On NoMQLs, soft paywalls, PQLs and the winning demand gen formula

The great Scott Brinker recently took an “end of forms” blog post by Drift (startup from the also great David Cancel, whom HubSpot has to thank for their Gen 2 product reaching prime time) and coined this the NoMQL movement.  In short it’s:

  • Produce great content
  • Give it away
  • Let your prospect self-educate and continue to consume your great content….
  •  … and they’ll seek you out when they are ready to try your product

Here’s my take on this:

The concept is sound but it’s too extreme. With the gated vs. non-gated content debate, I’ve always said you need to do both and that applies here too. 

I’d rather land on a model akin to soft paywalls of online publishers that goes like this:

  • Produce great content
  • Give it away  to start … and…. Ensure there are conversion paths as prospects move through the buying process. For example:
  • Article that introduces a topic (for free) and as prospect goes deeper into a detailed guide require some info capture
  • Give away a certain number of articles per month and then require info capture on a certain number of articles or specific “later stage” content

I’d also add another wrinkle which is ensure “later stage” content is promoting Free Trial or Freemium product trials. Another compelling trend in the demand gen circuit of late is the Product Qualified Lead or PQL (blurb here from OpenView Labs).  This dovetails well with the above as it says diligently focus on your free trial experience AND analytics such that:

  • Free Trial/Freemium become a strong pathway for purchase
  • Analytics on in-product usage allow you to monitor prospects through key product ‘gates’
  • Such that you can nurture prospects with content to best support the trial experience
  • And this product usage becomes a key element (along with other scoring criteria such as target demongraphics) in qualifying leads for sales, hence the “PQL” moniker

Not a surprise but the winners will be those who:

  • Maniacally define their target audience (company criteria, roles)
  • Maniacally work with customers to understand the buying process – how it started, who was involved, the questions asked, where they went for information -- and document it
  • Consistently product quality content to attract and engage this target audience – balancing quantity and quality (video content is increasingly effective)
  • Employ strategies to convert this audience at the right point in the buying process, and leverage SDR/Sales teams to build a relationship with prospects and accelerate them through the buying process (first in has an advantage - and does usually win)
  • Have engaging trial product experiences with the analytics and process to both nurture and qualify for sales
  • Have a bevy of customer stories aligned to each stage of the buying process to support the above process (ranging from “Why Change?” to “Why Now?” to “Why Us?”), delivered through blog, website and sales enablement

Did I miss anything?


How to Get Profitable Return on your Paid Search Program - A Four-Step Framework

Paid Search is a necessary component to a growth mix for B2B marketers. It should prove to be a source of solid cost/MQL and cost/opportunity leads, and one that helps reach Google search audiences in an important way to compliment organic/inbound efforts.

Let’s be very clear on one thing though - paid search is tough.

Unlike a well-executed organic search program, which over time can drive exponential growth and significantly reduced cost per lead metrics, the ‘natural course’ of a paid search program is increasing cost per lead.

Why?  Two reasons:

First off, Google is always looking to make more money. Google is always going to be acting in Google’s best interest, which means looking for ways to siphon off more dollars from advertisers. This past year it’s been hiking up branded search rates.

And secondly, successful terms are likely to get more and more spend from competitors. Meaning what’s working for you today, is likely to cost more money to work for you tomorrow.

So how do you get this Paid Search beast to work for you?  Here’s a four-step plan to get payoff:

#1 - Ensure you have the right measurement in place (HINT: Google AdWords is not enough).

Optimizing a paid search program for form-fills alone is a surefire way to drive a high number of ‘conversions’ (leads) that  have a high noise level for sales, and low pipeline return.

A proper measurement framework is critical to success. Specifically here's what to do:

  • Setup SalesForce campaigns for each AdWords campaign to enable tracking opportunity and pipeline return
  • Pass a Google click ID (GCLID) into marketing automation/CRM systems and pass opportunity values back to AdWords. This will allow for cost/opportunity and pipeline $/investment to be calculated at the keyword level – crucial for the optimization needed to drive success
  • Setup ‘stacked cookies’ so that latent conversions can also be measured and attributed back to the paid search investment – to give you a full picture of the impact of your investments

#2 – Target long tail, use case driven keywords

Driving profitable pipeline from PPC investment is a numbers game – and as I mentioned above it gets harder and harder. So eeking out every efficiency is vital.

Long tail, use case driven keywords are vital to this.  Rather than investing in broad category based searches which will be expensive, and tend to be more ‘top of funnel’ research terms – the searches that will drive returns are going to be more long tail (both longer search phrases, and lower volume) which are more likely to signify "intent." and lead to action -- both conversion and follow-on engagement with sales rep. This will be lower cost, lost volume and higher converting terms.

Your job as a paid search marketer looking to optimize pipeline return is to identify more and more of these terms, and invest in those.

#3 - Tailor landing pages for these use cases

Back to the point of eeking out every efficiency, as you identify these terms, build landing pages tailored for these terms. Landing page conversion rates will go up based on having more relevant, tailored content which align ads to the specific search phrase and landing pages. 

This payoff of this work will be higher conversion rates, which therefore lead to a lower cost per lead and cost per opportunity. There will also be a double positive hit as more relevance will increase your Google quality scores and help to further reduce cost per lead.

#4 - Optimize, optimize, optimize

The above framework will give you a framework for success. Then the key is optimize, optimize, optimize.

Watch the results every single day, and align with sales on what’s working and what’s not working.

Optimize for pipeline $ and opportunities created, leveraging the reporting capabilities on #1. Constantly work #2 and #3 above to identify the right terms and take all the steps possible to minimize costs per opportunity while driving quality. 

As you identify low performers, either get rid of them or work to improve them.

As you identify high performers, invest fully in those, and look to spin off other ideas from those performers that could lead to new potential winners.


The “Google PPC pill” is a tough one to swallow – when you realize the size of the check you’re writing to Google each month – but it’s much easier to do so when you know you are running the program in a way that is driving profitable return.  Because then at least, it’s a win for Google and a win for the Marketer.

When Inbound Marketing Isn’t Enough

I caught up with John Marcus at Bedrock Data last week, talking about his business’ next step of moving from an nearly exclusively inbound demand model to one that will blend both inbound and outbound and also entail selling to more enterprise businesses with buying teams.

In kicking around ideas we came up with this list of key areas you need to get right in expanding from an inbound model, often 1:1 selling to a single buyer who has found you to solve an immediate need – to an approach requiring creation of new demand.

I’ll list them in reverse order of buying process.

#1 - Create role-based content for your Champion Buyer to enroll his buying team

This is truly the make-or-break juncture of the enterprise buying process – the difference between deals which move forward at an accelerated pace vs. those that flame out due to no decision.

A relentless understanding of the buyer journey includes what types of questions, issues and objections those in different roles will have for your buyer champion. Equipping your buyer champion with this content (e.g. videos, tools, FAQs) will serve two objectives: #1 it will differentiate you in the eyes of your champion vs. any competitors and #2 it will remove potential roadblocks proactively.

Interestingly I was part of a buying process around HubSpot that did not move forward, and found that although HubSpot has a hugely successful content creation machine, this type of role-based, buying process content was not one that they had yet developed -- likely due to being relatively new to enterprise selling at that point.

#2 - As part of the sales qualification process, work with customers to identify, articulate and align around critical business issues – and make these the centerpiece of the selling process

Enterprise buying gets messy – multiple personalities, multiple agendas. Centering around critical business issues from the start of the sales process gives the vendor a way to work with the Buying Champion to align that buying team around what matters. It also serves as a qualifier to ensure you’re in fact working the right deals.

Once you’ve established those critical business issues, these should become the ‘themes’ that drive all conversations and meetings to advance that deal to close.

#3 - Create content focused on moving prospects from the Status Quo to “We Have a Problem”

This is the often overlooked step in the buying process required to create new demand.

To demonstrate this consider two different customer story videos that could be used as part of a marketing program:

Video A: Prospect Says, “Company ___ was great because they helped us solve ___ problems and got us ___ results.” - pretty typical case study / customer story featured on a website. 

Video B: Prospect Says, “What’s amazing is we thought our ___ was fine, until we got a better understanding of ___ issue. Once we realized that ___ issue was actually having ___ impact, it became clear this was a real problem we had to solve quickly. And aren’t we glad we did…. (then could proceed with Video A).”

Video B addresses that crucial step needed to first empathize with and then move early stage prospects forward in their buying process… which is from a place where you may know you have an issue, but it’s not top of mind, and it’s not the most urgent thing you need to fix. Hearing that from a customer, how they moved from that point of malaise to having this become their most important thing, is where content will make a significant impact, and that's the key step to propel buyers forward.  Most businesses have a gap in this area.

#4 - Build and Brand Teleprospecting team as value-add experts to your prospects

The Tele function is vital to creating demand through outbound (as well as moving early stage inbound prospects forward). I’ve described this as applying Inbound marketing principles of helping your prospects to Teleprospecting – so that they play the role of providing the right content at the right time to move a prospect forward in their buying journey (in exactly the same way a good website does).

I’ve covered this in detail elsewhere including this CMO Essentials article, and this was TechTarget’s take when I took them through my program.

#5 - Drive and measure outbound programs across a range of marketing channels – with the goal of initial engagement

Once you have the Teleprospecting engine in place, it’s a matter of finding the right channels to reach your audience where you can get strong return. This includes many options and I'll highlight three below:

  • Webinars – becoming more and more challenging but when done right can still be very effective (Hint: that’s the right content, for the right audience, through the right publisher and promoted in the right way – I covered ideas and best practices around this here).
  • Content Syndication – need to be very careful here and make sure the economics are right. It’s easy to waste money here so you need to be sure you do it right. Also Integrate is a vendor particularly effective in helping customers get content syndication right.
  • Direct Mail – Often overlooked but can be a great way to breakthrough the clutter today. Especially when you look at it as…  you are trying to create that initial engagement and then have your Teleprospecting/Nurture work from there. So the job of your direct mail program doesn’t need to be to sell your solution, just to engage on an initial piece of content (e.g. a “State of Industry” or “Industry Best Practices” report)

#6 - Build and drive influencer relationships

I put this into outbound because this is something that needs to be driven in a highly proactive matter to support demand generation growth. Influencer relationships, and having them link back to your blog/website or content is doing to be a key feeder to the above as well. In addition to traditional Analyst and PR relationships, here we are talking Bloggers and anyone in your customer’s target profile (e.g. peer group) with significant online social following.

This is far from easy but executing the above gets a business to a mature steady state of demand generation covering both inbound and outbound which will then further scale with greater investment over time.

Five Specific Actions Sales & Marketing Can Do Together To Drive Alignment & Business Performance

We all know sales & marketing alignment is extremely important. This Kapost article references an Aberdeen Group stat that “Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual growth rate, and companies with poor sales and marketing alignment have a 4% revenue decline.” (Now if I could just find that pesky Aberdeen stat... although this stat is referenced everywhere, I’m citing the Kapost article because I couldn’t find  a public version of the original stat from Aberdeen).

