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Building a Global Revenue Marketing Practice

  • Broadcast in Marketing
Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish


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Join us this week as we interview Angela Sanders, current Senior Revenue Engineer at The Pedowitz Group and former Director of Marketing at Aon Risk Services. Angela will discuss how she built a global Revenue Marketing Practice at Aon by utilizing the right people and processes that ultimately contributed more than $25 million to the sales revenue goal.


0:00 Speaker


0:17 Debbie Qaqish

Hello this is Debbie Qaqish of the Pedowitz Group, and welcome to WRMR, Revenue Marketer Radio. This week we'll be talking about a really, incredibly fascinating topic, and that's building out the global demand generation structure. And as you guys know by now, every Thursday at two o'clock we meet to talk to a real revenue market and learn tips and tricks on how they've made that transition from traditional marketing to revenue marketing. And it's more than just listening-- this is an interactive shows, so please feel free to call in or chat and we are delighted to include you in the dialogue.

0:58 Debbie Qaqish

This week's guest is special because not only is she a demand generation professional, she's also an employee in our company. And one of the things that we try to do with the Pedowitz Group is when we hire people to come in and work with our clients, we want people who have been there and done that. We want people with real, practical experience. And Angela Sanders certainly brings that.

1:24 Debbie Qaqish

Angela comes to us from Aon Risk Management Services where she was the director of marketing operations for a 30 person global demand generation organization. In her six and a half years at Aon, her last three years were spent in helping build out this global organization. She's an 11 year marketing professional having covered everything from communications to operations. And she's based out of Indianapolis.

1:54 Debbie Qaqish

Angela, welcome to the show today.

1:56 Angela Sanders

Thank you, Debbie.

1:58 Debbie Qaqish

It is such a pleasure to have you on the show, and again, all of a sudden-- I would say in the last three to four months --I have probably gotten more questions around, how do I build out a global demand generation organization? What are the skills? How do you do it? So we're delighted to have you on the show to talk about that topic.

2:19 Debbie Qaqish

Why don't you begin by telling us a little bit around the demand generation journey and kind of how it started at Aon?

2:27 Angela Sanders

Well, it was interesting because there was a project that started to put into place a centralized, standardized CRM platform. And that really came from the CEO of the organization. Wanda put that into place to get visibility across this huge global organization with offices in 500 different countries and to really try to see a forecast revenue moving forward and get a full picture.

2:56 Angela Sanders

So they started that project, and as I see a lot in working with large companies today, you'll put into place a CRM system, it looks like it's got some marketing capabilities, but when he really dig under the covers, it's meant to be a sales system, not a marketing system. And so we saw that there was a gap. We started to explore how to fill that gap and how to really field out some good marketing infrastructure. And we started looking around at different marketing automation vendors that we could connect, patch onto the CRM system to expand the capabilities and really do some great things.

3:36 Angela Sanders

So that's when we came across-- you know, there's a number of different vendors in this space --we ended up buying Eloqua at that time, and we had salesforce.com as the CRM system in place. And so we used those two together. And really, once we had the technology in place, then we really started building out the team and the processes and everything else that went around that.

4:01 Debbie Qaqish

So it was probably a lot easier to collect and implement the technology than it was to make changes around team and process.

4:08 Angela Sanders

Absolutely. Yeah, it's very difficult because most large marketing organizations, and Aon was no different --are very siloed around product marketing, and then specific marketing functions like events or public relations and things like that. And it's hard because you have to shift your entire marketing organization and build it differently so that you don't have those silos anymore, and you think about if more from the standpoint of the audience that you're trying to get to, and building up capabilities that are going to reach those audiences.

4:44 Debbie Qaqish

Well let's go back and let's talk about a little bit around timelines on that, Angela, and then I definitely want to spend more time understanding how you were able to change process and how you were able to build that team. So once you guys had rolled out salesforce.com on a global basis and then you began to see that gap that was in place-- understanding that marketing needed to be able to make more of a revenue contribution and you really needed to go down this demand generation path --did you guys have a vision for what that global organization would look like as an end game? Or did you guys kind of grow into this over time?

5:24 Angela Sanders

We did have a basic vision of what it was going to look like. And I would say that's definitely changed over time as we got more mature and started to learn more about the capabilities and where we could go with it. But we definitely had a vision up front of bringing all of those processes together and to be able to actually generate revenue out of the marketing department, as opposed to just having the marketing department be reactionary to whatever the sales team needed in terms of brochures and events.

