Archive for the 'Marketing Cloud' Category

Is Marketing generating the leads your Sales team wants? 3 Steps to Sales-Marketing Alignment


By Christie Turner – Astadia Marketing Director

No tool or benchmark can tell you what a qualified lead looks like for your company. Only sales people can define that. They’re the ones who have to close the leads, so they are your experts in lead qualification.

Well, it’s no secret that the relationship between sales and marketing teams is often…strained. How to move forward?

Here’s a 3 prong approach to move the conversation forward–by strengthening the correlation between marketing activities and revenue generation.

Item 1: Start a regular, ongoing conversation.

Here are 4 icebreaker questions for that first meeting between your company’s sales and marketing leadership.

  • What are the best–and worst–leads we’ve sent you?
  • What are the characteristics of a lead you’re excited to work?
  • What are the must-have characteristics for a lead to be worked at all?
  • What must your pipeline contain for you to make quota?

If your team most recently asked these questions more than 3 months ago, some answers have changed.

This conversation should engage the highest-ranking sales leader and the highest-ranking marketing leader in the organisation. Marketing-sales alignment is too important to delegate.

An outside moderator may be helpful, if the relationship has been rocky.

After the initial meeting, the marketing team should re-evaluate its lead scoring programs, list and lead sourcing strategies, and the marketing plan itself. Where could they be adjusted to better deliver the pipeline needed?

Item 2: Build the lead management process together.

For its activities to be relevant, marketing must align its tactical go-to-market plans to the territory battle plans of the sales team.

Sales should also align its workflow to fully leverage the groundwork laid by the marketing team’s activities.

Here are 4 icebreaker questions for the lead management process discussions between sales and marketing.

  • Who should be working on the leads marketing sends to sales?
  • What information do the sales people need to follow up effectively after we run a campaign? Who will compile and deliver that information?
  • How quickly can sales follow up on new inquiries?
  • What can be automated or simplified to enable faster sales follow-up on new leads/opportunities?

Clearly defining how a lead gets into and out of each stage is essential.

Item 3: Work from the same set of measurement reports.

Review the entire pipeline together, regularly, using your jointly-defined lead management process and terms.

Bottom line: if your leads are going to be turned into revenue, it’s the Sales team who will do it. Find out how you can make them more successful, and they will make you more successful.

For more marketing insights, download our white paper:

10 causes of Marketing Automation failure (and what you can do about it).

SIIA OnDemand Europe Conference – Notes from an SVP


By John McDowell – SVP of Global Sales for Astadia Consulting

I was half tempted to title this blog post “Notes from an SVP on a Small Island”! Yes, I’m in the UK visiting our EMEA team and as luck would have it I’ve chosen the coldest October week on record – what joy! Along with running from warm cab to rainy street and back again I was also invited to attend the SIIA OnDemand Europe Conference at London’s Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, as a speaker for one of the panels. The conference is attended by executives from ISVs, SaaS, Web and Enterprise companies from across Europe, gathered to explore, debate and discuss all aspects of SaaS and Cloud Computing.

The overriding theme of the conference was that SaaS and Cloud Computing are here to stay and will continue to change the way we consume IT services in the future. However, with this change, Systems Integrators (SI) are faced with an ever-changing environment in which to grow, gain business and profit. My panel slot discussed how SIs can achieve this and what customers should be looking for when selecting an SI for a SaaS or Cloud-based project.

The ‘big boys’, the likes of Cap Gemini, Steria, Accenture and Deloitte, still reign king at the top of the tree, but what is becoming increasing apparent is the growth of new, smaller, more specialist SIs with real expertise in the SaaS and Cloud market space. In my role as Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Astadia Consulting, I have learnt there is more to being a profitable SI in today’s hi-tech market than we traditionally thought. Here’s a snippet from some of the panel questions and what my thoughts were:

Q: Why do you think there has been such growth in the smaller SIs for Cloud & Saas?

In todays cloud space it’s about being focused on one area of business; for Astadia we like to see ourselves as our customer’s first port of call for all things cloud. So when a company looks to step into the cloud space, we can help with the initial move and then look at what additional infrastructure can be leveraged once they’ve made the first step. Astadia are Salesforce.com largest implementation partner worldwide. Why has Salesforce taken off at such speed? Because, traditionally CRM is the easiest place to start the migration of your application infrastructure into the cloud; the nice part about Salesforce is the license model, as well as the integrated bolt-ons that are part of the Salesforce AppExchange.

The sheer nature of smaller SIs makes them more adept at partnering with the many cloud vendors in order to provide holistic solutions for the Cloud. A nice example of this is the Astadia Front-Office; where customers can quickly leverage a package of applications that help with Marketing Automation, lead generation and lead nurture through to Salesforce Automation, targeting and commission structures.

