It’s All About the Leads

2599701755_b91621cbf8_oIt’s all about the leads –any salesperson can tell you this. However, not all leads are created equal. In one of the best movies about sales ever, Glengarry Glen Ross, good salespeople are given the top leads, enabling them to close more business and continue their success. Weak salespeople are given weak leads, precipitating their failure. So what makes a good lead, and How do we generate leads and keep them vibrant to complete the transaction?

First, let’s look at the misconceptions about leads. In a quick list, Emma Vas debunks Lead Myths to help marketers and sales focus on what’s important. Here are some of the kernels of wisdom that come from her demystified myths:

  • Product knowledge is necessary, but sales and marketing do not need the full technical specs to promote something. They will probably get confused and muddle the important features.
  • Rather than tooting your own horn, tell your clients’ success stories.
  • Buyer persona changes. Yes, you must set one up, but be prepared for it to shift over time.
  • Qualifying leads is important. Track leads. Qualify them. Nurture them.
  • Educate the customer and the sales force.

Unless we tackle the myths, we’ll never achieve the goals listed above.

Now, once you obtain your leads, you must qualify them, nurture them, and focus on the strong leads to close sales. (See the similarities in advice?) Marketing and sales must work together to determine what makes a great lead and then apply it through their tactics. Julia Borgini gives three great tips:

1)     Understand what makes a sales-qualified lead. Establish guidelines to identify the strongest leads that can convert to sales.

2)     Start lead scoring.  Standards will help sales and marketing determine which group should work with a particular lead. Even using “cold”,  “warm”, and “hot” is a good start so you can spend your efforts effectively.

3)     Nurture your leads. Citing the long B2B pipeline, Ms. Borgini emphasizes continuous effort, communication, delivering value, so when they’re ready to buy; you’re ready to close.

As a bonus tip, Borgini reminds to always get permission to remain in contact with your leads.

In order to “Always Be Closing” we must always be nurturing, qualifying and communicating with leads.

Image via Toon Bronselaer

Automation for the People

Why is marketing automation on the rise?

69485977_fee90b4443_zAccording to the B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool (VEST), produced by Raab Associates, the majority of upgrades made by marketing automation vendors concern analytics. The results are summarized in a recent VentureBeat article.

Although content marketing, social media and mobile are buzzwords in the industry, the growth in adding analytics features is due to increasing automation in marketing. Customers need analytics to continue to improve campaigns and reach; and vendors realize they should bolster this area.

David M. Raab, principal behind the comprehensive VEST, which matches marketers to marketing automation systems, had these observations to offer:

On which new features of this year’s VEST excited Raab: “Those that are still relatively rare, including algorithmic revenue attribution, connections to external data and simulation of campaign flows.”

Whether the “continued expansion of the marketing automation space” is sustainable: “Nothing can continue forever, but I don’t think we’ll slow down for the next year or two.”

For more information on VEST’s analysis, vendor reports and industry breakdowns, the original report can be found here.

Per Stephanie Miller in a recent ClickZ article, one reason marketing automation is such a hot topic is because it makes sense now. Calling it “the most important tool in the marketing portfolio,” Miller urges B2B marketers to get aboard now or miss out on opportunities.

Noting that automation improves lead management, social marketing, CRM integration, and virtually every aspect of workflow, Miller identifies the “key benefit of automation tools is to enhance communications between people and brands to be responsive to need and life stage and available in preferred channels.” Content can be delivered at the right moment, increasing engagement and conversion. Distinguishing between delivering timely emails, marketing automation is defined as “a bigger commitment to tracking, scoring, and optimizing the full multi-channel customer journey.”

Marketing automation addresses business challenges such as:

  • creating a single marketing database from all the different customer reach channels, such as landing pages and call centers
  • nurturing leads through continued contact
  • predictive scoring, communicating at the best times for the audience to receive and respond to the messages
  • collaborating with marketing and sales for a steady stream of messaging that converts to sales.

Emphasizing the journey, marketing automation makes communication and workflow seamless, allowing all the branches of marketing and sales to work together for the same result.

In other news, LinkedIn is now offering its SlideShare platform for free. The popular tool for sharing presentations, documents and infographics will now make available to its free users premium features, such as analytics and private uploads, which were formerly reserved for SlideShare Pro subscribers. SlideShare will release a new feature to its current and new free users every month. Pro users will get all the same access to premium features now, but will no longer pay for it.

And the reason for the timing, might be similar to marketing automation, these free tools will help SlideShare grow its base of users, enable easier interactions across all parties, and help campaigns reach their audiences.

Image via re_birf

Madison Logic Selected to Inc 500/5000 for the Second Straight Year

We’re extremely proud to announce that we’ve been selected to Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing private companies for the second straight year. Congratulations to all the companies that were selected.

Here’s to a Madison Logic three-peat in 2015!

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Madison Logic Inc. 5000 Profile

Marketing Automation, Lead Generation, Behavioral Data…Where is the B2B Industry Heading?

3677296594_59af8b8f2e_zMarketing automation – Y/N?

Ayaz Nanji, MarketingProfs author, recently posted an article outlining findings from an Ascend2 study around marketing automation efforts and strategies. One of the key findings, as pointed out by Nanji, was that “nearly half of global marketers (45 percent) say the lack of an effective strategy is hampering the success of their marketing automation efforts.” The study also found that the top reasons for utilizing marketing automation is to improve marketing productivity (45 percent), increase sales revenues (44 percent), lead generation (42 percent) and lead nurturing (41 percent). We personally found the statistics around lead nurturing extremely interesting. At Madison Logic, we strongly believe that intent data (behavioral data) will soon take the place of lead nurturing. This statistics and others provided in the survey fuels an array of unanswered questions that many B2B marketers will eventually have to confront.

Zak Garner recently discussed a similar topic in his article, Predictive Intelligence: The Fuel for Successful B2B Marketing. Garner explained that predictive intelligence will be the next best thing in B2B marketing as it will provide marketers with “data, insights and recommendations they need to understand today’s disjointed buyer’s journey and drive measurably better sales results.” Below are some of the top ways Garner says that marketers can use predictive analytics to buffer and improve lead nurturing.

  • “Call center: Create call scripts tailored to your prospect using company and category intelligence and improve lead qualification rates.”
  • “Marketing automation: Route prospects to the right campaign and ensure communications are properly personalized based on company size, industry, job role and level of interest in your products.”
  • “Advertising: Only advertise to key companies and adjust messaging and landing pages based on purchase intent and company attributes.”
  • “Retargeting: Stay visible to your prospects after they reach your website. Tailor messaging according to the intent they show at your website and across the rest of the B2B web.”
  • “Social media: Only target ads to prospects at key companies when they are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.”
  • “List acquisition and lead generation: Educate and nurture prospects from key companies while building your database with net new contacts.”
  • “Website personalization: Make each visit as useful as possible by integrating audience data from predictive intelligence scoring into your content management system, personalization and testing tools.”
  • “Sales calls and conversion: Help reps prioritize the right prospects and arm them with the intelligence to secure meetings and RFPs and close deals.”

Another noteworthy article this week comes from Ad Age’s Kate Maddox. Maddox revealed that ad spending for the 100 largest B-to-B marketers approached five billion in 2013, with Internet and TV display surpassing newspaper and magazine. However, Maddox noted that smaller B2B companies (those not in the top 100) saw a decline.

With new technology and strategies, the B2B industry is in a hurricane of change. If you want to make sure you are staying ahead of the storm, reach out to a Madison Logic representative today.

Image via Corey Leopold

The Power of Intent | B2B Syndicate

Welcome-to-B2B-Syndicate_searchMadison Logic was recently featured in the latest issue of FIPP’s Magazine World, under their B2B Syndicate brand.

Below is an excerpt of the article, entitled “The Power of Intent.” 

If big data is the ‘new oil,’ then perhaps the new ‘rocket-fuel’ for B2B brands is intent data, which is being used to drive efficiency through reaching and engaging with professionals who are ‘in the market.’ The B2B buying process is generally long and collaborative, and intent is an increasingly important factor in building, as well as nurturing and keeping relationships with B2B customers…”

Click here to view the article.

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Circling Back to Content

CirclesAs the digital world becomes more connected, content marketing in the B2B space is becoming inescapable.

