B2B Lead Generation/Management

Silverpop Engage Certified

Mon, 30 January 2012

Here we are with just a quick little note to brag about being Silverpop Engage Certified. The sneaky thing about being a marketer in the digital age is just how much technical knowledge you need to have. I’m not talking about being able to write Java code, or write a SQL query (although some marketers likely have to do this too). I’m talking about getting certified in all of the technical tools we mix together on a daily basis to do our jobs. From Excel to Salesforce.com, from Adobe Photoshop to WordPress, from CSS to CMS, we are constantly required to use one of the more diverse kits of technical tools needed by any industry.

I know that engineers and architects get certified in everything from building codes to AutoCAD, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t know if they are asked on a nearly daily basis to be fluent in a new tool. From one marketing tactic to the next, there is always a new piece of management software, syndication software, creative software, Cloud Whozit, and SaaS Whatzit. So, when a vendor takes the time to offer a certification, you know they are in the business of user proficiency and user adoption. Silverpop knows that to beat their competitors at Marketo and Eloqua, they need a legion of loyal fans who are rock-star proficient at using their software to make marketing magic. If I weren’t in the weeds with the system every day trying to prove its value to my company, I might not have even bothered. I found the certification process thorough and useful in learning many corners of the software I might not have explored otherwise. With that knowledge, I just might be more ambitious with my marketing than I would have before. Mission accomplished, Silverpop. You have my thanks for the Certification challenge, and I have this handsome certificate not suitable for framing to adorn my blog and resume.

Posted in: B2B Inbound Marketing, B2B Lead Generation/Management, E-mail marketing, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms | No Comments »
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My B2B Takeaways From the Silverpop Client Summit 2011

Thu, 19 May 2011

spop-summitbanner

 

I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Silverpop Client Summit. This was my first summit as we are a relatively new customer for Silverpop. First, let me just say that Silverpop put on a heck of an event.

Memorable Event Details

Here’s some things that made the event planning/production itself memorable

  • Any truly great event has great keynote speakers.  Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame, and Gary Vaynerchuk of passionate social media fame knocked their keynotes out of the park. It was a nice touch that their latest books were made available for free to all attendees.
  • It sounds stupid, but the endless promotion of the hastag #SPOP11 and displaying the tweets from it up on the big screen was really fun. It was fun to tweet and get your words up in front of a crowd in seconds.
  • A great venue. Hotel Intercontinental Buckhead had plenty of space, and outstanding food and accomodations. The staff was super professional.
  • Fun after hours events at World of Coke and listening to Girlz Girlz Girlz rock it.
  • Very well-planned learning tracks for B2B and B2C customers kept separate.
  • Plenty of networking time between presentations made making business connections very easy.

Now, My Marketing Takeaways

  • Silverpop has an outstanding staff of product strategists and support people that really are leading the field of Marketing Automation Software. I have a much higher confidence level that we made the right system selection after having attended the event and meeting the people behind the product. From the CEO, Bill Nussey to Lead Product Strategist Bryan Brown to product ninja John Field, these guys really have great vision to lead toward the future and understand the problems we as marketers all face in trying to get there.
  • Not only do they know their own product, but I feel way better about how well they understand Salesforce.com. Engage 8.3 is a far superior product to Engage B2B in how well it integrates with Salesforce.
  • I am reassured by presentations from analysts at Sirius Decisions (Meg Heuer) that all of this pain and suffering in trying to migrate to a new sales and marketing model aligned process-wise and powered by marketing automation and CRM tools is defintely the right direction.
  • I also learned that there are plenty of other organizations out there that share the challenges of getting to that vision.
  • I finally have face-to-face connections with support staff at Silverpop, from my account rep, to our product transition specialist and even to the internal marketing team. Every single person is willing and enthusiastic about helping customers adopt and take advantage of the Silverpop platform.
  • Birds of a feather. Holy cow there are plenty of marketing people out there with similar responsibilities and the varied skillsets needed to operate Marketing Automation and Lead Management. The emerging title is Marketing Operations. I didn’t know this discipline existed, especially living in such a small and lean marketing department as I currently do.

That’s it for now. I reserve the right to add to this post. It’s what I could come up with as I sit in the airport to return home after my first visit to Atlanta. My mind is mush and my motivation is high. Thanks for a great conference!

