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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TrustRadius ranked Fastest Growing Series A Backed Austin Startup

TrustRadius, the leading site for professionals to share candid insights about business software through in-depth end-user reviews was today ranked the Fastest Growing Series A Backed Austin Startup by Mattermark. TrustRadius received $5 million in series A funding from the Mayfield Fund in July 2013.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

5 Key Factors to Ensure Marketing Automation Success

Achieving success with Marketing Automation requires much more than selecting the right software product. In fact, there are many examples of companies who make sound product selection decisions but fail to realize results because of poor planning or execution.

For our Buyer’s Guide to Marketing Automation Software, we've talked to several marketing thought leaders to better understand the key success factors for any marketing automation project. A few key themes emerged:

1. Define Your Marketing Strategy First
Before selecting a Marketing Automation platform, it’s important to have a clear strategy in place as to how you will use it. Companies that fail to do this frequently get low mileage out of their Marketing Automation systems.

 “All too often, people are doing it backwards. They’re buying the technology then asking what’s next. Technology is not a silver bullet without a strategy and plan.”  Ardath Albee – CEO, Marketing Interactions




2. Align People to Processes
Marketing Automation is not just about the automation of existing marketing processes - it frequently does necessitate adding more resources

“I advise clients not to underestimate the amount of resources required to make the most of a marketing automation system. This has less to do with managing the software, and much more to do with developing the campaigns, programs, strategies & content that are the fuel for a successful deployment.  At a minimum expect to dedicate one-half of a full-time employee (or the equivalent services from an outside firm) in order to get the most from your investment.” Howard Sewell – President, Spear Marketing Group


3. Integrate Systems
Marketing Automation systems cannot operate in a silo. At minimum they need to tie in to your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. All too frequently there is no clear plan for how the integration should proceed, what data should be exchanged, etc.

“One of the big misses is internal alignment for data integration and reporting. Your marketing automation solution is only as a good as the data you put into it. Often when we’re brought in, there’s not been any conversation about integration or what will be the master database – the marketing automation system, another marketing database, or Salesforce.com.” Lauren Goldstein – VP Strategy & Partnerships, Babcock & Jenkins


4. Develop a Content Strategy
An effective demand generation strategy enabled through Marketing Automation usually requires a good volume of content. The content, however, needs to be systematically designed based upon an assessment of the target buyer and aligned to the buyer’s journey (how they buy). Content needs to be educational and not overly self-serving or promotional. Content production is a non-trivial problem but there is efficiency opportunities through “atomization,” i.e., breaking up existing content and repackaging it.

“Mapping content to the stages of the buyer’s journey is difficult – many companies get stuck in the white paper rut. There’s not a lot of credibility with some B2B marketing orgs. They’re looked at as an activity center versus one that supports the generation of revenue. This creates a challenge when motivating the rest of the organization to help with content strategy.”  Brian Hansford – Director of Client Services, Heinz Marketing


5. Re-Think Your Metrics
Marketing organizations are often stuck in the past, concentrating on metrics like open and click rates for emails, but not tying their campaigns back to revenue. Beyond agreeing on the right metrics to track, it’s also important to ensure there’s consensus on their definition

“The big thing is defining what a qualified lead is — MQLs and SQLs - if using the Sirius Decisions framework. These things are critical to success.”




For more insights from these leading marketing automation consultants, or if you are shopping for new Marketing Automation software, check this free resource. Our new buyer's guide also includes a visual depiction of the best Marketing Automation software products, as rated by users in each market segment - Small Businesses, Mid-size companies and Enterprises.

What other recommendations and tips would you like to share with your peers?  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Marketing Automation Effectiveness Survey Results

On the heels of publishing our Buyer’s Guide to Marketing Automation, Heinz Marketing and OnTarget Consulting have published the results of their 2014 Marketing Automation Performance Survey. They sought to measure the effectiveness and performance of companies using Marketing Automation and surveyed North American companies with revenue $25 million to over $1 billion. The primary takeaways were:
  1. Success takes time. The biggest jump in productivity and value occurs after 2 years and levels out after 5 years.
  2. As we reported in our own guide, purchasing technology itself is not the strategy. Marketing automation software supports a demand generation strategy.
  3. The top problems are pipeline reporting and improving sales effectiveness. Marketing Automation Software analytics must get better to help analyze ROI and forecast potential results. Forecasting and attribution are possible to an extent, but the set up process is not easy and measuring the right data is problematic.
Check out the infographic below and you can read more here.

