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WRMR Interviews Laura Hoffman of Microscan

  • Broadcast in Marketing
Debbie Qaqish

Debbie Qaqish


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Join us this week as we interview a pragmatic Revenue Marketer, Laura Hoffman, Director of Global Marketing at Microscan. Laura will share with us how she has run the sales programs for distributor channels and sales lead development over the past 4 years for Microscan. Her methodical approach has enabled a continuing 20% + growth of lead volume for sales.


0:34 Debbie Qaqish

Hello, this is Debbie Qaqish of Revenue Marketer Radio, and welcome to the show everybody. You know, every Thursday we get together and we talk to revenue marketers, and today's topic is going to be the pragmatic Revenue Marketer, I cannot wait to hear more about this. So as you guys know, this radio show explores all fast since the revenue marketing. We take a look at metrics, people and skills and compensation, organizational structure, sales and marketing alignment, and really all the key features of what it takes to be a successful revenue marketer. So today's guest, I am extremely excited to have, it is Laura Hoffman of Microscan. We will say a little about Laura before we get in to the interview with her. First of all, Laura is a professional marketer for 19 years and she is a very interesting combination of experience because she has worked with both consumer and also B2B. So she has been responsible for a variety of marketing business development and partner's sales roles. Again, a really interesting combination for a revenue marketer and she is time near champion and implemented corporate theorem systems as well as marketing automation platform.

1:57 Debbie Qaqish

I am kind of reading you the highlights of what-- we'll go through the perfect revenue marketer. And she has experienced in three different marketing automation platform, you should be a big believer and that you can utilize technology to solve business issues and also work smarter. The other thing about Laura is that she really takes that kind of approach of incremental change, and I have never thought about this, but this has out stayed the _2:23_ means 100% change, can be accomplished by a 1% change repeated 100 times, and that is a great piece of advice to any revenue marketers. She is a practicing believer in pragmatic marketing principles which successfully combines and applies this technology in revenue marketing principles. So, Laura welcome to the show.

2:50 Laura Hoffman

Thank you Debbie. Thanks for having me here today and thanks for great intro.

2:54 Debbie Qaqish

Well, you are so welcome. It is such a pleasure to have you because, you know, again when I take a look at the perfect make up and the perfect scent of characteristics that in the revenue marketer and the result, I mean, clearly you are at the top of the list there. So I want you to start by telling us a little bit about Microscan, a little bit more about specifically what your role there is.

3:16 Laura Hoffman

Sure. At Microscan, I am the Director of Global Marketing. Microscan is a technology company. We focused on B2B technology sales or playground as factory automation, many factory environment or marginally quality inspection point and productivity enhancement through barcode and machine vision products and solutions. So Microscan actually is a manufacturer. We design and manufacture hardware and software, and we go to market through a distribution channel that is global. So we sell, we don't sell direct. We instead sell through a global distribution channel of well over 300 systems in a greater some distributors and what they do is they package and resell our products with others for complete automations solutions. So this means that we had one central marketing department, that guides and market through our channel basically I have two lead funnels that I am looking after. I am looking after Microscan lead funnel, and I am also looking after that lead funnel for global distribution network.

4:20 Debbie Qaqish

Oh wow I think.

4:21 Laura Hoffman

And that mean...

4:23 Debbie Qaqish

Oh. Go ahead. Sorry.

4:24 Laura Hoffman

I was just going to add. Microscan is actually a Spectris company, so we are one of the Spectris companies. Spectris is based out at the UK. There are precision instrumentation and controls company. They own about 15 different technology companies of which Microscan is part.

4:40 Debbie Qaqish

Now, this is going to be really interesting. Because I do not think we have anybody on the show that went to market 100% through channel. So I definitely want to come back and find out a little bit more about that, but before we get into that, Laura let's first take a look at your journey to revenue marketing, because they say what it is so interesting, I don't also run across somebody who has been, and has worked across three different marketing automation systems, but tell us something about your journey to revenue marketing.

5:10 Laura Hoffman

Oh, it's funny. First of all, I held revenue marketer a few months ago and I immediately recognize myself from prior to the revenue marketing definition until the CRM in marketing automation and responsible for revenue, because honestly, for the past 12 years, I have been accountable for the sales lead funnel, in the sense of sales lead generations, being given to me at the top priority, it is great to have pretty photos and nice ad campaigns, but the results were not there in sales lead, I was more judged. I have been more judged consistently on end results of sales leads than, sort of the marketing arts and craft people think of.

5:50 Debbie Qaqish

Now that is interesting, because you have been doing that and have that kind of accountability for 12 years. Why do think that was? I mean, you are classically a marketer, correct?

6:00 Laura Hoffman

You know, yes. I think it is -- yes, I am a classically a marketer. So I might pass up their marketing. I was the events manager. I have done copywriting. I have done design creative. So I did have still the traditional marketing path. But it maybe that the dynamics of Microscan. So I have been at Microscan for the past 12 years. So maybe that put me into play. I reported to the president directly for almost 10 of those years and he is very revenue oriented. It is that "Laura, how are you going to impact revenue?"

6:39 Debbie Qaqish

I love it.

6:40 Laura Hoffman

Okay. You know my tool kit at marketing campaigns and brochures and websites, but it has always been at the end of the day. You have a lead funnel you need to fill and before we see around, before marketing automation, the general rule of fund was every year at minimum. My sales are quite raised 20%. I had hit at minimum gross sales leads 20%, year on year, every single year.

