With all the progress that's been made around demand orchestration – from technology to enable ABM and predictive, to top-of-funnel automation, to advanced Pipeline analytics – marketers have more power to influence revenue than ever before.
But interestingly, this technology doesn’t always show us the way, at least not at first. Instead, it often uncovers a murky mess of bad data, or a tangle of workaround processes. Much has been written about the consequences of dirty data or time wasted manually processing spreadsheets, but those are just two of the most blatant, deadly problems marketers face.
The reality is, we still have a lot silent killers lurking out there, threatening to drag down our marketing results. So how do you identify and weed them out before they do real damage?
Of course, learning from the mistakes or problems that other demand or marketing ops pros encountered is always beneficial. In the spirit of sharing, I’ve compiled some of the silent killers we uncovered at Integrate in 2016, and how we solved them. Note that I cover these from a marketing-specific point of view, even though some clearly have critical implications for sales ops as well.
Misaligned Contact Owner Data in Our CRM
- Problem: There were several contacts in our system that belonged to people other than the Sales owner of that account. In fact, over 30% of our contacts were assigned to the incorrect owner. This meant all the marketing activity and qualification alerts for these people were going to the incorrect sales rep, and the account owner wasn’t getting the information they needed.
- Solution: LeanData enabled us to run a bulk update to match all the contact owner fields up to the account owner field. In less than 3 minutes, we were able to re-align that 30% of our contact database. We will also be able to easily maintain this going forward anytime an account owner changes.
Inability to Automatically Route Leads to Our Sales Team
- Problems: HubSpot is only able to correctly pair leads with accounts when the email domain matches exactly as expected to the account domain. Salesforce doesn’t pair leads with accounts at all. Additionally, we don’t use a specific formula like geographic area or round-robin when assigning new leads that come in from Sales. So, we needed a way to get leads at existing accounts assigned correctly, and get new leads assigned appropriately.
- Solutions: First, we implemented LeanData to handle the Lead2Account matching. They use a fuzzy-matching formula that is working well for us and expands beyond just looking at email address. This covers about 95% of leads that come in where we already have an existing account in Salesforce. For new leads that do not belong to an account already in our database, a member of our team receives an automated alert that a lead requires manual intervention once they reach MQL status. She will continue to assign these leads until we adopt rules or a round-robin approach.
- Problem: It’s tempting to wash my marketing hands of a lead once it reaches Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). But too often Sales reaches out a few times, then moves on when a lead is unresponsive. They don’t nicely hand that lead back to marketing – they will just move on.
- Solution: We built an automatic process to keep leads moving. Sales is alerted when an MQL is created, and then again when it’s about to expire 15 days later. Once it expires without being converted to a contact, it’s now automatically returned to Marketing.
- Problem: When someone submits a form, often there’s no capitalization validation – so when Chuck Norris submits his name as CHUCK NORRIS because he just finished roundhouse kicking someone, that’s how his name gets recorded in the database. Then we email Chuck, and the email looks silly because his name is pulled in as all capital letters, and my boss roundhouse kicks me in the face. (Note: not a true story.) Some marketing automation platforms and form services have solved this already, but we use HubSpot which has not (nor do they intend to).
- Solution: There’s a couple funky workarounds and Excel macros written to solve this. We elected to start running our new leads through the Integrate platform on a bi-weekly basis to correct this. We have plans to find a way to build this validation in at the form level so it’s automatically corrected when someone submits.
Dangerous Event Registration Forms
- Problem: Marketing automation relies heavily on user IP data as well as machine-specific cookies. This is great for matching online activity up with someone’s information once they submit a form, but there are times this can become problematic. The most common scenario RSVP or event registration forms, where people are very likely to register their coworkers or friends all at once while they are registering themselves. This confuses the MA platform because it’s no longer clear who submitted the form. We learned this the hard way.
- Solution: Whenever you have a form where it’s likely someone could submit it on someone else’s behalf, be sure to find the option to “Disable cookie tracking” for that form. You’ll get less data this way, but at least your good data won’t be erroneously overwritten.
A Mixed Bag of Lead Quality from Events & Partner Programs
- Problem: Running or sponsoring webinars, eBooks, or conferences is one of our best methods for capturing new, high quality leads. But sometimes our criteria doesn’t overlap completely with our partners or the event participants, and there are leads captured that we’d rather not have in our database.
- Solution: Rather than compromising on the criteria with our partners or manually processing spreadsheets, we simply set up a campaign in the Integrate platform, and run all the lead files through the determined validation criteria before adding them to our CRM. This is incredibly helpful when we have a massive list of event leads and need to help sales prioritize follow up ASAP.
As we move into 2017, and get more advanced with our processes and technology, I certainly expect to uncover more “silent killers”. My hope is always that we find them before they drag us down too much, and that we get better at prevention through systems that automate, govern, validate, and of course integrate.
What are some of your silent killers? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter.