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Join us as we talk to Laura Ramos, VP at Xerox and former Forrester B2B Marketing Analyst, as she discusses lessons learned in helping Xerox adopt marketing technology to drive revenue.
Hello, this is Debbie Qaqish of The Pedowitz Group and welcome to Revenue Market Radio. Every week, we meet to talk to really interesting revenue marketers. These are marketers that are making a real difference and making a big impact on revenue in their organizations. As more than just listening, so this is an interactive show so please feel free to call in or to chat and we would be happy, happy to include in the dialogue. You know, I have to tell everybody that we have been doing this radio show. I guess for close to three years now. We transitioned the name to Revenue Marketer Radio very, very early and as the time that it turned Revenue Marketer, it was not very well known, was it well understood and so I have always have to explain at the beginning of every show exactly what revenue marketing is, and it is actually the term that was creative initially by The Pedowitz Group. It even trademarked the term. But I have to tell you this, I think the terms has arrived because I recently did an interview with one-to-one magazine and they called us saying, "You know we didn't have a story on trends and revenue marketing, which you like to contribute", and we just laughed and we said, "Of course, we would love to contribute". So I do not think I have to explain the term revenue marketing anymore. We all know that these are marketers who are responsible and accountable for making a real revenue impact in their organizations. So let us get on to the show and let us get on to probably the most phenomenal guest I have ever had. Everyone, I am so pleased to let you know that Laura Ramos of Xerox formally a Forrester is our guest today. And let me give a quick bio of Laura. It makes me tired just reading the bio. And then we will find out more about her thoughts on marketing automation and revenue marketing in the enterprise organization. So, currently Laura has that enterprise marketing at the Xerox where she develops marketing strategy. Also, implements programs for the specific industries that are really best served by the brought portfolio of Xerox technology and services.
Now, she has recently come to corporate at Xerox after two years in the field and running industry marketing for the US region. Prior to Xerox, Laura led the B2B marketing research practice as a vice president at Forrester. She was my favorite analyst and before Forrester, she has two years of experience in the design and marketing and technology in California's Silicon Valley which is where she still is today. She has been given all kinds of honors. Laura has been named "Who's who" on the list for four years in a row from BtoB magazine, most recently in 2010 and in 2011, BtoB honored her on their list of Top 25 Digital Marketers. She also authored a delightful blog called B2B marketing post and you can follow her @lauraramos on Twitter. She hold an MBA from -- oh my gosh, I hope I pronounce this right -- Leavey School of Business. Did I get it right Laura?
Yes, you did.
Oh great. At Santa Clara. I know that was a hard place to go to school and we were just chatting before the show. She also held a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. And here is a quick note about Laura. When she graduate in class, had a little over 500 people in it, only 2 people were women. So she is something of a groundbreaker that is for sure. So Laura, welcome to the show.
Well Debbie, thank you so much for having me. I cannot say how thrilled I am to be joining you today on the show. This is going to be a lot of fun. I look forward to it.
This is going to be a lot of fun. So typing your bio, I did share with our listeners a little bit around what are you currently doing at Xerox. But maybe you could elaborate on that just a little bit for us.
Well I would say that the majority that I have been here at Xerox was rather been focused on industry marketing. And industry marketing from a field marketers perspective, that the corporate job is new as if only a month ago. So I want to focus more on what I did before which is look at how can we create demand for new customers and amongst our existing customers for Xerox services, and use an industry envelope or industry lens for doing it. Now, I wish I could say that we were very highly targeted on specific industries that we had at products and services that fit those particular industries. But I think we are in sort of an early stage of majority in this particular area and really looking to demonstrate that if you talk to customers in the language of the industry where they exist and in the terms of the problems that they are saying, you would even be more relevant and create that connection with them which would then allow them to be interested in what it is that you have to offer and hopefully eventually take a sales call.
You know Laura...
Yes? Go ahead.
Just a sec. I completely agree about the industry approach. Last year, I had the pleasure of doing a road show with Jim Lenskold with the Lenskold Group in 14 cities and Jim showed the same slide every time. He said, "If you want to make the biggest impact on marketing or the like, the place to start is act the segmentation buy industry". So having those relevant pinpoints and having those relevant, here is what it means to you and your industry is absolutely, just a great way to go. So I am sure that was not interesting role for you and as definite the times more about the lessons you learned that you can share with all of listeners, but why do not we start by telling us a little bit about the revenue marketing journey at Xerox. This kind of start at the beginning and talk about those initial problems you are trying to resolve, and just kind of give us a baseline for our discussion.
