In Data Quality, Lead Scoring and Segmentation

If Marketing Automation tools are well utilized, it's like having a Ferrari in the garage.With the big announcement of the Marketing Cloud at Dreamforce last week, and the statement that by 2015 the CMO will spend more on technology than the CTO, the vision being offered to those of us in sales and marketing technology and operations is that everyone has B2B database marketing and marketing automation perfected.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The phrase I heard a couple of times at the Dreamforce show in San Francisco was that some of these tools are like “a ferrari in a garage” – expensive, powerful tools purchased and capable but not being used at all as planned or expected.

In talking with folks on the show floor at Dreamforce, everyone from demand generation/customer acquisition leaders to sales operations to CMOS & VPs of Marketing, the marketing automation technology deployed and its sophistication is all over the map. Many of the marketers have a CRM in place (often Salesforce, but many others as well) but no marketing automation — which is the same profile as 80% of B2B marketers. Many at the show were just at the beginning of their marketing automation journey. Those at the top of the marketing automation implementation have sophisticated programs with carefully crafted and implemented lead scoring, segmentation and lead routing and then well planned nurture journeys. However, that’s only 15% of marketing automation users.

It works out that only 3% of B2B marketers have marketing automation that’s fully deployed.

The rest of us – 97% of B2B marketers — are still collecting inbound leads from a variety of programs including paid search, collateral and research downloads, event registrations and then just following up with our traditional, semi-manual methodologies as we gradually get up to speed.

As so many are still at the beginning phases of learning, a large chunk of B2B IT marketing budgets needs to be planned for team training in both CRM and marketing automation technology in order to really deliver on the promises of all these fantastic new tools and to fill the understandable skill gap.

Another big issue for marketers and sales operations is data quality – most Salesforce implementations will start with a legacy data migration and face existing data inconsistencies, such as gaps in data collected from one CRM to another or aging records with questionable contact information that continue to be a problem. The theme with these marketers and Salesforce admins was the need for data “spring cleaning” before moving it into a new CRM — because if left uncorrected the problem wasn’t going away, it was just waiting for the day of data reckoning.

As usual the show was phenomenal, inspirational and exhausting – and next year we’ll have lots of downtime to recover as the timing has been shifted to put the show the week before Thanksgiving 2013.