Updated: Jul 10
Long time, no post...! Apologies to all (two?) of you who have been hanging on my every word and are therefore disappointed that it's taken me 6 weeks to post another update. Life gets in the way. Talking of which, I have just completed a new configuration of Salesforce with my ever-reliable support team and it has brought back to me the many times I have helped Sales to define their processes, created screens and fields to support them and then wrestled with data flows and marketing processes to ensure the front-end of the pipe and the back-end were in synch. 'But doesn't Salesforce take care of all of this?', I hear you cry. In a word, 'no'. Where CRM/SFA etc implementations have failed, it is because insufficient time has been spent on thinking through the basics: What is our sales process?
How do we measure its effectiveness?
What pieces of objective data do we need to collect to determine how healthy our pipeline is?
How will we use this data for forecasting purposes?
Where will it come from and how will it be maintained?
What is a 'lead' and at what point does it become an 'opportunity'?
Luckily we implemented Eloqua and tied it into Salesforce back in July, so this was merely a change in the sales process prompted by new management and an acceptance (probably) that this time, perhaps we should actually use the system consistently after we've set it up as planned. As a result, it was a relatively short process, but even so it has had a big impact on Marketing - our lead scoring model, the Web form questions and how they are served, as well as the metrics delivered via the Salesforce dashboards. Why? Well, because a change in Sales process goes to the heart of things for Marketing: including what kind of leads we are delivering; how long and for what reason we nurture leads; what success looks like (what we are measuring). If ROI, accountability and impact - ie. measurable results - are the watchwords of B2B techmarketing in this digital age (comments please!) then processes, systems, data and metrics have to replace the 'spray-and-pray' approach in marketing communications planning. In other words, joined up thinking about Sales and Marketing drives joined up processes and systems. If Sales in your company are those slightly scary guys whose meetings you have to attend once a month to describe the marvellous campaigns you're going to run, only to find that all they want is 'more leads' then it's time to understand their world a little better!