7:06 Debbie Qaqish

Did you actually have a quota?

7:09 Laura Hoffman

Yes. Well, it was my -- yes. It was my goal and you know, sometimes I get judged on annually in my performance reviews and the sales leads are very visible out of the company. We would report on our dashboard and how many leads that we have for the months and how many leads to play in.

7:26 Debbie Qaqish

Did you have bearable contact to that sales quota? For your quota?

7:32 Laura Hoffman

Yeah. Just part of the job well done.

7:35 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. So you have been able to work with a company and get 20% year over year gross from baseline on the number of sales leads, and I would imagine in a certain amount of quality associated with those leads, as well as running both sales and marketing functions and just having that kind of background, I also think kind of helps you with your perception of the role of marketing. Is that right?

8:02 Laura Hoffman

Yes it is. Yes, that's right. I would also like to say, you know that, the transition point, the 20% year on year on leads, was really before me has the ability to track other things be on lead volume, so since the implementation that sales for a theorem and we use marketing automation platforms since those implementation the sales leads volume is way over. It definitely exceeds the 20% mark. Because you have the ability to expand your definition of a lead to nurture leads to certain point, so 20% with that old school.

8:45 Debbie Qaqish


8:46 Laura Hoffman

For me.

8:47 Debbie Qaqish

So how long have you guys been using marketing automation as part of your match?

8:50 Laura Hoffman

Just about three years.

8:55 Debbie Qaqish


8:56 Laura Hoffman

Three and a half years, we started in 2007.

8:59 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. And what is this that you guys use today?

9:02 Laura Hoffman

Today, we are at the tail end of it, our contract with Eloqua. I am a big huge fan of Eloqua and we are also looking at other platforms that help bring in more of the sales package to it.

9:19 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. Alright. Excellent. And so, if 20% was kind of like a baseline, are there any other metrics that you guys kind of track and are important for you?

9:32 Laura Hoffman

Yeah. Actually what is important, we have a few KPIs and a lot of them are related to web metrics but what I really look what, what is really important to me personally is looking at in salesforce.com and seeing the trail of opportunities by leads and source. And on the website looking at conversion metrics from visitors to actual forms. So the actual conversions of what I have paid the most attention to.

10:00 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. And how has been the...

10:01 Laura Hoffman

It has to be the number of the...

10:02 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. And how long have you been tracking those KPIs?

10:08 Laura Hoffman

It has been really formalized, prioritized dashboard way. Just as this year since 2010.

10:13 Debbie Qaqish


10:14 Laura Hoffman

Before that it sort of excel spreadsheets that we will send around.

10:18 Debbie Qaqish

Is your dashboard in salesforce?

10:23 Laura Hoffman

Not all of it. So pieces of a conference sales force just bring in -- we have five areas so I track brand awareness. I track web visits. We track activity on our website and then we track the interest which is the marketing automation platform and how leads go through this file.

10:44 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. And so this dashboard that kind of reports on and tracks those five key areas. Is that your dashboard or is that a dashboard that goes up to the executive committee?

10:58 Laura Hoffman


10:59 Debbie Qaqish


11:00 Laura Hoffman

I was pretty advised by the marketing group as a dashboard for my group. It is just sort of a general viewpoint of how the trans are going and it is provided to the executive staff of the company every month and sometimes we also forward it out to the sales team but not on every month basis to the broad sales team.

11:19 Debbie Qaqish

And how do you take year theorem management response to that dashboard?

11:25 Laura Hoffman

Well today I think it is just as I expected deliverable.

11:28 Debbie Qaqish


11:29 Laura Hoffman

When we first find that we thought it was pretty cool.

11:31 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. But that is part of it. It just like sales delivers the pipeline, you are also delivering key metrics that talks about the health of the company.

11:43 Laura Hoffman


11:44 Debbie Qaqish


11:46 Laura Hoffman

It might be interesting to you Debbie is, I was listening to the other revenue marketing radio and Eon, the company Eon, one of a turning point for me in marketing automation and while they are evaluating, how I discovered it and stumbled upon it, I was at a dream sales force team, first conference, and I attended a presentation that overview of how Eon was using Eloqua.

12:13 Debbie Qaqish

So it so cool.

12:14 Laura Hoffman

It opened my eyes and I felt like "wow". So all of these separate programs that we had, I mean separate email marketing, separate web cast, separate web metrics, when I looked at what Eon was doing and I was like "I want to do that. How do I do that? I want to do that".

12:28 Debbie Qaqish

Laura that is a great story. This confirms by belief that it is a very, very small world that we live in. I have to tell Angela Sanders that is so very, very cool. So that again opened your eyes but I also know that you mentioned that you guys brought in theorem salesforce.com and then brought in marketing automation. Is that right?

12:52 Laura Hoffman


12:53 Debbie Qaqish

But tell us a little about that journey and what that was like.

12:57 Laura Hoffman

In that journey was a director that four and half years ago, my role transition, so I had always been responsible for the marketing function, but in 2006, I became also responsible for two functions that I had formally been in sales. The channel distribution program and the sales lead development program. Now, overnight when he suddenly looked at marketing, kind of from arts and crafts and lead generation perspective and overnight, now I have the next pieces of funnel. I had a lead development. I have to keep these partners happy instead. And I have got two funnels not one funnel. Completely changed my perspective and that is when I started looking at the simple processes and at that time, our profits for lead management, or process for communicating with our global field operations and sales and our global distributors is not as effective as it could have been and so, I did do some research and I contacted from my sister Spectris companies and marketing people to find out how they solve this problem and salesforce.com just kept coming up. So salesforce.com started at Microscan and not as a global implementation package. I started really small with a few licenses to help manage the lead funnel and we were manually pulling reports and emailing them out to the field so we started small of salesforce, the corporate decision at first, it was just a lead management marketing decision that since _14:24_ and now the full company is on salesforce and seeing the benefits and was all the fields sales, managers got into salesforce. Once that transition was made, then I will look for the next level of improvement which was how I bring and connect to marketing activity into salesforce to be visible and active.