5:53 Debbie Qaqish

So tell me a little bit about your ads. When you guys first began the project, tell me what your global marketing structure looked like and then describe for me the structure that you guys went to.

6:06 Angela Sanders

Sure. So there's a CMO that works across all business units, and then each business unit has their own marketing department. Typically what happens, is within the business unit there would be a separate marketing department in each major region around the world. So it was very siloed from a geographic standpoint, and then within the marketing department it was, again, siloed into people who were focused on marketing for specific product lines, marketing for corporate events, corporate communications. So there were a lot of silos going on, not a lot of people working together.

6:52 Angela Sanders

What we did is put into place an operational team that basically started to work across all of those silos and bring them all together. So they still all existed, and all those people still existed, but we started to come in and put into place a set of processes that said, when you're ready to do demand generation and campaign, you come to our team and we will help you execute those, plan them, execute them, and measures those. When you're going to do an events, you come to us and we'll help you execute and measure on the event. When you're going for a specific product line marketing campaign, come to us and we'll help you execute and measure those.

7:35 Angela Sanders

So it really started working across all those, and I would say it's a very non-threatening way to approach that. So you're not coming in and just wiping out your existing marketing team and starting over-- you're really putting into place a separate team that's going to help everyone.

7:55 Debbie Qaqish

So the global marketing organization support at Aon supported 500 countries, and how many solutions?

8:04 Angela Sanders

Oh gosh, hundreds of solutions. There were [INTERPOSING VOICES] several major product lines, and then hundreds and hundreds of different individual products underneath that, so there was a lot.

8:16 Debbie Qaqish

How large was the global sales organization?

8:22 Angela Sanders

Gosh, I don't even know. Well over a thousand.

8:26 Debbie Qaqish

OK. And the number of global marketers?

8:31 Angela Sanders

Global marketers? There were probably people that had some sort of marketing in their title, in the 300 to 400 range. Then there were a lot of people that were playing marketing as part of their role and they had other roles, as well.

8:46 Debbie Qaqish

OK. So what you guys did was, again, in this global siloed structure, rather than trying to infuse each of these people with skills and technology and know-how for how to do demand generation, you said, what we're going to do is we're going to build this kind of an overlay group. Like an operations group. And then when the people are ready to runs campaigns, they would come to you and you had a process for working with them and then executing campaigns on their behalf. Is that correct?

9:19 Angela Sanders

Absolutely. And then that kind of grew more into our team having our own set of strategy around demand generation and being able to drive those campaigns, as well, and then go proactively back into the siloed groups and show them how they could take advantage of this to actually drive revenue.

9:39 Debbie Qaqish

OK. So how long did-- well, first of all, this team, this was called marketing operations at Aon, correct?

9:49 Angela Sanders

Uh-huh. [AFFIRMATIVE] It was really marketing and sales operations together.

9:53 Debbie Qaqish

So it was marketing and sales operations. And the part that was responsible for demand generation, how many people were on that overlay team?

10:04 Angela Sanders

We had maybe five to seven people on that team.

10:07 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Five to seven people on that team, and you were executing campaigns on behalf of the globe, is that correct?

10:13 Angela Sanders


10:15 Debbie Qaqish

OK. And then how did you introduce this notion to the organization?

10:24 Angela Sanders

We really introduced it as part of the CRM training. So there was a whole big effort, as the new CRM system was rolling out across the globe, to go into offices and do training. And we made it part of that because from a sales person's point of view, all they need to know is how to react to these leads that they're getting. So we rolled that out. And then from the marketing point of view, there were lots of different types of meetings, global meetings, where we got the opportunity to go in and talk about this vision.

11:02 Angela Sanders

And we tried rolling it out in the U.S. only, immediately, and then we were going to take our time rolling out across the globe. And what happened was as soon as people got wind of this, I had people from all over the globe coming to me wanting to jump on board. So I was doing training sessions, and I remember I was doing a whole bunch of training sessions in February and March of 2007. And I had to add on a trip at the last moment to the U.K. to go train their team because they were so excited. And I showed up and there was a room of about 20 people in the U.K., 20 marketers that wanted to learn this new system and get on board. And it really took off like wildfire.

11:48 Debbie Qaqish

That's absolutely amazing. So field could execute campaigns at a field level, as well?

11:57 Angela Sanders

Yeah, so that's kind of part of the structure we started putting into place. There were a lot of people in the field offices that did their own marketing. And Aon, like a lot of global companies-- large companies --is a company of acquisitions. It was built through acquisition. And so there were a lot of field offices that had once been a separate company and they were wrapped into the Aon umbrella.

