Monday, December 17, 2007

Anything Goes Marketing on the Globe and Mail

Here I was minding my own business, taking in some caffeine while I scanned my web traffic. What did I find? I`ve been added to the blogroll on Canada`s largest national newspaper. The blog is called Hard Sell Blog by Keith McArthur who writes for the Globe and Mail. His blog is about the latest in marketing and advertising. I know my American friends are saying `Whoppie` but it`s nice to be listed up there with Seth Godin on a widely read and respectable website (unlike those others that we will not mention at this time - kidding!). So there Seth and Keith, I am open to do an interview!


PS - Ok, so his last post was from June 2007 but you can`t take that screenshot away from me!


Resources on Aligning Marketing and Sales for B2B Companies

If you somehow stumbled on this post and said "Yes, this is just what I was looking for and will help save our company" you really need to get a hold of yourself! This article may give you some additional information that you didn't have but it's not going to make your sales team start using the CRM properly or get marketing to only pass on qualified leads to sales. It's time to get a grip and at least know that you are not alone.

I visit many companies and I repeatedly see the same issues that revolve around marketing and sales are not being on the same page. I do see a few exceptions but I typically see the following:
  • Marketing and sales do not have a common definition of a lead (or anything for that matter).
  • Marketing and sales are not in alignment in regards to the sales and marketing funnel
  • Sales do not follow up on leads passed over by marketing
  • Marketing passes on "crap" (unqualified) leads to sales
  • Sales do not attribute opportunities or closed deals to marketing campaigns (sales is the broken link in closed loop marketing)
  • Sales use excel to manage their lists and pipeline which limits marketing's visibility into the effectiveness of their efforts
  • Marketing does not provide sales with the materials and/or messaging needed.
  • There is no defined process to route leads to sales
  • There is no defined process to handle leads that are qualified, yet not ready to buy
  • Sales are given the tools to make their jobs easier but refuse to adopt to them.
  • Marketing doesn't pass over enough leads
  • Sales don't follow the sales/marketing process as it's not enforced by management
I think I could probably go on here forever - please feel free to add a few more. If you can relate to any of these items above, I've assembled a few resources that you may find useful.

Five Resources on Aligning Marketing and Sales

  • B2B Marketing and Sales Tip #65 - Defining a Lead: This post deals with the issue of how to get sales and marketing on the same wave length in terms of defining what a lead is. This post is part of B2B Lead website and is run by true marketing professionals - worth taking a look for some actionable marketing and sales alignment tips.
  • 7 Tips to Improve Sales Follow-up & Close More Leads: This post provides some quick tips that can help you steer marketing and sales teams through the rough waters of alignment. What I like about Brian Carrol's post is the give and take. marketing promises to get leads to sales as quickly as possible but if sales doesn't follow up with a lead by a certain time, it will be reassigned. I highly recommend Brian's Lead Generation Blog.

  • What Sales Really Needs from Marketing: Jill Konrath over at Selling to Big Companies has been there and done that when it comes to working with sales and marketing teams. She has written and excellent e-book which will help marketers get a better understanding of how they can get sales better aligned with their marketing objectives. It really comes down to providing sales with what they need to succeed.
  • Marketing & Sales with a Single View: This post is a good one because it provides some immediate action items and brings everyone back to the reason you are in business: to serve the customer. Ardath Albee at Marketing Interactions stresses that a common definition of what the customer is looking for will help bring together the various strategies and tactics that are being deployed by individual marketing and sales groups.

  • Need to Improve Salespeople’s Behaviors? Don't Bother with Sales Training or CRM Until You Face the Facts: I really enjoyed Michael Webb's post over at Six Sigma Selling. He doesn't pull any punches. If you want sales to buy into new processes, then make sure that the process has been firmly established, it's proven it will succeed and that management is completely bought in.
I hope that you find these resources useful. If you have any additional articles or posts, please share them by adding a comment below.

Chad H.

PS - here is a additional article that I liked that refers to aligning metrics in the sales and marketing funnel: You're Measuring What?! Why Marketing and Sales Metrics Aren't Customer-Aligned

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tips for Confirmation Pages

Well, here I am on the east coast and stuck at the airport due to this freezing rain. Grrrr!!

