|Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal, Beagle Research Group|
Denis Pombriant is the founder and managing principal of Beagle Research Group and cofounder and managing principal at The Bullpen Group.
I am still trying to process the Eloqua Experience from last week—you know, the annual Eloqua user event in San Francisco. It took place while I was on a whirlwind tour of the CRM community, examining the state of digital marketing, and what I saw was impressive. Over many months I have examined Salesforce.com, Oracle, Eloqua, Marketo, and Microsoft’s marketing offerings, and they are all impressive.
It’s not my objective here to single anyone out for excellence; let’s just say they’re all worth a look. Instead, this piece is about sales and sales force automation (SFA), and it has been inspired by what I’ve seen lately in marketing. To be blunt, sales and SFA have some catching up to do.
For years SFA was the darling of the CRM suite and the call center was the workhorse. Marketing was a subset of finance during that time because we all just knew that marketing was some backwater that couldn’t account for itself. All of marketing’s processes were manual, and they seemed to relate to nothing concrete. Marketers talked of impressions, mouse clicks, announcements, ad placement, and booth space. Most of what marketing did cost money, and the finance guys had a hard time seeing the value—how do you convert mouse clicks to revenue?—so they kept close watch. But monitoring is not managing.
Then marketing got wise to the realities of the day. Marketers learned to talk the talk of revenue, and they developed metrics that made sense both to themselves and to the C-suite. Marketing transformed itself before our eyes, thanks to data capture and analytics, as well as the aforementioned marketing software. With analytics and some common sense, marketers have been able to assign weights and values to their efforts and results, and with quantification has come better results and better management. More respect too.
In the same time frame, SFA seems like it has stood still. Certainly things have been added to it, but they seem to be cosmetic and not much else. I can’t understand why the sales pipeline is not better understood and managed today.