lead scoring strategies using Marketo at your company? Give us a shout!
Because lead scoring requires the collaboration of sales and marketing to rank leads by sales-readiness and product fit, the most important place to start is setting a meeting for your sales and marketing teams to come together to create your company’s ideal buyer persona.
To prepare for that collaboration, make sure you review and bring to the table all the data you have that show the process leading up to when prospects are ready to buy your company’s products or services: pull data from your CRM and website to get a full picture of how deals are moving through the pipeline, what campaigns are influencing deals to close, and what common features closed deals share.
Marketo has provided a useful checklist of more than 50 explicit scores and 200+ implicit scores to help you start to map out the important data points to consider for your lead scoring program. In particular you’ll want to review with your teams the following behaviors and attributes to determine what scores are critical to indicating a sales ready lead:
Explicit Scores (positive)
Individual-specific demographic scoring rules (job title, years of experience)
Relationship scoring rules (account type, lead source, current products)
Implicit Scores (positive)
Livestreamed event attendance
Web page activity
Implicit Scores (negative)
No website activity in multiple months
Negative social media interaction
Once everyone is on the same page, assign actual scores to these behaviors and attributes in order of importance. See Marketo’s examples in their Definite Guide to Lead Scoring for more information.
After you’ve laid out your explicit and implicit scoring model, add them together for a total lead score. Make sure that demographics are less than half of the total score (although leads may fit your target demographics perfectly, if they aren’t yet engaging with you, they’re not sales ready!).
The final step of building your initial lead scoring program is deciding (in conjunction with sales) the threshold for handing off a lead from marketing to sales. Is it leads over a score of 45? 75? You want to make sure you’re making the process efficient for sales (don’t pass over too many leads that may not be sales-ready), while still providing them with a healthy pipeline (don’t have a number that’s too high to hit consistently). It will likely take some time to test and determine the right number for your business and scoring model. To finalize your number, try testing a random sample of contacts in your CRM. Compare closed and lost deals to their scores and see if the corresponding numbers match up to your threshold.
As with any marketing program, once you push it live, you always want to revisit and readjust. Setup a quarterly meeting to look at your sales wins and losses and make sure you review lead scores to ensure your numbers are aligning with the deals.
At Leadous, we’ve helped many of our clients configure a new or existing Marketo instance with Salesforce, to make sure that both softwares were working well together to achieve their business objectives.
There are 4 primary syncs we often setup with our Marketo-Salesforce Integration clients:
Tracking Marketo campaign activities in Salesforce.
Supplying the sales team with qualified Marketo leads in Salesforce.
Following the path a lead takes to an opportunity.
Creating customized email campaigns based on Salesforce data.
Bonus! Nearly anything you can dream up that helps to better automate and streamline your marketing and sales processes between Marketo and Salesforce.
Recently, Leadous worked with several technology companies to tailor the exact specifications for the Marketo leads they were funneling to the sales team through Salesforce. We helped them build a customized Marketo-Salesforce sync that allows for pacing, criterion to ensure that only the appropriate leads were being contacted, and data enhancement.
Interested in what the power of Marketo AND Salesforce can do for your sales bottom line? Contact us to get more details on our Marketo-Salesforce integration services.
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Sales and marketing departments lose approximately 550 hours and as much as $32,000 per sales rep from using bad data EVERY YEAR (DiscoverOrg).
It’s pretty clear a clean database is important to the success of your marketing and sales efforts. No sales or marketing rep wants to waste a campaign on contacts that don’t exist.
So what do you do about it? Do you delete every lead at first sign of decay? Routinely skim your lists for dupes and inactive leads? Per usual, the answer is a bit more complicated than that.
If you’re deleting inactive leads, you could be losing the data and insights into why you’re losing those leads, and the data to later point you toward which marketing and sales activities are successful. You’re also losing the potential to eventually reinvigorate leads later with win back campaigns.
But if you’re keeping incorrect data in your database, you may be wasting time contacting leads that don’t exist or qualify for your products and services in the first place.
Here’s one trick that works for us when cleaning our database, with our finger on the delete key.
Stop for a minute and imagine this situation: if this person contacted you again (at a new job or with a correct email address), what data from this interaction would you want to keep? Would it help your sales team to know any of this historical information?
Imagining future re-interactions with your company gives you a good gut check on whether to delete or not delete. If it’s a duplicate account that offers no future value, and is just messing up your reporting values, by all means delete! But if there’s information that can be salvaged, consider taking the time to fill in data instead. If a contact is inactive because they changed jobs, can you find their new email? Connect their social media account for a more complete picture of their activity? Does your customer service department or accounting department have better data you can pull from?
Here are a few more tips to transform delete-worthy data to lead-worthy data:
Setup duplication alerts. If a lead comes in your platform with a similar company and last name, have your marketing automation system alert you. Then you can go in and decide if you want to remove the lead, combine it with another, or create a new contact.
Use smart campaigns to your advantage to automatically identify records with false email addresses or missing information, then set your data team on appending and fixing this information, or suspending the contact until they fill in more information.
Re-evaluate your lead and contact statuses. Do you have contact statuses identified for no interest, no response, send back to marketing for your leads and contacts? Determine the different situations (like the exercise above) where you may want to keep a lead’s historical information or data for later use, and determine which status (mailing list is a great one) you’d like to place them in until a later date.
Good, successful marketing takes thoughtful processes. And sometimes, in the case of keeping a clean CRM, it takes a lot of time and work. Consider enlisting help to better structure your data collection and review process. And don’t forget, we can lead you.
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If you are new to the CRM + marketing automation game, you and others in your sales and marketing department may find yourselves asking, “We already use a CRM- why do we need to use another tool?” While marketing automation works closely with your existing CRM, it is important to note they are not one in the same. CRMs are a wonderful tool to track new and existing customer touches and interactions, but it is not a one-stop shop for hitting your sales goals. Adding marketing automation into the mix can give your teams the boost needed to land your organization in revenue paradise.
Used by the sales team.
Primarily a DATABASE used to store every bit of information on your customers.
Assists the sales rep in managing personal interactions with customers. CRMs can remind the sales rep when calls are scheduled or even when the customers birthday is approaching.
Used by the marketing team.
Master execution tool. Not only can your marketing automation tool streamline and schedule communications for your leads, but it can also personalize emails based on the current situation or status of the individual lead.
Lead behavior based scoring and outreach. Did your lead click a link in an email or visit a key webpage? Great. Now you can award points and/or send a message with more information.
Tracks ROI for campaigns. Post campaign analytics in your tool can make proving the value of marketing initiatives as easy as a click.
Your CRM has great information and so does your marketing automation platform. The two tools not speaking to one another would be a major disservice to your organization. Be sure to think integration. Does the CRM you have link well with the marketing automation software you have in mind? If this is a mystery to you- no worries – Leadous can help your organization can get the two working together like peanut butter and jelly.
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You know something needs to change in your organization and the way you drive leads. You have a complex process that needs a simpler solution. Your marketing team is maxed out. Your sales team is hungry for leads. You’ve been researching, looking at marketing automation platforms to help take off some of the burden and improve your team’s processes. Any of this sound familiar?
So what’s next? How do you know when it’s truly time to take the leap into marketing automation? Or if that’s even the right step for your specific needs?
Marketo has a great worksheet in their definitive guide to marketing automation (here). Basically it walks you through your marketing needs and based on your score, you can evaluate whether it’s time for marketing automation! If your situation is more complex, you may need some help to walk through the needs and solutions for your business (if that’s the case, contact us, we can help).
Can you relate to these situations? Does your company have…
A complicated revenue process, with multiple touches from Marketing and/or Sales
Many different types of buyers performing a lot of research on your company
A thirst for insight into the value of your marketing efforts
Little to no personal relationships with all buyers
Too many leads to personally reach out to
New leads that aren’t ready to engage
Little marketing impact on sales results
Data-driven marketing practices
A library of personalized content waiting to be used by marketing
So is your company ready for marketing automation? Complete the full Marketo worksheet, and let us know your score. We’d love to help walk you through the process to make it as quick and productive as possible.
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Once a year, marketers across the U.S. converge on Minneapolis for Confab Central to get the latest content marketing news, trends, ideas, networking, and some pretty delicious cake.
At Leadous, content marketing plays a big role in the companies we work for. With any well-executed marketing automation strategy, content is going to be the fuel that drives it. We love to help companies re-evaluate an existing content library or sometimes even build a new one from scratch that speaks directly to their audience.
So we were pretty excited to get the opportunity to hear from some of our fellow marketers and strategists on what’s working well for their businesses and bring some of those insights back for you to apply to your content strategy! Here it is, four things we learned at Confab Central:
1. Customer centricity isn’t just a buzzword Gerry McGovern, founder and CEO of Customer Carewords, proclaimed that we are leaving the “age of the organization” and entering the “age of the customer.” And we couldn’t agree more!
