• Brand Content Management,  DAM,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Managing All Marketing Resources

    Here it is – my Vendor Selection Matrix report on Marketing Resources Management. Modern CMOs or Marketing Directors are now responsible for a more extensive operation, some are even measured on revenue contribution. So, as with any business executive, they should have full responsibility for the planning and effectiveness of their business resources. For a marketing, those resources fall into these categories: money or costs, people or talent (internal and external talent), content assets and brand. 

    Enter  “Marketing Resource Management” (MRM). MRM is still in its adoption infancy — If you google MRM, you’ll be informed about Magnetic Resonance in Medicine or guided to the marketing agency MRM/McCann. Capterra does have 28 MRM Software offerings in its directory though. And my esteemed ex-colleagues at Forrester produced a Forrester Wave on MRM in 2019 that focused on the needs of enterprise B2C organizations above $1 billion in revenue and identified eight vendors with more than 25 such installations.  Although MRM is infant, the vendors are mostly experienced and established providers – their Recommendation Index and, indeed, overall scores are outstanding compared to my other marketing automation

    As always, this report is based upon feedback from 1,500 businesses globally plus my view of the each vendor’s strategy and viability. Here are the report highlights:

    • MRM is used to help to define marketing plans, collect and share marketing assets, execute on campaigns, and track marketing assets across print and digital channels. It also manages marketing budgets, tracks actual costs and supports the campaign planning process. It provides a single unified system for all marketing material, which in turn ensures consistency of branding and messaging. It also enables marketers to create workflows and processes to streamline marketing operations. 
    • The resulting vendor landscape for MRM is a mix of vendors managing some asset types, ones that manage mainly project resources, plus those vendors who do manage the full range of digital assets, talent, budgets and projects.  
    • There is a clear gradient of project maturity across the landscape. Many marketing departments are still only managing content and digital assets and operating as a cost center. Over time, some organizations mature into fully accounted-for revenue centers where the CMO needs visibility into all project work and all types of resources deployed. This maturity model is reflected within the maturity S-Curve shown in this report: moving from PIM and DAM projects to a more “universal content management” system; then adding costs and talent to achieve MRM; before progressing further with a Customer Data Management project and, ultimately, being able to do full Marketing Performance Management. 
    • There are generally three broad types of MRM projects: asset and people management , spend management, and workflow management; with four categories of resources managed: cost, talent, content, and brand.  The relative importance of each resource category in a planned MRM project will often determine which solution fits best, so our report lists the resources managed by each vendor profiled.
    • Who came out on top? The top five vendors rated by the users for MRM in 2020 are (listed alphabetically) Aprimo , BrandMakerContentservPercolate by Seismic, and Workfront.
    • The vendors Allocadia, Bizible (Adobe), BrandMaster, BrandMuscle, Elateral, Infor, SAS, SAP, Sitecore, and Wedia complete the list of vendors who were named by the 1500 business professionals.

    Remember, our research discovers a “vendor landscape” – those vendors most highly regarded by users for automation of the process (or family of processes) we discuss in the survey. Due to geographical, segmentation and functional differences, it is not always a list of direct competitors. In fact, some respondents deploy at least two to cover their needs.

    If you would like to see more of the report, such as the individual vendor profile sheets and full scoring schema, please contact me.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    Measuring The Propensity to Switch Vendors

    The Digital Marketing Service Provider, Accenture Interactive, published some interesting research last year entitled SERVICE IS THE NEW SALES. It points out that 44% of B2B buyers have switched sellers in the past 12 months and suggest that the strongest, most differentiated B2B relationships are driven by experiences that connect human and digital means to provide a deeper, more personalized level of service.

    The research identified a rift between buyers’ expectations and average seller experiences, underpinning the cited and unprecedented seller-switching trend. This disconnect means buyers are often finding ways of obsoleting existing vendor relationships and welcoming new disruptors in order to best serve their needs. The major reasons for switching were: uncompetitive pricing, long lead times for delivery and fulfilment, missed delivery dates, lack of integration between sales channels, and even poor commerce functionality. 

    The Accenture survey was global and, while their survey was across many different B2B categories, I also hear many of these comments from marketers when talking about their software vendors. 

    Over the past 18 months, I’ve discovered many separate vendor landscapes in my own Vendor Selection Matrix reports with my business partner Research in Action. In these projects, I’ve interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation and, since earlier this year, we have been asking the marketers whether or not they would recommend the vendor they have provided feedback about to their peers. We call the resulting indicator: the Research in Action Recommendation Index (RI).   

    Over time, we see our Recommendation Index becoming a significant leading indicator of customer satisfaction and also propensity to switch. So I thought I would list out the current RI values for vendors mentioned in the last 6 months and provide an update on a regular basis in the future. 

    Vendors. I think that any RI 95% or over is satisfactory, an RI between 90-94% should raise some alarm signals about your customers’ emerging propensity to switch, while below 90% is a state of alarm.

    Buyers. There is nothing stopping you interpreting the numbers in a similar manner. 

    The data below shows clearly that the classical Marketing Automation vendors listed in our Marketing Lead Management landscape are mostly threatened by a propensity to switch, with perhaps the exception of Marketo. These vendors are being threatened by new innovative vendors who talk about CX, customer engagement or even ABM and cover the MLM functionality as a routine orchestration component.  

    Many of the Sales Engagement Management vendors also have a precarious customer standing. There is, indeed, a lot of churn in this market as businesses replace their initial investment with a more suitable SEM solution. But Brainshark, Clearslide, Seismic and Showpad have a more loyal following.

    Here is even a sneak preview of my next report, on Marketing Resource Management which is coming out later this month. The table shows an impressive scoring of all Recommendation Index values in the 90s.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Uncategorized

    Dies ist kein lokalisiertes Marketing!

    Ich arbeite seid nunmehr fast 10 Jahren mit dem Marketing Lead Management Anbieter Marketo zusammen. Zu meiner Forrester Zeit, hatte ich die Gründer Phil Fernandez und Jon Miller regelmäßig in ihrem Büro in San Mateo getroffen, immer am Ende meinen Geschäftsreisen dort, bevor ich am Abend von San Francisco aus nach Hause flog. 

    Es freute mich daher sehr zu berichten, dass Marketo in meiner 2020 Vendor Selection Matrix report zu MLM, der am besten bewertete Markennamen war, trotz der Übernahme und Absorption durch Adobe vor einigen Jahren. Heutzutage ist eine starke Marke auch im B2B-Bereich zunehmend relevant.

    Eine interessante Thematik, welche ich häufig mit der Marketo Geschäftsführung diskutieren musste, war ihre Europa-Strategie. Sie haben viele Jahre lang eine Handvoll Mitarbeiter (inklusive deutsch- und französischsprachigen) in Dublin, Irland stationiert, um von dort aus in anderen europäischen Ländern zu agieren. Ich bin überzeugt davon, dass dies ein Grund dafür war, dass Marketo Schwierigkeiten hatte im deutschen Markt Fuss zu fassen — wobei ich viele weitere Gründe dafür aufzählen könnte. 

    Mit der Übernahme durch Adobe, welche eine bedeutende Präsenz in Deutschland besitzt, ergaben sich für Marketo vielversprechende Möglichkeiten auf diesem Markt. Ich erhalte nun bereits seit einiger Zeit deutschsprachige E-Mails von “Marketo-Germany” und vernehme zunehmend Hinweis dafür, dass Marketo mehr beachtliche Verkäufe und Beratungsressourcen auf dem deutschen Markt verzeichnet.

    Diese Woche weckte eine E-Mail von onlinemarketing.de mein Interesse, welche “Team Marketo Engage, Adobe” in der Signatur enthielt. Die Mail empfahl ein eBook, dass beschreibt wie erfolgreiche Unternehmen ihr Wachstum mit Hilfe von Marketo befeuern — präsentiert und in Aussicht gestellt in deutscher Sprache. Also habe ich es heruntergeladen und einen Blick hinein gewagt. 

    Welch Affront für interessierte deutsche B2B Marketer! 

    Das eBook ist ein Bericht, voll von amerikanischen Fallstudien, welche Wachstumszahlen zwischen 2014 und 2015 anführen — offensichtlich etwas veraltet. Ich fand sogar das englischsprachige Original, welches auf 2016 datiert ist — Sie haben also lediglich ein altes (unter Umständen obsoletes) eBook übersetzt, inklusive des Copyright-Statements auf der Rückseite …  “© 2016 Marketo, Inc. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.”

    Nun, vielleicht war es absichtlich so geplannt. Team Marketo Engage, Adobe (wer auch immer das genau ist) denkt womöglich, deutschen Marketern fehle die Reife ihrer US-amerikanischen Gegenstücke und zeigt ihnen deshalb Beispiele, welche 4-6 Jahre zurück liegen und deshalb für den heutigen deutschen Markt geeignet seien. Wie ich in den letzten Jahren wiederholt in Forschungsberichten und Blogs dargelegt habe, ist dieser Schluss schlichtweg nicht wahr: deutsches BSB Marketing ist nicht unterentwickelt, es ist anders.

    Ich denke, dass dies lediglich ein fauler Marketingbeitrag von jemanden ist, der den deutschen Markt nicht kennt, Budget für Übersetzungen auszugeben hatte und die “quick and dirty”-Variante für das Projekt wählte. Die Ironie der Geschichte verzeichnet sich auch dadurch, dass man mit Adobe Experience Manager leser-spezifische Informationen “automatisch” auf einer Website wiedergeben kann. Team Marketo Engage (Adobe) sollte sich schämen, da Sie nicht in der Lage sind ihre eigenen Tools zu verwenden.

    … wenn Adobe nur wüsste, was Adobe so weiß.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • Uncategorized

    This is not Marketing Localization

    I’ve been working with the Marketing Lead Management vendor Marketo for close to 10 years now. In my Forrester days, I would regularly stop off at their office in San Mateo and meet up with founders Phil Fernandez and Jon Millar before flying home in the evening from San Francisco. 

    So I was pleased to report that Marketo were named and rated the highest of all under that brandname in my 2020 Vendor Selection Matrix on MLM, regardless of the company being acquired and absorbed by Adobe several years ago. Brand counts for something in B2B these days.

    One interesting discussion I always had with the Marketo executives was their strategy in Europe. For many years, they just parked some people (including German and French speakers) in Dublin, Ireland and marketed to European countries from there. I am convinced that this is one reason that Marketo struggled to sell well in Germany – though I could cite many others as well.

    But the acquisition by Adobe, who do have a substantial presence in Germany, promised that this could change. I’ve been receiving German-language mailings from “Marketo Germany” for quite a while now and I do hear signals in the market that there are more substantial sales and consulting resources working with German companies.

    So I was curious this week when I got an email, from onlinemarketing.de but signed off by “Team Marketo Engage, Adobe”, offering me an eBook describing how successful companies fuel their growth with Marketo – all presented and promised in German language. So I downloaded it and took a look. 

    What an insult to German B2B marketers. The eBook is a report full of American case studies citing growth numbers between 2014 and 2015 – so obviously old. I even found the English-language original which is dated 2016 – they just translated an old (ie. obsolete) eBook including translating the final copyright statement on the back page … “© 2016 Marketo, Inc. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.”

    Now this could be a considered fulfilment piece. Team Marketo Engage, Adobe (whoever that is) may be thinking that German marketers are much less mature than their American counterparts and therefore showing examples that are 4-6 years back in time may be perfect for them here. But, as I have repeatedly written up in research reports and blogs over the last years, that conclusion is just not true: German B2B marketing is not underdeveloped, it is different.

    But I think that this is just some lazy piece of marketing by someone who does not know the German market, had budget to spend on content translation and did a “quick and dirty” project. The irony is … with Adobe Experience Manager, you can render reader-specific information “automatically” on a website. Shame on you, Team Marketo Engage, Adobe, for not eating your own dog food !

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • News

    Do You have Blind Spots in Your Renewal Strategy ?

    This blog first appeared on the Website of Value Management SaaS Provider DecisionLink.

    This new decade will see a dramatic increase in the deployment of Customer Success programs. Success not Service – meaning businesses being proactive about their customers’ projects, as opposed to being merely reactive to customers with problems, submitting support tickets, sending emails, or complaining on social media. 

    Why? Well, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers, especially, know that profitable growth depends greatly on the fullest possible adoption of their solutions in each customer project. While great customer service might mean that they earn a 100% renewal-rate across the customer base in one year, most SaaS executives know that is not enough. Nor is it realistic because there is always some churn from external factors such as M&A, economic downturns, or staff changes. They need to earn more each year from existing customers: to cover the churn, finance R&D, and to pay the cost-of-sales of winning new customers in a very competitive environment. The current status in the SaaS industry is that “net retention is a critical figure: if you’re at ~106% you’re in line with the average, if you’re below 100% do a little work to figure out what’s happening, and if you’re ~120%+, you’re in great company.” (see – https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/net-dollar-retention/).

    So they are all investing heavily in customer success programs (in the form of onboarding and implementation services) and there is a focus on new executive-KPIs like Customer Lifetime Value or specifically Net Dollar Retention Rate. Of course, they cannot apply the same resources to all customers. Most use tiered structures that balance people resources and technology. Many have three tiers of programs: the lowest level is mostly automated (e.g., online self-service) while the highest level involves more consultative outreach from customer success managers. And even Sales success metrics are moving away from just pure selling – many sales executives are now being measured on reduced churn rates i.e. customer retention and expansion.  Again, renewal at 100% of existing run rate is not viewed as a win; to exponentially improve profits, 120% renewal-rate now the new bar.

    Customers Have Also Learned How to Renew 

    Buyers are also beginning to realize the importance of those renewal meetings. Often, a SaaS subscription was signed up by an empowered individual-contributor out of their expense budget and IT or procurement is only involved when the renewal phase is reached, and their considerations are usually different than the original buyer (support, integration with other systems, security. These negotiators also have their own agenda such as a strategic sourcing strategy which may not include the SaaS provider in question.   

    Renewal negotiation has moved from a “shall we continue the project” discussion to an almost full-blown re-evaluation of the initial investment decision. Compliance guidance, or just good procurement management practice, is pushing buyers to evaluate a new shortlist in the renewal phase and each additional user group or functionality is treated as a brand new project.

    Chief Financial Officers are increasingly turning their attention to SaaS expenditures and ask questions about return on investment (ROI), business outcomes, and revenue contribution. Most importantly, they are asking the SaaS user and their provider to demonstrate that the solution delivers quantifiable value to their company.

    Enter Value Management

    Financial justification tools have been promoted for decades by technology vendors/providers to accelerate their own sales process and help document a need to invest. The tool was typically only used for the business case appendix and it was hardly ever validated post-sale. Also, an ROI calculation is a one-off forecast consolidating capital investment, perhaps running expenses and increased revenues and/or decreased costs. 

    One consequence of an “as-a-service” investment is that the value must be monitored continually because usage and deployment of the service will fluctuate over time. So ROI is no longer a one-off forecast based upon estimates and assumptions, it must be modelled and set up in a system which is able to collect actual data and provide ongoing reporting.

    With on-premise software, it has always been difficult to track the ongoing expenses, revenues and costs. SaaS is, by design, more easily measured and monitored than on-premise software, including value-relevant data about usage and relevant business outcomes. Setting up a value management collection and reporting system is therefore realistic in most cases without custom programming and extensive investments and it can be offered by small and large vendors, and be deployed for customers of all sizes. 

    DecisionLink worked with Dimensional Research recently to survey over 200 SaaS executives and sales managers to understand how they approach value management in their renewal discussions. According to the study, only a quarter (24%) of companies provide value analysis during the renewal process. Another 11% of companies provide value analysis, but only for customers that are at-risk.

    Customer Success Supported by Value Management Will Prevail

    Closer attention from finance departments, plus the advent of SaaS, is now generating a clear preference for applying full value management principles throughout the project lifecycle. On the vendor-side, value management will become important in departments such as Customer Success to audit and prove the business benefits and document project effectiveness.  

    In addition, it is highly probable that, on the user-side, financial and procurement professionals will also be leveraging a value management solution to support a company’s decision-making process for multiple projects as a standard operating practice.

    “This is the final missing link in the industry. Connecting the value that was promised in the sales cycle to the value that is being delivered and demonstrated.” -Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight

    If you would like to discuss this topic already, feel free to contact me.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter.

    peter@teamoneill.de , poneill@researchinaction.de , peter.oneill@b2bmarketing.net

  • News,  Vendor Selection

    Wer ist ein Digital Marketing Service Provider?

    In meiner neusten Vendor Selection Matrix wurden Marketing Fachleute danach befragt, mit welchen Service Providern Sie bei ihren Digital-Marketing Automatisierungsprojekten zusammenarbeiten. Die erste vergnügliche Herausforderung im Design der Studie war: Wie nennen wir diese Bestie? 

    Marketing Agency … Marketing Consultant …. Marketing Systems Integrator (SI)  …Media Agency …. Full Service Agency ….. Digital Agency …. Digital Experience Agency …..

    Dann erinnerte ich mich ein an Projekt, an welchem ich im Jahr 2011 (bei Forrester) arbeitete gemeinsam mit einem Unternehmen, dass ich zu dieser Zeit bereits seit 15 Jahren kannte, ursprünglich als HP Value-Ad-Reseller. Sie erwähnten, dass Sie zunehmend mehr Marketing Software Projekte vorantreiben und entschlossen sich zu einer Review/Übersicht ihrer Gesamtstrategie und Positionierung, mit meiner Unterstützung. Anschließend konnte das Unternehmen erfolgreich als „Global Digital Agency, mit Fokus auf Business Transformation“ neu belebt werden.

    Ich habe die Erkenntnisse aus diesem Projekt genutzt (mit Erlaubnis), um einen Forschungsbericht mit dem Titel „The Emergence of Digital Marketing Service Provider (DMSP)“ zu veröffentlichen. Meinen Forrester Kollegen gefiel diese Terminologie zum Teil nicht, jedoch erhielt ich daraufhin viele Anfragen und Aufträge von Marketing Agenturen, welche mehr IT-Skills in ihrem Angebot anstrebten und traditionellen Sls, welche ihr kreatives Angebot erweitern wollten.