14:47 Debbie Qaqish

Now, one of the things that I find interesting was that you were managing two lead funnels.

14:53 Laura Hoffman


14:54 Debbie Qaqish

So tell me specifically what these lead funnels were.

14:58 Laura Hoffman

Yeah, I don't know I would seem like driving or influencing those two lead funnels. So Microscan, the lead funnels that I would be judged on that I have mentioned that 20% year on year growth is the total volume of lead generated by Microscan for our technologies, products and solutions.

15:19 Debbie Qaqish

Do you believe...

15:20 Laura Hoffman

We just pass to distributors, right?

15:23 Debbie Qaqish


15:24 Laura Hoffman

Okay. But secondarily, if you are going to market through a distribution channel, you are really only going to be effective if your distribution had mind share about your products, if they know your products, if they are happy doing business with you.

15:40 Debbie Qaqish

I got you.

15:41 Laura Hoffman

Need to do business with you and sales, people and distributors are very coin operated. You know, you give them money, you give them a lead or lead as practically money, then they are happy and you get more of their mind share. We had separate cooperative marketing program that I would run with our distributors that would help them and encourage them to create their own marketing campaigns and generally their own leads for Microscan. On top of what we provide to them.

16:11 Debbie Qaqish

That is so smart. So clearly you were running or driving a lead, also you could get leads and pass them to the distributors and then your second funnel was for the mind share and then providing marketing tools to your channel so they could more effectively market Microscan solutions.

16:33 Laura Hoffman

Correct. Because there is a local voice and they had a local _16:35_ we do some like global outreach that is generic but usually people needs some type of automation solution. They want to deal with the local company that they can get on the phone and that they can come visit them and train them. So we needed that global local marketing reach. And we did something really interesting on one of our product launches last year that our distributors loved and we did it from marketing automation system. We created a, we will call it just like a co-op marketing online campaign but how you can easily have it in marketing automation systems, that context sensitive landing pages. We create a promotion that was just basically a web button, a banner ad that we ask our distributors that mirrored our corporate branding that we were doing for promotional campaign. We say, "Hey can you guys put this on your website? And it was about the product and it was a custom contest and so we are giving away iPods". Whatever iPod is popular last year, I cannot remember were giving away.

17:36 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. Alright.

17:37 Laura Hoffman

It was basically -- it was a hosted contest for our partners. All they had to do is put it out there and then send out emails and promote this contest as much as they could but we managed all these separate contest pages, there are marketing automation system. Because they got to see reports on every single who entered their own unique contest.

17:56 Debbie Qaqish

That is so cool.

17:58 Laura Hoffman

And they loved it. It was like, let's put a banner button and I tell people about it and you are going to give me report so who's in the contest and we managed though it seem like it was their own brand of contest, their own branded logo, but we did this simultaneously with about 30 key partners over a period of 3 months that it is just -

18:17 Debbie Qaqish

That is -- what a great idea. That is fantastic and I am sure that they love the campaign and got a great benefit from it.

18:27 Laura Hoffman

Sure. They did not have to buy the iPod.

18:30 Debbie Qaqish

I bet I know it absolutely. And so -- were you able to quantify a value from them, I mean, did they close business, I am assuming that they did.

18:40 Laura Hoffman

Yes, we did have quite a few demo opportunities and I believe we did close business on it. I promoted it more when I was speaking to partners and I would approach the angle of "hey were doing it with the marketing for you, and look of all the leads and look at these contacts"

18:57 Debbie Qaqish

Oh, absolutely. I mean, because that is always the problem with the channel at mind share and the more you can own their marketing, the more you are going to own their mind share. I think that is awesome. Laura, let me ask you this question because this is always a problem when you have got a distributor network, when you pass those leads over to the distributors, did you had any visibility to what happens to them from there?

19:22 Laura Hoffman

Wow. You just nailed the hot spot on the head. We have been very level with visibility so, it is a challenge because we don't put all of our 300 distributors of salesforce account. So we do have visibility but it in the form of our Microscan sales manager office and we prompt the follow-up and say "hey what happened to this lead, how is this project going" that complete cycle that we have to connect does not always come through, if that makes sense. I can view maybe not to be in sales perspective but I can view those opportunities as they progress to this funnel, to our fields' sales managers. So all the way through to what stage of that opportunity and what is that dollar amount, we can view that piece of it. But I believe there is profit but it is not updated.

20:15 Debbie Qaqish

Yeah. That is very cool. Do some of our distributors have salesforce that you guys are connected to?

20:22 Laura Hoffman

Yes. Some of them do. Some of the larger ones do.

20:30 Debbie Qaqish

And that is very beneficial for them and you.