Yeah. You know Debbie, I think there is an old Chinese proverb that says that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step", and yesterday I was at the Marketing Operations Community Collaboration Association meeting, MOCCA, as many of you may know it and I would have to say, compared to some of the other stories that folks are telling, Xerox is probably on the 258 step because millions of steps that you need in a thousand mile journey, but I think we made a lot of progress rather rapidly particularly last year in our revenue marketing journey. The initial problem, I think it is pretty simple, we had a new group, one thing we did at Xerox, a lot is reorganize, we had a new group of sales managers who were focused on net new logo development. So some of them had been at Xerox for a while and transitioned into this new group, and to grow the business, we really decided that expanding new business was a necessary step in 2011. So group has formally been like in a neighborhood of 30 sales people, we had took that up to like 70 or 80. So what those 50 people are still joining the team, we really had to look at how can we create pipeline opportunity for them really quickly. So that was one of the business problems, but that I think the main one that I kind of want to focus on for those, the revenue marketing journey.
And I would say Laura that it is pretty interesting to me then we talked to big organizations, small organizations, mid-size organizations, this is typically the initiative that helps people want to begin that journey. There is something that has to happen around and that is through the pipeline. We have to put high quality leads and include the top of the phone rates and one reason I bring that up is because there has been a lot of top recently about what is different between when marketing automation gets implemented in a small company or when marketing automation gets implemented at a big company, what are those kind of what does differences are. So I am glad to hear that at a big company like Xerox, it is really, we are trying to solve the same problem. We have to got to feel the pipeline and we got to make the sales people successful. So that is very, very interesting.
Right. I think the other thing what was interesting about this was that we did not take sort of a very ambitious approach. I would say that we were conservative in our goals initially and quite happy what the results that we achieved. We did not go out and invest in a lot of technology, which I know either we are talking about the title of this is how do you adopt technology to generate revenue in an enterprise organization. And actually Debbie, I think the technology is the last step in the process. The first step process is to really understand what are your objectives, what are you trying to do, we just talked about. And who are you trying to reach, and I think that is where sort of the industry focus came in. In many new business development groups, these groups tend to be geographically organized and sales managers in these groups can end up having many different clients in different industries that they are trying to create relationships with an Intel to Xerox services story so that we can begin to explain to them how we can help take cost out of their business and streamline business processes for them all related in and around the use of documents in business. In looking at it, in this particular way though, we said "look we can go in with sort of the old crosscutting story and efficiency story, why don't we take an approach where we talk about industry specific problems and then show how we can by helping them outsource certain services or take certain services and streamline them, give them more opportunity, give these companies more opportunity to basically do more with their money.
So tell me about how you guys kind of develop that approach and [Crosstalk] Yeah. Absolutely fascinating.
This is the interesting part, this is not well okay, let's design some campaigns and go by some list and figure out what the flow is and how we are going to nurture them. This was I would say more lead by the sales organization, the sales operation site of this particular organization in conjunction with marketing. And marketing was the industry marketing folks, you report to me at the time and my counterpart who is in business analytics, segmentation and account profiling. We are sort of the marketing operations side of the house. So these three parties, so to speak, are together and sales set help us generate some demand and the basic approach really leaned heavily on having the new sales managers involved in the process. So the kind of campaign that we designed is not what I would call nurturing, it was definitely just straight demand generation, but it included multiple touches that were very basic starting out and progressed, and then allowed for the whole opportunity was to get the sales person to have an opportunity to talk with the client about something of interest that came up in the course of the campaign. Very simply, we ran two of these types of campaigns in 2011. The basic steps were that we started out with some very careful segmentation, analysis of our existing customers to understand what other types of customers would fit the profile in some specific industries and then go after those, and that the industries that we chose were basically around retailed banking, higher education, manufacturing, some insurance companies and some state of local government. [crosstalk]
If I could, I just that I think one of the points that you had made here, I want to make sure that everyone fully understands this, and that is the part when you said you began developing this campaigns first with very careful segmentations by going out and taking a look and profiling existing customers.