Knowing it’s important isn’t enough though, as actually attaining true sales & marketing alignment is challenging.

To that end, these are five specific actions that I’ve found sales and marketing can do together to drive alignment, and achieve the resulting business performance. I choose the word “sales and marketing” and “together” very precisely, as the key to this is that equal responsibility and commitment is taken from both groups within the company’s revenue team.

#1 - Be overly transparent with each other

Within pockets of sales and marketing teams, the “default” mentality towards the other group may be that of mistrust. The best way to address that proactively is to be overly transparent.

From the marketing side, share regular communications around strategies, program plans, program performance, program optimizations and what’s working and what’s not working.

From the sales side – same thing. Share insights around what’s working and what’s not working, identify areas to improve opportunity conversion rates and win rates, and also over communicate around how the business is trending towards meeting its monthly or quarterly revenue/bookings targets.

#2 - Diligently focus on opportunity creation targets as a KPI

I’ve seen sales and marketing relationships stumble when marketing drives attention to MQLs as their KPI. That can lead to friction if marketing “celebrates” MQL performance that isn’t translating downstream to opportunities or deals.

MQLs should be seen as a “means to the end”, and if both sides are laser focused on opportunities created it has several benefits:

  • Marketing drives towards MQLs, but also has a keen interest in working with sales to ensure MQL to Opportunity conversion rates improve
  • It opens up the perspective of Sales Management to focus both on what’s closing (what they would typically be monitoring each day/week/month), and also using Opps Created as a KPI for them to also monitor to ensure that a healthy pipeline is continually being built to feed the months ahead.

#3 – Regularly dialogue on how to improve opportunity conversion rates

With Opps Created as a KPI, marketing and sales management should openly dialogue about how to improve conversion rates from MQL to Opportunity.

When I say openly, it should be done acknowledging that there are always improvements needed, and it’s not a criticism of either group.  Specific areas to look at:

  • How are MQLs specifically being generated? (e.g. forms, webinar responses). Is prospect intent made clear? Are there any improvements to that process that can help how sales follows up?
  • What is the systematic lead handoff? Is it real time? Do the sales reps have clear visibility into the right data they need to best follow up?
  • What is the response time to follow up? This is where SLAs come in to ensure there are standards across all of the reps.
  • Is there a defined follow up approach – both number and frequency of touches, as well as guides for the conversation?

These are all areas that require consistent attention and improvement.

#4- Create an aligned approach to lead scoring

The SiriusDecisions Research from their 2015 Summit reinforces the need for approaches to engage buyers at the earlier phase of the buying process, when they are most open to support  and guidance from people (reps).  I’ve been outspoken in cautioning the perils of attempting lead scoring before you’re ready, and the key is that sales and marketing both need to be fully bought into lead scoring and design it collaboratively. Keep the initial lead scoring models simple. The types of questions to answer during a lead scoring creation exercise include:

  • What’s the profile of prospects that we want to talk to?
  • What content would a prospect consume that would lead us to think he’s most open to a conversation?
  • What content would a prospect consume that would lead us to think he’s in a buying process?
  • How do we want to consistently follow up with prospects for each of these scenarios?

#5 - Build joint programs

Finally, a great way to build alignment is to build programs together. There does not need to be one recipe as to how sales and marketing share responsibilities in executing programs.

In addition to traditional marketing executed programs, ways to build joint programs include marketing sourcing the data for a given target audience and sales leading the outreach (email, phone, social media) to the targeted list.  Another scenario could be marketing sourcing the data and designing integrated email & phone outreach that is executed by Sales or SDR/Teleprospecting resource. Monitoring the success of these joint programs, and improving them, helps to build the alignment.

What do you think? What are some specific ways you’ve seen sales and marketing teams effectively align?

Marketo vs. HubSpot – Comparing Purple vs. Orange at their Essence on 10 Key Points

It’s funny – although I’ve been following or using both HubSpot and Marketo since 2009, I  recently started sharpening my perspective on how the two marketing automation firms, now HUBS and MKTO on your CNBC stock ticker, directly compare.

Before I get to these 10 comparison points on Marketo vs. HubSpot, two ‘preamble points’ I want to make clear first:

  • Both are strong products, and both have come a long way since those early days in 2009 (thanks goodness!), and are going to continue to quickly evolve as both companies continue to invest significant resources into R&D. So the points below may look very different a year or two from now.
  • The below is very much a DRAFT – I would love to get feedback on these and other points – in fact the main reason that I am publishing this now is so that I can share my observations to date and get additional expert opinions on this topic.

So with that, here we go:

#1 - Marketo is a kick-ass marketing workflow tool

Marketo Flow Steps are a work of beauty for any marketing ops manager. Marketo gives its users tons of control for both recurring and trigger based data-driven actions, and the sequences of marketing or data activities that follow. It’s truly a powerful engine that supports lead nurture flows, lead routing processes and coordination between marketing and SDR/Teleprospecting activities.

 #2- HubSpot is a powerful lead attraction & conversion platform

If Marketo’s bread is buttered through marketing workflow, then HubSpot’s sweet spot in the process is the activities preceding and leading up to that initial web conversion (form fill). HubSpot gives digital marketers powerful insight into what pre-conversion activities (e.g. specific web pages, blog content or social media activities) have the most impact on both “conversions” as well as any follow on impact (e.g. MQLs, Opportunities, Pipeline, Wins, etc.). 

#3 - Marketo struggles big time (today) with pre-conversion analytics

I see Marketo already on the path to change this, and it’s just a question of when – and how well they communicate it. The core of this issue is that at its heart, originally, Marketo tracking leverages programs which sync to SalesForce campaigns; and these programs are wonderful at tracking ‘known traffic’ – once you are converted/cookied – a web visitor can be added to a Marketo Program with ease and powerful campaign influence reporting can be achieved from there.

Marketo struggles with granular program level tracking of anonymous traffic. For example, if you want to ask the question: “Which of my Blog Posts (or Web Pages, for that matter) have the greatest influence on the follow-on generation of MQIs – or MQLs, Opps, etc.?”, you’d struggle to answer this question in Marketo – whereas HubSpot is geared to naturally helps its users answer and optimize around that question.

You could (and should) create a Marketo program that adds any Blog Visitor to a program to be able to answer this question for the Blog as a whole – but doing it at an individual Blog post level seems impractical.

Marketo, as I’ll reinforce below, is a technology ecosystem player (which by the way I believe is the right approach), so the way they are attacking this problem is through Google Analytics integration which was released in April 2015.

And while I think this is the right strategy and will get to the desired result for Marketo users when fully implemented -- to date I don’t think it’s been well communicated or trained across the Marketo customer base.

And the missing link, which presumably is coming, is feeding Marketo lead outcome data (e.g. MQL, Opportunity, Pipeline) back into Google Analytics in a way that can help answer those original questions I posed around which specific blog posts, web pages or digital interactions are having the greatest impact on conversions and the follow-on business results. Once that is in place and well understood by the Marketo base, it will close a significant gap vs. HubSpot today.

#4 - HubSpot’s Blog Analytics crush anything Marketo can do

The reason I used ‘essence’ in this article title is many of these points come down to the original vision for why these two products were created and the problems they were focused on solving. In the case of HubSpot, blog optimization was at its core as a means to drive web traffic and 'leads'.

So therefore keyword rank tracking, real-time SEO guidance for blogging and what my colleague Matthew Wainwright calls “absurdly transparent blog metrics” are significant competitive advantages. Marketo tried to play catch up here in 2014 with its SEO module which let’s just say I wasn’t a huge fan of in its initial release

#5 - HubSpot leans towards “all in one”, Marketo is all about technology ecosystem

Whether it’s their Free CRM announced at INBOUND 2014, or their fully integrated Content Management System, HubSpot’s strategy has been “all in one”. That can be incredibly powerful for a business  to connect its website, digital marketing, lead nurturing through to CRM.

Marketo’s strategy has been one of enabling hundreds of technology integrations through its impressive LaunchPoint ecosystem. Some of the integrations my team has done already include Marketo to On24, SnapApp, LinkedIn Lead Accelerator (the former Bizo platform for retargeting) and Integrate.

The result of this is what you’d expect:

HubSpot can go very wide, and for those organizations who have minimal existing infrastructure and minimal infrastructure requirements – this can be hugely powerful. This is why HubSpot has leaned more towards the SMB user base who fit this criteria.

Marketo’s integration approach means customers can go for “best of breed” and leverage a range of other technologies. I tend to prefer this integrated approach for achieving business value, although costs will also be higher in this approach across multiple vendors (vs. "all in one").

#6 - Marketo has a really strong SalesForce integration

Going back to essence, this has always been true of Marketo – including the automated data integration through to the SalesInsight plugin for sales visibility into prospect program and web activities. That said, HubSpot has closed the gap here over the years and recently announced a five-year extension to its partnership with SalesForce.

In addition to the standard Marketo-SalesForce integration, I’ve enjoyed the ability for Marketo to push tasks into SalesForce for custom integrations – creating SalesForce triggers based on specific task types has been useful for aligning more complex business processes between the two systems.

#7 - Marketo tokens provide great program scalability and maintenance capabilities

Marketo tokens continue to get more and more powerful. Tokens are Marketo’s method for data-driven content that carries intelligence over different programs. With properly implemented tokens, there is significant time savings, reduction in errors and additional marketing capabilities across programs.

For a simple example, think of a program token as a Webinar Name, Title, Speaker & Time --- updating that is one central place on the program and then propagating across all email invitations, follow up emails, registration pages, thank you pages etc. --- at the click of a button..

 #8 - Marketo scales better across multiple business lines and geographies

Because of the aforementioned tokens and workflow capabilities, along with other features including lead partitions – Marketo scales well as a single instance is applied across multiple business lines and geographies – more so than HubSpot.

 #9 - Don’t Sleep on Marketo’s RTP

Marketo is more than Marketo. What I mean by that is that when you think about Marketo you also need to factor in their Real Time Personalization Product which originated from Marketo’s acquisition of Insightera in December 2013. In fact, in that same article where I panned Marketo’s SEO module, I lauded RTP as the bright future for Marketo.

RTP answers many – not all, but many – of the pre-conversions concerns on the original Marketo product. RTP enables customers with the ability to target both anonymous & known traffic with more precise on-site targeting and off-site campaigns (including retargeting) – and -- again with Marketo’s ecosystem approach -- the approach here is largely to create web content modules that can then be embedded into any web site regardless of CMS..

 #10 - HubSpot partners are passionate digital marketers, Marketo partners are marketing ops geeks

I realize this is a generalization, but it’s true! (And I’m allowed to say it because I was one of the first Marketo partners before they even had a partner program in 2010.)

I see more digital marketing talent in the HubSpot partner community, whereas I see outstanding marketing operations expertise amongst the Marketo partner base.  


OK so that’s what I got. What did I miss? What did I get wrong?

Would love to hear additional points about how the experts out there are comparing Purple vs. Organize now and in the future. Fire Away!

