Archive for March, 2008

Executional excellence

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I’ve had the honour of being asked to take part in the “Leveraging Data” panel session at the forthcoming IDM Business to Business Marketing Conference, and we’re required to make a few “opening remarks”. I’m planning to highlight a favourite topic of mine, namely the importance of operational excellence. It’s very easy in a pressured marketing function to get caught up with the urgency of campaign activity, the next data pull or list acquisition and to feel busy doing it. This busyness though isn’t the same as activity, and is usually wholly inefficient, often requiring lots of work arounds, duplicated effort or missed opportunities. It’s crucial to ensure that the right infrastructure and processes are put in place so that a point isn’t reached where people turn around and say, “If only we’d thought of that!”.

This could extend to missing fields in a data collection form to incompatible layouts between a marketing database and campaign fulfilment supplier. Even problems relatively easily remedied by moving columns in a file around to match takes time, slows the process and introduces the possibility of error. A little planning and foresight can ensure these issues are avoided, enabling time to be spent on value added activities like utilising data to better target or customise communications.

Well, that should set the scene, after which we’ll be open to the floor for questions, for which I have no script! Look forward to seeing you there.

The missing link between campaign management and salesforce automation

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Why is it that salesforce automation systems all seem to skip past lead management and pick-up from the point of opportunity creation and disappear over the horizon of pipeline management and forecasting? These are crucial functions for modern, enterprise sales management and the Sales function has done a great job of driving the market to develop solutions to meet these requirements.

However, despite the timeless refrains that “Marketing never deliver quality leads” or “All the leads I receive from Marketing are worthless”, the attention to the lead delivery end of the pipeline is marked by its absence. Many systems treat the individual attached to a lead as completely separate from any contacts already in the contact database, make no allowance for (horror!) multiple responses from the same individual or consider the status and nature of the responses themselves.

Despite the sophistication of many CRM/SFA systems, lead management – the crucial first step in the pipeline building process – is sorely overlooked. Work-arounds exist to address this deficiency, but marketers owe it to themselves to compel software vendors to embrace this crucial consideration as comprehensively as the subsequent stages in the process have been.