Why I’m Dreaming at BrightFunnel

Why I’m Dreaming at BrightFunnel

My time at Bizo was likely the most important experience of my life—I mourn it like I would a death in the family. 7.5 years ago, when they were around 15 people, I joined Bizo  as the first product guy. We grew the company to 150 wonderful “Bizonians,” became experts in B2B marketing, and developed a product that was beyond what the market thought it needed. Together, we willed ourselves and our customers to success, and along the way—professionally and personally—we became more than many of us thought we might become.

We had to rise up. There was no choice. It was on us. That was certainly the case for me and, as I said before, it was a life-changing experience.

When LinkedIn acquired us 2.5 years ago it was beyond thrilling. That LinkedIn liked us and our creation so much they paid $175 mill to acquire us!?! Wow. Heady times. Unfortunately, my time at LinkedIn was largely difficult for me. Don’t get me wrong—LinkedIn is an amazing company filled with many wonderful people, and it is on a meaningful mission. There is no other company I would have wanted to have been acquired by, and I learned a lot at LinkedIn. I’m grateful to all of the people who brought us in, cared for us, and made us part of the LinkedIn family.

But something was missing.

Starting over 6 months ago, I threw myself into my search with the same intensity as with my product work. I looked, I talked, I read, investigated, dug, thought, talked to myself out loud… What am I good at?  What exactly were the circumstances at Bizo that made me fly? What do I want for my family? I networked. I told my story to everyone I could. I found so many great people along they way who wanted to help—I have a spreadsheet of 75 people I talked to. I felt energized at times, and defeated when I wasn’t finding things. I went deep with 13 companies—meeting the CEO and all of the execs, calling on customers, competitors’ customers, and prospects.

It became clear to me that I needed to get back into the daily knife fight of a startup. I need the adrenaline. For the sake of my mental health, it’s critical that I am learning, creating, innovating, and delivering new and improved customer value, and value to my team every day. I need to exercise a full spectrum of muscles all of the time. I know for certain that the people—including our customers—and our journey together are the most important things, period. When I am in the right situation, I radiate energy and bring the most value to the people around me. My mind runs at high levels of efficiency. My life circumstances have made me a start up guy.

I found that I wanted to be in a company of about 30 people. I needed to meet a CEO who I felt great about working with, I wanted to see a room full of bright faces excited and passionate about what they are doing, they all had to be in the city, and I needed to be with them to give and get energy every day. And I knew that I wanted an expanded role beyond product.

I found a company called BrightFunnel, and I got to know them. I began to see these things in them. From my time at Bizo, I know the guys at Crosslink who lead their A round. I called their customers and realized how much I love the super sharp B2B marketers, like Heather Sutherland at Cloudera. Thanks for talking with me, Heather. I saw a BrightFunnel demo and was stunned—they bring the center of truth to the B2B CMO and CRO. This is where the key answers and decisions around budget, programs, content, companies, personas, sales interactions, pipeline, and revenues are answered. It functions as the core engine room of intelligence, or, as we BrightFunnelers call it, “Revenue Intelligence.”

Immediately, my mind has become active like a jet engine and I can’t turn it off. I wake up every day and wooooosh—it’s on. After 7.5 years in this fight, the things I know about the B2B buyer’s journey and the related technologies just start talking to me and I see many ways this can go.  This is something I’ve wanted to build since back at Bizo and then at LinkedIn, and it is clearly where all B2B marketers need to progress on their maturity continuum.

This is why I am here at BrightFunnel. So where do we go from here?

Dreaming is core to my creative process. I take all of the customer, market, and competitive knowledge we’re continually processing, and I dream on that.

Dreaming is a wonderful tool—it removes the constraints placed by perceived limitations and stretches ideas. Just try it: What do we want for our customers? How do we make them successful? What do we want for ourselves as a company, and how can we bring the resources of our people and our talents to bear? When I dream with these questions in mind, I start to see the future outcomes and experiences. I talk to our people and customers about these outcomes, and then together we can begin to see around the corners, beyond what most people think they need to what they don’t yet know is possible. This is my process, and now, I am dreaming this way at BrightFunnel.

And so one final note to B2B marketers: If you are not talking to my team, you should be. I invite you to come dream with us, because if my history repeats itself, we’ll definitely be realizing those dreams.

How to Rock Your End-of-Quarter Reporting

How to Rock Your End-of-Quarter Reporting

It’s that time again—long weeknights, multiple cups of coffee, and various unpleasantries thrown at Excel as marketers scramble to pull together our end-of-quarter reporting, right?