12:24 Angela Sanders

They still had their own people out in the field. Those people honestly know the most about that market place and how to market to them, what types of campaigns are going to work. So we tried to push down, as far as possible, that execution. And we actually created a role at the sales office level-- so we had one in each major sales office, and then we had regional roles for smaller sales offices --and it was a joint marketing and sales coordinator role, marketing and sales operations coordinator. And they were the person who would actually be executing those campaigns at the sales office level. They'd be getting the right targets into the campaign, doing their own segmentation, managing the leads that came out of that, managing any leads that might have come from corporate events, trade shows, that type of thing that came to their office, and really were responsible and accountable that those leads made it through the life cycle and that the sales team understood what to do with those.

13:32 Debbie Qaqish

Well, that's really interesting. So let me make sure I've got the timing of events, because again, this is endlessly fascinating for any organization looking to deploy or actually put into place a global demand generation practice.

13:44 Debbie Qaqish

So the first thing that you did was you created this marketing operations group. So it's kind of like a phase one-- let us do this for you. And then in that timeframe you also began to educate the field around what they could do if they had the appetite for it. Is that correct?

14:03 Angela Sanders

Yeah, absolutely. And we stayed under the radar in the beginning so that we could build up those good case studies of how it worked and then make sure that it did work before we went rolling it out too far.

14:16 Debbie Qaqish

OK. And so how long did you guys work as an [? ops ?] team under the radar before you began communicating and pushing that capability into the field?

14:27 Angela Sanders

It was about four to six months from the time that we implemented the marketing automation systems until we really started pushing it out to the field. So we started out doing training in a couple of pilot offices, rolling out some campaigns, making sure we got some good results, and then we took it global very quickly. Probably within a six month timeframe from there, it was pretty global.

14:56 Debbie Qaqish

So during that timeframe, you used the comment, "we wanted to make sure that it worked." Were you guys actually running a pilot? Did you consider it a pilot phase?

15:06 Angela Sanders

We did. We did run some pilot campaigns. We ran a pilot phase of the marketing automation system before we signed a full contract to make sure that-- it was fairly new technology, definitely new to us --and we wanted to make sure that it was worth the investment before you go putting a lot of money and a lot of-- beyond just the money you spend on the technology tool --you spend a lot of money and time and effort building those processes and those teams to support that.

15:35 Debbie Qaqish

So in that four to six months when you guys were kind of working under the cover, so to speak, what kind of best practices and templates and learnings were you guys able to gather before you begin to push this out into the field for a broader acceptance and use?

16:00 Debbie Qaqish

ANGELA SANDERS: It was interesting. We had taken a campaign that was originally run as a direct mail campaign in the Netherlands and adapted it for the U.S. market and ran it as a multi-channel campaign where we did a direct mail piece, email following that up, and then some telemarketing on the back end of that. And had some really great results in a couple of offices on that. And so we were able to really show that the multi-channel campaigns could have a big impact.

16:39 Debbie Qaqish

And I think that was something that was a little bit of a scary step for a lot of the marketing organizations to go from something that was primarily direct mail, primarily event-driven to something that was more driven by electronic means and email, and to be able to show that that made a difference to add on the electronic pieces was really interesting.

17:07 Debbie Qaqish

So we were about to do that, so we created some nice templated campaigns that could then be taken and rolled out in different regions-- they just need to adjust for their region. So I think we learned a lot of interesting things there.

17:21 Debbie Qaqish

OK. On of the areas that I'm really interested in is, clearly it's a big step when you've never done this before, it's scary. When you're used to being an event-driven organization, when you're used to being a direct mail organization, when you're used to non-digital, so to speak, it can be kind of scary. So what are some of the kind of things that you guys did, Angela, that helped these marketers feel a little bit more comfortable and not threatened by this?

17:51 Angela Sanders

Well, I think first of all, just kind of marrying it together with some other channels definitely helped. An easy way to step into it is to really look at your events. Because there's a lot of communication around those events that can go electronically, and I think most people are comfortable with those communications being electronic.

18:12 Angela Sanders

So if you start there and say, I have this lunch and learn that we run. Let's start sending out the invitations through a system where we can actually track all that activity back in. And then you start to see, when you have a marketing automation system, you're actually hooked into more than just that email, now you're hooked into other activities that that target is doing. And you start to bring it all back together in on system and get a better view. And now you go into that event knowing not only did this person sign up for this event, but they've been surfing around our website, they've been downloading our white papers on this topic. There are more touch points there, and so you have a much more qualified lead coming out of the back end of that. And then the challenges is to be able to take those leads coming out of an event, qualify those, and somehow get those over the wall to the sales team.

