A Martech Love Story: Going to Work for My Ride-or-Die Marketing Software Platform

A Martech Love Story: Going to Work for My Ride-or-Die Marketing Software Platform

OK, I admit it—I fell in love with a piece of software. There must be some kind of group for that. Before you judge me, let me explain.

I spend a lot of my time working (OK—there is definitely a group for that). Luckily, my husband and I are similar creatures, and we do similar things—Salesforce.com, Marketo, lead generation…you get the idea. I am sure you can imagine how exciting our conversations can be over a romantic dinner.

Anything that makes my work life easier is something that grabs my attention. As a VP of Marketing, there is always a lot going on—and because I get to be the biggest spender in the organization (yyyassss), something that helps me crunch the numbers and run reports on how my marketing programs are performing compared to my spend can seem like a marketing miracle. And that is how BrightFunnel and I were introduced.

The Measurement Problem

I worked at Marketo for over three years. Besides the fact that the platform itself has analytics capabilities, the marketing team culture was also very analytics driven. However, I ran content marketing and was not an analytics wiz myself, so measurement was always a challenge. Using the pre-built measurement tools in Marketo wasn’t the most intuitive action—plus, as any content marketer can attest to—measuring content is challenging. There had to be an easier way to look at true marketing program impact.

I will let you in on a little secret: Numbers aren’t naturally my thing, and analytics don’t come easily to me. As Jon Miller, the Co-Founder of Marketo (and my manager there), frequently used to tell me, “Dayna, you have to be more analytics driven—you have to work at that.” I am naturally more of a right-brained, creative thinker, but a goal of mine was to become more left-brained and analytical—because not being an analytical marketer would be a huge CLM—a career limiting move.

At my next role at EverString, I took on more responsibility running demand generation and, eventually, the entire marketing organization. I wanted measurement to be a key part of how I ran my team. My executives were entrusting a lot of budget to me and I wanted to show them beyond a shadow of a doubt how much of a revenue driver marketing could be.

And I wanted measurement to be something my entire team was on-board with.

Enter BrightFunnel

One of the reasons I initially looked into BrightFunnel was to help me solve the content measurement problem—I wanted to see, regardless of program, how a content asset performed across every single channel. Not an easy feat!

We chose BrightFunnel to help us solve the measurement problem and I never turned back. All of a sudden, I had so much more insight into how everything was performing—which helped my whole team make much better decisions. Plus, the platform was incredibly easy to use, so creating a culture of measurement amongst the team was easy.

BrightFunnel helped me run multiple levels of reporting—team reporting, executive reporting, and board level reporting. Pulling reports was simple, the board was happy, and all was well in marketing analytics land.

Stack-Ranking the Stack

We had a huge tech stack at EverString. I mean, we tried everything under the sun—and there are a lot of marketing technology tools to choose from. But when I thought about my top “ride-or-die” software platforms, only a few made the cut—and BrightFunnel was one of them.

To me, BrightFunnel was an absolute must-have. Not only had it helped me create a culture of analytics on my team and show marketing’s impact on revenue, it also helped me overcome my personal fear of analytics.

Working for BrightFunnel—My Ride-or-Die Martech Software

So, what happens when you fall in love with a software platform? Well, you go and work for them. And that is exactly what I did with BrightFunnel.

The stars aligned, the timing was right, and I came on board as VP of Marketing to build out and run marketing and sales development. Plus, I get to evangelize the software platform to all of marketing, letting them know that measurement can be easy and needs to be a part of your day-to-day.

I am super excited to be on board and can’t wait to hit the ground running this Q1!

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10 Resolutions for Data-Driven Marketers

10 Resolutions for Data-Driven Marketers

As 2016 (FINALLY) comes to an end, us marketers now look forward to the upcoming year with renewed hope, refreshed expectations, and revitalized goals. The slate is clean again—we can dust off the residue from quarters past, and use what we’ve learned to move ahead with more speed, precision, and know-how.

It’s hard to look forward without first looking back to figure out what to do differently this time around. And since resolutions just come with the New Year’s territory, we’ve outlined 10 good ones to help data-driven marketers get a head start and step up their game in 2017.

  1. Track and measure everything throughout a deal’s journey. The steps your leads take towards the dotted line will tell you how to plan for more success in the future.
  2. Develop an ABM strategy that works. Define and locate your target accounts, get to know their internal decision-makers’ biggest challenges, and then decide where and how to target them. From there, continue to track results and refine your strategy.
  3. Look at more than leads. Yes, generating leads is important—but so is generating pipeline and revenue. Start understanding where and how your team influences deals throughout the entire funnel.
  4. Instead of crying over spilled milk, learn from it. If a campaign failed last year, take a step back to figure out where you went wrong so that you can make more informed decisions—and see more success—as you move forward.
  5. Play hardball with budget by proving what you’ve delivered for the business. Definitively show marketing’s impact, ROI, and direct contributions to pipeline and revenue, and whoever holds the purse strings won’t be able to say no.
  6. Listen to your fans, your foes, and your customers. Their words will help determine your future strategies and focal points.
  7. Don’t underestimate your value to the business. Find out which metrics you can track to show how you contribute to the bigger picture, and then pull the right reports so that you earn the respect and praise you deserve.
  8. Measure everything. Once you’ve collected all the data in one place, use it to make more informed decisions around upcoming events, content, social media, ABM strategies, paid programs, and more.
  9. Celebrate every win as a team. Big or small, individual or collective, every success matters—track progress, gather results, and don’t forget to stop and appreciate the accomplishments.
  10. Have fun! Be creative, give yourself room to fail and grow, and don’t take it all so seriously.

Let’s raise a glass to 2017 being your biggest, brightest, and most successful year yet. Happy New Year!

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Vanity vs. Tactical Marketing Metrics: What’s the Difference?

Vanity vs. Tactical Marketing Metrics: What’s the Difference?

Vanity metrics are all too often confused with metrics that are in fact relevant—but they’re only relevant to a certain group of technical marketers.

The ‘vanity metrics’ category includes things likes social media likes or followers. A lot of people have Twitter followers simply because they tweet outrageous things, for example, but that doesn’t mean they’re influencing those followers or that they have any real clout. These metrics don’t mean much when it comes to measuring your efforts, and they don’t offer any real insights into your overall performance. If you can’t use the metrics to make better plans for future campaigns, then they fall into that ‘vanity’ category.

Tactical metrics, on the other hand, provide you with actionable data that can help influence your decisions around future campaigns. Followers’ comments about your exceptional service or product, for instance, speak to a successful strategy and offer valuable insights into what you’re doing well. When happy customers share information about a product on their social channels, those aren’t just followers—those are endorsers. It’s like the difference between telling a friend that you love something and telling him to check that thing out.

I hear metrics such as open and click-through rates referred to as ‘vanity metrics’ when in fact they’re not vain at all. Open rates are a sign that the people receiving your emails both want to receive information from you and that the topic seemed interesting to them. For example, if I get an email from an airline telling me about a sale on flights from a city that’s nowhere near me, I’m going to ignore it. It’s generic, it doesn’t take my persona and specifics into consideration, and they’re showing me that they just don’t care what I need. But if I get an email from a local business telling me that something I regularly buy from them is on sale, I’m going to open that right away—they’re thinking of me, my buying patterns, my needs, and my convenience.

Overall, open rates are trending data. It’s less about the absolute numbers and more about the proportion of leads that are opening the emails. Because open rates can be both false negative and false positive, they’re never completely accurate. Click-through rates are accurate, but are again trending. Is the percentage of leads clicking in my emails increasing? If so, then I’m sending more relevant information. If those rates are decreasing, I better check what I’m sending and make sure it’s important to my audience.

Vanity metrics are exactly what they sound like—numbers that may be high, but that only show winners in some vague, ill-defined popularity contest. Tactical metrics are important trending data that tell marketers about the health of their database, the needs and interests of their audience, and the expansion of brand awareness. These numbers are important to businesses that are trying to help their prospects and customers do better, learn more, and reach their goals.

These tactical numbers play into a larger measurement context, and will help you make sure you’re on the right path as work to drive more pipeline and revenue for the business. To learn more about how you can measure and report on these metrics, check out the B2B Marketer’s Guide to Tactical Reporting Guide from our Actionable Insights Pocket Guide series.

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Straight From the CMO’s Mouth: Best Practices for Across-the-Team Reporting

Straight From the CMO’s Mouth: Best Practices for Across-the-Team Reporting

As ProSites’ CMO Ken Robinson told the audience during our “Effective Metrics from CMO to Specialist: What You Need, What You Don’t” webcast, marketing can unfortunately be viewed as the “arts and crafts” function of a business. It’s creative, it’s inspired—and it’s not always easy to measure. If the department known for its bright and shiny ideas wants to earn an influential seat at the executive table, it must find a way to quantify its results. Or, as Ken put it, “without data, you just have an opinion.”

When it comes to reporting, it’s essential to look at both how the team and each individual team member impacts pipeline and revenue with their efforts.