20:31 Laura Hoffman

Oh yeah. You know the whole CRM marketing automation, what it gives to companies is just really amazing. I am just such a fan of -- everyone is under pressure to do more with less, and reduce cost, and some people look at the cost of CRM or marketing automations. And look at how expensive that is. But the actual efficiency of the scale, on the benefits you can get out of it, it is not even a doubt in my mind. Any company -- and they are not going to say we should be looking at it. I mean, you are so right and when I think about the cost and see my market information, I'm like compared to what? You know, for me, if you really think about the value versus the cost, and not of any every situation, but in most situation, it is going to be two things, it is going to be the economy scale that you gained, how a small marketing department can operate and put output like a big marketing department and also how you impact revenue and the fact that you can actually track the effect that marketing is having on revenue. So I would say, and I truly think that in a lot of ways, marketing, and CRM is little under priced quite frankly for the value. I think especially marketing automation, because it is such a proactive direct revenue contributor. So that is my diet tribe on the value anyway.

21:57 Laura Hoffman

You know what I called it when I was first looking at Eloqua and trying to explain it, I was like "here is what it is" and I will say, "Think about of it as a marketing robot". Think about that head count. Like this is automated. Like think about it that way.

22:11 Debbie Qaqish

You know Laura, I have never heard the marketing robot but what analogy I have used with people? I have said, "Think about the best sales person you have sitting on your website and looking at all the behaviors and deciding how to respond and what kind of behavior.

22:29 Laura Hoffman


22:30 Debbie Qaqish

Because that is exactly what it is like. If you think about how we used to always interact with people face-to-face and on the phone, those are days before the internet, sales people can read that body language. Well, to me in marketing automation it was like having your number one sales rep looking at all the interactions that are happening in the digital world and directing that traffic in bringing that prospect all into the funnel. So I just, like you, I just see it as being something extraordinarily powerful for many organizations. Now I am going to tell you Laura when we were talking about your interview and I say, "Okay. What do you want to talk about" and the way, just everybody know the way I set this interviews up, people can talk about anything. It is just whatever their passion about. And then Laura came back and tell me "well, I am going to talk about pragmatic revenue marketing". I thought, "Oh that is a phenomenal thought". So why don't you tell us your thoughts from that and how would applies to the values revenue marketing?

23:25 Laura Hoffman

Sure. Pragmatic marketing, they offer certification courses and what it really is this, you can check it up online, it is a market driven model for managing and marketing technology products, largely B2B products. And I believe, I am not certain, I believe it began as more of a product management model.

23:47 Debbie Qaqish

Yes, it is. Yup.

23:49 Laura Hoffman

That ended into marketing. Some the basis of pragmatic marketing is, "hey it is not about your product" even if you think you have the greatest product today, someone is going to have the greatest product too much from now. So the basis is it is not about your product. What you need to think about is you need to think about the buyers, who is buying this, think about their needs, and look at their behaviors on their path to buying. So for example, taking something and dividing the three stages. There is the early, mid, and a late stage in a buying process. Maybe in the middle stage, it is where someone is actually doing that head-to-head product demo and looking at products box in there, you know, but before that, someone designed to probably research of problem or solutions such as we have a problem with a quality in our floor, we need to track better quality, can you look at barcode or vision. Some of them are trying to research and look at solutions on the threat on an early stage and that on that tail end, you have the people who, you know have that retail power on the sale. You have got more of the financial buyers at purchasing department and pragmatic marketing says you are on that entire past. Look at everything in front and try to align your messaging, and try to align your content marketing materials to those targets. The right pieces of information at the right time. It is not about batch and blast marketing to everyone in your database the same message. It is about being realistic. About who needs one information and disseminating that information to that person. Marketing automation platform, it is actually brought up in it and one of the pragmatic marketing pieces of it. They basically talk about the small piece of it that they say, "Hey, marketing automation platforms are the ones that allow companies to do this in an automated way. Don't be scared by all the different ways you need to slice and dice people and behaviors because marketing automation platforms are coming on board that make this part easier and as there are few seminars for online marketing and offer this pragmatic marketing and people will say, "how many of you in the room use marketing automation and usually I am one of maybe 10% of the room. You know, he surprises me.

26:09 Debbie Qaqish

You know this is so interesting because I have also run product marketing and development as well and pragmatic is a great approach. I could probably say the last 18 months and to talking to some marketers. I have actually run into marketers who use that ability to quickly read levels of interests to help them test and come to market with great product ideas. And I will give you a great example of how this happens. In my last company before I came to the Pedowitz Group, we were using marketing automation and my sales people kept saying we got to do this other kind of solution. Like, this is way outside the line, and I am not sure. So we were doing a nurturing campaign around thought leadership and we did want around at home agents and just how difficult it was to hire call center agents. The response to the campaign was like off the chart. Let me tell you. So we knew we had hit a hot button here, so eventually we end up creating a fifth solution to our core component set around a total that helps you assess and hire call center agents. And again, we did it through using our marketing automation system and we are just testing the level of interest and finding out exactly what areas people were interested in when it came to a product. And that runs into a couple of other companies who have been using marketing automation, you know for more than year that means just few years who can do the same thing. So again if you think you had a product idea, you can test the efficacy of the idea, you can test how the market response to the idea, and then even as you go into product development you can test that using marketing automation. So I can see why the pragmatic group had want it to include the head count that I talked about, you know, using marketing automation as a way to, you know, this has hit a buyer hot button and take a look at their online behavior and response to that.

