SiriusDecisions Says Combine "Technology, Strong Skills, Processes" to Drive Major ROI Gains

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"United we stand, divided we fall." A SiriusDecisions study says that famous phrase now applies to the world of field marketing and, in particular, to standalone technology versus technology optimized by the addition of strong skills and processes to create a powerful ROI driver.

While implementing a MAP is essential in today's business environment, the process can be difficult without having the right process in place and the skills to leverage them

What could a child's first bicycle have in common with your marketing budget? SiriusDecisions, a leading advisory firm focused on sales and marketing integration, notes that neither is going to take you very far until you develop the necessary skills to realize its potential value. Specifically, the firm's recent research reveals that companies complementing technology with strong skills and optimized processes are experiencing up to five times the amount of closed deals than organizations relying on technology alone.

"Our demand creation waterfall, which is how we visually depict the roadmap to conversion-rate success, shows that companies leveraging the combination of optimized processes and technology far exceed the return on investment (ROI) of their peers who only use technology," says John Neeson, SiriusDecisions' managing director and co-founder. "While technology will always be critically important, we've learned that our clients can do so much more when also supported by optimized processes."

B-to-b organizations annually spend millions of dollars on technology. However, proving that these purchases help deliver the desired results is often difficult to measure, not to mention time-consuming. To optimize their demand creation engines, more and more organizations have purchased a marketing automation platform (MAP) -- defined by SiriusDecisions as functionality that includes both campaign management (outbound email, direct mail and Web-based campaigning) and lead management (lead scoring, routing, distribution and portfolio campaigning).

"While implementing a MAP is essential in today's business environment, the process can be difficult without having the right process in place and the skills to leverage them," notes Jonathan Block, SiriusDecisions' vice president and service director. "Unfortunately, we still see organizations purchase a MAP to automate processes that simply don't exist; where this has occurred, the technology often fails to add value. As a result, we have developed a framework for establishing MAP ROI by comparing organizations falling into three categories: no MAP or processes; MAP, but with no or weak processes; and MAP technology combined with average processes. The results are both stark and startling."

SiriusDecisions reports the following findings:

  • "No MAP, no processes." When there are no shared processes in place between sales and marketing, expect disappointing results. Our research finds that only 18 percent of opportunities will close, which equals roughly one closed deal per marketing program, hardly enough to justify even an inexpensive technology investment.
  • "MAP, but no/weak processes." These organizations purchased a MAP but have no processes in place. While the technology alone will provide a small uptick in process efficiencies, you still end up with only 20 percent of opportunities closing, equal to 1.2 deals per marketing program.
  • "MAP with average processes." These organizations purchase a MAP and at least initiate efforts to drive alignment around target market, lead definition, lead handoff and service-level agreements, and the results are significant. An organization can expect to close roughly five deals per program compared to companies with no MAP or processes in place.

Summing up, Mr. Block says: "Organizations often believe that implementing a MAP alone will not only positively impact their demand creation activities but also demonstrate ROI almost immediately. While this may be partially true from a quantitative perspective (in terms of campaign amounts and response rates), we believe that only in increased conversion rates and closed deals can the true impact of any MAP be calculated. When woven into the proper processes that are created and honed over time, and combined with a re-skilling of marketers to be able to take advantage of the full complement of functionality offered, a MAP can be fabulous. When implemented on its own, it's but another reminder that process always should precede technology."

To learn more details about SiriusDecisions' MAP ROI study and what your organization should be doing to optimize this critical investment, please contact Jonathan Block at jblock (at) siriusdecisions (dot) com.

This timely topic will also be discussed with sales and marketing leaders attending SiriusDecisions' annual Summit flagship event from May 13-15 at Arizona's Fairmont Scottsdale resort. To register or obtain more information about the Summit, please go to http://www.siriusdecisions.com/conference.

About SiriusDecisions:
SiriusDecisions is the world's leading source for business-to-business sales and marketing best-practice research and data. SiriusDecisions Executive Advisory Services, Consulting Services, Benchmark Assessment Services, Learning and Events provide senior-level executives with the sales and marketing operational intelligence required to maximize top line growth and performance. The unique combination of thought leadership, benchmark data, analytic tools, best practices and access to a peer and analyst network allow SiriusDecisions clients to quickly receive the critical insight they need to make decisions effectively. For more information about SiriusDecisions, headquartered in Wilton, CT, visit http://www.siriusdecisions.com.

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