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
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
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.