19:10 Debbie Qaqish

Interesting. And I had not thought about that before, but clearly when you've got a global marketing organization and you're moving toward this new way to market, marrying with other channels that they're comfortable with. So instead of saying, oh we're replacing that, if you just say we're going to add on to it. And then [UNINTELLIGIBLE] live events. So a lot of these global organizations do lots of events, it's very non-threatening to say, let's begin digital communication around that.

19:37 Debbie Qaqish

Again and then again, once in these very simple steps, you can show the marketer and they can now begin to see the insight into behavior, I would imagine that that got them pretty excited.

19:51 Angela Sanders

It did. And it was there was one very large event that we did every year out of the Aon Risk Services group that a lot of the marketing dollars were spent on. And we sent literally like 300 to 400 sales people to this show, it was just such a huge event. And traditionally, we had no idea what came out of it. There was no way to track any of that. And it was really great that we were able to go in and start tracking that event in a number of different ways. We were sending communications upfront through the marketing automation system and tracking that back. We were sending surveys before the show and tracking that back to generate leads even before the show begin.

20:40 Angela Sanders

On site, there were a lot of meetings that happened. We tracked those meetings back into the CRM system. And then coming out of the show we had a whole list-- because we were tracking people through bar code scanning at every one of our events and at our booth --so we were able to take that whole list of everyone who came, and now we had a whole marketing list to start some marketing campaigns after the show.

21:04 Angela Sanders

And having the combination of the CRM system that was standardized and that marketing automation system, we were actually able to start tracking how much revenue came out of that show and whether we were actually meeting the revenue targets that had been set out for this.

21:21 Debbie Qaqish

That is absolutely an amazing story. And again, it's the very first [UNINTELLIGIBLE] companies go who have to do the show, marketers set it up, they run the show, then somebody says what did we get out of this show, and marketers are just stuck there with no proof point for anything. I can see where that was probably a very, very strong backer.

21:40 Debbie Qaqish

I want to go back to the question when you said it was kind of scary, and some of the tactical things that you guys did to get the marketers on board with what you were doing was marrying with other channels, and also communicating around events. What else did you do to help marketers make this transition so they didn't feel threatened?

22:02 Angela Sanders

We definitely had to have those case studies in place. And so when you go into a marketing organization where they're getting beat up on how much money they're costing the organization and getting asked the question every day, what are you getting back out of this-- and if you've got a case study where you can go in and show, here is a campaign that was run successfully in this region and we got this many leads and this much revenue out of it, and we think we can replicate that in your region --it's very strong. And the people that were there were very willing to upgrade their skill set so that they could take on the marketing automation, as well, and role that out within their regions.

22:51 Angela Sanders

I don't think it's something where you have to think about going in and getting rid of your marketing organization and starting over again, but there's definitely some skill gaps there. So you've got to find the right people, and it's not always the one who was in charge of marketing previously. There might be other people within the marketing department that just get technology better, and get the whole demand generation idea a whole lot better.

23:15 Debbie Qaqish

So this is interesting and I want to go down this track now. One of the things that you talked about was, of course, getting marketers case studies-- they're being beat up and they can finally proves the value --that's great. And the other thing you talked about was upgrading the skill set. And clearly, every organization is going to have some kind of skill gap. What were the major skills gaps that you guys saw at Aon, and how did you address those skill gaps?

23:48 Angela Sanders

I think the biggest one that I probably saw was around metrics and measurement. As marketers, unless you're a database marketer, most of us are not real comfortable with the numbers. And so to start really digging into that and being able to analyze deeply into the data you're getting back is a pretty big gap in most cases. So that's where it comes in handy to set up a role for marketing operations that can do some of that centralized number crunching and get that back out to the field to get that data.

24:28 Angela Sanders

So I don't think it's something that necessarily everyone needs to learn how to do. I think you can definitely put in somebody, either you've got someone in your organization already that has that skill set or you can hire that in and put that role into place. I think that's a huge one.

24:47 Angela Sanders

I think the one that everyone has to learn, though, is there's a big difference between traditional marketing and online marketing in terms of how you present content, and how you drive action, and what's going to work. So I think that's definitely something that you see big gaps in, and people not necessarily knowing-- they know they want to send out an email but they don't know how to structure that email to actually get the action they want. I think there's a lot of great associations out there-- training courses on how to actually do that well.

