Mar 012013
 

Lead-to-Revenue Management (L2RM) is another way to define the need to calibrate marketing’s spend to the result of revenue generation.

Apart from buying and implementing some technology, what else do you need and what is the “real” priority, in terms of cost and effort?

L2RM is described as a strategic marketing initiative that will first disrupt, and then transform, your marketing organization. Often driven by referencing Marketing Automation, the concept is solid, however is another example of the singular approach to improving revenue.

Aligning to the buyer cycle will need technology and process, but the other CORE influencers are often overlooked, mostly due to ignorance than anything else. There is much more to improving revenue performance than adopting the latest technology tool.

Learn more about what you need to build by reading “Secrets to building a Revenue Engine®”

Sep 012012
 

Not all of your data is important.  There… we’ve said it and it’s now on the table!

The context of this point is really based on the principle that your business has huge amounts of data, large enough budgets to pay data analytics firms to make something of it and that you’ve then got the additional funds to implement the insights, your data offers.

Another reason we make that statement is due to the NOISE being spruiked by hardware and software vendors. Granted data plays an important role in managing a business to be an industry leader or innovating, but it isn’t everything. Data plays a central and pivotal role in measuring performance, providing insights and offering business leaders clarity on what to manage.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

The explosion of online (digital) activity has reinforced the need to capture data and use it to improve business performance. The value of data is often misleading as it assumes that your market is purely online, often known as pureplay. If so, great you’re in the right place.

Unfortunately, there are many businesses, which entertain offline activity across all functions of a business and that is unlikely to change too fast.

Data, as the new black oil, was mostly based on financial and operational roles and is now equally valued when applied to the consumer. For simplicity we call the roles that service the consumer (customer, buyer, prospect, market etc) the “front-end”.  Many other traditional data sources are still needed including procurement, billing, staff kpi’s and idle stock to name an important few. We refer to these as “back-end” data sources.

So if most meaningful data is applied to the consumer “front-end”, then it needs to be said the data type falls into one of two options.  Either i)the known customer or ii) the broader market.

Much of the big data hype, has been rightfully based on those businesses which have deep customer transactions, notably financial institutions, telecommunications and utilities. Each of these sectors reflect how our society is wired and our transactions are guaranteed for them, offering them data rich intelligence. Remember information leads to intelligence and intelligence leads to insights.

An area of significant focus is the use and adoption of research.  It has a place, but many businesses place a higher value on what people “do”, over what they “say they’ll do”. Think behaviour (doing) versus attitude (saying).

Revenue performance needs to be based on your Ideal Buyer Criteria (IBC). Defining your IBC means deep insights into your data to articulate your buyer segments, the profits they deliver, their tenure, your cost of serve and many more metrics. Basically use the data that shows what customers “do”.

Once defined, sizing your market will be a fundamental next step. This step is the critical one, whereby your ability to define a realistic business plan is quantified. Without this step, your “Revenue Engine®” may be flawed from the start.  Learn more about a “Revenue Engine®” here.

Jul 012012
 

CRM was touted as the silver bullet in the 1990’s. Many have since learnt it was a major failure… and continues to be so.  Even now with latest technologies offering so much more functionality and intelligence, businesses still mismanage their buyers.

Here’s some views into why.

Firstly, “off-the-shelf” CRM products do not offer a true end-to-end buyer journey. CRM vendors are often broken into three types of functions which help manage; Marketing, Sales and Finance. The truly meaningful insights an organisation wants is often captured in these types of disparate systems. Granted some vendors offer a truly aligned solution and most are built for those with bigger budgets.

But from what we have seen during our implementations over the last several years, even those with bigger budgets are not that much more developed in their ability to improve revenue performance.

The second view, we share is that of adoption or use.  Users of these systems are hardly ever consulted during the purchase process.  Come time to implement, especially in selling teams, CRM installers are often met with a less than positive welcome, and this makes perfect sense. If the end users are not engaged, they’ll feel un-important and the result is damaging.  They don’t actively adopt the technology, thus rendering the data captured within of poor relevance.

The absolute purpose of investing in CRM and technology, is to capture and use the data contained within to make better business decisions.

The third and most compelling view is the misuse of “time”.  Most CRM systems do track “date & time” stamped records. Assuming the system has accurate data entered, either manually or automated, being able to view your buyer’s cycle becomes a highlight into revenue performance. Learn more about the buyer cycle here.

So if CRM is to be positioned as the must have, the use of data an absolute, a sales team with the key skills, a marketing team focused on inbound marketing, the right people employed, and you retain all of your customers, success is surely guaranteed, right? Ok, pardon the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm but it is most likely to be wrong!

The point being that CRM is an enabler, not a magic wand.  If it is poorly scoped against the “business” needs, it’ll be poorly integrated and adopted by users, and it will offer little value. Imagine the reality when the business starts looking at the ROI of the CRM system? And that isn’t the worst result… that is the inability to know how your business is performing against it’s potential.

Leaders will make decisions, some very tough ones, using reports and data. They truly want to make decisions that fall into the glass half full view. Growth, innovation, new channels, opportunity etc.

CRM can add value even if “off-the-shelf”, albeit small value.  To get the best out of your investment in CRM, here are a few metrics to consider;

Marketing:

  • Cost of Lead
  • Value of Lead
  • Counts of leads

Sales:

  • Cost of Sale
  • Average value of order
  • Counts of opportunities
  • Count of leads rejected
  • Percentage of Marketing generated leads converted

Customer:

  • Cost of Serve
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Product mix
  • Behavioural segmentation

Overall, the secret is to use “time” as an indicator of buyer velocity.  The cost, count and conversion of start to finish is the purpose.

Many purists will debate the simplicity of the above, and they will have a point… after all Marketing is a 4 year degree. The reality however, is that if your organisation wants to improve revenue performance, CRM will be of use.  How your business wants to use CRM, is now the more important question.