So, are marketers measuring their teams’ success? Our in-webinar poll revealed that 40% of respondents’ teams have KPIs for every role, 27% of respondents’ teams have KPIs for a few roles, and 7% haven’t made the switch to metrics-based reporting. This tells us that while there is a trend towards role-based reporting, we’re still not there yet.

So if we are trying to get to a place where the whole team is reporting, what exactly should everyone be reporting on?

In our webinar, Robinson—who runs ProSites’ marketing team—runs through his top-level reporting advice for almost everyone, from ops to events.

In this blog, we deliver a quick hit list of these best practices to help you get started on your team-wide reporting plan:

Strengthen Your Foundation

According to Ken, the demand generation manager or team functions as the “core” of your marketing organization, and is responsible for the full-funnel reporting—from lead  all the way down to revenue. This type of reporting helps inform future plans. Your demand generation team should report on not just the volume of leads, but also the quality of those leads. Are they becoming MQLs? Are they becoming Opps or closed deals? How many leads are being disqualified and how many are being put into nurture? They should also be looking at marketing’s contribution to pipeline and closed-won business, essential metrics that show the team’s true impact on the business.

Tighten Up the Nuts & Bolts

Marketing Operations is “the engine that drives marketing for the organization.” This person or team should be responsible for managing the overall tech stack, ensuring that stack is capturing all of the necessary data to provide KPIs for other members of the team, and helping to set up campaigns. Examples of reports that should be coming out of operations include information on whether prospects are moving through the funnel or getting stuck and database health reports like email deliverability. How many unsubscribes or hard bounces are there? Are email sends getting out to the prospects and customers?

Build Out a Better Library

Your content marketers should report on the types of content that are working best, and they should know where they’re working. By looking at initial touch-points that have created leads, along with all of the later touch-points that have influenced closed-won deals, your content marketers can better identify the wins and missteps that will inform a more successful content strategy down the road. Not only will these reports show the impact that content has on prospects and customers, it will show the team, as a whole, which themes, topics, and messaging resonate well with your audience.

Prep for Next Year’s Roadshow

Event marketers should be digging into the conferences and tradeshows that are most profitable and tracking data to measure whether or not it’s worth it to sponsor a specific event. By looking at how much pipeline or opportunities an event sourced or influenced, an event marketer can help determine what events to commit to next year. First-touch and multi-touch attribution reporting is a key element to building out your event plan.

By breaking up report types by role—and ensuring every report plays into the larger business strategy in some way—you’ll end up making smarter decisions for your team and the company. You’ll better understand how each part of your team impacts a deal from lead to MQL to closed-won, and be better equipped to predict where your biggest successes will come from.

And then, you get to be creative and confidently show the value that your team is providing every step of the way.

For more marketing reporting best practices advice, be sure to check out the full recording of our webinar with ProSites’ CMO Ken Robinson.

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What the BrightFunnel Team is Thankful For

What the BrightFunnel Team is Thankful For

Getting into the spirit of the season, we at BrightFunnel have been thinking a lot about what we’re thankful for, especially when it comes to where we work.

To celebrate Turkey Day 2016, we wanted to share that ever-growing list with our readers, customers, prospects, and — of course — each other, and take some time to reflect on and collectively highlight a few of our favorite things about working here:

Our product kicks butt.

BrightFunnel was founded by three people — two with technical backgrounds and one with a background in marketing — with complementary strengths that shaped the direction and vision for the product. Together, Nadim, Nisheeth, and Ranjan have built on this vision to create an amazing, cutting-edge solution that resonates well in the marketplace and constantly impresses our prospects and customers.

We have incredible customers.

Our customers inspire us. They are smart, they are driven, and they push us to become better. By giving us thoughtful, thorough feedback about how they’re using BrightFunnel now and what they hope to see if the future, they help us evolve and grow our product in really important ways. They are also always more than happy to advocate for us, which makes life at work a lot easier for those on our marketing and sales teams.

The work is rewarding.

Our jobs challenge us. The answers don’t always come easy (in fact, most of the time they don’t), but that makes the work we’re doing that much more interesting. It’s great to wake up every morning and feel excited about what’s awaiting at the office. All of us know that when we all put our heads together and work as a team, there’s no problem we can’t solve.

This team takes the cake.

We hold each other to a high standard and help each other achieve great things. We celebrate all of our individual, team, and company-wide wins together. We are an agile, self-managing group, and we all want to do well. Everyone here values and supports the integrity of our product, brand, and messaging. We enjoy a collaborative environment where people learn from each other, we are always thoughtful about what we’re doing, and we challenge each other in order to produce the best results. There’s a palpable energy here in the office — every single day, we’re all ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on the BrightFunnel vision. There’s never a dull moment!