25:21 Debbie Qaqish

OK. So clearly gaps that you saw were metrics and measurement. And one of the ways that you guys addressed it was to set up a marketing automation role that in early days did the centralized number crunching. Clearly, moving from traditional to online, there are issues with content, especially content that drives action. How did you guys address that? It was a skill gap where what did you guys do specifically to help address that area?

25:49 Angela Sanders

I think it was just a combination of a few people learning that skill set through outside organizations and associations. And then bringing that back in and really starting to analyze content from different parts of the organization and say, this email did really well and this one did not. Now let's look at this and see why that was the case. And starting to teach people through examples of how to actually fix those.

26:22 Angela Sanders

I think it helps if you've got some process standardization in place so you can say, here's a standard template, email template, for our organization. And it's limited to three paragraphs a call to action on the side. Well, now you've forced people into the right format for what you want to do.

26:47 Debbie Qaqish

I think that's absolutely great. And you're right-- there's so many great organizations that people can go to like [? Sharephone ?], Marketing [? Cross ?]. There's just many, many great places that people in marketing, [? experiments, ?] people can go to learn this. But you're right-- it's a big issue. And clearly, one of the other gaps that you talked about was the fact that it's a little bit more technology based as a world. And so you had some people who just got it because it would kind of part of their DNA. You've got some people who didn't get it, and I think that's a harder thing to train. But were there any other major skill gaps besides metrics and content and driving action that you guys observed that would be good to share with some people who are listening?

27:38 Angela Sanders

I think there's just the overarching strategy of demand generation versus marketing strategy. In an official marketing department your marketing strategy centers around, what are those things that your sales people need? And in a demand generation strategy, you're really looking at it from marketing driving the ship. So what is it that we can do independently of what the sales team is doing to really drives that? I think that's-- at least at Aon --that was a big scary step because it was a very sales driven organization. I think a lot of B2B companies are very sales driven organizations and have that challenge.

28:24 Debbie Qaqish

I love that analogy and I never heard before, Angela, but you're exactly right. A good definition of a traditional marketing organization is, marketing drives marketing and sales drives revenue. And in a demand generation model, marketing is now responsible for portion of the revenue.

28:41 Angela Sanders

Absolutely. And I think it's a hard mindset for marketing to actually be held accountable for revenue. That's really tough. And to say, yes, there is some point when I hand over that lead and I'm no longer responsible for that, but I'm still accountable for that. To make sure that lead gets through to a sale, you just kind of assume that's the sales person's responsibility. Well, from a sales person's point of view, if you think about it, there's some point at which they don't have control over the process, either. The customer has control over whether they're going to buy or not buy, but they're still accountable for that. So we kind of have to change our mindset as marketers and say, look, we're not working against the sales organization. We're working with them to make them successful. So we have to also be held accountable for their goals.

29:38 Debbie Qaqish

I'm going to go ahead and dive into this accountability issue because I think it's really important, but then I want to come back to your johnny and time frames and things like that. Did your marketers now have some kind of revenue quota, or something that they were measured against that had an impact on revenue?

29:59 Angela Sanders

We were getting there. So what happened was, it's kind of a three year journey. So after that journey-- it was three years. So year one, we did stuff under the radar. We did stuff and we measured it to see what would happen. And we had no idea what our goals were going to be because we didn't know what we could do. Year two, we had a better idea, so we set a goal. And we didn't know whether or not we were going to meet it. But we set a goal, and then we were working towards that. As it happens, we actually blew that goal out of the water by about $3 million. Year three, we started getting to the point where, OK, I think we've got a pretty good idea of what our goals should be. And now we're going to take that goal, we're going to divide it up-- so that every marketing person, every marketing region, has a piece of that goal that they're working towards --and we're going to start to measure that in the same way that the sales department does. You start forecasting. We had the CRM system in place, so we could see exactly what was happening to our numbers. Every week we would run the report and see where we were against the numbers, and figure out where we had gaps, where we were falling down. And drive it on the numbers and based on the revenue.

31:18 Debbie Qaqish

That's absolutely fascinating. So this three year journey-- because the question people are always asking all the time-- how long does it take to get to competency? I always tell them it depends, and it depends on a lot of things. Knowing what you know now, Angela, how could you have gone through this three year cycle quicker?