Today, companies that succeed are centering their marketing strategies on how the customer wants to interact and buy from their organizations. So when you’re building an email campaign, updating a web page, or even starting from scratch with a brand new marketing automation strategy, the customer should always be top of mind. One way to practice this is to do a lot of audience research. What problem are your customers trying to solve by going to you? What research can you do to make sure that they’re having a good experience with your company’s website, emails, or content?
2. We should probably update our LinkedIn profiles to mind readers
As marketers, often we have to “read minds”. When other teams ask us for information or help on projects, we have to tease out the right information to get to a finished email or brochure that solves the business problem AND everyone will be happy with. Librarian, Anne Haines, is often in this situation as well. She gave us some helpful things to keep in mind when fielding requests across departments.
First, understand the situation. Get background on what the requestor is looking for and why. Second, find the gaps. What is it that they know and what is it that they don’t know? This helps to ensure you’re “speaking the same language” when coming up with a solution. Third, find out the use. What does the salesperson want to do with a new brochure? What deal will it support? The more you know about the applied end goal, the more you can help direct what you need to get there!
3. Content strategy is an iterative process, not just a deliverable
It’s easy to think of content strategy as a one and done. It’s a deliverable to show our bosses, the sales team and then execute. But more often than not, content strategy is an iterative process that documents what you have, how it’s doing and what you need. Content is the fuel that drives the marketing automation engine, and you need to constantly be refueling and performing maintenance checks to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Getting this sequence right can be tricky, and there are a lot of players involved from sales to marketing to senior leadership. If you’d like more information on executing a better content marketing and automation strategy, you may want to get started with an M2S Audit! Find out more here.
4. Content as an asset What’s the cost if you had no brochure, no website, or no lead generating e-books or lists or infographics? Content has real value, including monetary, when it comes to increasing sales through a marketing automation program or reducing calls to customer support for example.
As marketers, it’s our job to help reframe content as an asset, to bring out its true strategic power. When your company starts to rethink of content as an asset, you start to see a deep audience alignment between how well-crafted content can connect with your audience and fulfill your business goals.
Those were four, of many, many takeaways we gleaned from Confab Central this year. If you’d like to talk more about making the most of these content and marketing trends, we’re more than happy to chat with you.
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A marketing automation platform (MAP) can be the fast track to converting names to qualified leads for many companies. But it takes more than turning the system on to get the results you want as quickly as you need. You need to be able to optimize the platform to fit your company’s goals.
Here are 7 tips to help you on your path to better marketing automation.
1. Get a handle on your data. Bring together data from multiple systems, devices, and platforms so you can get a single view of where you’re at and where you’re going.
2. Pair with CRM. Make sure your MAP and CRM system are talking to each other constantly and consistently. You want to be able to view all of your marketing activity from within your CRM so you can automatically assign leads coming from your marketing efforts right to sales reps, and more.
3. Know your audience. Do you know who your audience is? What information they like to consume and when? What devices they use to consume information and how they interact with content? Start researching and tracking your audience to better inform your campaigns.
4. Develop personas. As you’re tracking and researching your audience, put that information into a set process like personas so you can keep track of the top 3-5 audience segments you’re targeting and their preferences, helping you organize and target your efforts.
5. Try progressive profiling. There’s always a balance between asking for the right amount of information so that prospects will still fill out forms, but you still have quality data in your CRM. If getting enough quality data on your prospect audience is a struggle, try progressive profiling. With progressive profiling you can gradually ask for new information from prospects to improve the quality of your database.
6. Personalize to your audience. Try personalizing more of your content directly to the personas you’ve developed or even to individuals based on certain actions they’ve taken on your site, whether it’s downloading a white paper or using an online tool.
7. Try lead scoring. Determine where leads are in the buying cycle and how closely they align with your definition of an “ideal” buyer by assigning “points” for how often a lead visits a web page, downloads a document and completes a lead gen form. Website visitors will start to accrue more points as they interact with your company, helping you determine who is most likely to to convert into a qualified lead.
Looking for additional tips to get more out of your existing marketing automation platform? We’re here to help! If you have a specific question on how you can get more out of your marketing automation strategy, contact us.
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Something we often hear from clients struggling with a newly minted automation tool is this: “I made the switch and it seems like I just have a more expensive email marketing tool.”
We get it. The excitement of implementing a new software tool is gone, the training is over, and now it’s just you and the platform, and a very lonely looking cursor on your screen.
