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4 Areas Where Next-Gen Marketing Automation Will Offer Useful Solutions

jon_headBy Jon Russo, Founder & CEO, B2B Fusion

It’s time for the next generation of marketing automation – a revenue-generating marketing automation system that focuses on predictability, effectiveness and a holistic view of a prospect/customer situation, using the right analytics. 

jon_headBy Jon Russo, Founder & CEO, B2B Fusion

It’s time for the next generation of marketing automation – a revenue-generating marketing automation system that focuses on predictability, effectiveness and a holistic view of a prospect/customer situation, using the right analytics.

I am a former high-tech CMO who understands SaaS companies and platforms. I’ve implemented multiple instances of marketing automation platforms, and more recently I started a business digging deep into the marketing automation/CRM ecosystem to get more revenue, more quickly. Based on my experience, here are four areas where I think the next generation of marketing automation solutions will provide useful solutions:

Predictive Analytics:  While the lead scoring models of yesteryear give us a good start sorting the needles from the haystack, people are starting to realize that companies cannot "set and forget" these models and expect them to work in the long term..  Buying behaviors change, and B2B buying committees are complex groups.  A predictive element, with newer analytic capabilities, is emerging in the B2B world, leveraging technologies similar to what B2C marketers like Amazon.com use today.  B2B marketers can use these capabilities to determine what products or solutions are most likely to be purchased, based on similar demographic or segmentation sets.

Data Quality:  As I’ve previously posted on my blog, the data element is the single most important area for companies to understand and harvest, yet at the executive level it is often the least understood.  Bad data is like a rifle with its sight off; If your sight is off by a quarter inch, you’ll miss your target by a mile.  If the data is bad, you’ll never reach your target, or you'll lose valuable time trying to reach your target. Newer marketing automation systems that leverage the right SaaS integrations will be more sophisticated, going beyond deduplication at the account, contac, and lead level (like they do today or with other third-party tools like CRM Fusion and Dupe Blocker.); they will provide real-time feedback on phone numbers and contact information to increase the effectiveness of the inside sales organization. Outsourced data-cleansing strategies will become less prevalent as time goes on.

360 Degree Prospect Views:  With SaaS environments leveraging CRM (Salesforce.com) and new integration technologies (Dell Boomi), there is a newer way to get intimate understanding of your customer, in real time,  prior to sales reaching out to them. Billing information, trouble tickets and other service questions can theoretically be displayed to a sales person so they are not surprised while calling into new or existing accounts trying to upsell them.  With a 360 degree view, coupled with predictive analytics, there will be new ways to get more revenue for savvy companies. Customer marketing (up-sell, cross-sell) is the hardest type of marketing to do and measure, and this 360 degree view will help complete that circle. The single most important aspect is to make it easy for sales reps to get access to these capabilities from their current systems.

Meaningful Analytics: The first-generation SaaS marketing automation vendors made an attempt at analytics, either licensing third-party software (Micromuse, Good) or attempting to build it on their own. The next-generation analytics dashboards will be visible to anyone with CRM access, not just marketing users with marketing data. These analytics will show the areas above – marketing influenced revenue, 360 degree views and data quality.  While some of this can be reported in systems today, it’s challenging at best.

What do you think, and what are you seeing for future marketing automation environments to get more revenue more quickly?  Where are the pain points and shortcomings in your marketing environments?

 

Jon Russo has been a three-time B2B Chief Marketing Officer at companies ranging from former divisions of General Electric to Silicon Valley startups.  His global assignments have includes Luxembourg, New York City and Silicon Valley where he helped lead a $180M M&A (GlobalCenter acq. by Frontier) and an IPO of SaaS mobility company iPass as a 16b officer. Russo is a recognized speaker at numerous industry events and conferences, including CXO, venture capital, Internet, hosting and software as a service venues. He has appeared on national television news outlets, including Fox News. A former active duty Army officer, Jon Russo earned his MBA in Marketing from the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut.