Here's Judi Uttal, known for turning pandemonium into productive marketing, signing back in for my next Technology Marketing Center post.
Some people may think that a marketing machine turns off creativity and puts in place too much process. I believe that a marketing machine increases efficiency and scalability so that you have the bandwidth and infrastructure to increase creativity and accomplish more.
What is a Marketing Machine?
In business a machine is an apparatus that consistent of multiple interrelated parts that manufactures a product or result. In B2B marketing the apparatus consists of people, systems, and external resources. There are numerous goals for marketing: establishing a brand, enabling sales, developing leads, defining product and more. For this blog, I want to focus on the important goal of creating a base of contacts and transforming them through marketing into sales-qualified leads. A Marketing Machine requires resources, but it also requires an explicit PROCESS, often overlooked, which is outlined below.
Lead Generation Machine 101
To build any machine, you must have a vision of what you are trying to produce. Here we want sales-qualified leads. Specifically we want to generate a database of contacts, establish interactions and content that will result in a set of leads that have been nurtured to the point that sales can easily move them through the sales process resulting in closed deal.
The database needs a repository and demand-gen engine such as Marketo or ActOn. You need a group of knowledgeable people to structure and load the database as well as building the programs that will systematically feed new names and track the interaction of your prospects.
You will need a strategy and message to drive the communication and interaction. This strategy needs to include campaigns – that map out the messages and interactions and lead-gen plans to deliver potential prospect into your organization. Possible lead-gen activities include events, tradeshows, activities, advertising, content syndication, webinars, public relations, social media, and search-engine strategies.
The resources requires include the people, an effective marketing teams complemented by third party vendors who can extend your organization. The systems required include the demand-generation engine mentioned above, but equally important is an effective website, serving as the virtual storefront for your company. Of course you will need money to fund these activities. Finally, you need reporting and metrics to measure the productivity, and enable the tuning and tweaking of your marketing machine.
These resources not only serve to attract new leads, but they also need to be deployed in a different way to nurture the leads along the buyer’s journey.
10 Steps for Making Your SQL Machine a Reality
- Establish the team. Quickly recruit contractors, employees, or vendors to do the work.
- Create a common vision, with roles and responsibilities. Make sure that everyone has the same vision of what you are trying to accomplish, the plan how they will get there, and their role in the plan.
- Evangelize the plan to stakeholder Talk to management, sales, project management, and engineering, to make sure that they understand what your plan is.
- Get the basic machine operational. Whether you are using spreadsheets and email, start a process so that you can begin delivering results immediately.
- Manage the machine. Run the meetings, nurture the team, and communicate amongst yourself to ensure that balls aren’t dropped and opportunities are not missed.
- Establish the messaging. Work with sales and product marketing on what the right messages are for each of the target audiences.
- Define the campaigns and deliver the content. Create the creative campaigns to drive the interactions and content to educate and motivate the potential buyers.
- Measure the results. Be sure to measure how the machine is working and set goals on how it can work better. Measurement should include stakeholder’s perceptions and suggestions.
- Communicate the results. Establish communication methods so that folks can see that the machine is working.
- Phase in more function over time. Develop an ongoing effort to automate, extend, and enhance the machine to provide more leads, deliver more content, onboard more campaigns, and extend demand-gen vehicles.