When resources are tight you may be the only person handling the strategy to the implementation to the tactical execution of your marketing campaigns. It can get overwhelming and it’s easy to slip back into what you may already know how to do – send out batch and blast email campaigns.
When you get to that point, here are a couple tips to get you back on the road toward that ideal, automated campaigns strategy we know you can pull off!
Take a step back. Go back to your goals, both short term and long term. Are you trying to move leads more quickly through the pipeline? Get more qualified leads to your sales team? Get a clear idea of what your goals for the platform are, so you know where to prioritize your time and start building campaigns.
Map out a plan. Connect your audience, content, and communications back to those short and long term goals. Start with one campaign, maybe a new site visitor nurture campaign. Map out what a successful journey looks like, from when that person enters their email on your site to when you pass them onto sales and after. Think about what content and messaging you can send. Consider how automation can help fuel that journey. Once you’ve got a plan, it’s easier to start building out campaigns one leg at a time.
Talk to your team. Even if you’re the only person doing marketing for your organization, don’t forget to talk to your sales team, customer support team, basically any of the key players interfacing with prospects and customers. Get on the same page about your goals, and what success looks like. If your definition for a lead is different than your sales team’s, your marketing automation platform is already setup to fail, because you won’t be delivering to their expectations.
Commit to ongoing education. Take a Marketo University class, or talk to a services provider for insider tips on using the platform. The more committed you are to mastering the platform, the easier it will be to reap the full benefits from it.
Ask for help. One of the benefits of implementing a Marketo platform is the unparalleled enablement and support. Talk to your enablement consultant, contact customer support, or listen in to conversations in the Marketo community. Go back to your goals, it will be easier for a consultant to help you get across the finish line if you can say exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and the content and communications you’ve got on deck to back that up!
Talk to the experts. While you’re launching your first few campaigns, consider enlisting the help of a consulting firm to get up and running. Most expert consultants have run multiple campaigns addressing goals similar to yours and can help you navigate the challenges of fully optimizing your MAP.
These are just a few of the ways to avoid falling back into an email list service when you have a new marketing automation platform at your fingertips. For more tips or a full assessment of your marketing automation strategy, contact Leadous!
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Companies using marketing automation generate two times the number of leads than those who don’t (Autopilotus). It’s clear that a digital strategy centered on marketing automation can be extremely powerful for revenue-driven companies.
If you don’t already have a marketing automation platform, where do you begin? Here we’ve compiled the steps to take your department through before you decide which platform to buy.
1. Set Your Goals
What are you trying to achieve with marketing automation? Are you trying to increase leads? Re-engage cold leads? Move leads through the funnel more quickly? Think through your goals as SMART— goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time bound.You can’t establish a successful marketing automation strategy if you don’t know why you’re marketing in the first place or if your goals are too vague to ever achieve.
2. Perform a Content Audit
The emails you send should be prompting an action from your audience, like downloading a relevant piece of content that will move them along the sales funnel. What white papers, guides or infographics do you have that match your audience’s sales stage? Does the content fall into specific themes or talk about certain products? Do you have a variety of content types tailored to your audience? Audit your content and categorize to the sales stages and themes that best fit your audience’s needs. Then check for gaps so you can get started on additional content creation.
3. Launch a Cross-Functional Internal Committee
Marketing automation platforms are powerful tools, but they still need people to manage them. You need to get the buy in of sales and marketing to turn your MAP into a well-oiled machine. Align your strategy between the two departments, starting by defining your terms (like lead, prospect, marketing qualified lead, sales accepted pursuit, etc). Then go through the journey from prospect to client and agree on how your company will be communicating with prospects through that journey. When does marketing hand off the lead to sales? Are you setting up nurture campaigns or calling campaigns along the way?
You know your goals and objectives, the content you have and need to get you started, and internal agreement around the road you’ll take to achieve your objectives. Now it’s time to start thinking about the features you need to fuel that process. Will you need to score leads? Use progressive profiling? Trigger communications when your audience takes a specific action? Match the features back to the strategy your internal stakeholders agreed to and start looking for a MAP that has the tools to power all your digital needs.
5. Ask for Help if you Need it
Implementing a marketing automation platform for your company is making a commitment to improved, intelligent communications. So you need to give it the time and thought necessary to make it successful. Make sure you’re able to pull in other team members, or outside consulting resources, to help plan the rollout, content writing and design, email writing and scheduling, analytics and campaign setup, and so on to get you on the road to success.
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