Marketers deserve commission too!

YES! I say this with a renewed respect for marketing leaders who have implemented methods of understanding revenue impact and influence. These are the ones that deserve a commission. Laying this foundation isn’t easy, and the challenge is best addressed through persistent and tenacious leadership most often driven by Marketing.

I want to share with you some stories that illustrate how marketers are earning their keep with regards to laying a lead management foundation and my perspective of the mountain they have to climb.

Lead management foundation – collaboration

I just wrapped up marketing campaign meetings with a 150 year old company that is experiencing substantial growth. This company is one of many that is sales driven i.e. they see marketing as the entity that creates brochures, websites, events and other content. We’re prepping for a large event investment with 70+ employees traveling and attending. I asked them, “How will you know if this campaign is a success?” The answer was nebulas and common. The desire though to know their revenue influence was huge! So why the disconnect? This team happened to be a campaign sub-committee focused on one aspect, event lead capture and distribution to sales. Many times I interact with influencers that become leaders. I saw that here in their desire and willingness to drive change. This team is about to call a meeting within their own marketing department to discuss the importance of leveraging components of their CRM system and educating Sales on why they need to use these components. Why? So they can better understand their revenue impact. This sub-committee is comprised of Leaders and Innovators. It takes collaboration between Sales and Marketing in order to understand marketing revenue impact and influence. In some cases this takes a tremendous amount of collaboration. This effort seems to always be led by someone in Marketing.

If any deals go down from this campaign, they deserve credit!

Lead management foundation – Technology

In a B2B market you need to track leads through their lifecycle in order to understand revenue impact. This requires technology, process and collaboration which most always is led by someone in Marketing. From a CRM perspective certain components need to be in place such as campaigns and opportunity forecasting. These components allow for a company to forecast revenue production and marketing campaign contribution. Adoption is a challenge for many companies and it takes time. We are working with a marketing leader in Texas dead set on laying their lead management foundation so they can understand marketing revenue impact. It took her 12 months to convince that company to utilized CRM and Marketing Automation for this purpose. I’m certain the adoption part will take another 18 months. The value of her efforts though will be tremendous.

Every company I speak with has a genuine interest in understanding the revenue impact and influence of their marketing efforts. This task can be likened to pushing a rope and I’ve discovered marketing leaders everywhere that are pushing and doing so effectively. I am a huge fan of these marketing professionals and find them to be tremendous leaders and innovators.

I have many more stories of marketing leaders driving change. This post is purely in recognition of them. Are you driving change as well? Tell us how!

June 14, 2012 Show: Sales Lead Management Association interviews Victor Kippes

SLMA Radio host Jim Obermayer asks Victor if the rumors of the demise in trade shows as a lead generation medium are true? How can marketing managers make the most of their trade show investment? Are marketing automation vendors correct in stating that tradeshows are a bad investment compared to inbound marketing?  This interview offers a refreshing perspective on the benefits of face to face marketing to those that are beginning to question their event investments.

Webinar Replay: Skimming Leads at Tradeshows – a best in class demonstration

This video discusses tips and tricks on how to adjust your lead capture strategy at tradeshows to best leverage marketing automation solutions such as Eloqua and Marketo so you can improve the revenue impact of your tradeshow marketing efforts. Brady Corporation also shares the tools they use to capture, distribute, process and incubate the leads they capture from their large annual event marketing program.

Webinar Replay:  Skimming Leads at Tradeshow

Please let us know what you think.






A sales persons plea to event marketing!

Sometimes marketing resources are so disrespectful to their sales counterparts.  Let me give you an example. 

I was in a meeting last month with a very smart marketing company asking my usual questions, one of them being,

“If you capture all of these metrics at your event would you like to pass this data to your sales team?”

The answer was;

“No.  They’ll be at the event with their customers anyway so no need to provide this data.  They will know.” 

Here is another example.  I know a company that produces a world class event while capturing metrics and data that is unbelievable specific to measuring impact against a defined set of goals.  One of these metrics is the answer to this question:

“Would you like someone to contact you after the event regarding our new product announcement?” 

Every event they get a positive response from a percentage of session attendees to this question.  Guess where they send this data; to Product Marketing!   

As a former individual sales contributer and sales leader, I found these examples offensive and love the fact that today many companies are starting to measure their marketing resources on Revenue Impact.  

Let me explain why I found these examples frustrating. 

My company use to produce an annual users conference every year and marketing would spend all year preparing for this event.  New products were rolled out, keynote speakers were prepped and training was provided.  My sales team would work very hard getting their prospects and customers to attend with the hopes that this event might move them along the sales process faster.  I had 25 sale people reporting to me and each rep had at least 6 to 12 prospects and customers walking the show floor.  This can be nerve wracking for a sales person as they cannot be all places at once.  I can confidently say each and everyone of them would love to know where there prospect went, what they thought, what they said and if they are interested. 

In the examples above, both companies didn’t even think to share with Sales what data might be available post event. 

This my plea to marketing.  Please consider collaborating with your sales team when preparing your event? 

If you are you on the sales or marketing side of your business, how do you work together for your events?

Strategic Event Execution with SmithBucklin

Validar enhances efficiency of SmithBucklin’s user group client organizations.

SmithBucklin, the world’s largest association management and professional services group, is the only company in the world with a specialized technology user group practice. With its unparalleled skills, best practices and experience, as well as the industry’s most comprehensive resource base, global software giant VMware looked to SmithBucklin’s expertise to enhance growth and maximize the potential of its fast growing VMware user group program (VMUG). The VMUG and SmithBucklin relationship transformed what began as loosely affiliated groups of VMware customers to a self-sustaining, global nonprofit organization.

Today, VMUG has an independent board of directors and an ever growing number of individual members and regional chapters around the world. With the help of Validar’s resources, including On-site Registration Manager, Exhibitor Lead Capture, and Event Insight Manager solutions, VMUG efficiently executes more than 300 regional events each year. “We love that Validar solutions are scalable for any event size in an efficient, affordable way,” says Victor Bohnert, VMUG’s executive director. “And, at each event, Validar solutions capture metrics that allows us and event sponsors to gauge performance—which is quite unique and valuable.”

With the help of Validar solutions, SmithBucklin and some of its client organizations like VMUG have been able to:

  • Reduce overhead costs
  • Attract high-caliber sponsors
  • Downsize or expand resources quickly to support VMUG growth around the world.

Streamlining World- Class Events

SmithBucklin helped VMUG look for ways to orchestrate dozens of events efficiently and affordably, and using traditional event solutions was not an option. “You’d typically need five to seven temporary staff to check in attendees waiting in line,” notes Bohnert. “The staff would manually sort through stacks of paper and print badges. It’s highly inefficient.”

In contrast, Validar’s On-Site Registration Manager speeds and streamlines the check-in and registration process. Registered attendees quickly check in and print badges at self-service kiosks, reducing the need for staff resources. “The efficiencies and cost savings are huge,” says Bohnert. “We can cut on-site staff resources by up to 60 percent, which drastically reduces travel expenses. The attendees also think it’s cool; it’s amazing how many people comment on it.”

Because VMUG events are admission-free and increasingly popular, they attract numerous walk-ins. With On-Site Registration Manager, attendees can easily be accommodated—without bogging down the registration phase of an event. Validar requires no manual collection of registration information from walk-ins. Staff simply directs walk-ins to designated kiosks to provide their information and print out badges. There’s no interruption to the registration flow.

Hot Leads, No Lag

VMUG finances its events in part through corporate sponsorships. Providing a simple way to capture lead information from attendees is crucial to attracting enthusiastic sponsors. To assist in this process, Validar offers sponsors scanners the size of a USB jump drives, making them unobtrusive for sponsors who may have only a tabletop dispay at their booths.

Sponsors have been impressed by Validar’s Exhibitor Lead Capture. Sponsors see how quickly and accurately Validar scanners capture lead information and they often ask for more scanners. Plus, sponsors receive near-real-time access to lead information. Validar uploads attendee information from scanners to the Validar Event Insight Manager and provides each sponsor with login credentials to view their leads. Sponsors appreciate the efficiency and the fact that they can leave an event with hundreds of leads in hand.

Real-Time Event Dashboard

Validar solutions also help on-site and remote staff keep tabs on events in real time. As attendees register at kiosks, the data is sent to Validar’s Event Insight Manager, which can be accessed by VMUG, other SmithBucklin client organizations or sponsors from anywhere with an Internet connection. “Processing and reporting data from events becomes effortless,” says Bohnert. “Validar’s exceptional solutions let you easily determine, at any given moment, who’s attending, where they are, what they thought, and what they’re telling others.”

Proven Flexibility and Scalability

SmithBucklin, on behalf of its client organization International Avaya User Group (IAUG), selected Validar to help support the 2011 International Avaya User Conference, 10 times larger than a typical VMUG event.

In a day and a half, 3,500 attendees’ badges were printed with help from Validar’s On-Site Registration Manager. In addition, Validar drastically improved lead retrieval, which once took a week or two after the event. With Validar’s Exhibitor Lead Capture, leads were delivered to partners almost immediately. Also, Validar’s pricing allows improved capability at a lower cost.

Strategic Partnership

When asked what makes Validar such a good partner, Bohnert explains, “Validar offers a multifaceted solution that not only spurs efficiency, but it also transforms registration from a utilitarian to strategic function. Validar gives us exceptional registration, lead retrieval, and segmented reporting capabilities all tied together in a single environment. Plus, Validar provides an easy way to measure event performance against specific objectives.” Bohnert concludes, “Our events require a high degree of efficiency and scalability, and Validar’s solutions work just as well for 300 attendees as they do for 3,500.”