Trying to pull together the marketing metrics that matter at the end of each quarter can be very frustrating and daunting. But what if you didn’t have to stay up late to track down your marketing ROI? What if you knew exactly which marketing campaigns did well and which ones missed the mark in just minutes? Multi-touch attribution can make this a reality.

If you want to become a revenue rockstar at the end of each quarter, here are some best practices to follow.


Measuring Marketing Impact by Quarter

Starting at the top—it’s important to know how much your marketing has sourced and influenced your overall pipeline and revenue. Historically, marketers have had to pull this data from Salesforce and their marketing automation platform, which can be tedious and often incomplete. The main problem with this method is that Salesforce is only able to capture and report on the first and last marketing touch points that occurred with a prospect. But since a buyer’s journey is complex and nonlinear, this style of reporting wouldn’t be able to accurately tell you how much of your marketing has actually impacted your quarterly pipeline and closed deals.

With multi-touch attribution, you can easily go into the BrightFunnel dashboard and see quarter-over-quarter, how much your marketing has impacted revenue and the number of marketing deals won. Not only that, but you can see historically how much marketing has influenced past quarters to see how this quarter compares.

multi touch attribution

But let’s say your marketing team rolled out Account-Based Marketing this quarter. How can we see which target accounts converted this quarter? How can we also measure the effectiveness of account-based vs. outbound marketing?

In this example, we can see that Company A had $2 mm in new pipeline from their ABM target accounts and that 100% of those target accounts were marketing influenced! That tells us that their Account-Based Marketing campaigns were effective this quarter.


Measuring Campaign Effectiveness by Quarter

End-of-quarter reporting at the campaign level is an essential tactic for any B2B business to make informative decisions on where to maintain, improve, or increase their spend and efforts. Without a multi-touch attribution platform, it can be time-consuming to compile reports from your marketing automation platform to see which programs were the most effective.

Speaking as a former customer (turned employee) of BrightFunnel myself, pulling my end-of-quarter marketing reports was always a nightmare. Not only did I have to set up complicated workarounds in Marketo to see how many leads had originated from social media, but I wasn’t able to easily see which of those leads belonged to accounts that had converted within the quarter.

end of quarter b2b reporting

However, with multi-touch attribution in BrightFunnel, that all changed. Attribution reporting by quarter is actually built into the platform and it takes just seconds to see how much my marketing campaigns have affected pipeline and revenue. Not only that, I can see based on our multi-touch attribution algorithm which of my marketing campaigns were the most effective. In the example of Company B’s marketing campaign, we can see that one of their most successful campaign groups for the quarter was their website.

We can even get granular within that campaign level to measure some key end-of-quarter metrics like how many leads, MQLs, opportunities, and deals were touched by our website and other marketing campaigns.

marketing campaign ROI

Taking another look at Company B’s funnel, we can see that webinars were the most effective campaign for the quarter. By drilling in, we’d be able to see which specific webinars lead to the most high-quality leads so that we can repeat that marketing program for continued success. With a tool like BrightFunnel that can easily measure the effectiveness of our marketing programs, we’re able to see where to optimize our spend, and which channels bring in the most high-quality leads.


Stage Analysis by Quarter

Last but not least, to rock your end-of-quarter reporting, it’s important to find out how many leads and opportunities landed in each stage of the funnel throughout the quarter. Stage Analysis within BrightFunnel is the easiest way to compile a lead-to-opportunity inventory report.

marketing stage analysis, brightfunnel

From this example of Company C, we can see how many leads/contacts entered the “known” stage over the course of the quarter and how leads progressed from stage to stage. We can see that this company has a strong progression from Engaged lead to MQL, with a 47% progression rate. And if needed, we can even get granular with these stages to see which source campaigns are pushing those leads from stage to stage.

By relying on this set of reports, which are easily accessed from within BrightFunnel, your end-of-quarter reporting will turn a daunting task into an informative exercise that helps marketers answer how effective their campaigns have been.

Revenue Rockstar: Max Altschuler

Revenue Rockstar: Max Altschuler

It’s no secret that having a healthy pipeline can help you exceed your revenue goals—but what is it that keeps your pipeline healthy? SDRs!

Sales development teams are responsible for initiating their business’ sales cycles, and those who run these hard-working pipeline machines are known as sales enablement leaders. Or, as we like to call them, Revenue Rockstars.

In this series, we chat with a few of these revenue rockstars to understand how they’ve gotten to where they are know, and find out what keeps their team focused as they work towards success.

Max Altschuler, Founder & CEO of Sales Hacker, is well known for his thought leadership and innovative sales strategies.

BF: What makes an SDR a ‘revenue rockstar’?

Max: Someone inquisitive enough to ask the right questions, someone organized enough to remember to follow up, someone passionate enough to make people believe, and someone smart enough to realize they need to cut their teeth before they can expect to have a cushy corner office job.

BF: How do you motivate an SDR team?

Max: First, they need to buy into the mission of the company and the product they’re selling. Second, they need a good reward, whether in the form of compensation or promo pathing, or a mix of both. Make sure they are uncapped and have expectations set in a way that shows them when and how they can move up, even if it’s just Jr. to Sr. level, or SMB to MM to ENT within the SDR function.

BF: How do you maintain the culture with an SDR position, which can have a high turnover rate?

Max: Make sure people are being promoted and paid. Even if they are turning over, that turnover should be positive and vertical, not horizontal. It’s bad if they leave to go be an MM SDR at a similar company if they were just an MM SDR at your company. It’s not as bad if that SDR job is a stepping stone to a much better or higher position within your company. If you can, make sure the leads are flowing and your people are making money.

BF: How do you celebrate wins on your SDR team?

Max: Spiffs are good, and leaderboards, too. I think mainly you just want the energy to be high and positive, and whatever you can do to get that energy up is a huge plus. Confidence oozes when things are going well, and your buyers can sense that and thrive on it.

5 Ways To Ensure Your Website is Measurable After a Website Re-Design

5 Ways To Ensure Your Website is Measurable After a Website Re-Design

Two weeks ago, BrightFunnel launched a brand new website—and we did it in 4 weeks. For all of you marketers out there who have gone through a website relaunch, you know how challenging this project can be. You must think through messaging, branding, look and feel, product pages, customer stories, content, and more!

However, one item that sometimes takes the back burner is measurement—making sure that you put different levers in place so that all your website interactions can be measured. Bottom line—your website is the first impression of your brand and not only do you want to ensure that you send your visitors down the right path, but you also want to make sure that you know exactly where they go and what they do. And you can only determine these key insights through measurement.

However, one item that sometimes takes the back burner is measurement—making sure that you put different levers in place so that all your website interactions can be measured. Bottom line—your website is the first impression of your brand and not only do you want to ensure that you send your visitors down the right path, but you also want to make sure that you know exactly where they go and what they do. And you can only determine these key insights through measurement.As we designed our new website, here were our top 5 things we kept in mind to make sure our website was

As we designed our new website, here were our top 5 things we kept in mind to make sure our website was measureable.

1. Make Sure You Are Tracking the Data on Your Website

Before you can even measure anything on your website you need to make sure you are actually collecting the right type of data. There are many things you can track on your website, such as website traffic, referral sources, time-on-page, scrolling activity, bounce history, referring pages, and so on. In order to track these metrics you need to ensure that you have the right type of tracking in place.

For BrightFunnel, we use a couple of pieces of technology for tracking purposes. We use our own platform to track key metrics such as referring sources and anonymous touch analytics. Through our own web pixel we can see how people get to our website (whether through organic search, direct traffic, ads, etc) and we can also see web activity history before someone becomes known in our system. We also use Google Analytics to look at key metrics like time on page, bounce history, and overall website traffic. And finally, we use Marketo forms for direct conversions from our demo CTA and content assets.

2. Make Sure Your Core CTA’s Are Front and Center

The second key component when creating a website that converts is ensuring that your calls-to-actions (CTAs) are front and center where your website visitor can see them. Especially on your homepage, make sure that there is only one CTA above the fold and that the desired action is clear and concise. You might want to play around with color palate to make sure that your CTA catches your website visitor’s eye immediately.

For BrightFunnel, our most important CTA on the homepage is to “Request a Demo”. We want people to inquire with our sales team to see a demo of our software platform. Because this CTA is the most important, we placed it in the middle of our homepage hero image and used the color orange so it really pops.

B2B Web Redesign Tips: Homepage CTA

3. Make Sure There Are Enough Conversion Points

Aside from your demo CTA, what other conversion points do you have on your website? You want to make sure that people have other ways to give you their contact information. Think about it, most people who come to your website for the first time are just learning about your business, they might not want to fill out a form to request a demo. Instead, maybe they want to download a report or ebook, to learn more about your company or to help solve a problem they may be experiencing. For a B2B marketer, content is the best way to add additional conversion points to your site.