28:12 Laura Hoffman

Yeah, exactly. I think when the challenge as though that __28:16___ I have experienced is at the different mindset to try to in reality deploy these, because the deliverables and what is needed. The marketing automation is such a cool tool that you want to do everything, that you just want to try it all and you really, really become a content game. You really need to know your content and know your audience, and as a different type of mindset for the marketing automation, you know outside the tool set you really need to have sort of a little bit of psychology and strategy, and you have to think in layers almost like you had photoshoped, had layers, you turn on and off, you need to have campaigns that has layers that turn it on and off based on their behavior, did they open the email or did not they not, did they respond. So one of the challenges that I continue to try to improve on, like 1% at a time is getting a relevant content, getting better content and being smarter with how we set up workloads and campaigns and program.

29:21 Debbie Qaqish

So what are some of that because I know that you feel and I feel that you know, contents came and this is kind of like the fuel that goes in the engine and how you work with the content, how you treat content, it is very important. So Laura give us some examples of some of the ways that you guys have changed to your content marketing strategy and just kind of how you approach the whole question of content.

29:46 Laura Hoffman

Well the question of contents that this will always continue to be continued with improvement, a hot button for me. We start small, so we will take things like a white paper campaign. We will have three or four white papers that are very specific to an audience or a problem and will sort of banner a button out on a very specific niche website that people go to and they can either download that white paper. We don't ask for everything out of the gate. We don't want their whole life, because we're not going to turn them over to the sales yet, we just want to may be get their email address to download that, so then we can connect with them later on maybe related web white paper or related webcast. That's how we start it. We do a lot on just one piece of content, perhaps a very targeted white paper, we tried generic things I tried doing one with our catalog "Hey, look at us. Look at our products." And people don't want that.

30:39 Debbie Qaqish

Well some people do but the highest rate was that the more targeted we get the better results I see. So, is your notion in this example, this white paper, we start small, maybe put a banner or button on niche site and you get people to download it. It is just so that you can build your opt in list to quality leads, so that you can nurture them until you see signs from their behavior that they are ready for a substantial sales conversation.

31:09 Laura Hoffman

Kind of. I mean, we do try to build in an opt in list, but depending on what that white paper might be if it's very targeted to an exact "Hey! Someone is reading about that problem. Wow! We have that answer." There are some that will escalate over into sales quicker.

31:26 Debbie Qaqish


31:27 Laura Hoffman

When we go through. So, I think our average for this year, I was looking at the numbers recently for the year, and I was looking at what went into with needing Eloqua this year, what has gone into Eloqua versus what shows up in salesforce on its passing through. We retain about 60% of our incoming into Eloqua. We pass through an approximately 40% directly to sales.

31:53 Debbie Qaqish

So, what did you find out, because people always asked me this question, what kind of content best, right? So, how do you answer that question?

32:04 Laura Hoffman

I wish I knew. I experiment with that one every day and every week.

32:11 Debbie Qaqish

So, do you have any high value content pieces that that's an automatic "Whoa! We have to get that over to sales." So, is it always a combination of the content piece plus something else?

32:23 Laura Hoffman

No. We do have a couple that are high valued, that we just that go straight ever into sales, because we all know "Hey! Someone is reading about that specific topic." And we have the answer to that problem.

32:34 Debbie Qaqish


32:35 Laura Hoffman

So, there are some, not everything is considered high value to go to sales, because honestly one of the challenges I used to have for a period of time in my team, sales lead development. And over the past year, year and a half that actually changed and went back over into sales realm, that all sales guys will qualify and develop their own lead. Well, what happened was these sales guys that had a lead developer beforehand and now that lead developer is gone, when they saw the volume of incoming on that filter, it has been a little overwhelming. So, that's partly why this year we really do retain 60%. We don't give everything over to sales, because they just [Crosstalk] lead development size.

33:18 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. So, that you should be an interim-step to further qualify the lead and then that step it away. So now you have into applying more various filters before you pass something over to sales.

33:28 Laura Hoffman

Exactly. Because I used to have an interim-step with the human touch. And you know, just challenges lots of companies and had challenges this time too. We felt the manufacturing and manufactures are hard. So we needed in marketing to find ways to be smarter with our automated reach and nurture, and not realize much of the human touch.

33:51 Debbie Qaqish

And that is something that we have seen across a lot of companies that I would say in the last 18 months, we're seeing more and more marketing organizations are adding that additional touch. So, even with __34:00__ and marketing automation, even with the lead scoring, we're finding I would probably say 25% of people that we've had on the radio show this year. Marketing has some kind of inside telequalifying person of a human touch, who really are taking a look at the back questions, budget authority, need and time and assessing whether or not they should push that lead over to sales, whether they should put them into some kind of nurture campaign. So, that does seem to be, you know, the way it's going. So, let me ask you this Laura, so since that role went away for you guys, how do you -- I mean how much more rigorously are you guys applying lead scoring to a lead before it passes over to sales?

34:48 Laura Hoffman

We tightened it up a little bit I want to say may be 20% or something. But what we really did the lead scoring, we targeted more towards specific -- we changed the value of content pieces. So, we tightened up what was an automatic pass through on high value content. When we had initially setting things up, we had a very wide net, because we have that developed human touch development piece. So we did tighten up. It was largely the just on identifying specific content pieces that "Okay. This is not an automatic pass, now that's nurture."

35:21 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. So, in addition to white papers, what other kinds of content do you guys use in the digital world?

35:29 Laura Hoffman

Invitations to webcasts webinars. We still do, I do still mix in traditional marketing, which will do event and training. I do believe that as things become more digital and people are having these virtual sorts of relationships with companies by understanding their products and understanding the reason white papers, and watching webcast. I believe some of the more physical, tangible things are coming back to becoming important. And people want to know there is a real company behind that web page. So they like to have that physical product catalog or see you at a trade show or see a picture that they know, that you are at a trade show that you are real people.

36:15 Debbie Qaqish

So okay, superwoman. You guys are doing everything. [crosstalk] Webcasts, events, training, campaigns. So what do you have like eight or ten people on your team?

36:28 Laura Hoffman

Oh, I wish. I wish. Today, we have a slimmed down team of what we had in the past. We are small but powerful. So, out of our corporate, because we're a global company, but in marketing centralized here right outside at Seattle, Washington in the U.S. We have three people, three core roles. One is the online marketer, who has a technologist position, they own all of the web, everything on the website or email marketing or marketing automation. The counterpart to that is that our marketing communications person, that really is, but people think I'm in traditional marketing that you know materials creation, love those branding, literature things in that nature. Then we have a product marketer. And the product marketer is a fairly new role that I brought in. The product marketer is really to come in and help on the pragmatic marketing concept, helped to find a bit more of our buyers and messaging, and campaign content outlined. So, driving some of the content to the tools that we have in marketing communications and the tools that we have in online marketing.

37:32 Debbie Qaqish

[crosstalk] Go ahead. Is everyone in the U.S.?

37:38 Laura Hoffman

No, not... Well, those roles that I described we are all here in the U.S. This year I was also able to add recently a person in China and we're currently looking to add another person in Europe. So, it has been interesting, because I have been having conversations about these concepts of content marketing and the concepts of online marketing and bringing people in to do these -- to rubber stamps and those things we're doing in the U.S., in Asia and in Europe. And I think the U.S. is a little more progressive right now.

38:08 Debbie Qaqish

So, what is your team member doing in China?

38:12 Laura Hoffman

Oh, she does a little bit of everything. She is great.

38:14 Debbie Qaqish


38:15 Laura Hoffman

She coordinates trade shows. She coordinates distributor partner events. She updates our web pages, sends out our press releases. So a lot of things we probably originate about 75% content here that gets content repackaged and sent over there. And then about 25% of the stuff she is out, getting new contents with documenting customer application, partner co-op marketing like I had mentioned before your partners are helping them with their need.

38:46 Debbie Qaqish

Now, Laura, you guys doing everything in English or are you in multiple languages?

38:52 Laura Hoffman

Oh. Multiple languages for sure. So, we support nine languages standards, including English, and yeah we have to. If you could be able to get to the dance.

39:03 Debbie Qaqish

So how do you handle that from a campaign prospective?

39:08 Laura Hoffman

Well, that's a great question. We can tell sort of, on the Asian languages, you know we can absolutely tell who needs to have. Because the sales force can accommodate all of the __39:23__ characters, so we do have Chinese data in salesforce and English data in salesforce. Anyone who has come through our website and given us information on our English website, we feel comfortable sending the materials in English even if there email address is .fr or .de. We do more English language email outreach than foreign language. And we try to target once the quarter something special in the different languages unique to just that geographical and language group.

40:03 Debbie Qaqish

That is very, very cool. So, it sounds like when you think about the notion of revenue marketing, you do have some differentiation and that you have got three primary roles more come online marketing, product marketer and also clearly you're the revenue marketer strategist on the team. But also sounds as though there is some, you know, some crossover between people's roles as well, but probably I would think it creates more value for you.

40:32 Laura Hoffman

I hope so.

40:34 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. So, let's talk about, I know one of the things that you and I have talked about the past is how marketing automation requires new thinking. And before I kind of get specifically into that topic, I want to talk about another mindset shift. So, you have introduced the concept of pragmatic marketing and you know that whole notion on pragmatic marketing is really -- its product development, product marketing. So, if you had a company that was filled with product marketers, what do you think their transition would be like to revenue marketing? How do you think you could affect that?

41:17 Laura Hoffman

The product marketers I meet seem to be very much idea people. And I think that someone who is exposed to the tools and can see that the potential of say whether an Eloqua or Marketo those marketing automation platforms. I think that the past would be pretty clear and quick to adoption. I thin they would see that there is an easier way to get their message out and get things done. [Crosstalk]

41:44 Debbie Qaqish

Go ahead Laura.

41:45 Laura Hoffman

If they really seem to have almost the frustration point and then would be-- all these things I want to do, I have these great ideas to hand off, but how many people do you have to make them real. And marketing automation helps to make those campaigns real faster.

42:01 Debbie Qaqish

And I love that. And we actually just went through a similar experience. We were working with a company and they had actually brought in a team from around the globe and these were all product marketers. And I think the first day, they were kind of struggling what is this demand generation revenue marketing. Well, we got revenue marketers. We create products and those products drive revenue and it wasn't until we showed them what a marketing automation system could do. And when we did that, they got it. They did exactly what you just said Laura. They were able think, oh I could do this. I could do this. I could do this. And so, it was a really interesting exercise for them. So, you know roles and product marketing, the revenue marketing is one thing, but I know that you know, you talked a lot about how marketing automation requires new thinking. And I have to tell you going into an organization and saying, "You have to think of a new way." You know, can't be real challenging, so tell us what your thoughts are around that.

42:57 Laura Hoffman

Well, for me it was a gradual experience. So, I fell in love with the possibility and the potential of the software and what it can do in marketing automation and uniting. I fell in love with that before I realized the realities of new thinking being changed, so my thinking adjusted overtime as we rolled things out. The new thinking is really -- there is so much data and there is explicit data on someone's job title, company or geographic location, all the implicit data, their behavior online. What did they download? How many times did they visit? To connect those data points and bring them back to make a judgment call about are they a lead or they not a lead? What type of contents should we feed them next? It's really a different thinking process, you need to think in layers and you need to kind of combine psychology with demographics and arts and crafts.

