• Uncategorized

    Propensity to Switch Vendors

    This year, I have collected several new Recommendation Index (RI) values from the Vendor Selection MatrixTM reports we have published. I see the RI as a significant leading indicator of long-term customer satisfaction but also, more importantly, of the propensity to switch indicated by customers. It is for that reason that we have included the points earned through the RI score in our Strategy axis on the matrix and give it a significant 25% weighting.

    In our surveys, we actually ask about two items directly related to customer retention: the current satisfaction, and the “would you recommend this vendor?” question. Customer satisfaction is defined as a measurement that determines how happy customers are right now with the solution being evaluated and flows into the Execution axis of the matrix. The RI (the simple percentage of respondents who answer “yes”) encapsulates a longer- term, more strategic element of customer satisfaction – essentially it is a measurement of customer loyalty.

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

    Buyers. You should interpret the numbers in a similar manner.  

    The data below shows that the vendors listed in our Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) landscape include several that should feel threatened by a propensity to switch. Our survey also showed that 49% of the respondents were planning to replace their MAP with something more suitable while another 24% said that was under consideration – always a moment of truth for a supplier if your client is not really satisfied with their overall experience. And remember, these are the 15 or so vendors with the top scores – there are many others with lower numbers. 

    The next survey in 2022 was around Marketing Resource Management (MRM). Again, there are some vendors that should feel threatened by a propensity to switch. 

    We have also published our report on the top Sales Engagement Management (SEM) vendors as rated by our global survey of 1,500 practitioners. There is already a lot of churn in this market as businesses race to replace their older SEM platforms with a more capable and holistic solutions for more digital selling and marketing. However, there were not that many vendors at 94% or below.  

    This month we published our report on Customer Data Management. The table shows an impressive scoring of all Recommendation Index values in the high 90s with just two below the 95% number that I would set as an alert.

    Overall, the numbers are good for these leading vendors. We’ll see how this analysis progresses in the 2023 surveys we have planned. 

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Uncategorized

    2020 Vendor Landscapes

    Here are the 2020 vendor landscapes discovered in my global process-oriented surveys. I have taken the liberty of listing the vendors in order of their ranking in the Vendor Selection Matrix graphic.  

    Channel Marketing and Enablement (Nov 2019). ”Channel” being business partners not marketing channel. I also wrote reports focused on Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) based on this list. This topic is often also called Local Marketing or Distributed Marketing. 


    Marketing Lead Management (Mar 2020). MLM processes are deployed in marketing and/or sales operations departments to support the collection of unqualified contacts and opportunities from various sources such as: Direct mail or email responses; Database marketing programs; Other multichannel marketing campaigns; Offline interactions such as seminars and tradeshows; Social media contacts; and web pages.

    MARKETO (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ACT-ON (#1 Price/Value), HUBSPOT (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CREATIO (#1 Price/Value), ORACLE, SAP, ADOBE, SALESFORCE, RIGHT-ON INTERACTIVE, PEGASYSTEMS, EVERGAGE, SALESFUSION, SUGARCRM, ZOHO, CRM NEXT  

    Sales Engagement Management (May 2020). Marketing plays an increasingly active role in enabling the sales team, collaborating with their colleagues in Sales Operations with a robust set of sophisticated tools in an all-in-one platform in order to engage productively with knowledgeable buyers and customers.


    Digital Marketing Service Providers (Aug 2020). We wanted to ask marketing practitioners about the service providers they work with on their digital marketing projects. But 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 posting a research report back in 2011 called “The Emergence of the Digital Marketing Service Provider (DMSP)” based on a consulting project I had just done. My Forrester colleagues didn’t like the term, but it led to many new engagements with both creative marketing agencies, who wanted to add more IT skills to their offering, and traditional IT-centric SIs wanting to expand their creative offerings. It worked for the survey and produced great results – but we also learned that these companies do little or no marketing about themselves, so the report had little traction. I was particularly pleased to see the provider that I based that 2011 Forrester report upon (I’ve known Valtech since they were a HP hardware reseller back in the 1990s) topping the survey results. 