Q: What advice would you give to smaller start ups in this market?

You can’t be half-hearted in your approach to the Cloud. That’s why so many smaller SIs are making such big changes and growth spurts in this game; they focus solely on the Cloud. They are experts in their fields who have a range of applications, technical expertise and best practise knowledge designed specifically for the Cloud. That really is Astadia’s strong point.

You should also realise that one size SaaS vendor does not fit all. Certain products will fit well in some cases and not in others; the successful SI will be the one that knows how to place these products specifically for the customer’s requirements.

SIs also need to focus on what they want to achieve. Astadia is a Services company, not a product company. We don’t compete on selling products; we compete on the services we provide from an industry best practice standpoint.

Q: What industry verticals do you see growing the most in this market?

So far the fast movers have been the Telcos, Media, Not-for-Profit and Financial Services sectors. The laggards are healthcare and the public sector, which I’m sure, will change as they have the most to benefit from SaaS and Cloud computing. Particularly from a cost saving point-of-view; which I see is at the forefront of the British Government’s agenda of late; I was looking at the news this morning re the pending government cost cuts.

Q: How much of the work to migrate to the Cloud requires integration – Getting the data into one place?

As far as we see it, all projects start and end with data. This underpins the success of any Cloud project and that’s why we partner with a number of integration providers. There’s no point having a whiz-popping Cloud application that can be used mobile, at home, offline and so on, if it doesn’t have the relevant data stored in it. Data drives end user adoption and buy in; without this your project is doomed.

The Marketing Automation Triangle – Are you making full use of it?


By Elena Savvides – EMEA Marketing Manager – Astadia Consulting

The Wikipedia definition of Marketing Automation (MA) is:

“The name given to software platforms designed for marketing departments and organisations to simplify processes by automating repetitive tasks. Marketing departments, consultants and part-time marketing employees benefit by specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes which are then interpreted, stored and executed by software, which increases efficiency and reduces human error.”

Put into a simple example, if you wanted to launch a new campaign one of the pinnacle elements of that campaign would be email marketing, which in today’s world is all done through an MA tool, such as Eloqua, Hub Spot, Constant Contact and so on. What I’m not going to do is pontificate the benefits of each. Personally, I use Eloqua and despite the steep learning curve I had to make to fully grasp the strength of the tool, I wouldn’t be without it today. Yes I’m biased, but aren’t we all when we’ve found our perfect tool! Anyway, back to what I really want to talk about, which is what I like to call the Marketing Automation Triangle, which for today’s marketers is something that forms the fundamental foundations of any successful marketing campaign.

You’ve identified the goals of your campaign and have spent hours segmenting your existing contact lists so the right people receive your message. Through extensive A/B testing you’ve carefully crafted an email message that cleverly entices the reader to a landing page, where they can either download useful content, such as whitepapers and podcasts or sign up for webinars and breakfast briefings. But have you closed the third point on your Marketing Automation Triangle? Are you making full use of social media channels?

Social media is increasingly becoming the most important touch point in any successful Marketing campaign. Therefore, if you’re already on top of your game with sophisticated MA tools, why don’t you go the extra mile and add in a little social media to every campaign you execute.

“OK nice idea, but where do I start!” – I know that’s what you’re thinking and that’s OK, this “social media thing” is a complete mine field; if you’re not careful you could spend all day marketing your products and services through social media channels and never get anything else done. Fundamentally, there’s a knack to all this and if you want to hear more, have a listen to this podcast http://www.astadia.com/forum/twitter-facebook-linkedin-wikipedia-blog-which-is-best-social-media-platform-for-your-audience.html

Fundamentally, when I plan a marketing campaign I always factor in social media elements into the overall goals of my campaign. Once my landing page is ready and the email has gone out to my existing contact database I turn my attention to social media. My first port of call is LinkedIn. Why? Because it’s a great place to harvest contacts. I don’t use the same email, word for word, that I sent to my existing contact database. I tweak it slightly and using the groups I’m a member of, I search for relevant targets to send it to.

My next port of call is Twitter, if I’m hosting a webinar or breakfast briefing I want my followers to know about it. Twitter isn’t a static page, so you can’t make a posting once and think everyone will see it. You need to be constantly updating your Twitter feed with interesting content, be that work related or otherwise. People follow interesting people. Keep the content varied and you’ll have a fan club before you know it.

Finally, I target Facebook so my followers and any groups I’m a member of can also hear about the events or content downloads I’m making available.

There are many schools of thought on what social media best practice is. None are gospel. The key is starting small and growing from there. As a novice, something is better than nothing; however the more you play the more you’ll realise just how advanced you’re becoming.

Good luck and let me know your thoughts on this – I’d be really interested to hear them.


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