#SDSummit Takeaway: SiriusDecisions clarifies a misunderstood statistic – and opens up a whole world of possibilities for integrated digital demand generation

Today is the day SiriusDecisions set the record straight.

Jen Ross & Marisa Kopec unveiled SiriusDecisions new research on B2B buying process and in doing so made a simple but powerful clarification that should open the collective eyes of sales & marketing organizations around the possibilities of digital marketing supported sales prospecting as a competitive difference maker.

The original 67% stat was “67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally”.

However it often got spun colloquially as: “Buyers are 67% of the way through the sales process before they want to speak to a sales rep.”

The implications of the misinterpreted stat were:

  • Buyers don’t want to talk to reps
  • By the time a buyer wants to talk a rep, they are 2/3 of the way through their buying process

The overall message to sales was one of helplessness and disempowerment.


Today at the SiriusDecisions 2015 Summit we learned about the recent SiriusDecisions study of over 1,000 different B2B buyers from actual purchase processes and we got clarification that: Buyers aren’t 67% through the buying process when they want to talk to a Person/Rep. 67% of the buying process may involve digital content consumption, but the sales/rep engagement is threaded throughout that buying process and spans all stages.

And here’s where it’s most interesting, as I live Tweeted as the event.

The sales and marketing organizations who can partner and enable reps to leverage digital tools to get visibility and engage with prospects will create a massive competitive edge. What we are talking about here:

  • Expanding data sources of potential prospects
  • Leveraging scoring to prioritize best fit leads based on company attributes, web behavior and social interaction
  • Leverage social marketing, content and teleprospecting techniques to build credibility as authority and engage with prospects as early in the buying process as possible
  • Use tools to best tailor conversations and understand where buyer is in the buying process
  • “Rinse and repeat” to deliver useful content to support them through their buying process, wherever they may be

The impact will come from properly harnessing reps around digital interactions. It's about Sales AND Digital and how they work together through the ENTIRE buying process.

Much more empowering for sales reps and teleprospecting.

Much more inspiring for aligned sales and marketing teams to go after this together.

And great news for all the great digital technology vendors at #SDSummit who can add value to help companies build that aligned sales and digital marketing demand generation machine.

Related Resources:

Seven insights from SiriusDecisions Forum on Channel Sales and Marketing Operations

This morning I attended the SiriusDecisions Forum titled “Bridging the Direct/Indirect Visibility Gap” with Steven Silver & Laz Gonzalez. The topic was particularly appealing as I look at ways to improve effectiveness in the lead-to-win process in supporting channel partners.

Seven insights from the morning

#1 - “Process precedes technology”

Laz gave us the first Tweetable moment of the session:

Of course this doesn’t apply specifically to channel marketing, but it does apply especially to channel marketing.  Creating and applying common definitions to how leads are qualified and processed is vital to improving and optimizing the lead-to-win process through channel partners.

#2 - Consider adding more qualification before leads are passed to partners

SiriusDecisions benchmarked conversion rates across different levels of lead qualification. There are various definitions and scenarios here, but the crux of this for me centered on comparing these two scenarios:

Qualifying MQLs based on an action (e.g. filling out a free trial form) and profile (e.g. not  meeting specific disqualification criteria) saw a total conversion rate of 7 wins per 1000 inquiries which was achieved through 16% inquiry to MQL, 55% MQL to SAL, 40% SAL to SQL and 20% SQL to Win.

Adding in the qualification of non-verified propensity to buy (which in SiriusDecisions terms moves a prospect from Lead Level 3 to 4) moved the total conversion rate to 9 wins per 1000 inquiries which was achieved through a 7% inquiry to MQL, 72% MQL to SAL, 65% SAL to SQL and 27% SQL to Win.

So in this benchmark by SiriusDecisions, adding more qualification to the leads passed to partners increases the total lead-to-win performance by 29% - significant business impact. This was the most significant tipping point in performance improvement for varied levels of lead qualification.

How could this be done? This needs to be done with care (and A/B testing!) as this will have an impact of reducing the number of leads to partners – so this needs to be well communicated and well managed with partners. Possible ways to accomplish this include adding an additional qualification question (e.g. “what business problem are you trying to solve?”)to a free trial form or a product activation form.

#3 - (My idea) score leads after they are sent to partners

This is my idea building on #2 above. Since the process we are trying to optimize is the lead-to-win, and the fundamental issue is visibility, this could be a great opportunity to apply lead scoring. Score the prospects post MQL qualification behavior (e.g. product activation, engagement in post qualification emails, website page views) so that these scores can be used with partners to evaluate lead quality.

This can then be used in a number of ways:

  • As part of lead reviews with partners, to demonstrate lead quality (demonstrate to the partners “there’s life there” when they may have otherwise given up and moved on to the next lead)
  • Can be used as a ‘carrot’ to drive partner adoption of CRM systems – “get visibility into lead behavior”
  • Analysis around partner lead conversion rates – does the lead score prove to be an indicator for lead-to-win? If so this can be a powerful tool for managing partners deal conversions and business predictability in an area that has often been a black hole in the past.

#4 - What’s next in marketing automation? Channel marketing automation

You thought the marketing automation market was fully mature? Guess again.

Apparently there is a new class of technologies emerging (and much needed) in channel marketing automation, and one specifically called out by Laz was Zift Solutions.

Just guessing that some of the features available including the creation of centralized templates that can be ‘pushed’ into partner co-branded assets (emails, landing pages), the management of partitioned leads for each partner and CRM connectors for opportunity management.

Some questions that come to mind:

  • Are these replacement to or integrated with a company’s marketing automation platform? “Integrated to” – powerful. “Replacement to” – still interesting but now creates potential silo’s between demand generation and channel marketing.
  • Are there proven tools to support partner outbound lead generation (e.g. social media)? – that would be very attractive.

#5 - “Treat partners like leads”

This was another soundbite from Laz. What  he meant here was that the partner relationships need to be worked to ensure adoption of marketing programs and adoption of lead management SLAs. This takes hard work. Totally agree.  

#6 - Waterfall Metrics Direct vs. Channel highlights where funnels are leaking in channel process

Another powerful data benchmark:

SiriusDecisions looked specifically at Lead Level 2 qualification (qualified based on lead profile data) and looked at lead-to-win rates for a direct sales team vs. channel sales teams.

For Direct Sales, the lead-to-win was 7 wins per 1,000 inquiries which broke down as 16% inquiry to MQL, 55% MQL to SAL, 40% SAL to SQL, and 20% SQL to Win.

For Channel Sales, the lead-to-win was 1.4 wins per 1,000 inquiries which broke down as 2.3% inquiry to MQL, 53% MQL to SAL, 51% SAL to SQL and 22.5% SQL to Win.

So here’s where this gets interesting:

If you look at the above, the channel actually performed better from MQL to Win (6.1% vs. 4.4%) – channel sales was better at working the right deals and closing the ones they worked, that’s where they specialize. However there was a massive gap for channel teams in managing inquiries to MQLs -- the direct process converted at 7X the rate at channel.

That’s telling me that the heart of the issue with most channel programs is that lack of process applied to the top and middle of the funnel. Issues here could include legacy processes where all top of funnel leads are sent to partners, no lead nurturing process applied to partner leads and/or the lack of nurturing systems by partners.

Therefore applying process and systems to top of funnel partner lead generation and qualification is a major opportunity for most.

#7 - Work towards SLAs for partner lead distribution & management

Tying it back to point #1 on process, the best practice (which, by the way, based on show of hands, very few of the companies in the room have implemented) is developing and applying a service level agreement to partner lead management. Some of the areas to agree as part of this include:

  • At which stage are leads routed to partners?
  • How will partners accept, interact and update the lead?
  • What are the response times required from issuance to close?
  • What should be done to ensure commitment to SLAs; what should be done if response times are not met?

Choose the marketing and sales performance levers to fuel your growth (and here are 20 to choose from…)

In 2014 SiriusDecisions introduced their Intelligent Growth Model which detailed five pillars of growth that companies could choose from or combine as part of their business growth strategy. The five are:

  1. Expand into new markets – geographical expansion, vertical market expansion
  2. Introduce new offerings – add additional product offers with new revenue streams
  3. Sell to new buyers – sell existing products to those you haven’t reached before
  4. Increase productivity – improve effectiveness in marketing & sales
  5. Acquisitions – acquire businesses as a source of expanded revenue

Taking a closer look at these, I’d segment them into these two categories:

  • Growth via Business Expansion: includes #1 (expanding into new geographies or verticals), #2 (expanding with additional products) and #5 (expanding by acquiring other businesses).
  • Growth via Business Improvement / Optimization: These apply to growing an existing product in an existing market, and in this case the two options are #3 (new buyers) or #4 (productivity).

The second category is more universally relevant, as every line of business can relate to it as management teams plan growth for existing products in existing markets typically as part of an annual business planning cycle.  When planning business growth in these scenarios, teams can categorize growth drivers into two high level buckets:

#1 - Growth in marketing qualified leads and opportunities


#2 - Improvement in sales performance metrics (e.g. win rate, average order value) – I use the term ‘sales’ to describe the business process, not the department, as sales performance metrics are influenced by sales, marketing and product management – as you’ll see below.

When planning for growth within a product line, management teams should agree on to which degree these two areas will contribute to that growth – as that decision will foster alignment, and may impact other investment decisions including resources and budget.

As part of that decision, there are many potential levers to consider within each of the two buckets – let’s take a closer look.

To grow marketing qualified leads (and resultant opportunities) here are 10 levers to consider:

  1. Grow web traffic (via SEO, SEM, Social Media, Influencer Marketing, PR programs)
  2. Grow website conversion rates (make website more effective in converting visitors from #1 to MQIs or MQLs)
  3. Improve web conversion rates through post-visit tactics such as abandonment techniques or retargeting
  4. Grow MQIs through expansion of or improvement in MQI generation programs (“Growing the top of the funnel” – e.g. content, webinars)
  5. Improve MQI to MQL conversion rates and velocity via optimization of lead nurturing programs and/or expansion or sales development / teleprospecting resources (more MQLs via "optimizing middle of funnel")
  6. Grow incremental MQI/MQLs via highly targeted account-based sales and marketing programs (“small net fishing”)
  7. Improve the effectiveness of sales development / teleprospecting resources through tools including lead prioritization engines, predictive lead scoring or training
  8. Generate more upsell MQLs from customer base via educational programs or specific upsell paths
  9. Generate more MQIs/MQLs through harnessing customer base via community, advocacy or referral programs (typically a longer term strategy)
  10. Grow partner generated leads by expanding number of ‘push’ partners actively marketing your offerings and/or adding additional marketing programs implemented via partners

And to improve sales performance metrics, here are 10 levers to consider:

  1. Grow MQL-to-opportunity rate via improved lead response times
  2. Grow MQL-to-opportunity rate via developing, improving or optimizing MQL follow up programs (conversation guides, email messaging & sequences)
  3. Grow MQL-to-opportunity rate via follow up techniques or data (e.g. leveraging of multiple contacts at an account)
  4. Grow win rate through applying sales process around ensuring the right criteria is applied to choose which deals are qualified
  5. Grow win rate through more effective enablement of a champion buyer (enabling that buyer to more effectively sell up/across their organization) – this could be via conversations, content and/or technologies
  6. Grow win rate through focus on urgency drivers (including content to position the buying decision vs. the downside, risk or pain attached to the status quo)
  7. Grow win rate through the development of specific competitive content or positioning vs. key competitors
  8. Grow win rate through development of new product functionality to address top loss or no decision reasons (a process for win/loss analysis will help uncover and prioritize these)
  9. Grow average order value through product packaging or bundling  
  10. Grow average order value through price increases (hey, you gotta consider it right!)