    Dies ist also der Begriff, den ich in dieser Studie verwendet habe. Ich stellte diese Definition 750 Marketing Fachleuten in Deutschland vor und bat Sie die DMSPs zu nennen und bewerten, mit welchen Sie bereits Erfahrungen sammeln konnten. Wir generierten dadurch eine große und wertvolle Menge an Daten, da etwa 33% der Befragten angaben, mit vier oder mehr DMSPs zusammen zu Arbeiten.

    A screenshot of a cell phone

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    Die Zweite Phase des Projekts besteht daraus, die Vendors (Anbieter) zu kontaktieren und Briefings mit Ihnen zu organisieren. Dies erwies sich als eine mühevolle Angelegenheit, da die Unternehmen kaum/keine Erfahrung mit Branchenanalysten wie mir haben. Die meisten besitzen im Grunde keine Kenntnis von meiner Arbeit, auch nach einleitenden Telefonaten, bei welchen das Projekt diskutiert wurde. Dies ist eventuell keine Überraschung, da Sie meist selbst kein Marketing durchführen (Werfen Sie einen Blick auf ihre Websites: Multi-Media Ego-Trips anstatt durchdachtes Engagement Marketing). Zudem wird dies durch den Forschungsbericht meines Kollegen B2B Marketing bestätigt, beim welchem die Frage: “Where does your new business commonly come from?” – „Woher kommen ihre neuen Geschäfte/Aufträge üblicherweise?“ gestellt wurde. Die Antworten werden im Folgenden aufgelistet.

    1. Direct referral                                                     – 96%
    2. Referral from an external individual (not client)      – 88%
    3. Request for Proposal process                                 – 63%
    4. Pitch                                                                  – 77%
    5. Paid/unpaid media exposure                                  – 43%
    6. Advertising                                                         – 27%
    7. Specialist referral agency                                      – 17%

    Ich werde jedenfalls weiter an dieser Thematik arbeiten, da die erhobenen Daten sich durchaus sehr interessant gestalten und ich bisher noch nie so eine umfangreiche Menge an Ratings/Beurteilungen erhalten habe. Hier ist eine Auflistung der genannten DMSPs in der Deutschland Studie (Alphabetisch, wie in dieser Phase üblich).


    Seien Sie gespannt auf den endgültigen Bericht, welcher im September erscheinen wird. Wie ich zu sagen pflege entdeckt unsere Forschung ein „Vendor Landscape“ (Anbieter Wettbewerbslandschaft) – Bestehend aus jenen Vendors (Anbieter), welche von den Nutzern am höchsten angesehen werden für Dienstleistungen rund um Digital-Marketing Projekten, im Fall dieser Studie. Aufgrund von geographischen und funktionalen Differenzen, sowie von Unterschieden in der Marktsegmentierung ergibt sich nicht grundsätzlich eine Liste direkter Konkurrenten. Wie zuvor bereits erwähnt, arbeiten hier die meisten Befragten tatsächlich mit mehreren DMSPs zusammen, um ihre Bedürfnisse abzudecken. 

    Wenn Sie diese Thematik mit mir diskutieren möchten, zögern Sie nicht mich zu kontaktieren.

    Always keeping you informed! Peter.

    peter@teamoneill.de , poneill@researchinaction.de , peter-oneill@b2bmarketing.net

  • Uncategorized

    In the World of SaaS, ROI is an Ongoing Calculation

    The concept of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has transformed the software industry. On the demand side, clients enjoy the new consumption model, with generally lower entry points, continual support in some cases, and a less capex-intensive approach overall. And the software/SaaS providers have learned that business success and profitable growth depends more as much on the full adoption of their solutions and renewals across their customer base as it does on winning net-new customers. So they invest heavily in Customer Success (in the form of onboarding and implementation services) and Customer Support resources to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain a strong renewal rate.

    Buyers also have their financial metrics and most business purchase decisions, including software, must be supported by some sort of financial analysis and forecast, using financial instruments such as: 

    Return-on-Investment (ROI) — Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) — Internal Rate of Return (IRR) —  

    Payback Period — Net Present Value (NPV)

    In response, many software vendors routinely offer one or more tools to establish value during their sales process – tools such as an online ROI calculator or other spreadsheet templates. Or they help buyers to develop their own business case, perhaps by providing data collected from their existing client base. This was so important in the traditional software sales process that the vast majority of vendors even deploy a supplemental consulting resource to collect data and advise on the topic.

    The irony is though, in my experience, most sales conversations still dwell and stay focused on the price of a product or subscription instead of the value. This is due to some serious muscle memory on both sides of the purchase decision:

    • A business culture of sales quotas and discount models instead of a customer-first, value-based selling approach 
    • A focus from buyers on the cost budget they must invest instead of the value they are creating.

    The other issue with most vendors’ ROI tools is that they are mostly focused on the initial investment approval process and tend to produce a one-off report. Anyway, collecting accurate data is quite difficult and so most of the ROI/TCO/IRR/NPV forecasts are some sort of estimate based upon many assumptions. Often, the document is completed on a pro-forma basis and not validated; and it is hardly ever audited at a later date on the actual outcomes of the project.

    SaaS has also democratized software buying and many SaaS subscriptions are now signed up by individual contributors out of their expense budget – curiously, in these cases, IT or procurement only gets involved when the renewal phase is reached. But the SaaS spending honeymoon is likely ending. Chief Financial Officers are now turning their attention to these software expenditures and expect answers –  answers in their taxonomy of return on investment, business outcomes, and revenue contribution. 

    Many SaaS providers tell me that the renewal negotiation has moved from a “shall we continue the project” discussion to an almost full-blown re-evaluation of the initial investment decision. Compliance guidance, or just good procurement management practice, is pushing buyers to evaluate a new shortlist in the renewal phase and each additional user group or functionality is treated as a brand new project.

    The potential advantage for the current SaaS supplier is that they have, hopefully, provided a strong customer experience and that is well documented. Another is that the supplier is able to prove that their service has provided value to the organization: 

    • At the minimum, as measured against the forecasted benefits from the start of the project
    • Ideally, based upon a continuous value management process. 

    I’ve known DecisionLink as a pioneer in the topic of customer value management for quite a while now, so I wasn’t surprised to hear they were interested in the above developments. They decided to find out how the SaaS industry is reacting to this new emphasis on ongoing value management and field a survey across numerous SaaS sales organizations. Then, they asked me to review and analyze the survey data and write up an insights report which you can see here

    I hope you will enjoy the report and it will help in your planning; whether on the demand or supply side. It also discusses lessons learned in the SaaS industry that will be useful for all sectors. Manufacturers of any type of goods can transform from a “product” orientation to a “solution” orientation by packaging up their “piece of hardware” and wrapping services, maintenance and support, upgrades, financing, monitoring, replenishment and other value-add services to an otherwise commoditized piece of hardware. For example, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that produce tractors, airplane engines and printers, are all delivering full solutions “as-a-service”. 

    Always keeping you informed! Peter.

  • Channel Marketing and Enablement,  Sales Enablement Management

    More on Sales Enablement

    The sales engagement/enablement topic keeps ticking along. After my Vendor Selection Matrix report on Sales Engagement Management was published in May, I completed another research project on sales enablement in June. This was a trends survey across 177 marketers (42% US, 48% Europe) and the findings and insights are published by the B2B Marketing community as what they call a premium report. And I presented the report, within a specialized SE stream, at their IGNITE conference which was attended by over 3,000 people. My report and presentation title was 

    “The Sales Enablement Moment is Now”.

    The report concludes that now is a golden opportunity for B2B marketers to share their knowhow and expertise and help sellers look good in front of buyers. The perennial goal of marketing/sales alignment depends heavily on mutual trust and respect, and that would be easy to obtain with a successful SE programme. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted this need to both individual sellers and their executives. An SE programme with a full supply chain of services and process addressing the competencies now required in a digital business world; providing content and training on a dynamic and responsive platform; and helping sellers to configure the right solutions for their customers quickly.   

    Our research showed that the typical sequence of an SE project goes through these stages of maturity: 

    1. Improve sales training.   
    2. Provide sales with digital content – passive. 
    3. Promote content to sales proactively.
    4. Add customer insights
    5. Integrate to other sales systems.

    Some companies will be able to improve marketing/sales alignment by just extending the current marketing automation processes and/or better-integrating Marketing Automation with the CRM or SFA systems. Others will want to invest in a new SE platform that does quite a bit more. An action plan is shown below, but here are some important points to consider: 