31:44 Angela Sanders

Definitely having somebody who knows and has been through it before up front. We were kind of going through this completely blind-- I didn't know what I was doing going into it and I learned everything on the job. It was fine, we got through it, but I think having somebody in place that actually had been through the journey before and knew it probably could have driven some of the decisions quicker.

32:10 Debbie Qaqish

This was what, four years ago, five years ago, Angela?

32:12 Angela Sanders

About four years ago, yep.

32:15 Debbie Qaqish

It was a completely different market then. It was really frontier days four years ago.

32:19 Angela Sanders

Absolutely. So there just weren't people [INTERPOSING VOICES]

32:22 Debbie Qaqish

--to find somebody who had ever done this four years ago.

32:27 Angela Sanders

Right. Exactly. Exactly. And today there lots of people who have done it and can give you lots of good advice. And I think you also have to drive it top down. Because if you don't have a CEO, a CMO, your sales VP, on board with all of this, you're going to be throwing stuff over the wall to sales and it's going to land on the floor. So you really have to make sure that everyone understands the vision and pushes it down across the organization. That definitely drives it quicker.

33:00 Debbie Qaqish

OK. So I want to go back to the journey. You said that year one, you guys were kind of working under the radar, and once you had proven your case, and also had developed some basic templates and best practices which could be shared, how they can go-- beginning, I think it was in year three --and begin to push this capability out into the field? Tell me about what that looked like.

33:27 Angela Sanders

Well, we started putting into place that standardized role of the sales and marketing ops coordinator at the field sales level.

33:36 Debbie Qaqish

So how many of those did you have around the globe?

33:41 Angela Sanders

There were probably 30 to 50 if those around the globe. There were about 30 in the U.S.

33:47 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Was that a brand new role that got created, or was someone's role taken? Did Aon belly up to the bar for a new head count in marketing?

33:59 Angela Sanders

It wasn't a new head count. It was one of these, where because of the type of role it was, they took a lot of people out of more of a office manager or administrative assistant role and put them in it. So it wasn't always that new head count. They might have shifted someone. Which was a challenge, because when offices chose to do that, what would happen is that person would spend 80% of their day on their previous job and then try to cram in this role in the other 20%. It was a challenge to get the offices to understand this is really a full time thing. You're expecting someone to come up with a strategy, or marketing, for your office, to run these campaigns, to manage all the leads that come out of that, to work with the sales team to track those and drive them forward, that's a full time gig.

34:54 Angela Sanders

That was challenging. We really drove it down to the field level through that role.

35:01 Debbie Qaqish

OK. So how long did it takes you to put those 30 to 50 head count in place?

35:08 Angela Sanders

Not all that long. I think we had most of them within maybe three to six months.

35:13 Debbie Qaqish

OK. All right, so it was a concerted effort. Once it was decided that this was what you were going to do, you could do that. And then how did you train these people, Angela? Because that's a lot of people who are now responsible for demand generation at a local level.

35:27 Angela Sanders

It was, absolutely. We brought them in centrally and did some training on to tools themselves, as a starting point. And then we treated that as a whole separate department and practice. So we would get on regular meetings a few times a month on the phone. Because these people, no two people are in the same office. Everyone is spread out all over the place, and so you had to bring them together. We developed project teams within that group so that we had different things and processes that needed to be put into place, and we would put into place a little project team of three or four of those people who would work together to come up with that process.

36:11 Debbie Qaqish

So give me an example of some of the things that they worked on.

36:18 Angela Sanders

One of them was a more standardized process around RFPs. So that was more of a sales type of process, but it was something that this roll had to deal with everyday because they were dealing with both sales and marketing to put into place a standardized process when an RFP came in the door, how to deal with it.

36:39 Angela Sanders

Events was another big one. Standardizing, running local events. A lot of the offices did a lot of lunch and learns as well as training events for clients. And so they got together and put together all their best practices around what the difference offices did. And we took the most successful ones and put them together into an event in a box type of process that could be rolled out.

37:10 Debbie Qaqish

So for example, all your demand generation around the event, then became just a template that anybody could use any time.

37:18 Angela Sanders

Yeah, absolutely.

37:19 Debbie Qaqish

OK. I'm fascinated by this. So Aon decided to hire this new role, 30 to 50 people. And what was the title of that role? It was a marketing and sales coordinator?

37:34 Angela Sanders

I think it was marketing and sales coordinator is what we ended up with. It had both titles in that role.

37:41 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Very, very interesting. And then training-- of course, you brought people in centrally to train on the tool. And then you began to, of course, have meetings to keep everybody abreast and share best practices.