Aligning around the how of growth, first at the high level and then into the specific growth drivers, is a key step to achieving the growth that every business wants.

Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Star: Courtney Kay

For our next Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Star, we go a little bit outside the box and talk to Courtney Kay, who is becoming a trusted ally to many demand gen marketers in her role as VP, Field & Product Marketing for TechTarget. Courtney has her finger on the pulse of the latest demand generation best practices and as brands need to behave more and more like publishers to build and engage their audiences (prospects and customers), there’s a lot demand gen marketers can learn from experts like Courtney.

(You’ll notice several related links that Courtney shared as well interspersed throughout our conversation).

Zak: I’m excited to pick your brain so let’s get right to it. TechTarget is a publisher, and brands are being told to act more like publishers to support their content marketing and demand generation. What are your top tips or tricks of publishing that you’d recommend to marketers?

Courtney: I really feel for B2B marketers today.  To be effective in this environment, we really do have to act like publishers and for most folks, content isn’t their business- so the skillsets, the tools, the resources and the budgets frankly aren’t aligned very well to a publishing model.  Being a publisher means both a marketing and overall organizational shift in mindset, followed by an alignment of teams and processes to essentially create a content architecture that can deliver thoughtful content with a regular cadence.  I’ve been in this business for over 10 years now, and when I work with brands in the tech arena today on this topic, I focus most on getting the foundation right.  I see three critical steps to get started as a brand publisher:  

Number one - shift from a product centric to buyer centric mindset. Digital enables buyers to define their own research path.  If they don’t like the way we have to say what we want to say, they’ll simply leave us out of that journey.  Historically, businesses have lead with product.  Being an effective publisher means leading with the buyer: what does he or she need to know, and how can we as a brand meet that content need while inserting our point-of-view in the right place, at the right time.  Sirius Decisions does some great work on buyer-centricity, particularly Jay Gaines if you get the chance to work with him.

Zak: Absolutely, I just saw a quote in an article with one of Jay’s colleague, Jason Hekl – Jason said the key to effective demand generation is to figure out how to genuinely help your buyers – I love that.  OK, so what is number two?

Courtney: Number two is getting the right team in place. Traditionally we’ve used product teams to talk features/functionalities, sales folks to talk differentiation and execs to talk vision.  Now we need advocates and editors who can translate the brand and product story into a language and suite of content on any one topic that facilitates the buyer’s holistic research process. This often requires skillsets beyond marketing to more of a journalistic background.

And then third is create a smart content taxonomy, organizational structure. Your value as a publisher lies in your ability to convey expertise and meaningful coverage against the specific topics related to your business that matter to your target buyer.  We classify our content in multiple ways and align our production to ensure coverage across each element of that taxonomy through smart calendaring.  The fundamentals for a solid taxonomy include: topic, stage of the lifecycle, and the specific solution.  If you’ve done the work, you can also leverage personas here, which will ultimately inform your personalization efforts later.

Zak: This sounds like an area where that publisher know-how can really help.

Courtney: You’re right. The key is don’t try to cover too much- think depth, not breadth to facilitate that journey and align the right types of content to the various lifecycle stages. We have a quick grid that can help.

Zak: What aspect of demand generation do you see as particularly ‘hot’ over the next year?

Courtney: When I think about demand gen trends I think about 2 aspects, 1: what we’re doing buyer-side to create deeper engagement and 2: how we’re utilizing that gained buyer insight in conjunction with other data on the backend to continue to facilitate that journey -- be it via marketers, advocates, or sales.  Regarding #1, I think we’re going to continue down the personalization path with brands thinking beyond email nurture, to more seamless/holistic personalization of brand experiences thanks to technology advancements.    The second trend, regarding #2, is the real-time utilization of data in our marketing, sales & service efforts. We’re bringing not only contact details but behavioral details into our systems and providing visibility real time.  We’re also starting to augment that data with other relevant external data to create 1-a more comprehensive picture of our buyer and 2- a better functioning, more efficient CRM system.

Zak: So you’ve mentioned a couple technologies that TechTarget is focused on. What technologies to support demand generation are you seeing increasing in adoption by marketers?

Courtney: This idea of personalized content experiences and better, deeper engagement is being made possible by some pretty exciting technologies that we’re going to start to see more widespread adoption of, and probably acquisition of by the major marketing platforms.  In particular I see content experience tools- tools like Uberflip and Ion Interactive are a few examples of software tools that are allowing us to bring more, related, and personalized content offers to prospects, at their point-of-consumption.  They’re doing some exciting things to by assessing your engagement and capturing information on the buyer as he or she researches and using it to customize it as buyer’s progress.

And then also retargeting & programmatic- the display ad is essentially born again thanks to our ability to merge interactive experiences with advanced targeting tactics, and the immediacy afforded by programmatic to react more real-time with progressive, personalized content via the banner. 

On the backend, when it comes to the utilization of data, I think we’re on the cusp of something really exciting.  First we’re starting to see much more powerful data being made available that can help us make better sense of our CRM systems and prioritized our sales efforts.  Then we’re seeing the growth of predictive tools that are mining our CRM systems and these additional data sources to predict where our next opportunities lie.  This is a space to watch and invest in for sure- we sure are!

Zak: Is there a marketing program that you’ve seen in the past year that stands out as being especially innovative and/or effective?

Courtney: I really like the work that CommVault did this past year- not because it’s any big, over-the-top concept, but because the team got very strategic about how they tackled some real challenges I think we can all relate to, and they share their results- which can often be hard to come by.  I won’t run through all the details, but to summarize- the team was struggling with a few key things heading into their FY14- 1: having so many distribution channels and efforts that they felt as though they weren’t getting meaningful enough visibility across any 1 channel- 2- they were running into challenges trying to drive the adoption of a persona-based strategy and 3- they were struggling with cross-pollination – meaning driving any one account to purchase multiple solutions.  In response, the team reduced the number of channels they were leveraging, created a very integrated brand/demand/enablement approach across those they were leveraging (aligning teams and technology) and worked with us to develop a buying-team focus and cross-solution messaging strategy that drove both deeper engagement with prospects, and a greater solution awareness across accounts.  You can watch the case study (3rd video down) and also check out an interview with CommVault’s marketing teams if you’re interested in learning more.

Zak: OK, we’ve gone deep into some great topics. I want to learn a little more about your background and how you’ve grown into these areas. How did you get your start in marketing?

Courtney: I actually started out in sales and quickly realized that it wasn’t the close that got me most excited, it was creating the vision for a client of how he or she might use and benefit from my solution- relating to them, and seeing that “ah ha” moment.  It was the storytelling that I loved, and also figuring out how to visually represent that story is something I really enjoy.  I do think the background in sales was one of the best things I could have done for myself as a marketer because it helps me relate well and frankly work very well with my sales team- something I think a lot of marketing and sales organizations struggle with.

Zak: Absolutely and I’ve had similar experiences to what you’ve described. And now that you are an absolute marketing and demand generation pro, what do you like most about those areas?

Courtney: This is where I get to geek out a bit.  I love digging into the data to test hypotheses, debunk myths and bring those marketing stories to life.  Demand tools provide a very measureable way to draw some pretty clear conclusions about our marketing efforts, I love to survey, test and measure everything.  If you’re ever subjected to one of my presentations, you’ll quickly realize my love affair with all things statistically oriented!

Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?

Courtney: This is more of an attribute than a skill but is directly related.  I personally think one of the best things a demand generation marketer can be is inquisitive.  So often I deal with media buyers or demand generation marketers that are so focused on the numbers – and rightfully so, it’s a big job! -- that they often overlook the bigger marketing point.  For example with one client we had a series of content that we were marketing.  A subset of that content was generating exponentially more leads so they want to stop circulating the rest rather than poke at why that might be.  So we took it upon ourselves to test out a few ideas and discovered that a number of the assets they wanted to stop circulating were actually driving exponentially more secondary touch points which were also directly correlated to a higher engagement with trigger content.  So being inquisitive to me is really important… and the corresponding skill: being at least a little bit analytical.

Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?

Courtney: I have three pieces of advice.

First - avoid “analysis paralysis.” As much as I do think being analytical is important, don’t lose sight of the reality of the situation.  It’s easy to get absorbed in the numbers- I’m definitely guilty- but try to stay rooted in the reality of what you’re dealing with and looking to achieve.

Second - just because you can doesn’t mean you should – technology is enabling us to do so very many things now with our targeting and content delivery.  Be sure that what you’re taking on is enhancing- not detracting- from a buyer’s journey.

And third - don’t over-engineer it- at the end of the day, we’re all trying to sell a product and nothing will ever beat a great conversation and a personal connection.  You don’t need a 200 parameter scoring mechanism or 30 touch nurture and retargeting strategy that takes an astrophysicist to decipher to make that happen.  Take the time to understand a client’s journey from introduction through to close and service and figure out the right places to add your value to that journey.

Zak: Where can we find you on social media?

Courtney: You can find me on LinkedIn: and on Twitter: @CourtneyLKay  I’m always happy to connect and hear about your great marketing experiences or chat about challenges!

Zak: Thanks so much Courtney.

Enjoyed this interview? Meet all of the Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars

Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Star: Allison MacLeod

Allison MacLeod is the latest of our Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars. As Senior Director of Demand Generation & Marketing Operations at Rapid7, Allison has a wide range of responsibilities and has both the blessing and the challenge of growing demand for a business that recently received $30M in investment to accelerate its growth(!).

Zak: What is the target audience you are marketing/selling to?

Allison: Rapid7 provides IT data security data and analytics solutions and we market and sell to information security professionals. That includes the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), security managers, directors and VPs, penetration testers, security analysts, and incident responders.

Zak: With that wide range of roles, how do you segment your audience?

Allison: We segment by customers and prospects, but mostly our segmentation strategy is based on relevance.  We have three different solution areas – threat exposure management, incident detection and response and security advisory services. It is important that we deliver and provide relevant marketing resources to people based off of their need and interest, as well as their role. A security admin looking to scan their network likely wants different content than a CISO who has just joined an organization trying to measure the maturity of their security program. Right time, right message, right person is critical!

Zak: Absolutely. Part of that right time, right message is well defined lead stages, how have you approached that area?
Allison: We follow a Sirius Decisions model, but with a bit of our own Rapid7 twist on it. We measure each stage of the funnel and are pretty maniacal about it to make sure we are staying on top and achieving our goals.

Zak: What does your “technology stack” look like?

