The P in PARIS

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In our previous blog post on Campaign Best Practice in the PARIS Way using Eloqua, we covered the 5 steps on how to approach a campaign through Eloqua.

What Alan Lakein had to say about the P in PARIS (planning) is that “planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” No good marketing campaign starts without a good plan. With the help of Oracle Marketing Cloud, we can really put what we plan into execution, but it has to start somewhere.

It can be as big as planning for a year, laying out all your major campaigns or simply just planning for one specific campaign that lasts a week. In this article, we will solely focus on the planning for one specific campaign and show how the following steps will benefit you in your preparation.

1. Define your campaign’s rationale

What is your campaign’s primary purpose? Are you promoting a new product? Introducing a holiday sale? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you start to branch out. Jot it down here before you start defining your goals and target audience. Think of it as the goal for the goal. This is where all your campaign ideas start, the root cause for your campaign, and the mother of all your decisions. 

2. Define your goals

There are a lot of goals you may have for a marketing campaign: increase conversions, capture user data, drive web/in-store clicks, expand the audience and so on. But let’s face it, it is really hard to kill all of these birds with one stone. Otherwise, we would be using a different quote on this one. However, we can prioritize our campaign goals and make them more targeted by using the SMART Goals demonstrated below. 

A SMART goal will help you stay laser-focused on your campaign and help set up your reporting more easily than if you had a vague slogan-like goal. There are a lot of goal setting articles that will explain SMART methods better than me, and I am sure you can spot a SMART goal if you see one. 

For example, “Increase the sales this year” is not so SMART, but “Increase the sales in the women’s clothing section by 8% by the end of this quarter, which is 3 months out” is a closer one.

3. Choose your target audience

Whether in the B2C or B2B world, customers are picky nowadays. They want to be addressed by a company on an individual level, or as a unique company. And marketers would like to build tailored and personalized campaigns for each individual. Since that is not always possible, so we come to the next best thing. Find a group of customers who share some similar traits and send out more targeted messages. 

The most important thing to take into consideration when choosing a target audience, is always the balance between size and accuracy. Obviously, these two elements tend to contradict each other. That’s why having a clear goal in the first step is very important so that we know which set of customers is more suitable for any specific campaign.

4. Select your Call-To-Action (Metrics)

This does not necessarily refer to a single “Call-To-Action” button on your email. It usually is the immediate action you anticipate your campaign participants would take and should align closely with your top goals in your first step. Having a clear Call-To-Action will help you further craft your creative copy for your campaign and messaging to your customers. You will know better what incentives to provide, what keywords to use, and what images to stimulate the results when designing the message.

The other reason we need to clarify the Call-To-Action is for future reporting planning. A clear definition of what you would like your target audience to do means marketers will be able to define the right metrics and design the data collection channel for our R in the PARIS way. You probably already noticed, the PARIS steps are related to each other, and having a carefully planned campaign will make our lives much easier and efficient when going to subsequent steps.

5. Articulate your campaign messages

Don’t get me wrong, this is not to tell you to start your creative work and open PhotoShop and all of the other gadgets that go along with that. We all know how fun and daunting it is once we get to the creative part, and that is why articulating your campaign messages in your Planing stage is important.

You need to clearly define some key messages for your audiences, which does not have to be fancy. It can be as plain as, “Come try our new women’s line because they can really bring out your character”, and let your creative team work out the rest of the charm. You can even start putting in tag lines, hashtags that the team can reference when they are excited by all the amazing ideas generated from the brainstorming sessions.

 

When all these have been set, we are ready to move on to the A in PARIS, which is Action. We will introduce a new way to execute your campaign and manage your Eloqua assets so you don’t end up missing some key marketing material or small building blocks when it is already too late. Stay tuned!

What to Consider When Implementing StratusLite

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Ready to get started with Stratuslite? Whether you are starting with Oracle Sales Cloud or Oracle Eloqua (or both!) we are excited to have you and can’t wait to see your progress in a few weeks. With every project there is always the question – well…how do we get started? Here is what you need to consider as you prepare for implementation.

Are you implementing Oracle Sales Cloud as your new CRM?

What data do you need for your organization?

Consider the fields of importance: Accounts, Opportunities and Contacts. What information do you need to know? What information do you already know? And what information is critical to move the lead closer to close? We always coach our clients to export their current data from their existing CRM to see how much of it is actually beneficial to keep. Does your team capture estimated revenue more than an industry field? Is ‘industry field’ a necessary field you need as a manger but your team isn’t inputting anything? Consider these variables as you decide what is critical for your CRM layout. But do not worry. Be sure to attend our ‘Fields and Layouts’ training to understand the best practices when determining what is necessary when you are building your system layout.

How can you determine success with the data?

A secondary question to empower you in taking the next steps with data in your system is determining how you want to measure the business and define success. There are plenty of reports out there which can help guide you and give you that “gut” feeling that you are doing well, but now is the time to consider – what does YOUR organization need in order to report accurately? Do you need to understand what is in your pipeline 6 months in advance so you can allocate resources properly? Do you need to understand how long a contract is taking and why it may be taking longer to get signed? Talk to your sales team about what they need to be successful. Maybe they need to understand what is a better opportunity based on marketing? What about the quality of your pipeline? Your data can be compiled in many ways to answer these questions, but the ultimate question is – what data is necessary to answer this question: what metrics do you need to know to determine if your team (and organization) is successful?

