'Tis The Season - Sales Kickoff Meetings Under The Microscope

As the 2011 calendar year winds down, many sales enablement professionals are working on their sales kickoff initiative for the coming year. These large-scale events are an integral part of annual cycle, where the sales team converges on a fully prepared hotel for a days-long pep rally full of content sessions, vision-setting, and plenty of networking. Many of the sales kickoffs we hear about, and participate in, are focused on motivating and inspiring the sales force to hit their annual quota, or better yet, set new sales records.  

While a healthy dose of motivation for the sales force is always important, next year's sales kickoff may require a healthy dose of reality as well.

It seems the expense of sales kickoffs is being scrutinized more than last year at higher levels of the organization. In fact, many of sales enablement professionals we talked with this quarter are being asked to justify the sales kickoff investment by their CEO. On top of that, sales leaders are asking for a more specific description of what's going to happen in the sales kickoff, and how the content in the event is going to help their salespeople drive the sales process forward. Both of these views – the view from the top and the view from the trenches – converge at a seemingly simple, yet often difficult to answer question:

"What's the expected impact of the sales kickoff next year?"

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Lead-To-Revenue Management Automation Made In Europe

Well, it finally got published by Forrester! Peter O'Neill here and my long-promised overview of lead-to-revenue management (L2RM) vendors "Made in Europe" got out last week. We were delayed because I had to wait for my US colleague to publish on some of our research ideas on L2RM automation in her introductory report, to which I refer in my report - and she had to negotiate her text around the wishful thinking of around 45 different vendors, all of whom have their own view of a L2RM architecture. That meant that my research done in the summer of this year may look a little out of date. But I fully expect to be able to update this report for Q2 2012 in response to many other European software vendors briefing me on their experience with tech marketing customers.

Anyway, without any further ado, here is the list of European vendors I did feature. The report goes into more detail, of course, on each vendor. I have also included a list of those North American L2RM automaton vendors who have offices in Europe.   

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Strategic Content Management Will Make Marketing More Predictable

 

My first job, writes Peter O'Neill, after university was as a business analyst at Ford Motor Company, assisting an executive who sat on the monthly Project Appropriation Committee (PAC) where investments were approved. I learned to calculate the time-averaged rate of return and net present value for a project, proving it was better to invest in it than keeping the money in the bank. My executive ran an organization called General Services, which in those days (1978) included generating our own electricity within the factory complex in Dagenham, England. Now they take their power from the national grid and the generating plant is no more.

Now this is not a discussion of cloud computing and where enterprise IT will end up. What I most remember from those monthly PAC briefing books at Ford was the marketing project submissions. They also had documented TARR and NPV numbers. They would predict that by investing a sum of money in a promotional campaign (e.g., a special car model, dealer incentive, discounts), their market share would go up by, say, 0.7 percentage points – Ford was the UK market share leader in those days at around 30%, selling mostly company cars to businesses. I often checked out whether or not the predicted market share change actually happened and it mostly did –  marketing was able to quantify its contribution very well indeed. 

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Will A New Service Provider Type Emerge For Digital Marketing?

 

Peter O'Neill here. I took advantage of an invitation to dine with around 15 CIOs this week in Frankfurt and our topic of conversation was “Managing The Online Customer Journey.”  This is the regular event organized by CIO Magazine, and I go along, calendar permitting, when I am invited to present or if the topic interests me. In this case, my fascination was to hear what these CIOs think about the prevailing trends of IT consumerization and social media.

But I was most interested in their ideas on how marketing aligns with the IT organization; a concept that I’ve encountered a lot recently in my engagements with tech marketers as well as working with tech automation vendors in their go-to-market activities. Forrester has published a lot on this recently, led by my illustrious colleagues Nigel Fenwick and Luca Paderni who serve the CIO and CMO, respectively.

 My fascination with the topic is that I see a new business opportunity for savvy systems integrators. I am calling it the “emerging digital marketing service provider,” and I will focus my next Forrester Teleconference on this observation next week. That provider will need to be tooled with marketing creative skills plus IT skills and services and it will sell to the CMO and CIO equally: a new market coming together out of the marketing budget and the IT budget, as the figure shows.

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