I had the opportunity to attend Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit last week. The marketing automation market leader’s annual user conference drew more than 6,000 to San Francisco. I’d say 90+ percent of conference attendees were Marketo users so I was unique in that I am not a Marketo user, partner or sponsor. You’re probably wondering what I was doing there then. In my quest to learn everything possible about marketing automation, attending Marketo Summit was a no brainer. So what did I learn from being an outsider looking in?
Marketing automation provides marketers the opportunity to prove their impact in a new way. How is this possible? Digital tools like marketing automation provide a new era of accountability and tracking. With this advanced tracking and reporting, there is no question of marketing’s contribution. Revenue can be tied back to specific AdWords campaigns and ad groups or to a specific email campaign. Another important aspect of tracking is understanding lead lifecycle and what specific interactions lead to a closed deal.
Another topic that garnered significant attention is the alignment of sales and marketing. As referenced by Beth Comstock, CMO of GE, in her keynote: sales and marketing working together can be much like cats and dogs. Her key to overcoming alignment issues is to stop fighting over who “owns” the customer. The trend is to move to a customer centric model, where sales, marketing and product departments revolve around the customer.
For a more practical look at how sales and marketing alignment can occur in your organization today, here are a few keys.
1) Everyone must agree on a definition of a lead at your organization.
2) Create service level agreements (SLAs) between the two teams about what each is accountable for to the other.
3) Utilize sales development reps (SDRs) or lead development reps (LDRs) to bridge the gap between sales and marketing. This person or team ensures follow-up on all marketing qualified leads and can sales qualify them before passing the lead to sales.
4) Utilize dashboards in marketing automation platform and your CRM to monitor conversion rates of marketing qualified leads and to ensure that follow-up is happening by sales reps.
In other conference news, Marketo also joined the ranks of marketing automation platforms adding an SEO suite to their platform capabilities. This new product will function by analyzing your existing content and providing recommendations to help boost your SEO. While no replacement for partnering with a search agency, it will be interesting to watch how Marketo evolves this tool in the coming years.