43:57 Debbie Qaqish

I would -- first of all I love the way you're talked about arts and crafts and marketing and that I think there is probably a whole lot of truth to that. But the other thing that you said that I really like lot is how you have to think in layers, and also how you're thinking changes overtime. And what I like to tell marketers is that, when you begin this revenue marketing journey, what you don't know is stunning. But what -- but the pace at which you will learn what you don't know is equally stunning.

44:27 Debbie Qaqish

So I remember, when I bought up my first marketing automation system, I thought I was going to be all that hot, ready to go. You know, and then I started doing stuff and I'm like, "Where am I?" You know. But I also saw that on a quarterly basis we had a caisson approach, definitely a caisson approach. And we would just review and at the end of every quarter I knew so much more than I did at the beginning of that quarter. Whether it was what behavior really means when I'm interacting with prospects in the digital world. Or what it really means if somebody downloads a white paper. Or what it really means to have a score of 87. Or what it really means to be, you know to do dynamic content. You know again, what I knew changed overtime but it changed very rapidly. Didn't you find that as well?

45:16 Laura Hoffman

Yes. Absolutely. And it's like learning to swim by being pushed into the pool I guess. You know, you just figure it out. It's with a benefit. You see the benefit so quickly when things work well, it's experimental you'll like "Oh! That didn't work? Let's avoid that. This works great, we'll do more of that." You just kind of keep tweaking your own AB testing. "Oh, that works better, let's do more of that. That works better, let's do more of that."

45:40 Debbie Qaqish

That's exactly right. So clearly, you've got it from an early stage. What about the rest of your marketing team, were they on board as fast as you were Laura?

45:51 Laura Hoffman

I think, being the person that get judged by the results end of it I'm a little more enthusiastic. They are all on board and I think it's cool. But it -- I'm a little bit more of a cheerleader on this and I think that the team is -- the team pulls together and sees, you know one person is working on the creative and the messaging. Another person is pushing the magic buttons on the marketing automation system, then another person is looking at you know who is the right audience. People still have a tendency when you're in the detail mode, you know your part help someone else's part, but people are still pretty focused on their piece, like the designer wants to make the best design. And the web technologist wants the smartest campaign path.

46:41 Debbie Qaqish

And you know, that's absolutely true. Again, when you could have been that people who have different roles and they are all doing a piece of it. But I was talking to a VP in Marketing probably about a year and a half ago and she was specifically hired to come in and run a demand generation or revenue marketing practice for this company and they spend a long time looking for someone with that particular skill set. And when she came in and you know we were talking actually about what was your biggest challenge? And I thought she was going to say, "you know aligning with marketing or picking the right marketing automation system." She said no I want my team. She said, you know they didn't get it. They were so traditional in marketing. They were like we can't make an impact on revenue, you know what are you talking about? So that was a big, big challenge for her coming in and she had to finally, you know wind up doing some readjusting. But this does require a brand new skill set, it's just not a traditional skill set. I think for some people gets in the way but for some people it becomes a great foundation and it sounds like for you it's a phenomenal foundation.

47:46 Laura Hoffman

Yeah. I love it.

47:48 Debbie Qaqish

So, you've been doing this for four years, so has it been a smooth path to success?

47:55 Laura Hoffman

No. I mean there have been high points and low points of course and bumps in a row. It has been overall you know a great path. I would say that there was a point where things, you know where I said something derailed or there is someone lesson learned, with some things beyond your control occurs such as the moment when we had some changes in our senior staff of our organization. And they came in and they adjusted bodies around marketing and sales, and from a smaller company that I had -- small medium sized company that I have been involved with they brought in management from more fortune 500 Company that came in and it was more set on. Well, this is what marketing does, this is what sales does. It was sort of a high brand marketing sales role that I had, those things just need to go back and they stay off. And that was when the sale development process moved back into sales outside of marketing when all the channel lead funnel moved back in the sales and outside the marketing. And what that effectively did, was a change the definition of the sales ready lead. The sales ready lead up until that point had been sales ready lead agreed upon, it was nurtured and qualified, and Sales ready lead had then became about a year and a half ago anything marketing throws over the fence. So I had to go back to throwing it over the fence mode. But that was a way to talk about little earlier and I said that we had to tighten up and try to do things through email and to re-evaluate what was high-value content and find other ways to work around it. But when things beyond your control like that happen, it can be a challenge. That is part of my learning.

49:32 Debbie Qaqish

And they will happen and quite frankly the situation that you just described where you have someone who is in sales, who thinks that the sales organizations should do everything top to bottom and marketing should be in a completely different world. I think many organizations are still there and I think it's based on lack of information and really lack of knowledge, but if you go out and you take a look at the research done by companies like Jim Dickie at CSO Insights, and I think for the fourth or fifth year in a row, you know first of all Jim's report on sales, I think it's in the 14th or 15th year, definitive on report of what's going on and selling. And for the fourth or fifth year in a row, they've got VPs of sales who are saying, "Marketing, you need to take over the top of the funnel and you need to take time to nurture and get these leads ready for us." So you know -- so I think that is a big shift in sales as that they are saying, you know, if you think about a sales person that typically the most highly paid, brave out the resources in the company and day in and day out, when a manager is talking to a sales rep about "Where they are?" They spend their little time talking about how many hours did you co-call? How is your prospecting going? Now, they never said their conversations going to be around opportunities already in the pipeline and where they are and gets closing that.