    BTW – the above research revealed this: DMSP are absolutely awful at marketing themselves (“cobblers children”).

    Marketing Resource Management (Oct 2020). Marketing executives, as with any business executive, should have full visibility for the planning and effectiveness of all the business resources they deploy. The Marketing Resource Management (MRM) process manages all marketing assets and supports plans and budgets for marketing initiatives. As the topic is not fully deployed, we found a vendor landscape with a mix of vendors managing some asset types, those that manage projects resources, plus those vendors who do manage the full range of digital assets, talent, budgets and projects.


    Customer Data Management (Dec 2020). The vendor landscape for Customer Data Management (CDM) is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: data consolidation, collecting entire clickstreams, creating a “golden record” through identity resolution, enabling intelligent engagement, and identity tagging. The CDM challenge is different across the B2C and B2B spectrum, which we analyzed in the report at length. 


    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Uncategorized

    Vendor Landscapes in 2021

    Through 2021 in my work with Research in Action, I discovered many separate vendor landscapes – ALL LISTED BELOW FOR EVERYBODY TO READ. I interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation and talked to well over 200 marketing software vendors – as discussed in this blog

    The vendor-marketers often respond with something like: “strange, there are vendors on your list that I do not see in deals or think I compete with”. Well, that’s because I first describe a marketing process in my interviews and ask respondents which vendors they work with on that process. I try to avoid category terms invented by other analysts or product managers because the chances are marketing people don’t think in categories (that’s more of an IT-centric trait). Also, many vendors are very specific about their target market segment and we survey companies from mid-market to enterprise and across the globe and across all industries.  

    Here are the vendor landscapes discovered in those global process-oriented surveys. I have taken the liberty of listing the vendors in order of their ranking in the Vendor Selection Matrix graphic.  

    Marketing Event Management (Dec 2021). Selecting a Marketing Event Management (MEM) platform will probably be one of the more strategic decisions for CMOs in 2022. When many companies ran virtual events during the COVID-19 crisis, their immediate goal was to cover an already-planned live event with an online alternative as a work-around. Many executives made short-term decisions about the platform — optimization wasn’t yet part of their strategy, just getting it done. 

    ON24 (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ZOOM (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), MEETYOO (#1 Customer Satisfaction), 6CONNEX (#1 Price/Value), VFAIRS, NOTIFIED, CERTAIN, BIZZABO, ACCELEVENTS, KALTURA, AIRMEET, RAINFOCUS, CVENT, SPOTME, CADMIUMCD, SPLASH, HOPIN, CIRCA, MICROSOFT  

    Partner Management Automation (Oct 2021). This is my new label for what I (and many vendors) have traditionally called Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA). The digital world has now dramatically changed these processes and made the need for a broader technology platform (PMA) inevitable as companies deal with increasing volumes and types of partners. 

    IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), IMPACT.COM (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS, MAGENTRIX (#1 Price/Value), WEBINFINITY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CHANNEL MECHANICS, SALESFORCE, CHANNELEXPERTS (#1 Price/Value), CHANNELTIVITY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDMAKER, COMPUTER MARKET RESEARCH, SPROUTLOUD, ORACLE

    Brand Content Management (August 2021). This vendor landscape is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: brand governance, brand portal, digital asset management, content management hubs, even marketing resource management. Hardly any vendor can cover all process within BCM, so companies are deploying software from more than one of the vendors appearing in this landscape – 76% of the respondents have more than one vendor and 24% have six or more systems installed.

    CENSHARE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDMAKER (#1 Customer Satisfaction), WEDIA (#1 Price/Value), BRANDMUSCLE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BYNDER (#1 Price/Value), BRANDMASTER, CELUM, OPTIMIZELY, SITECORE, ANSIRA, ADOBE, OPENTEXT, CAPITAL ID, ACOUSTIC, MARCOMCENTRAL  

    Product Information Management (May 2021). The recent acceleration of digital marketing and eCommerce investments has increased the need for marketers to be involved with this. So many companies must now incorporate eCommerce into their sales strategy much more than previously, and their marketers usually discover a mix of eCommerce channels: direct on their own websites, plus third parties such as marketplaces and distributors. The only way they can optimize the customer experience through all those channels is to pay much more attention to the PIM process, previously scoped only by IT and product management. 

    CONTENTSERV (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), RIVERSAND, INFORMATICA, STIBO SYSTEMS, SEMARCHY (#1 Customer Satisfaction), VIAMEDICI (#1 Price/Value, #1 Customer Satisfaction), PROFISEE (#1 Price/Value), TIBCO (#1 Customer Satisfaction), AKENEO, ATACCAMA, SAP, RELTIO, IBM, WINSHUTTLE, INRIVER

    Account-Based Marketing (Apr 2021). ABM is a purely B2B imperative – many people would even say B2B marketing is ABM. But others would promote Account-Based Marketing and Selling. The resulting vendor landscape is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: data collection and analytics, targeted advertising, marketing campaign orchestration, enabling intelligent engagement, and even sales enablement. 


    Digital Experience Management (Feb 2021). This vendor landscape contains vendors with a wide variety of claims: web content management, content management systems, digital experience, through to digital commerce. The major enterprise application software vendors also offer their own DXM platform – the market feedback in report shows that their solutions are not appreciated though. The suitability of a DXM platform varies according to whether you are a medium-sized company or a large international enterprise. 

    ACQUIA (#1 Overall), E-SPIRIT, CROWNPEAK (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BLOOMREACH (#1 Customer Satisfaction), OPTIMIZELY (#1 Price/Value), COREMEDIA (#1 Price/Value), SITECORE, SQUIZ, ADOBE, IBEXA, CONTENTFUL, OPENTEXT, MAGNOLIA, SALESFORCE, ORACLE, SAP 

    Digital Asset Management (Jan 2021). Our surveys and consulting work enables us to continually assess the maturity of marketing organizations (combination of organization, process and technology) – DAM projects mostly occur early in the maturity progression, but many companies then replace and/or consolidate their DAM projects at a later stage. The vendors listed here include some on the asset management function while others are more about the business processes around that. 

    SITECORE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), CENSHARE (#1 Price/Value), CLOUDINARY (#1 Price/Value), ADOBE, BRANDMAKER (#1 Customer Satisfaction), APRIMO, CELUM, NUXEO, WIDEN, PICTUREPARK, CANTO, BYNDER, OPENTEXT, IMAGE RELAY, BRANDMASTER

    Always keeping you informed! Peter 

  • Uncategorized

    Ich fragte nach MAP und erhielt folgende Antworten

    Aufgrund des Produktionszyklus meiner Forschungsberichte arbeite ich an vielen Projekten gleichzeitig. Also, momentan liefere ich weiterhin …… 

    … Aber ich sehe auch mir bereits die Daten einer neuen Umfrage zu Marketing Automatisierungsplattformen (MAP) an. Außerdem plane ich aktuell mit den jeweiligen Anbietern Briefings, sodass der Bericht im Februar 2022 veröffentlicht werden kann.  

    Der MAP-Bericht ist als Update meiner früheren Berichten über Marketing Lead Management (MLM) zu verstehen. Ich beobachte, wie sich viele Marketing-Organisationen von einem Leads-Lieferanten für den Vertrieb zu einem strategischeren Orchestrator für den gesamten Lebenszyklus des Kundenengagements entwickeln. Daher denke ich, dass MLM als Arbeitstitel für diese Studie nicht mehr geeignet ist. “MAP” war schon immer der alternative Begriff für MLM, obwohl er traditionell nur in Nordamerika und der Technologiebranche verwendet wurde (Bei Forrester haben wir den Begriff “Lead-to-Revenue-Management” verwendet).  

    Aber, was versteh man heutzutage unter einer MAP?

    Es mag Sie vielleicht überraschen, dass ich in der Umfrage den Begriff “MAP” verwende, denn ich betone stets bei meiner Untersuchungen, dass es darum geht, wie Unternehmen einen Marketingprozess oder eine Familie von Prozessen automatisieren – im Gegensatz zu einer Produktkategorie. In meinen zahlreichen Interviews sprechen Marketingfachleute häufig von ihren “Marketingplattformen”. Ich habe jedoch festgestellt, dass sie damit oft unterschiedliche Dinge meinen, was die Technologie und die Prozesse angeht. Daher war ich neugierig zu erfahren, was Marketingfachleute unter MAP verstehen und welche Anbieter in der Anbieterlandschaft unserer weltweiten Umfrage mit 1.500 gewerblichen Käufern auftauchen. Hier ist die Liste der Anbieter, die von den Umfrageteilnehmern (ungefragt) mit MAP in Verbindung gebracht wurden: 

    • Der Vollständigkeit halber sei erwähnt, dass auch folgende Unternehmen in der Umfrage erwähnt wurden, jedoch nicht in dem Bericht enthalten sind: ACTITO, ACTIVECAMPAIGN, ADESTRA, KEA, MAILCHIMP, UPLAND SOFTWARE und ZOHO

    Es tauchen also die üblichen Verdächtigen auf, aber auch eine Vielzahl von Produktkategorien, wie der klassische Branchenanalyst sagen würde: Traditionelles MAP plus MRM, ABM, Low-Code Generation und sogar einige “Marketing Cloud”-Anbieter (was auch immer das sein soll). 


    Die Erwartungen an MAP haben sich in den letzten 18 Monaten geändert. Sehen Sie sich diese Highlights aus den Umfrageergebnissen an:

    • 87 % der Befragten gaben an, dass sie ihr derzeitiges MAP neu bewerten würden
    • Einer der wichtigsten Treiber für MAP-Investitionen war die “Messung des Marketing-ROI und der Leistung”
    • 46 % der Befragten nannten die Tatsache, dass ihr MAP nicht den versprochenen Nutzen bringt, als eine große Herausforderung

    Es gibt noch viel mehr Daten dieser Art, über die ich in den nächsten Wochen nachdenken werde. Die Befragten bewerteten die ihnen bekannten Anbieter anhand verschiedener Kriterien zu Produkt, Zufriedenheit, Innovation, Vision usw.  Nach den Briefings werde ich meinen Standpunkt zu einigen Kriterien darlegen und anschließend ein Profil der Anbieter im Hinblick auf die Erfüllung der Anforderungen eines MAP-Projekts erstellen. 

    Ich freue mich auf die Briefings mit allen Anbietern in den nächsten Monaten. Wenn Sie mehr über diese Untersuchung erfahren möchten, können Sie mich wie immer gerne kontaktieren. Der abschließende Bericht wird im Februar 2022 erscheinen. 

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • Uncategorized

    Information Supply Chain

    In my research with marketing practitioners, I investigate various processes around the management of marketing information and all relevant digital assets – which process name is most relevant to a company depends on Marketing’s process maturity which I see moving through these 5 phases over time: 

    1. Chaotic. Neophyte marketers focus on their product so the first important information management process is Product Information Management (PIM) – ensuring all company output shows the most recent product data (specifications, pricing, offers, use cases, and so on).  
    2. Reactive. The added complexity of digital marketing and multi-channel fulfillment programs requires a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system – many firms must combine multiple content assets systems into a more comprehensive asset database. IT-centric projects are named Master Data Management while marketers prefer a title like Universal Content Management or Hub. 
    3. Stable. DAM/PIM becomes part of a greater Brand Content Management (BCM) process when brand governance across multiple channels (digital channels plus external channels such as resellers) is needed. The need to manage assets AND better plan/budget for all Marketing results in a more holistic/operational Marketing Resource Management process, which may include BCM.   
    4. Proactive. When marketing’s role inevitably matures from supporting sales transactions to ensuring a full customer experience, focus switches to attribution analytics: identifying exactly where and how marketing is contributing to revenue success.
    5. Predictive. The most advanced marketers have digital assets managed in the MRM system and combined with other business data, so that a CMO can monitor the performance of all marketing programs, campaigns and asset projects. 

    The software vendors around these processes are all challenged to promote their benefits because the success of their messaging depends on where their potential buyer is the above model. Some market beyond their product capabilities using thought leadership marketing and others sometimes sell below their full capabilities in a modular fashion to get their foot in the door. I often hear these phrases in vendor briefings:

    • “Well, we are quite a bit more than just a DAM solution”
    • “We offer a DAM and a PIM module, most of our customers use us for both”
    • “We have a PIM that helps our clients to provide a product experience”
    • “Our system is really an MRM solution, but this year, most companies are just looking for DAM”.

    I also work with a list of other vendors outside of marketing whose value proposition is more about what can be done with the content.  A company like Empolis stresses the application of artificial intelligence to the content-data in order to accelerate the solving of support  problems by call centers and service teams. The vendor Quanos has content solutions that can automatically create all those important accompanying documents for many products, such as instruction documents, data sheets and catalogues. 

    Another way of representing the management of information/data is the supply chain metaphor, where The Information Supply Chain (ISCM) would represent a chain of connected software solutions in parallel with the classic Supply Chain concept. The term ISCM was actually coined by the chief analyst, Temel Kahyaoglu, of an organisation called The Group of Analysts (TGOA), way back in 2008 here in Germany. 

    That makes sense because this area of software technology is heavy with German, Austrian and Swiss vendors successful with their products on a global basis. TGOA’s ISCM concept splits the processes, and resulting product categories, into: Information Procurement: Information Preparation; and Information Distribution.

    TGOA also had several innovative ideas about how to represent products and services with their concept of  the Market Performance Wheel. I am interested in following these methodologies further and will be working with Temel and TGOA now to further develop the concept as they relaunch their business anew. This is in addition to my work with Research in Action, B2B Marketing and other clients.   


    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

  • 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.

  • Uncategorized

    ABM: From Cacophony To Euphony

    A few years ago, we began to hear a curious cacophony around ABM. ABM stands for “account-based marketing,” a marketing concept that’s been around for decades. Now, it is being used in reams of promotional copy distributed by marketing consultancies, data service providers, and software automation vendors alike.

    Marketing-led prophesies can sometimes be self-fulfilling. So now, B2B marketers everywhere are busy researching, launching, and conducting ABM initiatives — ostensibly to engage prospects at target accounts with personalized messaging, content, and offers. And as a growing number of product vendors, service providers, and event organizers enter this gold rush, B2B marketers are in danger of falling for the “fool’s gold” of unrealistic revenue windfalls and investment returns.

    ‘Tis time to take stock and sieve this topic more effectively. The musicians among us would prefer to hear more harmony than discord. But the truth is that ABM means different things to different people; a recent survey of 120 B2B marketers on their strategies and tactics shows:

    “73% agreed that ABM is a term that lacks specific meaning and is used inconsistently today.”

    The same survey showed that four out of five found ABM effectiveness falls short of their expectations.  So much for years of marketing spend by all those vendors!  

    My research, in comparison, can be somewhat boring: I talk about the age of the customer and the need for customer obsession, and, of course, I tell my B2B marketing clients that customer obsession should be account-based if that aligns with their business strategy. This summer, I did some extensive research into the experience of B2B marketers with their ABM projects, and their ABM vendors, for my latest Vendor Selection Matrix report.  

    The Cacophony Continues!  ABM continues to be the most-used promotional acronym by marketing software vendors with well over 90 software vendors claiming to provide ABM-specific functionality. And there are probably several dozen more with no ABM claims but also being used by B2B companies to market to specific accounts with target-market segmentation and content personalization. The software market is estimated at around $750 million in 2019 with a current annual growth rate of some 12%.

    ABM is just B2B marketing done properly.  I was presenting a webinar on this topic yesterday together with Jon Miller of Engagio and we both agreed that the current mire of confusingly-positioned vendors will converge to a couple of dozen platform providers supporting all, or most, of the ABM-related processes such as account and contacts selection; analytics and insights, content personalization, customer engagement orchestration, and performance assessment. Many survey respondents reported deploying two, three or even four ABM vendors, with integration an issue. 30% plan to migrate to a more suitable system, unusually large compared to other vendor selection matrix surveys.

    And the Top 20 ABM Vendors are…..  The top five vendors rated by the users are (all listed alphabetically) 6sense, Engagio, InsideView, Jabmo, and MRP. The vendors Demandbase, Kwanzoo, Madison Logic, Marketo, and Zoominfo complete the top ten. In positions 11 thru 20 are vendors Agent3, D&B Datavision, Lattice Engine, LinkedIn, Radius, RollWorks, TechTarget, Terminus, Triblio, and True Influence. Here is the report in its public version

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

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

    Report on ABM Coming

    I’ve been researching the topic of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and find that 57% of businesses plan to invest in ABM software in the next 1-3 years. Business marketers in every industry must add ABM functionality to their marketing tech stack because their buyers only want communications relevant to their current business issues.   

    The ABM process is actually a long-established marketing/sales methodology in business services companies, where success depends so much on personal empathy and the relationship. So, they research the interests and needs of their target audiences and provide that “market intelligence” to their sellers or account managers. 

    The advent of digital marketing, tooled by technology advances in website and data analytics, now allows all B2B businesses to do ABM by leveraging collected behavioral and profile data on companies (accounts) or even individual buying decision-makers. ABM software enables marketers to channel personalized content to potential buyers. But first and foremost, ABM is a strategy and is applicable to all marketing channels.

    ABM is currently the most-used promotional acronym by marketing software vendors with well over 90 software vendors claiming to provide ABM-specific functionality. There are probably several dozen more with no ABM claims but also being used by B2B companies to market to specific accounts with target-market segmentation and content personalization. Still, I estimate the software market at around $750 million in 2019 with a current annual growth rate of some 12%.

    The term ABM is actually a misnomer, it should be Account Based Marketing and Selling (ABMS). The ABM process will only succeed if marketing collaborates with its sales counterparts to select the target accounts; share the important contact data; coordinate content distribution and distribute intent alerts. My survey found the second most important driver for ABM investment to be “enable sales to better understand their customers”.  Some interview respondents pointed out that they have always done ABS but this is now supported better by their ABM project. 

    My prediction is that the current mire of confusingly-positioned vendors will converge to a couple of dozen platform providers supporting all, or most, of the ABM-related processes such as account and contacts selection; analytics and insights, content personalization, customer engagement orchestration, and performance assessment. Many survey respondents reported deploying two, three or even four ABM vendors, with integration an issue. 30% plan to migrate to a more suitable system, unusually large compared to other vendor selection matrix surveys. 

    As usual, I will publish a Vendor Selection Matrix showing the ratings for the 20 most cited ABM vendors across our survey of 1500 practitioners. That will be on October 8th.  The top ten vendors rated by the respondents are (all listed alphabetically): 6sense, Demandbase, Engagio, Kwanzoo, InsideView, Jabmo, Madison Logic, Adobe (Marketo), MRP, and Zoominfo.  In positions 11 thru 20 are vendors Agent3, D&B Datavision, Lattice Engine, LinkedIn, Radius, RollWorks, TechTarget, Terminus, Triblio, and True Influence