Posted in: B2B Inbound Marketing, B2B Lead Generation/Management, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy | No Comments »
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Diving into the Sales Lead Flow

Thu, 03 February 2011

riverIn the beginning of 2011, I have made a transition in my Interactive Marketing responsibilities. It is a shift that I have advocated for as I have tried to help elevate the value of my expertise to my company, and elevate the stature of marketing within our organization. My long term survival theory for marketing in a predominately sales organization (as opposed to engineering, manufacturing, etc) is to “get closer to the money”. This means that we need to focus our marketing activities on things that directly assist the sales team. Not that branding, marketing communications, social media, PR and the like don’t indirectly help the sales team; they do. It’s just that the more time you spend in the direct path of a sale through B2B Lead Generation and management, the more familiar you get with your sales team, the buying funnel for your customers, and better ways of adding value to the sales process. Without this as my primary goal and responsibility for my first few years, it was easy to be “disconnected from the money”

So far, my instincts have been correct. I have spent the last 3 months really diving into our CRM system – Salesforce.com. I have actually been trying to get all of the mechanics set up for how leads come in from marketing activities, get classified by sales, and ultimately get pursued for business. Much of this has to do with attempting to get the sales team and the marketing team to only use Salesforce. We are working on using it to setup and track campaign activities. When we build email lists, no more spreadsheets. It’s Salesforce queries. When we pass leads to sales, we try hard to only interact within Salesforce.  So far, this has brought up more questions than answers.

  • Do we have the right fields setup in Salesforce for data capture?
  • Are we right to spend lots of time implementing the Leads module separate from the Contacts module?
  • How exactly does a salesperson classify the many contacts at a client, when only one of them is the purchaser, but many others are the influencers?
  • In an industry like staffing, where needs arise over night, is there any true sales funnel at all?
  • When should a lead be assigned to our sales team for follow up?

After the campaigns go out the door, and the responses come back, I’m  finding that getting in the middle of lead management is a lot of work. I actually care now whether sales is pursuing and documenting a lead that we pass them. I want to see the activities get documented so that I can track where the best leads are coming from. I want to understand the nuances of the sales relationship so that I can help formulate additional nurturing tactics to turn the lead into a sale.

This is just the beginning of my learning. It’s almost like marketing is becoming a part of the sales team. If I have learned anything so far, it’s that sales is hard work – really hard.

photo by: milowinningham

Posted in: B2B Lead Generation/Management | 1 Comment »
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Just Changing the Subject – 2 Different E-mail Marketing Results

Thu, 27 January 2011

Today I paused just a second to check on the effects of some of our email marketing. First, I stopped to applaud ourselves for converting a registrant for a webinar that we are sponsoring. It was someone who didn’t register the first time we sent the email subject to the outside list, but did respond the second time we sent the exact same email.

Converting from an Outside List
I must admit I was skeptical when the only thing we changed in the invitation was the Subject Line. No content change whatsoever. This was to an outside list that we purchased from a vendor called Accuity. To date we have found that response from outside lists that we pay for has been poor. No surprise there, right? It’s not like the people asked for more spam. Of course, the hope always is that you can provide people in a highly targeted audience something of value that they want to interact with.

So, I opened up our Silverpop EngageB2B system to have a look. Sure enough, the first time we sent email to the list with a subject line of Basel II & III: Are You Prepared?, this busy financial executive, didn’t even open it. 1 week later, when we sent the exact same email with a different subject line (Basel Webinar – Earn 2 Free CPEs!) that catered more toward earning professional certification credits, the person opened the email and registered for the webinar.

Silverpop EngageB2B Activity Insight Window showing results of 2 different email subject lines

Silverpop EngageB2B Activity Insight Window showing results of 2 different email subject lines

What we never know, of course is whether the person converted because of a better subject line, or because we sent the email on the right day at the right time.

Causing an Unsubscribe
For some reason, I also noticed today that our Silverpop system not only tracks unsubscribes, but gathers comments from people as they do so. I took a look at the report and figured anyone who bothered to comment, must have been really aggravated. So I saw this comment on the report:

EngageB2B Unsubscribe Reasons Report

EngageB2B Unsubscribe Reasons Report

I looked at the user’s Activity Insight and easily spotted why the user unsubscribed. We sent 4 emails over a one month span regarding the same IT Project Management webinar, varying only the subject line. The last email put him over the top, and caused him to unsubscribe.

EngageB2B Activity Insight showing 4 different emails, the last causing an unsubscribe

EngageB2B Activity Insight showing 4 different emails, the last causing an unsubscribe

I would have to agree with his assessment, that we spammed him especially if he wasn’t a good target for the content. This whole inquiry leaves me wondering more about human behavior and email marketing. On the one hand, repetition is good, because he finally took the time to open the email. However, the end result was not so good, because we’ve lost the privilege to send email to him again. I don’t feel good at all about badgering someone to the point of an unsubscribe. Yet, as an e-mail marketer I know that it’s all part of the game.

Posted in: B2B Lead Generation/Management, E-mail marketing, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Marketing Strategy | 4 Comments »
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This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and my Work as Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group in Mconough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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