Allison: Our stack includes marketing automation, CRM, predictive scoring, customer advocacy, online community, analytics platforms, as well as a few onsite conversion tools.

Zak: That’s outstanding. What aspect of demand generation do you see as particularly ‘hot’ over the next year?

Allison: There are a few different areas – predictive analytics and scoring, account based marketing, personalization and customer focused marketing.

I definitely think we’ll see more of a need for predictive analytics and scoring. Being able to better identify high quality leads and increase conversion is something all of us marketers want as well as the ability to focus on quality over quantity.

I also think personalization will be big in the next year. Being more relevant and targeted in messaging and content is important. Our customers and prospects want what is relevant to them not to be served up a ‘one size fits all’ type of campaign. The better marketers are at this, the more successful they’ll be. But like others have cautioned in this blog series, you have to have enough of the right data to get it correct!

And lastly customer marketing and advocacy is another hot area. We LOVE our customers at Rapid7 – and customer advocacy is really important for us. We get our customers involved in our product programs, events, webinars, blogs and our own customer-only conference UNITED.  I’ve seen a lot of marketers start to focus more on their customers and I think this will be an area that will see a lot of growth in 2015.

Zak: Jon Miller of Marketo has talked about behavior targeting being an area he expects more marketers to get their head around in 2015. Are you doing any form of behavioral targeting or triggers and what?

Allison: This is definitely important and an area I’d like to focus on. Stay tuned.

Zak: We all know content creation is critical to demand generation? How does your marketing team approach content creation? Who owns it? Who contributes?

Allison: We approach content generation based off of the needs of our audiences, what is new and trending in the industry and relevance. We try to be very agile – so for example if there is a big security vulnerability discovered in the industry -- take your pick from 2014 like Heartbleed, ShellShock or Poodle -- we act as quickly as possible to deliver content that is educational and actionable, whether that is a blog post, video, webinar, or eBook.

Content is managed centrally out of our Marketing Communications team, but we have a lot of contributors throughout the organization. Our Community Manager is responsible for our blogs strategy, and we have many contributors to overall content including PR, product marketing and management, engineering, demand generation, our services group, and research.

Zak: What are the top social media platforms you’ve found to reach your audience?

Allison: Twitter and LinkedIn are best for our audience.

Zak: How did you get your start in marketing?

Allison: In college I knew I wanted a career in Marketing, so decided to get my Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communication. While I was working on my M.A., I got a great gig at a small marketing and advertising agency in Boston where I got to wear many hats, mainly product marketing. After I finished grad school, I started at a marketing consulting company where I worked with a number of different clients on their marketing automation and email programs. My first assignment was creating a data dictionary for the CRM and automation platforms for the client’s marketing team. I thought I had wanted to be more on the creative side, but that job was definitely a great intro into demand gen, data and analytics.

Zak: That is so cool. What do you most enjoy about marketing and demand generation?

Allison: I love working across many different departments in the organization. I get to work with sales, all teams in marketing, products and services teams, IT, Finance and more. There is nothing more exciting than knowing that the campaigns or leads you have been responsible for have led to opportunities and won business.  I also love working on integrated campaigns and using new technologies to reach customers and prospects. It’s a job that gets you exposed to a lot of different areas, and no two days are the same which is something that keeps me on my toes and thrilled to keep doing it!

Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?

Allison: Data driven, analytical, results oriented, and creative are key skills. More specifically, I think having a natural curiosity about results, being able to create and design programs that are relevant and elicit interest, creating strong alignment with a sales organization, and the ability to change course or alter your programs based off of performance.

Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?

Allison: I’m in demand gen, so of course I think it is one of the most important and exciting functions in marketing.  For those aspiring demand gen professionals out there, I’d suggest joining a company where you can try many things to see what suits you best and round out your experience. Get to know how marketing ops uses technology and data to drive strategy, understand how the digital team creates awareness and fills the top of the funnel, do a stint in customer marketing, content or campaign creation. One of my first roles was focused on marketing operations and it gave me a great foundation to get more involved in the creative side of demand, and ultimately responsible for both.

Zak: Where can we find you on social media?

Allison: You can find me on Twitter @allib1121 and on Linkedin:

Zak: Thank you Allison.

Enjoyed this interview? Meet all of the Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars

Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Star: Adam Barker

Next up on our list of Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars is Adam Barker. I previously profiled Adam and 12 best practices he shared at a MassTLC Demand Gen group.

So since you have that article already and since Adam’s company is a little bit security conscious, we’ll keep this brief.

Adam has a rock solid demand gen background first at SmartBear Software and now as Director of Demand Generation for Continuum Managed Services.

Zak: What is the target audience you are marketing/selling to?

Adam: Managed IT Service Providers

Zak: We all know content creation is critical to demand generation? How does your marketing team approach content creation? Who owns it? Who contributes?

Adam: The Demand Gen team owns content creation. They involve the entire company gathering content from all our internal SMEs. It’s a team effort. We also enable our customers to contribute for items like blog series and webinars.

Zak: Interesting, you don’t always get that clear ownership of content from the demand gen team. Now on a related topic, Jon Miller of Marketo has talked about behavior targeting being an area he expects more marketers to get their head around in 2015. Are you doing any form of behavioral targeting or triggers and what?

Adam: A good tactic is to organize your site pages by pain point and place visitors in pain point buckets as they visit. Targeting these buckets with tailored messaging increases email success three-fold.

Zak: OK great. So as I mentioned we have a bunch of tips already from your MassTLC presentation, so let’s shift to more about you. How did you get your start in marketing?

Adam: I started as a graphic designer, but my early roles were on VERY small teams so there was a huge need for me to learn more and more marketing channels and mediums. This instilled a passion for all aspects of marketing in me. 

Zak: What do you most enjoy about marketing and demand generation?

Adam: Helping my team learn and succeed. 

Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?

Adam: We look for “T-shaped” marketers, meaning marketers who have deep knowledge in one particular area (writing, email marketing, SEO), but they also have smaller skill sets and  (and maybe more importantly) a desire to branch out and learn other skill sets. In general, a team full of T-shaped people makes your team immensely  stronger and more efficient than a team full of “I-shaped” marketers.

Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?

Adam: It’s a skill to be  able to “think scale” for every program/request. The ability to look at projects through the lens of customer AND cross-departmentally with how it  relates to the larger picture that we as a company are trying to achieve.

Zak: Where can we find you on social media?

Adam: @abarks99 on Twitter, or on LinkedIn at   

Zak: Thanks Adam.

Enjoyed this interview? Meet all of the Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars

Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Star: Rachel Weeks

Rachel Weeks is the latest of our Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars. As Director of Marketing at HealthcareSource, Rachel drives the strategy and leads the team responsible for demand generation, marketing operations, and corporate communications.

Zak: What is the target audience you are marketing/selling to?

Rachel: HealthcareSource provides talent management software and educational content to U.S. healthcare organizations, so we target a very specific market. Within this market, there are a number of different segments that we target.

Zak: OK so how do you segment your audience?

Rachel: While our target market is very specific, the roles within each organization vary significantly depending on the type and size of organization. While the majority of our audience is hospitals, HealthcareSource also sells to acute care centers, physician practices, and continuing care organizations which include long term care communities, home health agencies and hospice providers, so these organizations may vary in size from hundreds to tens-of-thousands of employees.

Within these organizations, the talent management function includes professionals focused on employee recruiting, performance management, compensation, education, and organizational development. Our products align with these functions in the areas of Recruiting, Retention, and Learning, and within each function we segment by individual contributors/managers who are typically the users and directors/VPs/ CXOs who are typically the decision-makers accountable for the budget.

Our messaging, sales tools, marketing campaigns and calls to action are specific to each function and level within the organization, because often the software purchases for each function are decentralized and we need to be sure we are working with all of the appropriate contacts within an organization.

Zak: Interesting – I think that’s the widest net of personas I’ve heard so far from the all-stars. With so many potentially on the buying team, what is your approach to lead stages?

Rachel: HealthcareSource has adopted the waterfall approach designed by Sirius Decisions which gives us visibility in to each stage of our lead funnel from response through closed won deals. When responses come in via inbound or outbound marketing campaigns, they are dispositioned one of 3 ways: 1) sent to Sales for immediate follow-up 2) sent to BDRs for further qualification 3) entered in to a nurture campaign that is targeted by the respondent’s function and level in the organization.

Depending on the disposition, each response eventually follows the path to lead -> opportunity -> closed won deal. At each stage of the funnel, the response may be dispositioned out of the funnel. The Sirius Decisions waterfall approach gives us visibility in to the volume of leads that are moving through each stage, as well as the conversion percentage. By monitoring the funnel on a regular basis  -- for us it’s monthly, depending on your sales cycle it may be different -- we are able to identify areas where the leads are getting stuck and not moving through the funnel and areas where leads are getting dispositioned out of the funnel. This enables us to target specific funnel stages that need improvement in order to achieve our overall goals.

Zak: What does your “technology stack” look like?

Rachel: At HealthcareSource we use for CRM, Marketo for marketing automation, and Google Analytics for web activity reporting – pretty standard stuff. We also use a product called Litmus for testing our emails on various browsers, we use Brainshark and Slideshare for content creation, we use Beep! directed voice mail for lead gen, and we try to experiment with as many tools a possible to stay in top of the latest trends, in fact we’re just about to pilot a tool called SproutSocial to further leverage social media for lead gen activities and we’re really excited to see how it’s going to impact our results.

Zak: What aspect of demand generation do you see as particularly ‘hot’ over the next year?

Rachel: The effective use of social media to generate leads will continue to gain traction. I specifically say “effective use” because many companies are using social media to share content and engage with their audience, but I’ve encountered very few that know how to quantify its value. That’s something I’m excited to dive further in to this year.

Personalization and behavioral targeting are the other areas that interest me particularly. There are so many new technology solutions emerging that address these areas, and it’s a significant investment of time to research and evaluate all of the various solutions and determine which one is the best fit for our business, but it’s something I am hoping to focus on at some point in 2015.

Zak: We all know content creation is critical to demand generation? How does your marketing team approach content creation? Who owns it? Who contributes?

Rachel: Content creation is a huge part of our marketing strategy. We have a content marketing specialist on the team who is responsible for the HealthcareSource blog, white papers, PR articles, and leveraging contributed content from HealthcareSource clients, partners, and staff. She works with product marketing and sales to prioritize content creation in response to client and prospect requests, and develops a quarterly list of topics. Depending on the topic and whether or not she wants to include input from clients or other contributors, she will determine what type of asset she will create and what channels she will leverage to distribute it. We almost always distribute all of our content via the blog -- if the asset is a white paper or an article, for example, she will write an excerpt for the blog and link to the full asset -- and our key social channels. She launched a guest blogger program from which we’ve published blogs by HealthcareSource staff, clients and partners, so that has been extremely successful, and our blog offers a great balance of educational content and fun content. Shameless plug inserted here: We also leverage email for content distribution. 

Zak: Hey, you’ve earned the right to do shameless plugs, so go right ahead. What are the top social media platforms you’ve found to reach your audience?