37:54 Debbie Qaqish

And I also love the idea of project teams for standardization. Because again, as a global organization, if someone is doing something well, if you can put together a global team to create one set of best practices around something in demand generation-- and of course, other areas of marketing --I think that just makes a whole lot of sense to do that. So let's see, so year one, you guys were under the radar. Year two, when did you begin actively communicating out to the larger marketing Community Was that in year two?

38:30 Angela Sanders

Year one, we were communicating out to the larger marketing community. We just weren't really setting hard goals as far as what we were doing in year one.

38:41 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Did you guys have a formal communications plan? Or a really good communications plan that went out to the global marketing organization over this three year period?

38:54 Angela Sanders

We did not. And I think that's probably one area that we probably could have improved a lot. There was a little bit of a divide between traditional marketing and the demand generation, and there wasn't a great effort to actually communicate that and bring it all together into a single marketing organization across the whole company.

39:19 Debbie Qaqish

OK. And that makes sense. I mean, there's all kinds of cultural issues in every organization that we work with. One of the things that I get asked quite often, Angela, is how you do lead scoring for global organization?

39:36 Angela Sanders

It's tough because it's overwhelming and people always want to think about lead scoring in terms of products, product line, because they say, well, the targets are very different for different products. And I think if you think about it that way, absolutely, it's totally overwhelming and you can't even begin to think about it.

39:58 Angela Sanders

But I think if you start to think about it in terms of your audience, and maybe different levels within your audience, you can definitely build a lead scoring program that takes into account-- maybe it's your biggest clients, your medium sized clients, and your smallest clients --and you start scoring people based on that and getting them through some other criteria. But I think if you really step back and think about it from the audience level, you'll start to see that the buying behaviors that you're looking for actually are pretty similar across different products and product lines.

40:39 Debbie Qaqish

So your advice is don't get overwhelmed and just start simple.

40:43 Angela Sanders

Yeah, absolutely. Pick your five criteria you want to start with, and just start with that. And again, it's kind of like with the whole implementing a demand generation strategy-- you do it, you measure it, and then you can adjust it and figure out what's actually working. And you can do it under the radar pretty easily in the beginning and see if the numbers that are coming out are making any kind of sense.

41:06 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Let me ask you this question-- and I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable --but what was your biggest failure when all this was going on? And how did you handle failure?

41:18 Angela Sanders

Well, we definitely had campaigns that bombed. I think that's why we never did anything huge to start with. We never had this great idea and we took it out to the whole organization at once. It was always start small. And so if you had a failure, it was pretty localized. And so you spent some money on a campaign that bombed. That's OK-- move on. So just take your lessons learned, figure out why it didn't work, and just keep moving forward.

41:54 Debbie Qaqish

Was it hard? Because a lot of times I find in organizations marketers have this absolute fear of failure. They feel like their job might be in jeopardy. Was that an issue with the marketing team at [? Aeon? ?]

42:08 Angela Sanders

No. I was very lucky to have an incredibly supportive boss. And he was responsible for both sales and marketing-- he was a VP of sales and marketing --and he was just very supportive about failures. And if there was a failure he wanted us to dig into it and figure out what was wrong so we didn't do it again, but absolutely let us make mistakes.

42:34 Debbie Qaqish

That's awesome. So he kind of created a culture of experimentation. So you say that you learned as much by your failures as you did your successes?

42:46 Angela Sanders

Absolutely. And there were probably more failures than successes at times. Because you've got to try a lot of things before you figure out what works.

42:55 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Very, very, very interesting. So let's talk a little bit about languages. You guys were doing campaigns in multiple languages, and how did you handle that?

43:08 Angela Sanders

We did. Again, pushing stuff down into the field as closely as you can to the sales teams is beneficial because you don't have a bunch of people sitting in a corporate office trying to translate. Because when you're doing things in different languages, it isn't just about the translation, it's about knowing the cultural differences to know what's going to work and what people are going to react to. So we definitely pushed all of that down into the individual countries that were running those to make their own decisions on how they wanted to change up the campaign to work for them.

43:50 Debbie Qaqish

So for the first year when you guys were pretty much in pilot, under the radar, you'd be doing everything in English?

43:56 Angela Sanders

Most of it was in English. If it was in a different language, all of the content was supplied to us to execute.

44:04 Debbie Qaqish

OK. What kind of results was your team able to drive? Can you share any of that with us?