Why is it important for a B2B marketer to leverage content marketing? In a recent Business2Community article, marketing professional Vignesh Subramanyan explained the answer to this question in a provocative way – through video. Subramanyan expresses the importance of having a “fluid content strategy” that produces the following outcomes:

  • “Delivers meaningful, valuable content to your audience”
  • “Drives engagement with your brand”
  • “Establishes thought leadership”
  • “Promotes profitable customer action”

Another noteworthy article this week, How To Stop Failing At Content Marketing, written by Forbes contributor Greg Satell, explains how to make content marketing work. As an introduction, Satell states, “The truth is that in a content driven world marketers need to start thinking less like advertisers and more like publishers.” Below are the steps that Satell says are key to achieving successful content marketing:

  • “Stop trying to grab attention and start trying to hold it”
  • “Don’t join the conversation, lead it”
  • “Put your mission over your metrics”
  • “Publishing is a value exchange”

As content marketing continues to be a topic of discussion, feel free to contact a Madison Logic representative to learn how you can use content marketing to optimize your business model.

Image via Susanne Nilsson

 

CTO Mark Herschberg to Speak at NoSQLNOW! 2014

81_siteMadison Logic’s very own Mark Herschberg will be a featured speaker at the upcoming NoSQL Now! 2014 conference in San Jose, California. The conference, produced by Dataversity, will be taking place from August 19th – 21st.

Architecting a Hybrid NoSQL Solution

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
02:15 PM – 03:00 PM

Madison Logic has created a unique data service modeling corporate intent, that is, what types of products and services are of interest to a business. Tracking data across the US and EMEA we’ve created a complex system for data ingest, management, and reporting, handling hundreds of millions of events a month in real time. To accomplish this task we use a combination of MongoDB, Storm, and other technologies running on a combination of dedicated hardware and cloud servers. This talk will cover the system architecture we choose and why and what bumps we experienced along the way.

Click here to register.

Mark Herschberg, on what it takes to be a successful Data Scientist:

What Does the Bizo + LinkedIn Transaction Prove?

LinkedIn-Logo-2CThe July 22, $175 million acquisition of Bizo by LinkedIn has raised an abundance of questions throughout the B2B industry – some problematic and others good. In this week’s blog post, we wanted to bring the news of “LinkedIn getting into the ‘Bizo’-ness” from an article written by Tom Cheredar, VentureBeat staff writer and lead media reporter.

Tom explains that Bizo’s main mission was to collect demographic data about 120 million business professionals’, then sell that information to marketers.

However, as Tom shares, “That’s clearly the last thing many LinkedIn members had on their minds when they signed up to a professional social networking site. And it’s the piece — Data Solutions — that LinkedIn is planning to close or sell post-acquisition.”

For B2B marketers, reaching influential business people has always been a challenge because there is a lack of quality audience data around the business demographic. Bizo has always taken strides to identify the B2B audience, but with the acquisition and shutting down of their ad networks, ending data partnerships with trading desks, DSPs and ad networks, the only place you will be able to purchase their B2B data will be on LinkedIn.

The Madison Logic opinion, as brought to you by our CEO, Erik Matlick, “There are two important takeaways from this transaction. First, this is an acknowledgment from LinkedIn that media revenues are going to be an important focus for them going forward. Historically media has taken a back seat for LinkedIn to their more lucrative SaaS revenue streams, recruiting and subscriptions. They clearly see that B2B media is a large and high growth area for them now. LinkedIn decided to buy not build and they paid a healthy 3x revenue multiple to build this business.”

Matlick continued, “Secondly, they announced that they will be discontinuing the Bizo data business. Essentially they are closing the back door to the Bizo data and making the only way to buy the data as a bundle with media. This ensures that LinkedIn gets top dollar for the bundle. Our opinion is that while this is a positive valuation benchmark for the media industry and it benefits companies like Madison Logic, who is similar in the sense that they have a platform and

B2B media business, it is a potentially bad news for all of the marketers, agencies, networks and exchanges that buy the Bizo data. They will no longer have access to this data. Madison Logic again appears to be the winner on the data side as they are the only viable competitor that can aggregate and sell B2B data at scale.”

Who will come out on top from this deal? Well, as the folks over at Kwanzoo pointed out, “The B2B data space for ad targeting is still quite young. There are several providers with varying degrees of B2B market coverage – from Acxiom/Liveramp, to Oracle/Bluekai, and larger B2B media publishers – UBM TechWeb, Techtarget, MadisonLogic, Ziff Davis, and others. Some of these publishers own proprietary targeting data, while others are now opening up their topic, intent and IP data for ad targeting to third parties. So it will be interesting to see how Bizo’s data business fares against larger players, as they invest and grow their B2B data set at a faster pace.”

Congratulations to Bizo and LinkedIn on the acquisition – it has caused a lot of interesting ripples in the B2B world, and we look forward to seeing how it all shakes out.