I came across a few interesting tips for your confirmation pages:

Using Audio and Chat on Your Confirmation Pages

In what seems like ages ago, I wrote a post about blogging while being stuck at airport.
Use an audio confirmation clip on your confirmation page. Check out how this is done on Delivery Monitor after you sign up for their newsletter. It's brilliant as it sets expectations (i.e. when you can receive emails, what will be in them) and gives you a bit of the company's personality (which is boring by the way). This is a great idea and you can do a lot with this concept as the confirmation page is like a gateway into receiving additional information. The web visitor has given consent for you to send them emails and an audio message sets the tone for a great relationship. You might also notice that these guys have added a chat feature so you can ask them questions as well. These Delivery Monitor folk are some really bright people.

Tips for Your Unsubscribe Confirmation Pages

Stefan Pollard continues to write some brilliant posts on the unsubscribe process. He recommends making this a two step process. Have an unsubscribe link in the email and make the email recipient chose to unsubscribe from the landing page. On the confirmation page, he recommends adding the following:
  • Include a customer contact number
  • Have a link to a contact form
  • Include a feedback survey
  • Add a manage your profile link. Perhaps they still want to receive your emails in some capacity. For example, have a way for them to unsubscribe temporarily
  • Tell them how they can re-engage with you at a later point
  • Let them know that they can subscribe to a blog feed via RSS.
The bottom line is that you shouldn't give up on these guys just yet. Your marketing and sales team has fought to get them in your database and you want to keep them there. You also want to extend the same courtesy that you gave them when they first opted in as it's part of the brand experience. It's time to test out some of these concepts to get the most out of your database.

Do you have any great ideas you've tried?

Chad H

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Email and Video: Tactics you can use Today

I may be getting older but I had a crazy flashback yesterday. I went to the movies to see August Rush (I give it 1 thumbs up) and of course I was forced to sit through about 20 commercials that mostly focused on gifts I must buy before the move started. One commercial stood out - a new video phone that is being offered by a mobile carrier up here called Rogers (Verizon is the equivalent the US). I remembered seeing this concept in Star Trek and Back to the Future but low and behold, we finally have created this technology on a portable device!! The bottom line here is that video has come a long way.

How to Incorporate Video and Email

In a recent article on ClickZ called Testing, Testing, Testing... Karen Gedney reported that Bulldog Solutions started adding video highlights to their emails. For example, for an upcoming webinar they shot a very short webinar introduction video, took a screenshot of the speaker from this video and included this in the email invite (see the screenshot). When you receive the email, you can click on the video screenshot and the video opens in a new window. Looks difficult? It's easier then you think.

While the image in the email looks like the video will play directly in the email, that's actually not the case and not recommended as email clients (what you use to read your emails) render emails differently. It's much easier and safer to make the image a link in the email to the actual video player.

The Results of Incorporating Video and Email.

Bulldog Solutions reported that with the inclusion of video in their email, open rates have increased by 30 percent to 14.09 percent and CTRs nearly doubled to 2.20 percent. This trend continued for subsequent email campaigns. The results definitely show how video can improve your email success rates.

Tactics to Incorporate Video and Email

Here are a few ideas that you can use today:
  • Adding video intros to event invites (highlighted above)
  • Customer testimonials. If you go and visit your customers, take a long a camera and record a 10 second testimonial. Sales can incorporate these in their communication pieces to prospects.
  • Have sales create short video intros that they can include in follow up and intro emails. For example, you meet a prospect at a trade show or live event - what better way for them to get a better sense of who you are and what you've accomplished then by sending an email with a video. This email may then be passed around the company so that everyone has a good sense of who the sales person is that they are dealing with.
  • CEO video messages to customers, prospects and employees. Have the CEO record a video with their video phone at the airport while they're waiting for their flight. This can be used in an email, blog, main website etc...
  • Company videos for holiday cards. You can really show off to your customer base the people that make up your company by creating a short video. Individuals from the company can include a short holiday greeting. You can't get more personal then this!
  • HR videos. These can be corny but if you're a growing company and you want to attract the top people, use video to help paint the picture of who you really are.
I'm sure there are many more ideas out there. How have you used video?

Incorporating video into Email is too much Effort

Yes, this does take some additional planning as you need to get someone who can speak in front of a camera, setup the camera, write a script etc... But come on, how difficult is this with today's technology? We have video phones and YouTube!! If a three year old can play Guitar Hero and have it posted to YouTube, your marketing team can handle this. It's no longer "Back to the Future" but the future is here and it's time to accept that video should be a key part of your marketing efforts.

Chad H.

PS - make sure that if you do create videos, upload them to Youtube to increase the distribution of it.




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