Rachel: We have both experimented with a variety of social media platforms and surveyed our audience to understand where they are doing their social networking and we’ve found LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to be the most popular platforms. It’s so important to know your audience and engage them where they are already spending time – we post to Twitter through Buffer, our social media management platform, but our audience isn’t really on Twitter so we don’t spend too much time thinking about how it impacts our social media strategy overall. Other audiences will have different preferences for their social networking.

Zak: Switching gears to the personal side, how did you get your start in marketing?

Rachel: I was an English major in college, so I’ve always been a writer. My first job was at a start-up medical device company and while I was primarily the receptionist/office manager, executives would come to me for proofreading and editing because of my background. Eventually my role evolved in to working with print vendors on product collateral and packaging, which eventually lead to my first job in marketing communications. I think start-ups are a great way for new professionals to get exposed to a wide variety of tasks and functions and figure out what career path to pursue for the long term.

Zak: What do you most enjoy about marketing and demand generation?

I love working with cross-functional teams, so marketing is a great way to do that. While we primarily support sales for demand gen, we work with product marketing and management, professional services, HR, and the executive team regularly on lead gen campaigns and branding initiatives. Marketing, to me, has always felt like the hub of every company I’ve been at, perhaps because most marketers are very social by nature and get to plan corporate outings and events!

Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?

Rachel: Marketing is much more analytics-driven today than ever before. There are so many great tools that enable marketers to dive deep in to the data of campaigns that the science of marketing has superseded the art. Creativity is still important – both design and content – but now more than ever success in marketing requires a data-driven mindset and the ability to drive activities and results based on supporting data and analytics.

Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?

Rachel: Based on my experience and personal preference for smaller companies, I advise all new job seekers to work in a small company early in their career. Small companies offer so much exposure and opportunity to learn about all aspects of the business whereas larger companies tend to silo people and departments in to very specific roles. In addition to the company size, the company culture is so important. Job seekers can learn about a company’s culture by visiting sites like Glassdoor for employee reviews, doing research on LinkedIn for mutual connections, and asking questions about training and professional development opportunities, mentoring philosophies, what the company does to recognize and reward employees.

Specific to aspiring demand gen marketers, I would suggest leveraging the myriad of great resources that exist online to learn as much as you can about marketing best practices, marketing automation, marketing analytics, and new and emerging technologies from places like SiriusDecisions, LinkedIn professional groups, MarketingProfs, the list goes on and on….

Zak: Where can we find you on social media?

Rachel: Connect with me on LinkedIn:

Zak: Rachel, thanks for your very insights here – very thoughtful and comprehensive.

 Enjoyed this interview? Meet all of the Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars

Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Star: Lauren Brubaker

Lauren Brubaker is latest of our Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars. Lauren is Director of Demand Generation for NetProspex whose innovative approach to marketing data management was recently recognized with a $125M acquisition by Dun & Bradstreet. Lauren is also the owner of a great Twitter handle – B2BLauren.   

Zak: What is the target audience you are marketing/selling to?

Lauren: I’m fortunate to be marketing to my own persona. NetProspex sells to demand gen marketers at high-growth companies, especially those who work in the tech space. We are looking for marketers that care a great deal about being innovative, ahead of the curve, and understand that they can no longer put off investing in marketing data management.

Zak: Yes I am envious – you’re a demand gen marketer marketing to demand gen marketers. So how do you segment “us”?

Lauren: We segment our audience based on persona and stage in the buyer’s journey. We have three different personas that get filtered into MOFU/TOFU/BOFU nurture programs. These nurtures offer a mix of content mapped to their respective stages, along with incentives to push people to the next stage. We also have a customer nurture program that is split between one-time purchasers and our subscription customers.

Zak: What is your approach to lead stages?

Lauren: We follow the SiriusDecisions waterfall method, tracking people at Inquiry, MQL, SAL, SQL, through to Closed Won. MQLs must be accepted and move to SAL within two business days, although ideally they are touched within the first hour. SALs are allowed to remain at that stage for three weeks, as our SDR team tries to book an appointment for a sales rep. Once an appointment is set and there is mutual interest, what we call a “qualifying opportunity” is created. The sales rep then has two weeks to move that opportunity into the discovery stage and associate a potential dollar amount with it. We like to manage momentum as much as possible, by encouraging things to quickly move through the funnel, or return to a nurture program. If they do get returned to nurture, their lead stage is set to RTN, and we evaluate how long it takes for them to pop back up as an MQL.

Zak: Excellent – what I love is the handle you have on the timing, and presumably SLAs, attached to each stage. That’s a best practice right there. So you need to feed those MQLs into the waterfall -- what aspect of demand generation do you see as particularly ‘hot’ over the next year to help you do that?

Lauren: Of course people are buzzing about predictive analytics right now, which is great, but I’m more interested in seeing the evolution of cookie pool data, particularly how it gets paired with firmographic/demographic data for display ads and retargeting. And of course, I’m personally hoping that more B2B marketers begin to see marketing data management as “the new hotness” for their demand gen engine.

Zak: Great stuff. I did recently blog about both predictive lead scoring and retargeting tools so those are on my mind as well. So what does your “technology stack” look like today?

Lauren: We use our own Workbench data management solution to clean and enhance the data that lives in Salesforce and Marketo. We use Triblio for social listening/sharing, and just recently inked a deal with Influitive to create a stronger customer advocacy program. We’re also big fans of Litmus to make sure our emails are rendering properly across key devices.

Zak: I should have known NetProspex was part of your toolset! What technology are you considering that you might add in the next 12 months?

Lauren: I think we will take a look at tools like Invoca to gain better insight into our inbound leads, especially as we increase our inbound efforts over the next six months. We haven’t done a great job creating video content, so we will start looking tools to help with that early in Q2.

Zak: I’ve mentioned to others in these interviews that Jon Miller of Marketo has talked about behavior targeting being an area he expects more marketers to get their head around in 2015. Are you doing any form of behavioral targeting or triggers and what?

Lauren: Our nurture programs are all based around behavior. Any new person that shows interest in NetProspex starts in our top of the funnel nurture stream. We give them background on NetProspex and what we do, and then every few emails, we introduce more middle of the funnel content. If someone downloads, they are bounced to our MOFU nurture program, where we try to get them prepped to talk to an inside sales rep. This process repeats through all our stages of the buyer’s journey. I like to think of it as marketer’s “Choose Your Own Adventure” program.

Zak: What’s a marketing program that you’ve done in the past year that has been particularly effective or innovative?

Lauren: Direct Mail is back! We typically do at least one high-value, highly targeted meeting maker campaign each quarter, and we always get fantastic results. Our sales team picks the folks they haven’t been able to get a meeting with, but they know this is the right buyer for us, and we’ll send them FedEx boxes stuffed with something cool… iPads, spa gift cards, and even a New England clambake for six. I almost hate sharing that, because we have such great results from the program.

Zak: We all know content creation is critical to demand generation? How does your marketing team approach content creation? Who owns it? Who contributes?

Lauren: Our Director of Product Marketing owns content, but he and I work closely together… we even moved our desks so we could sit next to each other for better alignment. We work off the “content pillar” approach, creating one large piece of content per quarter that can be easily broken down into smaller, snackable pieces. For example, this quarter we are working on our annual State of Marketing Data Benchmark Report, which is a 10-12 page PDF. We take that, and then break it down into blogs, webinars, tweets, tip sheets, and more. We’re still a relatively small marketing team (but we’re hiring!) so we need to maximize ROI for our time. I then take the content and insert it into our demand calendar for social, display, email, etc.

Zak: I’ve seen a lot of success with the content pillar approach – Kapost did a nice job of summarizing content pillar in this post. So then as you are promoting that content, what are the top social media platforms you’ve found to reach your audience?

Lauren: We primarily engage with our audiences through LinkedIn, Twitter, and our blog. Triblio has been a big help in showing us where the key conversations are happening.

Zak: Shifting to the personal side, how did you get your start in marketing?

Lauren: I started in marketing when I was pretty young, getting my first job as a marketing assistant at 19. Email marketing captured my attention immediately, which is great, because Atlanta feels like the marketing automation capital of the world (Marketo, Silverpop, and Pardot all have huge offices there.) It has been incredible to see the changes in the technology over the past ten years. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next ten bring. 

Zak: What do you most enjoy about marketing and demand generation?

Lauren: I love the fact that I can help sales close a deal, without actually having to close a deal. Asking people for money gives me serious anxiety… but I love being able to contribute to a company’s bottom line in a measurable way. I have such respect for sales people and the work they do. The rejection they face on a daily basis can be so discouraging, yet they are still able to come in again and do it all over again. If I can help them hit their commits each day, I’m happy.

Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?

Lauren: I think they are many of the same skills that help people succeed in any role in the startup/tech world. Grit, willingness to roll up your sleeves, and a general hustler’s attitude will help you go far. Toss in a love of analytics, and you’ll be set.

Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?

Lauren: Get your hands dirty! There’s nothing like real-world experience to teach you the ropes. Learn the basics of email marketing, get comfortable with simple tools like Constant Contact, and work your way up. There are always local businesses that need help getting their message out there. Once you’re more established, two things are crucial: 1. Make friends with your sales team immediately. They won’t always love you, but if they know you’re genuinely working (and working hard!) for their best interests, the alignment is much better. 2. Find a way to connect with the folks in the C-Suite. It can be through your metrics, your mutual love of scotch (shoutout to Mike Bird!), or helping edit their blog posts. Just find a way to connect. It will help you understand the overall goals of the business outside of demand gen, and give you an avenue to share your (hopefully) awesome results.

Zak: Where can we find you on social media?

Lauren: I can be found on Twitter @B2BLauren, talking about my love of sports, connecting with my fellow marketing nerds, or tweeting with my mom about how she wishes I still lived in Atlanta.

Zak: Lauren this has been great, thank you.

Enjoyed this interview? Meet all of the Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars

Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Star: Jonathan Burg

Jonathan Burg is latest of our Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars. As senior director of marketing and customer acquisition for Apperian, Jonathan is instrumental in the growth of the company defining the mobile application management marketplace. We had a few minutes to sit down with Jonathan and learn about some of the keys to his demand generation success.

Zak: What is the target audience you are marketing/selling to?

Jonathan: We target both IT and Business leaders who own the success of critical employee mobile apps. Our solution helps organizations securely deploy mobile applications to their BYOD employees.

Zak: How do you segment your audience?

Jonathan: We primarily segment our audience by use case and the persona who is trying to solve the challenges associated with a specific enterprise mobility environment.

Zak: What is your approach to lead stages?

Jonathan: We follow a version of the SiriusDecisions lead waterfall that is aligned to the unique demands of our perpetual demand generation framework. The important part of the waterfall is that it is looked as a communication framework and part of an overall customer journey / lifecycle.

Zak: What does your “technology stack” look like?

Jonathan: We invest in technologies that help us optimize the customer journey. Our stack is made up of solutions that make our web properties easier to find and more sticky, help with data governance and streamline lead processing, drive marketing automation and CRM best practices, and facilitate customer communications and advocacy.