For BrightFunnel, our content resources section is a key place where leads convert. We have a variety of different types of content, from educational ebooks and videos to reports and case studies. By having a variety of different types of content that speak to different places in the buyer journey, we have something for everyone. Most of our assets are gated with a form that links to our marketing automation platform. We then collect a lead’s information to start marketing to her.

B2B Web Redesign Tips: Content Hub

B2B Web Redesign Tips: Content CTA

4. Build Out Your Product Pages And Make Them Clear

If you are a product company then you want to have website pages that describe what your product does. And getting people to land on these product pages are likely a critical goal for you and your company. In order for search engines to rank these pages and visitors to actually land on these pages, you need to make sure that your product pages are built out (no thin content!) and the navigation is clear.

There are many ways to organize your product page navigation. Some companies do this by different product features, while others organize their product pages based on persona. For BrightFunnel, we organized our product pages based on features that also map to key SEO terms for us.

The original version of the website had pretty thin content on the product pages that wasn’t structured in a clear way for website visitors. With our new navigation, the content is beefier, we have multiple page levels, and the features of our platform are clear and concise—the visitor doesn’t have to guess what each feature does and she can easily navigate from one feature to the next.

B2B Web Redesign Tips: Navigation

5. Make Sure to Optimize Your Website for SEO

Search Engine Optimization is critical for making your website visible to people who are searching about topics related to what you do. If you aren’t well-optimized for search you won’t get as much organic traffic—and this is important for the growth of your business! When you are designing any new website, SEO—both on-page and technical—should be top of mind.

When we redesigned our website, SEO was a key component from day one. We engaged an SEO firm, worked out priority keywords, and mapped each page back to a specific keyword—making sure that keyword was visible in the H1 on each page. We also worked with our web developer on technical fixes to make sure all redirects were in place, URL structures made sense, and all the metadata was present.

While there are many additional ways to make your website measureable, these are some key items that were top-of-mind for the BrightFunnel team during our website redesign, so we could ensure that we were thinking about measurement from day one.

And if you want to learn more about BrightFunnel’s website tracking, download our latest ebook, The Updated Buyers Journey: Why Web Tracking Matters.

Telling the Whole Story: Why You Should Track All 4 Steps of Your Buyer’s Journey

Telling the Whole Story: Why You Should Track All 4 Steps of Your Buyer’s Journey

To learn more about web tracking and the updated buyer’s journey, download our new ebook.

As B2B marketers, we can’t just look at the beginning or end of our customer journey in a vacuum—this doesn’t tell us the full story of that journey, or offer any real insights into how we can work to improve it.

When looking at the full lifecycle of a customer, there are four distinct and measurable steps to a digital buyer’s journey:

  1. The anonymous touch: The digital channel through which a lead finds you originally—before he becomes known to your organization (ie. AdWords, paid social, organic search, etc.).
  2. The first touch: Where your lead first becomes known to you by filling out a form for an offer such as an ebook download, webinar, and so on. This new lead has now entered your database.
  3. The middle touch(es): The identified touches between the first and last touch point, where a lead interacts with your content or other offers (ie. events, demo requests, etc.). There are often many middle touches.
  4. The last touch: The final place where a lead interacts with your brand before converting into an opportunity or closed deal.

Many marketers track just the first touch and last touch, because the anonymous touch and middle touches are more complicated to track. And some marketers don’t track any of these touches at all. However, the only way to truly measure marketing’s impact within a business is by tracking all four. Because you can’t understand the whole picture without looking at everything that led to the end result.

Problems with Tracking the Anonymous Touch


Before the advent of new tracking technology, the anonymous touch wasn’t measurable, so the journey began at the first touch—as soon as a lead made him or herself known on your website by filling out a form. But that often doesn’t track each and every activity that helped deliver pipeline and revenue. Where did a prospect discover your brand? What piece of content attracted him or her? These are questions that the first touch can’t always answer, but that an anonymous touch can. Think about it—as a buyer, how many Facebook ads, Google searches, blog posts, or web pages do you look at before you actually fill out a form on a company website? Most likely, you do a ton of initial research before you make yourself known. Because these touches are so difficult to track, the marketer is often blind to what is moving you through the funnel.

The story isn’t complete until every touch is captured. And, if you don’t have the whole story, you can’t prove—without a doubt—marketing’s impact on pipeline and revenue.

Download our latest ebook to learn more about how you can track the entire buyer’s journey, from anonymous to last touch.

Top Digital Trends for 2017: What We Learned at MarketingProfs’ Virtual Event

Top Digital Trends for 2017: What We Learned at MarketingProfs’ Virtual Event

Mike Corak’s session at MarketingProfs’ “Marketing Trends for 2017” virtual event centered around the big digital trends that he predicts will emerge or grow this year.

The team, here at BrightFunnel, enjoyed Mike’s session for many reasons—A) It helped our marketing team understand where we should direct our focus this year if we want to stay on-trend, and B) it confirmed something that we already knew: campaign optimization is the way of the future.

So, what does that mean for us marketers?

Before we dig in, here is a quick summary list of Corak’s top trends for digital marketing in 2017:

 

  1. Customer Experience is Still #1: Building stronger relationships by understanding and prioritizing users’ needs.
  2. Mobile Maturity: Investing in mobile-first experiences, mobile-friendly landing pages, and mobile-friendly media.
  3. Content Quality Over Quantity: Measuring content results and doing more of what’s performing well.
  4. What if Google isn’t #1?: Optimizing paid search and social strategies to ensure your content is being seen.
  5. Local Digital Marketing: Locally targeting media in all channels, and localizing emails and content.
  6. Staffing Scrappy: Hiring math majors, journalists, good communicators, empathizers, and people who pay attention to detail and work quickly.
  7. Future Planning: Experimenting and trying out new trends (such as customer digital assistants and immersive experiences) as they emerge.

While they’re all interesting predictions, a few of them really stood out to us: Corak’s focus on enhancing the customer experience, improving the quality of the content you produce, optimizing paid digital channels, and experimenting with emerging trends and technologies. All of these trends have this in common: if you can figure out how to better allocate your budget based on past results, you’ll see more success and earn more praise down the line.

Unfortunately, as B2B marketers in a data-driven culture, our activities are often questioned, our budgets often slashed, and our teams and technologies often insecure. Unlike other departments whose activities are easily quantified (such as sales, for instance), marketing’s activities are more difficult to track and measure in the context of the entire buyer’s journey. And if we can’t prove the ultimate ROI of the content, channels, and campaigns that we’re investing in, it leaves room at the executive decision table for doubt. Because of this, we have to optimize our efforts to enjoy the highest returns, and the best way to optimize is to measure what we’ve done before to see what has worked best—and then do more of that.

This is how we can apply this to the four trends we singled out above:

How do we enhance our customers’ experiences with our products and brands?

According to Corak, customer experience is the most important thing to think about as a marketer in the digital age. When thinking about how to optimize that experience, he suggests that you first capture your customer marketing data, then look at your analytics to see if you’re meeting their needs (and what you’re meeting their needs with), and, finally, apply what you learn to future efforts so that you can continuously improve upon your tactics.

 

How do we make sure that our content quality is improving, and that our audiences are engaging with the assets we publish?

It shouldn’t be a big surprise that content marketing is a huge priority for a lot of companies in 2017. In a Smart Insights survey, referenced by Corak during his presentation, 20.3% of marketers rated content marketing as their top digital marketing technique for 2017. But in order to break through the noise and develop better instead of just more content, Corak suggests auditing your existing assets and looking at how well they’ve performed. If you continue to measure your content’s performance, you’ll be able to ensure your quality is improving, and then do more of what has brought you the most success.

 

How do we make sure that we’re spending intelligently on digital ads and social campaigns?

Digital marketing efforts are some of the hardest to optimize because they are some of the hardest to measure in terms of revenue. But Corak says that it’s definitely worth the investment, as paid search and social channels are now just as important as SEO. To avoid overspending on channels that aren’t delivering pipeline and revenue for their businesses, marketers need to measure these organic and paid digital channels, and then make the appropriate allocation decisions based on what they see.

 

How do we make sure we see returns on the investments we make in flashy new technologies?

Emerging technologies can offer a chance for excellent ROI, but they can also run the risk of falling flat with prospects. Corak suggests that marketers save a little bit of their budget to try new things, and while we agree with him on this, we also suggest—as with all marketing tactics—that they continue to measure every single activity they invest in so that they can get the most bang for their budget buck.

Optimization and smarter spending are a crucial part of the digital marketing landscape in 2017. By investing in a solid plan to track, measure, and intelligently plan your efforts, you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful year across channels, content, customers, and beyond.

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