Well before construction begins on a structure such as a home or an office building, architects and engineers design the building and draw up a set of blueprints with exact specifications for how the structure will be built. It is only when these blueprints are complete that construction actually begins.
Embarking on any marketing technology stack project without first documenting key underlying processes is like constructing a building without first going through the design phase. What results is a set of tools that are poorly constructed and don’t work well together, causing problems with lead leakage and subsequently a loss of opportunities, much like water leaks that result from shoddy shingles or poorly fitted pipes.
Well-documented processes — specifically around segmentation and persona building, lead management, and campaign tracking and analytics — provide the necessary blueprints for outlining how a system should be built and configured, and how it should work with your other systems. This careful planning results in a clear, documented path for leads to follow that helps you automate your efforts and demonstrate a solid return on investment.
Segmentation & Persona-Building
It should be clear to most marketers that good demand generation starts with segmentation. In fact, my colleague Ryan Johnson talks about using segmentation to improve campaign results in a recent blog post. Statistics abound on the success of a targeted campaign versus the “let’s hit everybody” approach. Demographic and firmographic segmentation have been around for decades, and certainly are still an important piece of the puzzle. Persona building is a bit of a newer concept, but it’s simply the next step to follow after creating segments.
Today’s technologies allow marketers to incorporate digital behavioral data into segmentation models as well. This is of course where MarTech comes in. Marketing automation platforms, account-based marketing tools, and web analytics tools can all aggregate this type of behavioral data. Once that happens, marketing automation tools such as Marketo and Eloqua can automate the process of lumping contacts into distinct segments and personas based on both profile and behavioral data.
However, it’s not enough just to turn these systems on and let them run. It’s important to establish a clear structure for how the data will be managed and aggregated. For example, what are the behavioral and profile attributes for each segment? How will they be treated differently (or the same) as they come into the system? Some heavy lifting in requirements gathering, process building, and sales and marketing automation is first required before implementing system processes.
Our Buyer Persona Development Tool provides some great pointers and a template for creating segments and personas.
The marketing automation platform-CRM combination is the backbone of lead management, and there is a long list of systems out there that marketers can use to help manage leads as they come into the funnel. It’s easy to get enamored with tools that perform lead-to-account matching, territory lead assignment, lead scoring, etc. and forget about how important it is to establish a well-defined process first. This includes setting up clear definitions for each funnel stage, marketing and sales SLAs for lead follow-up, and clear lead rules of engagement. Once these are completed and clearly documented (don’t forget this part), systems can then be built around the established processes.
Some questions that need to be answered include:
- What are the specific criteria for moving a lead from one stage of the funnel to another?
- When a lead matches an existing account, how is it assigned?
- How are net new leads assigned?
- How long do sales have to follow up on a lead?
This white paper outlines how to establish a good lead management process.
The important thing here is to establish a well-defined funnel that is clearly documented. After that, you’re ready to dive into your marketing automation, CRM, and other systems to operationalize what you have defined.
Campaign Reporting and Analytics
Reporting and analytics are where the rubber meets the road when it comes to marketing automation in particular, and demand generation in general. At the end of the day, measuring your efforts lets you know if your marketing campaigns are effective, and lets you prove marketing’s worth — and the worth of your new MarTech deployment — to the rest of the organization.
The first thing to tackle with regards to analytics is to list out the metrics you would like to have on the “dashboard of your dreams.” After paring them down to the most important, you can build out a wireframe of what that dashboard might look like.
To be honest, deciding on metrics and building out a wireframe is actually the easy part. The worst thing that can happen (and unfortunately, I’m speaking from personal experience here) is that you create a great dashboard with the right metrics and visualization, but the data turns out to be inaccurate, misleading, or missing altogether in your system. To avoid this, spend some time reviewing your data and processes and then decide whether you can actually track the metrics you would like to measure. This includes reviewing fields for completeness and standardization, determining a campaign taxonomy and framework, and deciding how marketing touches will be assessed for value in attribution. The end goal is to create a systematized, replicable process for tracking campaigns that will be used consistently throughout your organization. Check out our reporting and analytics white paper for more information on how to get started.
Even the best designed and most technically sound systems can become shelfware if they are implemented before undertaking sound process design. Remember, blueprints first, then build. Sometimes, though, you’re so busy creating and managing campaigns that you just don’t have the bandwidth to take a step back to define and document these processes. If that’s the case, we can help. Drop us a line and let’s talk!
Mike Wallgren, the Client Engagement Manager at DemandGen, helps clients see the vision of how solid business process and marketing technology solutions can help them succeed at demand generation. He has worked with CRM and marketing automation solutions since 2005 and has helped build solutions at companies of all sizes. He firmly believes that a data- and process-driven approach helps marketing demonstrate their value to the organization.