For years now we’ve heard about volume, variety, and velocity: The 3 V’s which, in the context of Big Data, helped us understand how we could capitalize on the mountains of structured and unstructured data we were collecting. I have been discussing this topic at length with my peers lately, as it has become increasingly clearer that these same 3 V’s are also quite relevant for anyone in marketing.
Whether you are trying to meet your pipeline contribution commitments with the right volume of leads, or delivering the right variety of content to your audience at the right time, or getting leads in the hands of the sales team with as much velocity as possible, I hope you’ll find some useful nuggets in here.
Defining volume when it comes to marketing would seem fairly straight forward. The quantity of inbound and outbound leads your team generates comprise the volume of business you eventually contribute to your organization. While this is true, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Quantity matters for sure, but so does quality. The key to success here lies with timely and relevant qualification and nurture. It doesn’t matter how many leads we generate if we don’t have a mechanism in place to properly engage with them on their path to purchase.
In terms of maximizing volume but not sacrificing quality, here are some quick tips to adhere to:
- Integrated campaign planning and execution across different tactics will maximize the percentage of your audience that is exposed to your content
- Clear calls to action (CTAs) in all of these tactics make it easy for your audience to convert
- Don’t discount the role of the folks on your team who do your follow-ups and qualification/nurture. We call ours Demand Generation Specialists (DGS’) and even though they are external to our organization, we treat them as SAP Hybris employees
Variety is the range of content and campaigns that you need to have in market for your target audience(s), across all possible touchpoints in their journey. At SAP Hybris, this gets quite complex, as we are marketing to marketing, sales, customer service, e-commerce, billing, and IT professionals.
If you also factor in that every customer has their own unique journey, the possibilities are endless. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
For us, the answer lies in what we refer to as Global Micro Campaigns (GMCs). The GMCs are a set of campaigns built centrally and then localized for all of our regions to execute. They are campaigns that are hyper-specific, with different variations of focus. For example, the campaign could be specific to a product free trial we are trying to promote. Or, an analyst report like a Gartner Magic Quadrant or Forrester Wave where we performed very well. It could be a campaign for a partner solution which complements our portfolio and is the perfect up-sell opportunity. It could be an industry campaign which spans across multiple audiences (e.g. marketing and commerce for retail).
And not only are there a comprehensive set of fully baked campaigns available for our regional teams to execute for demand generation, but these campaigns can be used at any stage of the customer journey. They can be used to help with qualification and nurture by your IMR/BDR teams, as well as pipeline acceleration by your sales teams. They can be modified for different segments (e.g. SMB) and can be “partnerized” for your ecosystem to leverage as well.
I apologize in advance for the length of this last section. I’m increasingly feeling as though velocity is the most important of the 3 V’s for marketing. There are two critical components we need to consider when defining velocity for marketers. Firstly, it is the speed at which marketing can disposition a lead to sales. Secondly, it is the shortening of the sales cycle so that the ROI on marketing activities is seen as quickly as possible. The higher the velocity, the higher the perceived benefit that sales believes they are getting from marketing.
There are two angles which I want my team to consider when we think about velocity. The first is lead generation. This is traditionally what we refer to as “the funnel”. It means that we need to acquire the right volume of early stage leads and then qualify and nurture them appropriately in the hopes that they will become a sales-ready opportunity. All physical and digital marketing tactics can feed the lead generation engine for your organization. And having the right team in place to do the timely, meaningful follow ups and nurture can make or break your entire marketing contribution, as we discussed before with our DGS team.
The second is what we refer to as demand capture. Demand capture is the idea that we should be investing a significant percentage of marketing dollars and effort into securing as much existing demand as possible. Existing demand means that the customer has moved beyond the awareness phase of their journey into the discovery, interest, or even consideration phase. If your marketing mix doesn’t effectively capture this type of demand, it will likely go to your competition. It goes without saying that this is not a good way to win the hearts and minds of sales.
Demand capture delivers on both aspects of velocity as it allows for swift dispositioning of leads to sales, and often times results in a shorter sales cycle as I have mentioned above. Some of our favorite tactics for demand capture are SEO, SEM, and HQL (highly qualified lead) programs which are designed specifically to make sure that anyone with an interest in technology that our business provides will find us when they conduct their search.
Why the 3 V’s are so important
Every marketer wants a great relationship with their sales team. They want to feel as though their work has a tangible impact on the bottom line. I think the 3 V’s can help, and I’d recommend the following approach to securing some quick wins:
- Look across the 3 V’s to identify any gaps in your marketing strategy
- Speak to your stakeholders about which ones are most important to them
- Craft your marketing plan so that it addresses these gaps and priorities
We all want to see rewards from our demand generation efforts. If you are able to deliver the volume, variety, and velocity needed in the new age of marketing, I have no doubt they will help your business grow.