    • Address sales adoption from day one. The most successful SE projects focus on providing the optimal selling experience. Consider sales to be your customer for content, training and insights; research their needs first; and provide the information in the format and technologies that they prefer.
    • Compare various SE platforms. Please do not sign-up to the first SE vendor that calls. For the SE vendors, it is gold rush time currently and the SE software demos are all impressive – flowing PowerPoint presentations and running on tablet devices. Ensure there are standard interfaces to the systems that matter in your company; look for an empathetic user interface and adaptability in the software; and, perhaps most importantly, ensure it supports those devices that your sellers use. Sellers are already collecting a massive number of apps onto their devices through their own efforts. The SE system of choice needs to be visible, and recognised as important by the sellers, among that forest. It has to earn its adoption, based on ease of use, accessibility, comfort and applicability to the sellers’ daily tasks.  
    • Assign an SE programme manager high up in the organisation. Unless you set up a team of 510 people, the SE goals listed above cannot be achieved by your SE programme manager alone. Much of the work will be done by colleagues in other departments with encouragement and assistance from the SE programme: creating content, cranking data, providing training modules. So executive support across the organisations is, therefore, critical.

    If you would like to see more of the report, please contact B2B Marketing or myself. I am also doing several webinars on SE in the next weeks: here is one, here another.   

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

    peter@teamoneill.de poneill@researchinaction.de peter.oneill@b2bmarketing.net

  • News,  Vendor Selection

    Who is a Digital Marketing Service Provider ?

    I’m having fun with my latest vendor selection matrix where I asked marketing practitioners about the service providers they work with on their digital marketing automation projects. The first challenge when designing the survey was: what do we call this beast? 

    Marketing Agency … Marketing Consultant …. Marketing Systems Integrator (SI)  …Media Agency …. Full Service Agency ….. Digital Agency …. Digital Experience Agency …..

    Then I remembered a project I did way back in 2011 (at Forrester) for a company I’d known for 15 years already, initially as a boring old HP Value-Ad-Reseller. They’d noted they were doing more and more marketing software projects; decided to review their overall strategy/positioning with my help; and subsequently relaunched successfully as a “global digital agency focused on business transformation”. 

    And I used that work (with permission) to publish a research report called “The Emergence of the Digital Marketing Service Provider (DMSP)”. My Forrester colleagues didn’t like the term but I had lots of calls and engagement afterwards with both marketing agencies, who wanted to add more IT skills to their offering, and traditional SIs wanting to expand their creative offerings. 

    So, that is the moniker I used in my survey. I showed this definition to 1500 marketing practitioners around the world and asked them to name and rate those DMSPs they have experience with. We got a high volume of data back because 33% of them stated they work with over 4 or more DMSPs.  

    A screenshot of a cell phone

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    The second phase of the project is to contact the “vendors” named and organise a briefing. This is proving very difficult – these companies have little/no experience of working with industry analysts like me. Most have basically no understanding of what I do, even after an initial call where we discussed the project. This is perhaps no surprise because they do not really market themselves (just look at their websites! Full of multi-media ego trips instead of any engagement marketing). This is confirmed by a report published by my other business partner, B2B Marketing, where a survey of marketing agencies returned this priority list to the question “Where does your new business commonly come from?”:

    1. Direct referral                                                  
    2. Referral from an external individual (not client)  
    3. Request for Proposal process                            
    4. Pitch                                                                
    5. Paid/unpaid media exposure                               
    6. Advertising                                                      
    7. Specialist referral agency                                  

    But I will continue anyway, because the data I have collected is so compelling and I have never had so many ratings from a survey. Here is the list of the DMSPs named (alphabetically as usual at this stage).


    Watch out for the final report to come out in August. As I like to say, our research discovers a “vendor landscape” – those vendors who are the most highly regarded by users for, in this case, services around digital marketing projects. Due to geographical, segmentation and functional differences, it is not always a list of direct competitors. In fact, as I said above, here most respondents work with several DMSPs to cover their needs.

    If you would like to discuss this topic already, feel free to contact me.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter.

    peter@teamoneill.de , poneill@researchinaction.de ,  peter-oneill@b2bmarketing.net

  • News,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    B2B Vertrieb im Wandel

    Hier ist er – mein Report: Vendor Selection Matrix zum Thema Sales Engagement Management. Dieser Report basiert auf Feedback von 1500 Unternehmen weltweit und meiner Expertise zu den jeweiligen Strategien und Machbarkeiten. Hier sind die Highlights des Berichts:

    • Sales Engagement Management (SEM) Automatisierung war in unserer Studie im ersten Quartal 2020 bereits ein Investmentbereich mit hoher Priorität – 48% der Organisationen sagten, sie würden ihr ersten Investment in SEM Software einleiten. Nun da sich Kaufprozesse im Lichte der aktuellen Gesundheits- und Wirtschaftskrise radikal verändern und diese Veränderung nach der Krise wahrscheinlich langfristig bleibt – explodiert dieser Trend! (Übrigens: McKinsey hat soeben diese Studie veröffentlicht, welche die Empfehlung enthält: „Verkaufsberater sollten die Käufer über Telefon, Videokonferenz, oder Webchat unterstützen, wann immer Sie dies benötigen. Eine 24/7 oder 24/5 Live Präsenz kann besonders sinnvoll sein, wenn eine entfernte Interaktion die einzige Option ist“)
    • Ob im Feld oder Vertriebsinnendienst, moderne Vertriebsspezialisten müssen Inhalte (Content) in unterschiedlichsten Formen verwalten und freigeben, mit ihren Kunden via E-Mail, Telefon, Messaging und Video kommunizieren und Engagement via hochentwickelten Content Analytics verstehen. Während manche Verkäufer ihre eigenen Tools finden, weist eine organisationsübergreifende SEM Plattform wünschenswerte Vorteile in Bezug auf die Sicherheit, Compliance und einer einheitlicheren Markendarstellung auf. 
    • Unser Bericht zeigt, dass die Gewinner von SEM Projekten diejenigen sein werden, welche die beste Käufer Erfahrung unterstützen. Die Studie nannte die größte Hürde zum Erfolg „Adoption durch die Käufer“. Also werden jene SEM Lösungen erfolgreich sein, welche den Fokus auf die optimale Käufer Erfahrung durch überlegene Integration, eine empathische Nutzer-Bedienoberfläche, Anpassungsfähigkeit und Flexibilität bezogen auf die Unterstützung verschiedener Endgeräte der Nutzer.
    • Darüber Hinaus zeigen wir, dass SEM Analytik und Anleitung zunehmend erfolgskritisch werden. Eine negative Käufer Erfahrung geschieht, wenn die Verkäufer einen falschen Kontakt, zu einer schlechten Zeit, mit nicht dienlichen Informationen anruft. Organisationen werden erwarten, dass SEM Systeme dieses Szenario vermeiden können und solche Systeme bevorzugen, welche proaktiv eine optimale Erfahrung für beide Parteien erzeugt.
    • Wer schaffte es an die Spitze? Die Top 5 Anbieter, bewertet durch SEM Nutzer in 2020, sind:
    • Seismic
    • Clearslide
    • Showpad
    • Brainshark
    • Highspot
    • Die Anbieter Accent Technologies, Apparound, Bigtincan, Mediafly, Pitcher, Prolifiq, SalesLoft, SalesSphere, SAP und Zoomifier vervollständigen die Liste der Anbieter, welche von den 1500 befragten Fachleuten genannt wurden.

    Es ist interessant zu beobachten, wie der deutsche Anbieter SaleSphere an Boden gewinnt in dieser globalen Landschaft – direkt in die führende Kategorie der Matrix. Dies liegt an der beschleunigten Adoption durch europäische Organisationen, welche sich von der Integration von SEM in benachbarte Geschäftsprozesse wie eCommerce und Dienstleistungen beeindruckt zeigen. Außerdem wird ihre vorhandene Kompetenz in Sachen Datenschutz-Grundverordnung (DSGVO) sehr geschätzt.

    Trotz dessen fällt es SaleSphere schwer sich im Markt Gehör zu verschaffen und sich für weitere Erfolge und Wachstum zu bewerben, so wie vielen deutschen Technologie-Unternehmen. Einige Anbieter in diesem Bericht haben Marketing-programme erschaffen, um die Ergebnisse wirksam einzusetzen – ich selbst bin für zahlreiche Webinars (mit vier verschiedenen Anbieter) in den nächsten Monaten gebucht. SalesSphere scheint jedoch nur geringes Verständnis für diesen Marketingprozess zu besitzen.  

    Erinnern Sie sich daran, dass unsere Forschung eine „Anbieter Wettbewerbslandschaft“ aufdeckt – Wir diskutieren in dieser Studie jene Anbieter, welche von den Nutzern für die Automatisierung eines Prozesses (oder Familie von Prozessen) am meisten geschätzt werden. Ich erfragte Berichte und Erfahrungen zum Prozess „Verkäufern helfen auf ihre Kunden einzugehen“. Aufgrund von geografischen und funktionalen Divergenzen, sowie Unterschieden in der Segmentierung ist dies nicht ausschließlich eine Liste von direkten Wettbewerbern. In der Tat setzen die meisten Befragten mindestens zwei solcher Lösungen ein, um ihre Bedürfnisse abzudecken. 

    Wenn Sie mehr von dem Bericht sehen möchten, wie beispielsweise die einzelnen Anbieter-Profilblätter und das gesamte Bewertungsschema, zögern Sie nicht mich zu kontaktieren. 

    Always keeping you informed! Peter