Highlights For CEOs, CMOs & Execs From Econsultancy’s FUNNEL

Bob Apollo, Lisa Hutt and Jurgen Heyman discuss marketing and sales alignment

Marketing our own SaaS email and cross-channel marketing platform to a segmented audience can be a complex business without the right tools.

So, although we decided not to exhibit or speak this year, dotMailer were well represented at Econsultancy’s FUNNEL conference to confirm our own sales and marketing efforts are still hitting the mark.

Themes of the day included:

  • Aligning sales and marketing
  • Balancing technology, people and process to increase productivity
  • Marketing automation
  • The ‘single customer view’
  • Opportunities created by the ‘data explosion’

“Organisations where sales and marketing were aligned grew 39% faster” – Bob Apollo

Here’s the best bits for those unable to attend….

From a CMO and COO perspective:

The speakers provided invaluable insights into how and why to align your sales, marketing and web teams to create consistent brand engagement and buying experiences.

  • We’ve all seen stats on how buying behaviour has changed in the digital age – the question is, how has your organisation evolved to cope with this?
  • The traditional approach of passing a lead from marketing to sales has died.
  • Lisa Hutt from Concor Technologies argued that marketing should own more of the sales cycle. She gave a great analogy to demonstrate this – in sport, you don’t throw a baton, you hand carefully over and that step is as crucial in lead nurturing.
  • Prospects can be educated throughout the course of the sales cycle so they are entirely sales-ready by the time they’re engaging with sales people. This will reduce your cost per acquisition as your sales team focus only the right leads at the right time. The automation and segmentation features of dotMailer can help you do this effectively.
  • Bob Apollo from Inflexion Point talked about the buying experience being the biggest driver of purchase decisions in B2B, far outweighing price, brand and offering. The buying experience should be the number one priority for b2b marketers
  • Both Bob and Lisa Hutt agreed that to achieve a better buying experience, alignment of sales and marketing. In fact research shows that aligned companies grow 39% faster than misaligned companies. Integrating marketing technologies with your CRM system (dotMailer with Salesforce, for example) can help support that alignment.
  • The final word should go to Lisa – “You’re only as strong as your weakest link”. Eradicating those weaknesses should be your top priority.

Big data is a big deal for marketers “There are now more transistors on the planet than grains of rice” – Brendan Dineen

From a head of marketing and sales perspective:

Understanding and defining the reporting formats of campaign goals and metrics during planning process to demonstrate ROI.

  • Brendan Dineen from IBM referenced their recent study of CMO challenges and attitudes; crucially, marketer’s remits have broadened.
  • Brendan reminded us that the funnel is now “dipped in technology”
  • External channels such as social media and marketing automation sit at the top, with CRM and 1:1 relationship tools like LinkedIn at the bottom.
  • Marketing automation and email marketing systems allow businesses to send increasingly more personalised messages.  Campaigns can now be managed in more detail even on a large scale. This empowers marketing teams to be extend their influence further along the funnel.
  • Lead scoring can help you quickly identify the sales-ready leads, plan efforts and resource to maximise ROI.
  • The IBM study showed that marketers feel most under-prepared for, and find hardest to manage challenges that carry the most influence in “modern marketing”. These include the “data explosion”, “social media” and “device choices”.
  • Those interviewed said most of these challenges can be fixed with technology.
  • An example could be integrating CRM, email and marketing automation to join the top and the bottom of the funnel seamlessly.
  • Steven Elliott from Market One Digital, talked about how marketing’s era has “entered the age of manufacturing” – that with technology, people and process aligned you can predict yield, revenue, and scale in a precise way (a recessionary response?) that is seen in manufacturing industries.
  • In essence, if marketing owns more of the sales pipeline, predictive analysis can be achieved over a longer period.

From a marketing executive’s perspective:

Content marketing is still very much the b2b weapon of choice:

  • Your content marketing program should start with a comprehensive content audit.
  • Content that was not linked to purchase was identified as a common problem.
  • Catherine Toole from Sticky Content talked about re-purposing content into different formats to help squeeze the most value out of it.
  • According to Bob Apollo, the sales experience is the biggest factor in b2b purchase decisions.
  • 60 -70% of the sales cycle is now spent online, researching, so content marketing cannot be underestimated. How much is your company investing in this area right now, and how are you up-skilling yourself for this change?
  • Steven Elliott suggested finding an executive sponsor to buy into the ideas you want to push; if you have the right person to champion your ideas, you’ll get buy in from the top much easier.

IBM’s Brendan Dineen had some considerations for modern marketers:

  • Despite all the change, remember to remain authentic to your brand values
  • Understand who you’re talking to, what you want to say and why on earth they’d care before you “go clattering around social”.
  • B2B marketers should create value for clients as individuals.
  • Talent – attitude is the most valuable quality. “Invest in teams aware of the art of the possible”.

If you’re using dotMailer purely as an email blast tool right now, pull your socks up – there’s powerful automation, segmentation and cross-channel capabilities that can help you nurture more prospects far further down the funnel, sense and respond to your clients’ needs, and increase efficiencies for a more productive, successful team.

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