51:00 Debbie Qaqish

Further, sales people truly are not classically trained to work the top of a tunnel. So again, there is this huge trend around, you know marketing using marketing automation systems, creating these digital relationships and nurturing those leads at the very top of the funnel until their sales are ready and then passing those over to sales. So I think that is definitely the new way of thinking and you're right Laura, when you have a marketing organization that doesn't, you know, they just don't see an aisle mat. You know, it kind of sets up some challenges for you and I can see that. But you know, it is true in every organization no matter where you are as a marketer. And things happen within your organization politically or however they're based, you know that can create challenges for your program. But it sounds like again, you've been very, very smart about how you responded to that move and that you're still creating great value for the sales organization.

51:59 Laura Hoffman

Well, thanks guys. I tried to respond as smartly as I could and actually we're still, we're looking at going back to what can we do because the lesson learned is kind of what you have said. That sales people, they want to focus on things that are further down the funnel , so it hasn't necessarily been the most successful to ask sales people to be more on the front end of lead nurturing. So, we are looking at some other options to improve that aspect. One thing that I see is just in different mentality between marketing and sales that I can explain just, I have been recently in a trade show just a couple weeks ago. And I saw a person standing in the aisle, looking at one of our displays and with the young guy. And I looked at his badge and he said that he was an Associate Production Engineer level one and he was with the major target company that we're now trying to pursue. So, I looked at him and I said, "Hey! You're so young fresh out of college, first job at one of our target companies. Just checking out what we have." So, I __5256___ and I start talking to him about his job and what they do, and explaining just sort of the benefits of our products. At some point our sales manager looks over and probably saw the company name on his badge. He came over to join the conversation and absolutely immediately Johnson starts talking about, "Well, have you seen this new product, do you put this on your line? I know you guys." And just started elevating it as if the person was ready to demo two products side by side, we hadn't even -- I hadn't even taken a conversation there yet, I wasn't talking about specific products and why we're better. I was just still talking about what problems he was experiencing and all how he would solve this for another costumer and for me just really kind of like clearly identified, kind of the different mentality of a marketer and a sales person.

53:42 Debbie Qaqish

I could not agree more and clearly, I mean it's all about creating costumer relationships these days. So Laura, you have been at this for four plus years been worked across multiple systems, have lot of experiences. So, what's kind of next for you as you take a look at marketing automation and contributing revenue and value into sales?

54:04 Laura Hoffman

Well, next for me is helping more on aligning sales with the benefits of marketing automation. So, we're looking at ways that improving within the sales force interface, how sales manager can manage their own leads and looking at adding sales playbook, sales lead development and nurturing playbook that allow all field sales managers to assign campaigns and assign leads on to be a nurturing track. So, we're looking at ways just to make the entire lead nurture process easier and better for everyone in our field sales organization.

54:40 Debbie Qaqish

Well, I think that's something that would be highly valuable. I think for any company and I really encourage you. Go get a copy of Jim Dickies latest report from CSO Insights and share that with sales and you know all the times executives weren't based on data. Show me the data show me what the other companies are doing. Tell me what, you know best in class companies are doing and then I think you can just kind of take it from there. So, what advice would you give to a brand new revenue marketer, Laura? Somebody's first time of getting into this.

55:16 Laura Hoffman

): I would say just dive in and start and don't be intimidated by because all these things you can do and don't get the over analysis paralysis and think we have to had everything perfectly done in 20 campaigns in order to go. Start with one, be successful, and build out from there. Or start with five and be successful, build out from there. The potential of what the staff can do, can be intimidating. So, just like Nike. Just do it. Jump in.

55:42 Debbie Qaqish

And take the caisson approach.

55:42 Laura Hoffman

Yes. Yes.

55:45 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. So, I have to ask you a question before we complete the interview. I'm going to put you on the spot here. But you know, we kind of coin the phrase the revenue marketer and so given your experience, how would you have complete this phrase Laura? You know you're revenue marketer when?

56:04 Laura Hoffman

Oh wow. That is putting me on the spot. I don't have the creative cute answer. When you know what that means before you have actually heard the definition.

56:17 Debbie Qaqish

That's it. That's so awesome. And I have heard a lot of people, when they hear the phrase revenue marketer they said that's what I am. And they kind of get that instantly. It's just something that we've been playing around with for about the last month and some of them were creative ones we have heard like you know your revenue marketer if you mark your ex-boyfriend closed, lost in salesforce.com. Or you know your revenue marketer when you speak to the VP of sales, he doesn't sound like he speaking cling on. I have one more. You know, because I have been gathering these, Laura I would like you-- came up with the funny stuff for us. But you also know your revenue marketer when you give a lead to sales and they don't toss back rotten vegetables, you know?

57:03 Laura Hoffman

Very nice. I am going to think of a funny one. And when you already go to the website and I'm going to add the funny one.

57:07 Debbie Qaqish

Okay. You go and I have got a blog on it, so can go to the blog and you can actually add that. Laura, thank you so much for being on the show today. We've really, really enjoyed having you. Have a great week and all your revenue marketers out there, just keep on doing your thing. It is a wonderful space to be in, it's a wonderful career choice to have, and there is nothing like being able to put revenue and contribute revenue to the top line of the organization. Everyone have a great day.