44:11 Angela Sanders

Yeah, there were a few interesting things. We were able to track over $25 million of revenue a year back to marketing activity. And we also did some metrics around the average deal size and what I found was, in the U.S., that the targets that we had been running at least one campaign a month to on a regular basis-- and were getting sales out of --actually had about a 50% higher average deal size than just the sales that were just done by the sales team alone.

44:58 Debbie Qaqish

Very, very interesting. So now that you brought up sales, how did you guys get sales on board with this? Clearly, it was a great, great, great structure for you guys to get started. You reported to the VP of sales and marketing. But what did you guys do to bring sales into the fold, get them collaborative with you, and get them to play the game, play the demand generation game with you guys?

45:24 Angela Sanders

Yeah, absolutely. That was definitely a challenge. I think part of what helped was we were rolling out CRM at the same time, and so they were learning lots of new things. So it was easy to sneak in one more thing and teach them a little bit about leads. And I think that definitely helped us get there. We also tried to, as much as possible, publish those successes and those metrics and always be showing that we were helping and contributing to that.

45:57 Angela Sanders

Our marketing team also, as much as possible, would try to attend sales meetings. Our marketing ops team was divided up so that each one of us were responsible for a certain set of offices. And we would work closely with the sales leaders in those offices to help them develop plans and make them part of the process. That was definitely helpful, as well.

46:21 Debbie Qaqish

I want to revisit a number. You said that the marketing ops team was somewhere between five to seven people. So it went up to seven people. And you guys supported the globe with that team?

46:33 Angela Sanders

We did. So we were heavily supporting the U.S., and then around the globe you had individual people in each region that were doing the support, and we were supporting those people.

46:48 Debbie Qaqish


46:50 Debbie Qaqish

ANGELA SANDERS: kind of a tier structure.

46:52 Debbie Qaqish

And did that tier structure seem to work for you guys?

46:55 Angela Sanders

I think it worked really well. As you started doing training on the tools somebody with surface. In every region, somebody would just surface that just got it. And like I said, it wasn't necessarily a marketing director, it wasn't the head of marketing. A lot of times it was just one of the field marketers that just got it. And so they were just a natural to take over that role, and you just start communicating with them and help them drive it. They thought it was great-- it helped drive their career, as well.

47:29 Debbie Qaqish

So was this marketing ops team all based in the U.S., or were they distributed globally?

47:35 Angela Sanders

Mostly in the U.S.-- had a couple people in Canada.

47:38 Debbie Qaqish

OK. And so lots of time differences. So did you guys work variable hours, or did you pretty much work your standard hours and just communicate at a later day?

47:51 Angela Sanders

We mostly worked standardized hours. We would bring people in, generally, to the U.S. to do in-person meetings, so it was probably most convenient for the U.S. team and most inconvenient for the global teams. Definitely, another thing that we probably could have done better was work a little bit better as a global team.

48:16 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Angela, what advice would you give to a company who was looking to roll out a global demand generation infrastructure?

48:31 Angela Sanders

I would definitely say don't think of it just in terms of the technology. You know, you really have to take a look at the full picture, take a look at the people and the processes that you have around that technology. And make sure that you have some of that in place before you put a piece of technology in. So either outsource that function or put somebody in place that can really drive that project who's been there and done that.

49:00 Debbie Qaqish

What else?

49:03 Angela Sanders

I think metrics are also very important, understanding what it is that you're going to drive your success based on. If you're going to measure that success. And then bench marking that at the beginning so that you can start measuring against that on a regular basis and knowing that you're actually improving through what you've put into place.

49:28 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Any other piece of advice? Are those just the two major ones, or anything else come to mind?

49:37 Angela Sanders

I guess the other thing that comes to mind is I think it really has to be bought into at all levels of the organization. So I think even your CEO, your CMO, your CSO need to be on board. Because if you're fighting upstream on those, it's obviously a big budget item in a large company to put something like this into place, and if you don't have that kind of support it's going to get cut.

50:04 Debbie Qaqish

OK. All right, well that's fantastic. Again, you are just a plethora of information. And again, that's part of the radio show-- we talk to marketers who have already done this stuff themselves, right? So I mean, everything that you've shard with us today, the fact that it took three years, how you guys addressed people process and technology, what skill gaps you found, how you helped your marketers transition, how you actively got this done across a global organization has just been very, very informative.

50:39 Debbie Qaqish

So Angela, we thank you so much for your time today.

50:42 Angela Sanders

No problem. Thank you.

50:44 Debbie Qaqish

OK. Everyone have a great day, and have a great coming up weekend. Thank you.

50:55 Debbie Qaqish