As you can see, we have plenty of reasons to be grateful for our co-workers, our customers, and the work that we’re doing here. We really are are one lucky team.

From everyone on the BrightFunnel team, we hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for contributions to this post go to company co-founders Nadim and Ranjan; Zack, Joe, and Max from Sales; Alex and Kevin from Product; Karan and Ahmed from Engineering; Steve and Drew from Customer Success; Emily and Heather from Marketing; and Amina from Operations.

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SiriusDecisions Tech Exchange 2016 — What We Learned

SiriusDecisions Tech Exchange 2016 — What We Learned

Last week’s SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange in Austin, TX provided attendees with a lot of sessions on the plusses and pitfalls of implementing too many or too few technologies, the importance of training for teams, and the necessity of processes to make sure you get the most out of your marketing stack.

In Jay Famico’s keynote, he notably said, “Importance is relative; priorities are not.” The key here is to ensure that you know what your priorities are, and then to plan activities to support those priorities in order of importance. He presented the SiriusDecisions structure of first defining your company’s objectives, then creating the functional objectives to meet those objectives, and bringing those down to the team level to support them. He cautioned not to add too many priorities, either. After 5 or 6, he said, the relative value of each decreases. But with 5 to 6, you can hone in.

Technology is a strategy, not a tactic

For marketing technology stacks, this means focusing on the target areas where you want to ensure success, measuring to align resources to priorities, and interlocking to make sure teams are coupled with projects.

Importantly, Jay noted that it’s important to acknowledge what technology enables you to achieve — and to make sure that any new technology is in line with the sales and marketing priorities. He emphasized data, which gives you the ability to compare quantities and qualities, and delivers visibility into the operations and activity of your organization.

Finally, he made the comment that I truly believe in: reporting has to come from your systems of record, not from documents, spreadsheets, or email. It’s what’s in the system that matters. That means ensuring that everything from lead data in your MAP to opportunity data in your CRM has to be logged. As he said, “What’s in the system matters.”

In the data keynote “The Pulse: Technology and the B-to-B Revenue-Generating Engine,” Tony Jaros and Jacques Begin provided results from SiriusDecisions’ recent survey:

  1. B2B organizations spend 1.5%-16% of their revenue on marketing — with less for larger organizations and more for smaller organizations that are in high-growth modes.
  2. Of this marketing budget, 3.5%-6% is spent on technology, with small organizations again spending a larger proportion of their budgets on getting these basic systems in place and functional.
  3. Finally, this represents from as little as 0.05% to 1% of total company revenue spent on marketing technology.

Notably, 6 in 10 respondents said their budgets for technology grew by 5%-10% or even more in the past year.

Marketing Operations Results

One of the most interesting pieces of data for me was that many organizations are using web analytics as most of their measurement and reporting. This means that the majority of companies are very activity-based when they look at performance. As the SiriusDecisions team pointed out, this provides no insight into revenue, only into web and activity analytics. Essential items in the measurement cookbook to be sure, but by no means a rounded out meal.

Demand Creation

When looking at demand creation, they pointed out that the key systems are still sales force automation, marketing automation platforms, and web analytics. They noted an increasing interest in multi-touch attribution, which of course I agree with. Tony Janos particularly called out the dangers of using only first-touch or last-touch models, which provide limited information about the marketing activities that are driving leads once they are in your funnel and how they mature to opportunity stages.

No one is using my technology…

One of the highlight sessions I attended on the second day of the conference was “B-to-B Tech: Why Employees Don’t Use It, and What You Can Do About It,” with Kerry Cunningham and Amanda Jensen.

The key problems they focused on that organizations don’t always consider when rolling out technologies are:

  1. Employees that are disengaged from the start — those who are uninterested in or unwilling to adopt the new tools and platforms.
  2. Social impact of new technologies — people who are invested in the existing technologies and are resistant to replacements as it may threaten their role or sense of value in the company. As Kerry said, “You have definitely moved their cheese!”
  3. Workplace tech adoption is often led by innovators and early adopters — this leaves normal folks behind and unprepared or uninspired to use the new technologies simply because they’re not early adopters or experts.
  4. There is no roll out plan for the organization — you adopt the technology, but didn’t have a pre-adoption plan to educate the team as to why you’re using it, how to use it, and what the end goals are by using it.

These were great takeaways for any organization to consider when adopting new technology into their marketing stack (or anywhere else in the organization, for that matter).

Hopefully this small window into this year’s event will make you interested in attending next year’s event — again in Austin, TX — November 1-3, 2017. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

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