2014 Marketing Automation Effectiveness Survey [infographic] - An Infographic from Matt On Marketing
Embedded from Matt On Marketing

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Marketing Automation Products for Enterprises [Infographic]

Last week we released a comprehensive Buyer's Guide to Marketing Automation Software based on 400 in-depth user reviews and over 10,000 comparisons run by software buyers on TrustRadius. We also unveiled the best marketing automation products for Small Businesses, Mid-Size companies and Enterprises based on user ratings and vendor focus in each segment in visuals we call TrustMaps.

Within the Enterprise segment (companies with more than 500 employees), Oracle's Eloqua was the clear winner based upon a combination of its focus on the enterprise segment and its high user ratings by enterprises. We encourage prospective buyers to also consider Pardot if their company is heavily reliant on Salesforce.com as a CRM and Marketo, who has an increasingly strong client roster in the enterprise segment and is building out enterprise oriented capabilities like Marketing Resource Management (MRM) as part of its recently announced Marketing platform. We've created an infographic to help you quickly compare these solutions.

Adobe's Neolane, IBM's Unica and Silverpop are enterprise oriented products, but score lower in terms of user satisfaction. They are worthy of consideration if you are heavy users of other marketing products from those companies and are bought into their marketing cloud visions. Silverpop is also unique in its percentage of B2C marketing automation clients. Act-On is very highly rated, but is generally just used as a departmental solution in the enterprise. Hubspot is also highly rated but it's unclear how many large enterprises use them as their primary campaign management system.

Best Marketing Automation Software for Enterprises infographic

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Marketing Automation Products Mid-Size Companies Should Consider First [Infographic]

Earlier this week, we unveiled a visual called the TrustMap™ to help marketing automation software buyers at companies of all sizes - small businesses, mid-size companies and enterprises - identify the solutions most closely aligned to their needs and most highly rated by their direct peer group. We also published a 44-page free Buyer's Guide to Marketing Automation. Today we're publishing an infographic that compares three top solutions.

If you are a mid-size company (51-500 employees), you should first look at Marketo and Pardot who are both highly rated by mid-market companies and have a strong focus on the mid-size company segment (as measured by the percentage of their customer base in that segment). Additionally HubSpot is particularly highly rated by users in the mid-size company segment. At a high-level, here is how these 3 vendors compare:

Best Marketing Automation Software for Mid-Size companies infographic

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Top Marketing Automation Products for Small Businesses [Infographic]

Earlier today, we revealed the Best Marketing Automation Products by segment as we published our Buyer's Guide to Marketing Automation.

Within the Small Business segment, HubSpot, Act-On and Infusionsoft took the top honors based on user ratings and market segment focus. But how do they stack up against each other? We've created an infographic to help you quickly compare them.

Best Marketing Automation Software for Small Businesses infographic

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For more information on each vendor, check our free Buyer's Guide to Marketing Automation.

TrustRadius Reveals Best Marketing Automation Software for Small Businesses, Mid-Size Companies and Enterprises

Austin Texas, April 16th, 2014 - TrustRadius, the leading community for professionals to share candid insights about business software, today announced the availability of TrustMap™,  a visual depiction of the best software products as rated by users within each market segment - small businesses, mid-size companies and enterprises.

Unveiled in its first Buyer’s Guide for Marketing Automation Software, the TrustMap™ quickly helps software buyers locate the solutions most closely aligned to their needs and most highly rated by their direct peer group. Each TrustMap™ depicts Marketing Automation products on two dimensions – likelihood to recommend ratings by users and the focus a product has on a given segment, as measured by the proportion of their customer base within that segment. All ratings come from authenticated reviews by end-users of the software on TrustRadius.com.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Act-On Continues Momentum with $42 Million in New Funding

Today, Act-On Software announced $42 million in new funding led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV). TCV were investors in marketing software company ExactTarget, which acquired Act-On competitor Pardot and who itself was later acquired by Salesforce.com for $2.5 billion. This funding round brings its total capital raised to $74 million.

Act-On provides a cloud-based, integrated Marketing Automation platform targeted at small to medium sized businesses and departments of large enterprises.  Their tag line is “Marketing Automation for the Fortune 5,000,000", connoting that they are bringing Marketing Automation to the masses.

Act-On’s Founder/CEO Raghu Raghavan was the co-founder and CTO of the marketing solutions provider Responsys which was acquired by Oracle in 2013 for $1.5 billion.

Their technology includes an email engine with integration to web conferencing and CRM solutions; tools for website visitor tracking, lead scoring, lead nurturing and social media prospecting; design tools for web forms, landing pages and emails; inbound tools for SEO; Google AdWords tracking; and blog integration.

Act-On has experienced significant momentum, growing 215% from 2012-2013. Although the company has not published 2013 revenue figures, we estimate it achieved about $31 million. The company reports 2,200 customers and has 261 employees.

On Competition
Discussing how it will use its new capital in an interview with Venturebeat - “How fast we can grow is really about how much money I have to hire salespeople,” said Act-On CEO Raghu Raghavan, explaining what he plans to do with the money. “This is not a market where I have to fight competitors … marketing automation is still a greenfield market with only five percent penetration.”

While correct that their market is mostly greenfield – they are displacing email solutions and other point marketing products – they do have some strong competition. Based upon over 14,666 comparisons run by software buyers on TrustRadius in Q4 2013, they compete most commonly with Hubspot, followed by Marketo, Pardot and Infusionsoft.


 Marketing Automation Software Comparison Ring for Act-On
Based upon 21,437 page views and 14,666 comparisons on TrustRadius during Q4 2013


User Ratings & Feedback
Act-On is positively rated by its end-users on TrustRadius across all performance attributes:


Act-On
Marketing Automation Average
Likelihood to recommend
9.1
8.4
Likelihood to renew
9.0
8.3
Product usability
8.8
8.3
Performance and reliability
9.1
8.8
Support rating
9.2
8.3
Training satisfaction
9.0
8.6
Implementation satisfaction
9.2
8.5

Source: (40) in-depth end-user reviews of Act-On on TrustRadius

Its strengths including its support, integration to Salesforce.com and usability. Areas for improvement include template/form customization, reporting and lead scoring flexibility.

Strengths
Areas for Improvement
Customer Support
·         Support team is considered highly responsive and very effective at troubleshooting problems.
Template/ Form Customization
·         Difficult to make comprehensive changes to templates using the HTML editor.
Salesforce Integration
·         Integration is generally considered to be seamless and allows sales teams to prioritize based on lead scores.
Reporting
·         Could be stronger – in particular, no way to share reports with others
Usability
·         Product is intuitive, particularly for email automation and landing page templates.
Lead scoring
·         Easy to use, but not very sophisticated.

Source: (40) in-depth end-user reviews of Act-On on TrustRadius 


Enterprise Aspirations
Today Act-On is very much a small business and mid-market oriented solution but they clearly have aspirations towards the enterprise. Based upon review mix on TrustRadius, we estimate that 53% of its clients are small businesses with <50 employees, and 35% mid-sized companies with 51-500, and 11% enterprises with >500 employees. In the case of large enterprises, it is typically used as a department solution. Again, from their interview with Venturebeat: “We’re coming at the enterprise bottom-up,”  “We tend to penetrate enterprise one division at a time, whereas Oracle, Adobe, and Salesforce take enterprise top down.”

Monday, April 14, 2014

What B2B Content Do You Trust?

By Vinay Bhagat, CEO, TrustRadius

Content is playing an increasingly large role in B2B decision making. The 2014 B2B Buyer Survey by DemandGen indicated that for 64 percent of B2B buyers, the winning vendor’s content had a significant influence on their decision. Additionally, a March 2014 study by the CMO Council and Netline expressed that "content sharing among buyers, specifiers, and influencers is widespread".

Vendors spend a large amount of effort and money on creating content to influence buyers. Yet, the same CMO Council study indicated that just 9% think of vendors as trusted sources of content. A content area where vendors spend a great deal of effort is producing case studies. I recently wrote an article for the Content Marketing Institute, "B2B Marketing: Why (and How) to Focus on Reviews, Not Case Studies" advocating that vendors should spend less time creating case studies that merely extol the benefits of their product, and instead invest energy inviting and sharing open, honest feedback in the form of in-depth reviews. I recognize this may seem self-serving as the CEO of a business software review site, but sincerely believe that business software buyers prefer to access candid peer perspectives without filters and spin, especially having been one myself.

