We have never arrived at a new client’s site and found their Salesforce.com configuration working for them. That’s profound. Never.
A few caveats. We work with B2B technology and services companies – some big, some small. They have complex sales cycles. They typically have numerous marketing campaigns executed over multiple channels (sometimes we’ve had to build those from scratch). Some have a large direct sales team, some have just a few direct reps. Some have active partner channels, some don’t. That gives you the lay of the land.
Now, back to our initial statement. We didn’t say that Salesforce.com wasn’t working. It is typically running. But it isn’t being used to:
And that’s what happens when you put engineers in marketing. It kills us to provide inputs without understanding outputs. We are dying to understand how marketing tactics affect the end game: closed revenue.
Back before marketing automation was a significant market space, our founder, an electrical engineer by education, was using a business intelligence platform to gather data from direct marketing tactics, Salesforce.com, insides sales activities, PR and branding activities. She created a model that, over time, accurately predicted the marketing investment required to produce the desired closed revenue target. Nirvana for marketing and sales executives.
With all the marketing automation and CRM platforms out there today, why is that modelling so elusive?
Because you typically don’t have engineers in marketing and sales who configure and manage their systems to consistently measure performance. Here is an exchange we’ve heard on multiple occasions:
Sales Executive: “Salesforce.com doesn’t do what I want it to do. I want to see my sales pipeline and forecast like this: XYZ.”
Gen5 Marketing Engineer: “Why do you think Salesforce.com can’t provide you those reports?”
Sales Executive: “Because our salesforce.com administrator said we can’t create that report.”
Gen5 Marketing Engineer: facepalm.
Actually, the Salesforce.com administrator is probably correct, but the important part he or she left off was “with our current configuration.”
And that’s what happens when you put engineers in marketing. It takes more than a Salesforce.com administrator, or someone who knows how to work the software, to create a Salesforce.com implementation that works for B2B companies. You need someone who can engineer a process, and configure it in Salesforce.com anticipating what sales and marketing will want to know. A typical Salesforce.com administrator does not know why the Sales Executive wants that report, why it’s so critical for him or her to understand the data in that way. Engineers with experience in marketing and sales process and management know right away why the Sales Executive is asking for that report.
So, if you are an executive in a growing B2B company, and you are continually frustrated because you can’t get Salesforce.com to give you what you want, you might consider engaging with a marketing engineer.