Have you written your sales process down?

Many organizations come to us and explain their sales hierarchy and the process in which they acquire new business. Our first question is always this – have you written it down? Have you looked to see who owns what within your process? Are there any gaps in it? As you start your new system, you’ll want to consider what this means from a process standpoint. Once you have written this down, it will make the opportunity creation process within Oracle Sales Cloud much easier. When in doubt, go back to your process before looking at the technology. Remember, the technology is there to aid and support you and your team but the process is built by the people. Check out our opportunity training as a StratusLite customer to get some ideas if you do not have this process “written down.”

Are you implementing Oracle Eloqua for marketing automation?

Do you have existing campaigns which need to be migrated?

First and foremost, if you have current campaigns running, it is time to audit them. This is, in some ways, like spring cleaning! Evaluate your current campaigns by reviewing metrics to see what has been successful and what hasn’t. Determine through these reports if campaigns should be migrated. Look at open and engagement rates to see if there could be improvements.

Once your campaigns have been audited, take this list and “add a column” to your list and answer this question- what triggers a response to initiate this campaign? Can it be automated? Think about what campaigns can be automated and what the trigger is for a customer/prospect to enter the campaign. Once you know what this trigger point is, you have your next step on how you can automate everything instead!

What type of forms do you have online which could create some type of automation for your new prospects?

With any new (and, in this case, improved) marketing automation system, you should consider how new prospects receive information about your organization or offers that might be available to those prospects. Unidentified prospects are entering your digital properties and are looking for more information from you more than ever before. Make sure to evaluate the next step a prospect would take if they were convinced by your digital properties that they needed you! Some questions to consider for your web forms would be things like – how quickly can my prospect enter information? How much information do I need from the prospect to understand their needs? How quickly does the prospect complete the form and can I make it faster to complete?

What type of marketing activity creates a Marketing Qualified Lead?

In addition to web forms, we know you have other ways of finding and entering a new lead. Whether it’s at a tradeshow, an event at your office, a meet and greet with the CEO or a downloadable white paper, Eloqua can store this information and create a lead score to generate information on what defines a Marketing Qualified Lead. One suggestion we recommend our clients consider is what creates a marketing qualified lead for their sales team. Sometimes, MQL’s are created by one action like a web form submission, and in other scenarios a MQL can be created after three or more offline activities from a trade show. Make sure to take some time outside of the technology to determine what your sales team needs to define and convert a lead and what this means as a defined prospect in your pipeline before diving into the technology.

 

Getting started with a new project can be hectic, but it doesn’t have to be! Hopefully this will get you asking the right questions to ensure that you have everything planned out before incorporating the technology. Be on the lookout for more articles to come in the following weeks on how to leverage some best practices with your StratusLite package.

 

How Sales Can Leverage Marketing Data

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Some organizations do not utilize outbound marketing.   Others use a “spray and pray” approach and leave salespeople to figure out following up on their own.  But wouldn’t it make salespeople’s job a lot easier if there was a way to use specific information about what content your prospect is interested in to have better conversations that lead to more conversions?

Below are ways an organization can align sales and marketing and best practices for salespeople once they have access to the company’s marketing activities…

Have your CRM integrated with your MAP – Having your CRM connected with a marketing automation tool will let captured information flow from your marketing activities (email opens, form submissions, attendance at a trade show, etc) directly into your CRM so salespeople can leverage that information in subsequent sales calls.  If you are in sales, it is like having admins prepare a summary of each prospect and how they have interacted with your company.

 

Create a lead score – Attaching a score to a certain level of activity against the marketing content you put out (digital body language) can empower your sales reps to talk about the right things at the right time.  At SFCG, we use Oracle CX products, Eloqua and Sales Cloud.  Once a prospect hits a threshold of activity on our website, or perform an activity listed above such as submitting forms, or attending an event, the prospect is immediately be pushed over to Sales Cloud with the score attached.  You can set the criteria for what is providing the most return on investment, and reach out to your prospects according to their behaviors against your marketing.

 

Do not talk about something they are not interested in – Expanding on the previous point, make sure your salespeople do not talk about something that the prospect hasn’t been interested in. For example, someone who is looking at one particular good or service on your website might be turned off if you call and talk to them about something completely different.  Knowing what your customers are interested in lets them know that you are actively listening to what they are saying with their actions.  While having the data is important, using it correctly is just as crucial.

 

Follow up sooner than later – Today we live in a world of unlimited information at our fingertips coupled with the need for immediate satisfaction.  Not getting in touch with someone when they are interested can be detrimental as they will fulfill their needs with or without you.  Having marketing data automatically sent over to your CRM can save you the hassle of accessing multiple systems, and with a simple notification to either email or your mobile, you can follow up when the time is right.

 

Salespeople will use as much information as possible when assessing a situation to deliver the right message.  Giving them the tools to do their job is only fair.   Make sure to audit your sales and marketing process to see if you are getting the most return from the marketing activities you do on a daily basis.

 

If you have any questions on the easiest way to audit your sales and marketing alignment, contact us at info@sfcg.com.