As a follow-up, we ran a simple poll on TrustRadius asking one question - "Do you trust vendor sponsored case studies?". We had over 100 responses and segmented the respondents by whether they were a buyer or a technology vendor. Recognizing that people using a software review site may have some bias towards user generated vs. vendor generated content, the data is still interesting:
  • Just 35% percent of software buyers said they trusted vendor produced case studies
  • 65% of vendor respondents do trust vendor case studies, implying that 35% do not!



We also asked respondents to share one quote about the factors that influence their trust in content for product decision making and some very clear themes emerged:

1. They want to hear from independent users with similar experiences or credible profiles

"Real user's experience with the product"
"Knowing the source has first-hand knowledge of the product, along with real-world experience"
"The user profile"
"Known recognizable contributor not associated with company with good author rank and klout scores"
"When a reviewer receives no funding at any time from any of the products being reviewed."


2. They want to know both pros and cons without a sales pitch

"Lists of pros and cons in comparison to competitors"
"Not being a sales pitch"
"When a company admits where it falls short and accepts that negative reviews exist. I will not buy from a company in denial."


3. They appreciate depth and context about how a product is used and its impact

"That it is thorough and touches on the points I care about"
"Being able to describe the business context and software relevance to that context."
"The impact of software or technology on a business - how does this translate to efficiency or sales?"
"The kind of low level product feature details covered in reviews. It shows that the reviewer has actually used the product in a production environment"


4. They value corroboration from multiple users

"A broad viewpoint from more than three sources."
"Corroborated across multiple sources"


If you’re a software buyer, what do you think? If you’re a software vendor, how are you responding to this data?

Please take a moment to comment and share your experiences and perspective.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

IBM acquires Silverpop: Facts & Insights From Users

Facts about the transaction

1. This is IBM's second acquisition in the Marketing Automation space. Its first was Unica in 2010 which is acquired for $480 million (4-5x revenue)

2. The value of this deal is estimated to be under $300 million - approximately 3x 2013 revenue which is estimated to be $80-90 million.

3. This deal is on the recent heels of other Marketing Automation product acquisitions by other large software companies:
  • Salesforce - Exact Target (including Pardot) for $2.5 billion in 2013
  • Adobe - Neolane for $600 million in 2013
  • Oracle - Eloqua for $870 million in 2012
4. The stated rationale from IBM is to further support the development of its Digital Marketing Optimization Platform. IBM has been investing in the Cloud and Mobile. For more insights I encourage you to read this blog from IBM insider Blair Reeves.


Facts about Silverpop

1. Silverpop is estimated to serve c. 2,000 companies (many of whom have multiple brands)

2. Approximately 70% of Silverpop's clients are B2C though many use robust marketing automation features more commonly seen in use with B2B companies.

3. Silverpop grew 40% from 2011-2012. Growth figures for 2012-2013 are not available.


Insights from TrustRadius: Who does Silverpop compete with?

Based upon 13,812 comparisons run by Marketing Automation software buyers on TrustRadius in Q4 2013, Silverpop was most often compared to Marketo (29% of the time), followed by ExactTarget (11%) followed by Pardot from Salesforce (9%), then Hubspot (8%).
Access the comparison ring here: http://www.trustradius.com/products/silverpop/competitors


Insights from TrustRadius members: How is Silverpop rated by its users?

Silverpop scores below the Marketing Automation average in most attributes except for training satisfaction.


Insights from TrustRadius members: Pros/Cons of the Engage Platform?

Distilling end-user reviews on TrustRadius, we see a few core themes emerge as strengths and areas for improvement:

Strengths
Areas for Improvement
Email Marketing
·         Strong email capabilities reflect the product’s legacy as an email marketing platform.
User Interface
·         User interface is dated and needs an upgrade.

Application Programming Interface (API)
·         API is generally considered effective.
Account Management
·         Although clients like having an account manager, client services is uneven.
Lead Scoring
·         Lead scoring module is relatively sophisticated.
Miscellaneous
·         Onboarding
·         Email sending delays
·         Reliability

So what's your take?