sw_selectionA lot of businesses who use Constant Contact or Mailchimp or a similar app for email marketing are now recognizing limitations for expand digital and email marketing and more automated inbound programs. To address the selection of a new email service provider (ESP) or marketing automation solution is not easy. It is critical to understand business needs especially when there are different business areas involved. Some business areas may want to run their own campaigns from sales using a CRM like salesforce or MS dynamics or SugarCRM. Others may expect marketing to run campaigns and hand over qualified leads or flow them directly into the CRM. Without  considering longer term strategic direction and the needs of each business group, the choices are not fully clear and this makes a confident selection more challenging.

A further challenge is that today’s revenue technologies are evolving rapidly, and solutions range from email marketing point solutions to integrated marketing automation. As the industry consolidates and new entrants emerge, there is increased importance on ensuring that any solution will fit into a longer term ‘revenue technology ecosystem’.

We are often asked us whether a Marketing Automation solution should be considered over an ESP. While many of the capabilities of a marketing automation system can be found in ESP, Web analytics, and website CMS solutions, marketing automation systems offer additional levels of integration by combining features in a single product. This brings additional capability, including:

  • Behavior / known visitor tracking by maintaining a profile of website visitors and other activities of individuals. While Web analytics products capture page and session statistics, they do not link these to known individual identities. Marketing Automation houses the contact databases and links website visits. This helps inform lead scoring and prioritization.
  • Lead Scoring with website visits, downloads and other behaviors help to build a score to measure the quality of a lead or prospect. Priority leads can be provided to sales departments with greater levels of intelligence. Scores can include attributes (title, company, location, etc.) and behaviors (email responses, Web forms completed, pages viewed, etc.).
  • CRM integration and data exchange. A two-way exchange of contact, campaign and lead information between the marketing automation system and CRM or CIF systems are critical for master data management and intelligent contact and lead management. These capabilities help to ensure that marketing and sales are working from the same information.

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To address these questions and ensure that the process fully considers business and technical requirements, you can use a selection process that reflects both short term and longer term business needs. An objective solution selection process uses an iterative and traceable process to move from requirements through to final selection:

  1. Identifying requirements including key business and technical dimensions
  2. Collaborating to establish the right criteria upon which to evaluate options
  3. Developing a long and short list of potential solutions based on key criteria
  4. Supporting the solution evaluation by engaging vendors where appropriate and applying industry experience, market insight and technical expertise
  5. Identifying a short list and supporting the due diligence process as required.

Want to learn more and get a selection checklist for Marketing Automation? Sign up here.

In a recent webinar hosted by our colleagues at Blueleaf, we shared a model for how advisors can build a balanced revenue architecture approach for inbound and outbound marketing.

For many advisors, about 70% of business has traditionally come through outbound marketing and referrals, but studies show that 89% today’s ‘buyers’ begin their evaluation with a web search and 70% of their decisions are made before they meet you face to face. Engaging this ‘new wealthy’ requires a strong digital presence and an inbound marketing capability, yet, many advisors are out of balance – either relying too much on the traditional outbound or on the new inbound marketing models.

In our view, the key is to develop and execute balanced approach driven by the metrics of your business. Financial advisor inbound marketing must be balanced with an effective outbound approach.

If you would like to learn more about the balanced approach to marketing or about the Digital Experience Index, contact us to begin the conversation.

There are an incredible number of CRM Apps out there. I have looked at several and wanted to mention Pipedrive as a great option for companies looking to focus on sales. It does a great job at pipeline management – with a nimble sales ready focus and good integrations using Zapier.

Companies like it because:

Pipedrive

1. The visual pipeline is powerful. The pipeline view is fantastic- visual drag and drop pipeline

2. Sales always needs an orchestrated next step. You can easily set that up and when an action is completed, it prompts you for the next step.

3. Managing contacts and companies is always a difficult challenge. the contact and company data management and synchronization is easy and tailored.

4. You need to track pipeline health and hygiene performance to meet goals. You can set up pipeline velocity metrics and track performance

5. Most CRMs are so cumbersome, they don’t get used. Pipedrive is built for the sales person.

6. If you are an Apps user, this is a no brainer. Pipedrive syncs with Google Apps.

7. Not expensive.

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We are excited to be rolling out a new website today with updates to our messaging as well as a new visual system. The visual system communicates the vision and focus we share with our clients every day: how to build greater marketing and sales agility to respond to a rapidly changing technology, media and competitive environment.

In this post, I thought I would outline the framework broadly including, at a high level, the strategic capabilities that we think all businesses need to build in order to achieve this vision, compete with agility and drive sustainable revenue performance.

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