Zak: That’s very comprehensive – nice. Are there any technologies that you may add over the next 12 months?

Jonathan: We are currently working to understand if predictive marketing is right for our technology. We will also be looking at account based marketing tools that align to early, middle, and late stage demand generation.

Zak: What aspect of demand generation do you see as particularly ‘hot’ over the next year?

Jonathan: I think the development of customer advocacy, account based marketing, and predictive marketing tools are going to be hot. Customer marketing and advocacy is a pivotal component of efficient demand generation. By learning from your customers, organizations are also better able to target and predict future customers, that is where account based marketing and predictive marketing will come into play.

Zak: Jon Miller of Marketo has talked about behavioral targeting being an area he expects more marketers to get their head around in 2015. Are you doing any form of behavioral targeting or triggers?

Jonathan: Yes. Because we target by use-case behavior targeting is very important. Based on the type of content our subscribers are interacting with we only send them content that is applicable. We are also boosting our efforts to segment our customers based on how they are using mobile app management so that we can help them become more successful.

Zak: I gotta believe that puts you in the top percentile of marketers of terms of really taking advantage of what’s possible with marketing automation. What’s a marketing program that you’ve done in the past year that has been particularly effective or innovative?

Jonathan: We had an extremely integrated program that pulled nearly every lever - Social, Search, Email, Events, Advertising, teleprospeting, and Direct Mail. We anchored the program with the theme of MobilityPro. We launched the MobilityPro survey and sweepstakes that people could enter via social channels as well as being interviewed live at the events we were attending. We also used an important piece of analyst research to fuel survey responses. Not only did it help increase our Klout score, but we generated significant awareness at our events, received 300+ survey responses helping to create our 2015 Mobility Report, and created a pool of people who wanted to learn how we could help them solve their unique mobile app needs.

Zak: Now that is integrated marketing – congratulations. For the social media component, what are the top social media platforms you’ve found to reach your audience?

Jonathan: Twitter is our social platform of choice to interact with influencers in our market. We do a lot of work on LinkedIn and are starting to build out Facebook strategy.

Zak: We all know content creation is critical to demand generation? How does your marketing team approach content creation? Who owns it? Who contributes?

Jonathan: Our go to market is governed by campaigns, which are messaging frameworks that fuel the development of content created for personas that are focused on specific use cases. We have programs and tactics that align to these campaigns. Our department heads meet to kick-off the campaigns and together outline what content is needed for early, middle and late stage programs and tactics. We assign a lead on each piece of content and support each other to make sure it is completed by the time it is needed. This approach has proved to keep alignment between teams and enhance efficiencies.

Zak: How did you get your start in marketing?

Jonathan: Coming out of an MBA I entered into a marketing leadership development program. I had an affinity for demand generation and creating high functioning teams focused on generating qualified sales pipeline. I haven’t looked back since.

Zak: What do you most enjoy about marketing and demand generation?

Jonathan: I love the challenge of having to think strategically at the c-level one-minute, and being responsible for executing that strategy the next. The changes in altitude required and the diverse challenges encountered every day make the job fun!

Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?

Jonathan: The ability to create team cohesion across functional groups is key. Having an understanding of how aligning people, process, and technology can achieve higher-level organizational goals is key. Grit. I’ve not met a successful demand generation pro who doesn’t have fun working hard.

Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?

Jonathan: Focus on the customer experience, whether that’s the customer of your company or an employee you’re working with. If your always focused on the customer you will design programs that make a difference and will motivate your colleagues to accomplish them effectively with you.

Zak: Where can we find you on social media?

Jonathan: You can find me on twitter at @jonmburg or LinkedIn.

Zak: Thank you Jonathan, really insights and you had a really nice example of an integrated program, congrats again on orchestrating that.

Enjoyed this interview? Meet all of the Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars

Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Star: Ellie Mirman

Ellie Mirman is latest of our Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars. After climbing through the ranks in marketing team  at HubSpot, Ellie has taken her Demand Gen prowess to Toast where she is VP, Marketing for a company redefining restaurant management software.  We had a few minutes to sit down with Ellie and catch up on how she is applying her phenomenal track record at HubSpot to her newfound challenges at Toast.

Zak: At HubSpot you were marketing to a wide range of audiences. Now at Toast who are you targeting?

Ellie: Toast is an all-in-one restaurant management platform meant for all different kinds of restaurants - from cafes and bars to full service restaurants and fast casual chains.

Zak: How are you segmenting your audience?

Ellie: We're still ramping up our marketing efforts, but there are already a few key ways to segment that are emerging. Firstly, we have a few different audiences: prospects, customers, partners, and resellers. Secondly, there are different types of restaurants with different needs - a cafe or bakery may value different benefits than a full service restaurant would.

Zak: In your early state of building out your marketing, how are you approaching lead stages?

Ellie: Our funnel progresses from leads who are just looking for educational content to leads who are actively looking for a solution to opportunities who are evaluating our software and then, ultimately customers and evangelists.

Zak: And what does your initial “technology stack” look like?

Ellie: HubSpot for marketing, Salesforce for CRM. We're a lean team and use free tools like Google Docs and Trello for other tech needs.

Zak: Are you considering any new marketing technologies in the near future?

Ellie: We're a lean team and I think stating we'd add certain technology in the next year is only going to invite cold sales emails so I'll refrain from saying more.

Zak: Fair enough. How about demand gen more broadly -- what aspects do you see as particularly ‘hot’ over the next year?

Ellie: What isn't hot about demand gen??... said the marketing geek. I will say that one of the interesting things about doing demand gen right now is figuring out how to cut through the increasing noise online. Online marketing, inbound demand gen, social media marketing... these things aren't new anymore, and simply being online isn't enough. 

Zak: Jon Miller of Marketo – one of your former competitors—has talked about behavioral targeting being an area he expects more marketers to get their head around in 2015. Are you doing any form of behavioral targeting or triggers?

Ellie: I agree that this has become more common - as well as more possible, given all the data that exists about user behavior. Retargeting and behavioral segmentation are likely the starting places for us as we start to ramp up our nurturing efforts. However, I must warn that this only makes sense when you have enough data and a large enough audience before diving into this area.

Zak: What’s a marketing program that you’ve done in the past year that has been particularly effective or innovative?

Ellie: While at HubSpot, we implemented holistic lead nurturing - expanding beyond the classic email nurturing into social, retargeting, and even some offline campaigns - which was one of the successful initiatives that significantly improved the lead to customer conversion rate.

Zak: We all know content creation is critical to demand generation? How does your marketing team approach content creation? Who owns it? Who contributes?

Ellie: Everyone contributes to our content creation efforts. That includes everyone in marketing as well as content contributors from other departments because they bring great expertise to showcase on the blog. We also have someone on the marketing team who "owns" content creation - from strategy-setting to editing to creating a significant portion of the content.

Zak: What are the top social media platforms you’ve found to reach your audience?

Ellie: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are our biggest networks so far.

Zak: Let’s move a little bit to the personal side -- how did you get your start in marketing?

Ellie: While getting a liberal arts degree in college, I started thinking about what I wanted to do when I graduated. I ended up taking a marketing internship one summer and fell in love with it. Through my marketing internship experience, I landed a job doing marketing at an up-and-coming startup - HubSpot. That turned out to be an exceptionally good choice early in my career.

Zak: What do you most enjoy about marketing and demand generation?

Ellie: The variety - there are so many facets of marketing that leverage different skills. I love being able to do analytical and creative work and work on a variety of things every day. It keeps things interesting and challenging all the time.

Zak: What skills do you see as most important for a demand generation marketer?

Ellie: Analytical - able to make data-driven decisions, test, analyze, prioritize.

Agile - able to stay on top of what's happening in the industry and in the sales funnel to adjust as necessary.

Communicator - able to communicate well, whether in written form or verbally, both internally and externally.

Curious and creative - able to get new ideas from unexpected places and explore new opportunities.

Zak: What advice would you give to any aspiring demand generation marketers?

Ellie: Get experience any way you can. That means interning or even testing out demand gen strategies on your own personal website. (If you don't have a personal website, start one!) Results speak louder than any theories you can talk about in an interview.

Zak: For those who want to continue to learn from you, where can we find you on social media?

Ellie: My personal blog is and you can follow me on Twitter at

Zak: Thank you Ellie

Enjoyed this interview? Meet all of the Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars

Introducing the Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars

In my recent post titled Demand generation is about lead generation and oh-so-much-more, I shared what it takes to be a superstar demand generation marketer today.

Now I’d like to introduce the superstar demand generation marketers that I’ve come across. I participate in local demand generation peer groups via MassTLC, the Boston Marketo User Group and SiriusDecisions – and these stand out as the best of the best.

What do they have in common?

  • An innate grasp of the multi-faceted, multi-dimensional approach needed for demand generation today
  • An intense drive for measurement and data driven decisions
  • A commitment to the process within their sales and marketing organizations needed to drive demand generation effectiveness
  • Creativity to produce demand generation programs that stand out from their competitors

For each, click to see our interview with the All-Star to learn about their secrets to success for world class demand generation covering topics including an example of an innovative program, details around their marketing technology stack, their approach to content creation and how they got their start in marketing and demand generation.

And with no further ado, here’s our Moneyball Marketer Demand Generation All-Stars:

Demand generation is about lead generation and oh-so-much-more

In recruiting for a Demand Generation Manager role I’m finding there’s a lack of universal definition of the term demand generation – it’s not broadly understood – ironic considering every business by definition needs to scale and accelerate their demand generation (at least, if it wants to grow).

I’m finding a set of people who think of demand generation way too narrowly, for example:

  • Some equate demand generation to an outbound calling function (in a previous post on defining Moneyball Marketing I got into the difference between demand generation and lead generation)
  • Others equate demand generation with marketing automation (I thought Scott Vaughan from Integrate did a good job of describing the differences in a recent post)

A successful demand generation marketer massively broadens from these specific functions to truly take ownership of the multiple facets of demand growth for a business. It cuts both wide and deep, but I’ll boil it down to these 10 components:

#1 – Leads (with Definitions)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t list leads first – but it’s also vital to note that gone are the days where leads are the “be all, end all.” Also gone are the days where all leads are treated equal. A crucial first step in any demand generation program is ensuring lead definitions are established, applied and measured so that you can measure both top of funnel engagement (MQIs – marketing qualified inquiries) and throughput of creating qualified leads for sales (MQLs – marketing qualified leads).

#2 – What Happens After the Lead is Generated

Although lead counts are one of the critical KPI for demand generation success, measurement needs to extend beyond leads to sales pipeline and business impact – so opportunities and wins (and the conversions rates to these) are vital. For demand generation marketers, meeting lead goals is table stakes; tracking and improving how those leads convert to meet opportunity and pipeline objectives is where you move from good to great.

#3 – Enabling Teleprospecting and Sales

One of the influencing factors to conversion rates is how you as the demand generation marketer align your programs and equip sales to follow up the leads and the resulting conversations. Part of a successful marketing program include enabling sales in what content to use as part of the follow up and how to use it.

#4 – Aligning All Forms of Media to Drive Demand

Demand creation is not a single role on a marketing team – demand creation is the culmination of the alignment of the efforts of the entire marketing team.  All forms of marketing awareness and engagement contribute to demand generation programs. Demand generation needs to partner with all marketing resources to ensure cross-channel alignment and leverage including:

  • PR
  • Social Media
  • Events
  • Paid Search
  • Publisher programs (which are requiring an increased level of creativity and digital thinking to drive effectiveness)
  • Email
  • Webinars

#5 – SEO & Website Optimization as the Center of Demand

Inbound marketing is vital to any demand generation strategy and becomes especially vital for any business looking to scale to support high volume and low cost per lead. Thus core ongoing activities to improve website performance include:

  • Ensuring the right technical setup for website & blogs
  • Aligning web content to keyword strategy
  • Driving high volume of relevant, engaging content creation via blog(s)
  • Driving quality, relevant inbound link placement in partnership with PR programs
  • Ensuring web resource center serves to engage and educate prospects and effectively capture leads
  • Analyzing website usage patterns and improving website engagement and conversion
  • A/B testing and optimizing various calls to action throughout the website

#6 – A Content Repurposing Machine  

Depending on a company’s structure, a demand generation marketer may or may not be the originator of core content e.g. white papers (I think more often than not, they would not be). However demand generation marketers need to be expert content repurposers, taking core content assets and getting maximum impact from those assets. Some examples include:

#7 - Influencer Strategy

It’s one thing for a business to tell its prospects how great it is – it’s another thing entirely for an influencer to do that. Identifying the influencers and building programs to leverage them is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Influencers should be infused in your demand generation programs and content, and influencers can be the path to the another key to demand gen success – which is identifying which communities your prospects are participating in so that you can contribute to those conversations.

#8 – Marketing Technology Strategy

I’m finding one of the value aspects of a marketing automation system is having a single platform which can then integrate across all of the growing set of marketing technologies in building a demand generation machine. Your marketing technology strategy should result in an integrated approach, with the marketing automation platform as the integration point and including:

  • CRM & closed loop reporting
  • Incoming data enhancement technologies
  • Data append / cleaning technologies
  • Paid search
  • Retargeting
  • Webinar platforms
  • Predictive lead scoring

#9  – Leveraging all Routes to Market Including Partners

For organizations who go to market via partners, supporting partner demand generation is critical for maximizing demand. This includes ensuring an active program to leverage marketing programs and content through the channel, with technologies, process and people in place to help partners maximize their demand and measure the impact of the efforts.

#10 – Customer Marketing (it can no longer be an afterthought)

Customer marketing can no longer be an afterthought and needs to be a core cog in your demand generation strategy. Elements of this include:

  • Programs for nurturing customers – Marketo has recently put out some good content around this focused on customer activation
  • Ongoing customer education e.g. a customer webinar series
  • Customer advocacy – Influitive puts out great content on this subject, which should include a customer referral program

These are some additional articles I found helpful in framing and defining Demand Generation:

This is all to say, demand generation isn’t easy and requires a completely holistic and integrated view (integrated by medium, integrated within marketing, integrated with sales), a digital approach and a tenacity to get results. These are all reasons why great demand generation marketers are hard to find.

I’m going to introduce you to the best Demand Generation marketers I’ve found in an upcoming series Demand Generation All Stars – The Best of the Best.

Finding common ground on closed loop reporting via Boston Marketo User Group

Today’s Boston Marketo User Group (BMUG) featured three presentations and Q&A on closed loop reporting from Paul Green of Extreme Networks, Lauren Brubaker of NetProspex and yours truly and well chronicled on Twitter by many of the Marketing Automation-erati including Jarin Chu, Jeff Coveney, Ed Masson and OpFocus.

The presentations and conversation spanned a wide range of topics and perspectives, but these were my top overarching takeaways:

#1 - EVERYONE is trying to improve their closed loop marketing effectiveness

Companies may be at different stages in their journey towards closed loop reporting, but every business spending money on sales & marketing is trying to better understand the payoff on their investments and how to leverage those investments to scale their business performance.  Many companies are in the early stages and trying to head in the right direction, while the ones who have been working on it for several years continue to strive for more.

#2 – The skills of marketing technologists as in demand as ever

With a room full of some-70 marketing technologists, the conversation was clear that everyone is looking for more talent in this area. It’s a great time to be a revenue marketer and specialized in technologies such as Marketo.

#3 - Closed loop, revenue marketing takes partnership between marketing, sales and IT

This was one of Paul’s summary points but it applied to all of us --- all three of these departments need to contribute to the closed loop engine. IT teams can be a great ally for marketers looking to connect data and systems and ensure they have the real time dashboards and reporting required to enable close loop reporting. In Paul’s case, he also noted that his sales and marketing teams are now seen as a single organization reporting into a Chief Revenue Officer.

#4 - Tracking revenue stages is now broadly adopted

Whereas everyone has different approaches to where data resides, what is tracked and how reporting is performed, and one common denominator between everyone in the room was the underlying fundamental of using revenue stages to track lead progression through their buying process e.g. MQI to MQL to SAL to SQL.

For those who attended (or even if you didn’t), these are some related resources to the topic:

And as there were multiple requests for the slides here is a download of my PPT deck on closed loop reporting:  Closed Loop Reporting Slides



Six critical attributes and three must-have metrics for closed loop measurement of marketing programs

Marketers for decades have been trying to answer the question, “How do you measure campaign effectiveness?”

We’ve come a long way since the days of the quote "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half”… which has been attributed to many although I believe the true attribution goes back to the 19th century with John Wanamaker.  

Today measurement is more attainable but we have to deal with issues like parent and child campaigns, UTM tracking, first touch and last touch attribution and campaign influence weighting.

After years of evolution, improvement and refinement, I’ve landed on this model for measuring campaign and program performance:

The six attributes I use to slice and dice campaign measurement:

#1 – Theme

Themes are the roll up of multiple programs and last for multiple quarters.

#2 – Program

A program is the intersection of content and a specific media outlet/vehicle over a specific time duration, and has a cost investment attached to it.

#3 – Medium

Medium identifies the marketing channel e.g. website, blog, social media, paid search, email, retargeting and syndication.

 #4 – Media Outlet/Vehicle

This identifies the specific vehicle within a medium. I like to identify major sub-categories for analysis so for example Google splits out into Google Branded Search, Non-Branded Search, Retargeting and Display Network. LinkedIn splits out into Ads and Sponsored Posts. And this also includes specific publishers e.g. Madison Logic, Network World or IDG Connect.

 #5 – Call to Action

This identifies the type of call to action used as the primary call to action in the program so common values include Free Trial, Free Tool, White Paper, eGuide, Webinar, On Demand Webinar, Analyst Report or Case Study.

 #6 – Content Asset

This identifies the specific content asset by title. With the ever importance of content marketing and being able to quantify content effectiveness, this has reached a status of must-have reporting and thus warrants its own field so program effectiveness can be rolled up by content asset.

The three ways to measure campaign effectiveness:

 I was once asked if it’s better to measure first touch or last touch campaign attribution, and my answer is “both”. I use this model, which I call A-I-C for Acquisition, Influence, Conversion.

 #1 – Acquisition Program

The acquisition program identifies the program used to acquire the MQI, which generated the initial interaction.  And (like all of these) carries through to all follow-on performance metrics MQL, Opportunity, Pipeline $, Bookings, etc.  Think of this as measuring “first touch”, and a given lead can only have one acquisition program.

#2 – Influence Program

Influence programs measure all leads who engage around a program and follow-on performance. This is ideal for program comparison (plotting program performance and identifying top performers and low performers)… it should NOT be used for summation to measure total marketing impact as there would be double counting across program. A given lead can and should have multiple influence programs. Since it counts “all attribution”, it’s strongest use is identifying low performers (that have clear non ROI) and for identifying top performers that stand out relative to other programs. A future evolution here are influence weighting system enabled by companies such as Full Circle.

#3 – Conversion Program

The conversion program identifies the “last touch” program prior to MQL conversion, and all follow-on metrics. A given lead can only have one conversion program.

These three sets of metrics provide a complete picture around campaign/program performance, and should be used in combination to provide perspective and measurement when analyzing effectiveness of investments

Seven articles dripping with insight for Moneyball Marketers

I find myself consuming content all the time - the tipping point was over a year ago when I finally gave up my circa 1999 flip phone for an always-on iPhone. I’m now consuming content even more than before – Twitter feed, LinkedIn feed, LinkedIn emails, vendor emails, you name it.

These are some of the better posts I’ve come across of late - and you know they're good when you not only share them but you find yourself going back to read them time and again.

#1 - The Content Marketing Imperative – Some nice visuals and stats on the WHY of content marketing from Michael Brenner. My favorite part is slides 19-26 which was a mini before and after case study for Michael’s work at SAP – inspirational! After that you are welcome to tune out as it turned more into a commercial for Michael’s current gig at NewsCred.

#2 – Why Content Marketing Fails – First off all, Rand Fishkin rules. He was the highlight for me at the HubSpot INBOUND conference this past year. This is also inspirational and my single favorite slide is the insight from Slide 85 where he says: "The Price of Success is Failure after Failure after Failure" and "Hopefully each of those failures provides an opportunity to learn. We as marketers need to commit – great results take time to develop, and the single biggest source of lack of performance is stop/starts or constant change in direction without ever seeing a set of strategies through to completion."

#3 – On Challenger Marketing – This one resonated with me big time and contains key insights for any brand trying to unseat the “main player” in their space.  Read the Q&A on Commercial Insight which has impacted my approach to webinars – I want all webinar topics to align to this approach.  First and foremost, commercial insight must be grounded in a set of unique capabilities and strengths that set your company apart from all possible competitors (including the status quo). Ultimately, whatever you teach your customer about their business has to lead back to something you can help them do better than anyone else”. And, “Commercial Insight isn’t about the supplier. It’s about the customer.”

#4 – Why Sales People Shouldn’t Prospect – This is a classic from David Skok covering Aaron Ross’s Predictable Revenue approach. I often refer to the four specialized functions of sales that Ross recommends  - Inbound Lead Qualification; Outbound Prospecting (Business Development); Account Executives / quota-carrying reps who close deals; and Account Management / Customer Success. Lots more insight in this article.

#5 - Presenting Value of Marketing to the Board – Nice blog post from John Neeson of SiriusDecisions with some good tips on how to communicate the value of marketing at the senior most level. I find this a helpful read when preparing for any senior level presentation and helping to “keep the conversation high.”

#6 – How to Get a Job at Google – In all of my roles building a team via recruiting and  hiring has been central to success. There are some good tips in this New York Times article which I’ve also followed in my career including the prioritization of cognitive ability, humility and ownership over a specific skill or expertise.

#7 - Don't Just Curate Content, Harvest it – Content operations is an increasingly important function within marketing teams to support content marketing execution. Jim Burns and Mark Gibson provide four key fundamentals to support a content marketing operation – constant acquisition; content headers; harvesting contents; and managing content source. This is a must read.