Bulldog Solutions Blends SiriusDecisions’ Waterfall Method with Full Circle’s Performance Management for New Paradigm in Marketing Management
One of the great unsung themes running through marketing today is organization, which says a lot about how far marketing has come in the Internet Age. Not long ago, organization was less critical because virtually all leads were the same. They were low quality and generated from broadcast methods like advertising and direct mail, which meant that they required much more effort to convert into something useful in sales.
But a lead that comes from a business card collected at a trade show is potentially different. So is a registration on a website that provided a piece of thought leadership to the prospect in exchange for the data provided on a form. These leads should take less time to make sales ready and have a higher chance of closing on average. So why would a marketing organization comingle these leads with those that came from a lower productivity campaign?
They shouldn’t. When comingling occurs it becomes hard or even impossible to determine which marketing campaigns provide the biggest bang for the buck. That’s the essence of SiriusDecisions’ new and improved marketing waterfall methodology. Now, I am not an expert in the method nor do I work for Sirius, but intuitively it makes a great deal of sense to do that kind of organizing.
Keeping birds of a feather leads conceptually segregated makes it much easier to do meaningful things with them. For instance, you wouldn’t send the same introductory content to a prospect that has a defined need, budget and timeframe that you would send to someone just looking for information. Rather than that, you’d fast track that lead and ensure that every time you touch it you add value. And that takes organization.
If you organize your marketing pipeline into distinct tracts, or as SiriusDecisions would say, waterfalls, you will be better able to apply consistent policies and procedures. You will also be able to determine to a higher degree of certainty, which programs work best in particular situations.
Bruce Brien is senior vice president of client success for Bulldog Solutions, a business-to-business demand generation agency for enterprise businesses in high tech, financial services and insurance, and he knows quite a bit about marketing, demand and organization. Bulldog has been using Full Circle CRM since December of 2012 and with a full quarter of data and experience he has a good perspective on the Sirius waterfall methodology and Full Circle CRM. I caught up with him the other day to see how things are going.
Brien is level headed and logical about everything and while he rarely uses the word “organization” that’s pretty much what he means when he says things like, “Full Circle is not a magic bullet, you have to decide to fix your processes first.” Fixing processes means making sure your data is clean and that you have data governance rules in place and follow them. In a word, organized.
If you are an old school marketer this might surprise you but the point is clear, if your database includes opportunities without contacts or it has multiple duplicate entries, then you will need to de-duplicate and update your data before you can reasonably expect to have success with either the waterfall or Full Circle. While you are at it institute some data governance rules to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. You will also need some buy-in from sales about what a lead really is and about how the SFA system needs to relate to marketing for the simple reason that many SFA systems don’t offer data governance so people must. That’s organization again.
With organization, Brien has discovered he can learn a lot using Full Circle. For instance, Bulldog now measures four separate waterfalls for each of its key lead sources — one for marketing, one for sales, one for telesales, and even one for existing customers making repeat purchases. Each waterfall has a cascade of well-defined events and rules that stipulate how and when a lead matures along its path to a sale.
The rules and data governance are all part of more organization. In this case, they represent agreements within marketing and between marketing and sales, concerning what a lead is and what should be done at each step in a phase. Full Circle CRM comes into play here because its analysis can tell the user how things are proceeding at each part of the waterfall. Full Circle CRM helps managers to understand what specific results accrue to each process and how well matched results are to the type of lead in each phase.
In prior marketing approaches, where the leads were less organized it would have been harder or even impossible to figure out if a particular program was working or what its returns were because the programs were operating over a heterogeneous group of leads. But with the Waterfall method to organize marketing flow and Full Circle to do the attribution, it’s easy for Brien to see what’s working and what’s not.
Full Circle’s greater ability to attribute results to specific inputs, “Just gives you the information you need to make adjustments,” according to Brien. Early in the life of a Full Circle implementation, those adjustments might come frequently but over time the pace should slow as you might expect in any fine tuning situation.
You should also expect that the cadence of change would depend on your sales cycle. Enterprise sales cycles that can take six to twelve months are slower than sales of more tactical goods and services and so the rate of change would be different. But no matter how you slice it, the days of quick and sometimes dirty marketing are behind us. What’s here now is a demand for greater accuracy and precision and that takes greater organization.