I see day in and day out marketers not taking the time to do that. Yeah, no. And what is really key to us because we cannot have -- well, it is difficult when you have your sales people spending time on accounts that really are not qualified or do not even have sort of the potential to be qualified for the types of services contracts that we felt. Debbie, we are telling -- selling something that you can buy up a website using your credit card. It is a long consideration sale cycle and basically, what we are trying to do is go into a customer, do an assessment with them, make sure that they are the significant side and have the types of business problems that if Xerox were to come in and take over some portion of their business, and really that is we are asking to do, their permission to do that we can demonstrate to them not only can we save them, 15% to 30% over their existing cost, but we can do this in a way that we will also make money for us.
And that is not every company. Is not a bit backward. Right. To be able to afford a multimillion dollar, three to seven-year contract with the best partner like Xerox to do that.
So I love the fact -- but I want to back up one step further.
And that is the fact that instead of emendating people with a bunch of emails that were wrong, what you did was, you really did your whole campaign based on industry specific problems.
That you will provide in thought leadership and all you are trying to do was just set up discovery session of substantive conversation between the prospect and Xerox if it got interesting. You were not trying to like over sale, you were not like acting like use car sales people, but you were just using these soft industry leading touches to get involved to create a relationship and then you get that first appointment for the sales person.
Yes. And I love that touch.
Tactically, what we decided to do is after we kind of analyzed what do our existing customers would like, where the industries and where that the areas where we have some good density in terms of opportunity. It is then we also then work again with sales operations to understand, okay where is the overlap between the coverage that the sales people have in terms of their regions or where they are focused in terms of specific industries on how we would then create this list, this marriage of between where there is the opportunity, where is the opportunity and where do we have people who we know can go pursue that opportunity, because in their coverage and territory. So that was the process of working between marketing operations that providing data to sales operations and sales operations understanding who the new reps were, what their coverage look like, and how many of them needed x amount of opportunity in their pipeline.
So what does that experience like, Laura? You know.
It was very labor intensive back and forth. We did manage to do it in a very short period of time, but it was basically a lot of looking in our database looking at what we could get in terms of account and contact information marrying that all together, walking through it and say, "this looks good, this doesn't", "we need more over here, we need less over here", and coming it with a well balanced portfolio of target accounts that we want to go after.
So let me ask you a different question, because again -- oh my gosh, I just have so many questions. Every time you bring something up, you just have these pearls of wisdom and each of these, I want to make sure that we can share with everybody. So the question I have is, you do not typically find marketing ops, sales ops, working together nicely. Why were you guys working so well together in this situation.
I think we just had a really common vested goal which was to generate pipeline and build business rapidly for this one particular group. This business development group that Xerox services as a whole decided to invest in and we needed to bring them up to speed, and the marketing side of the house, industry marketing on sort of the demand generation side in managing operations on sort of understanding the customer side, we just knew that the fastest best way to do this was to put together a program that had to have information that would be specific to the customers and give not only the customers something that kind of look at and say, "Oh, I didn't know Xerox did that" we give the sales people the opportunity to follow up with them and say, did you know we did this and could I tell you some more?
So again, very soft touch. You said that you did two campaigns in 2011, so you want to tell people about the structure-built campaigns?
We did two and they had almost identical structure, one was like sort of over the summer and the other was like over the fall. The basic structure was once we figure out which account we want to target using the process that I just told you about. In both cases, we ended up with -- I am just going to get this rough numbers here. Roughly, 400 to 500 accounts that we targeted. So that we got all the contact information, and within those accounts, there could be anywhere from one to five people that we wanted to target. So again, it was not just which accounts, but which titles and roles specifically within those accounts. Again, based on understanding our own customer's purchase behavior and propensity to buy. So the campaign itself kind of ran for about a three-week period and they kicked off. I mean, this is very simple. This is not like exceptional revenue marketing rocket science. This is basic stuff. But my point is, you will see once I get at the end of the story is, it was rather affected. We started out with leathers, physical leathers that were came from a specific executive inside of the business development organization, but someone who was high enough in the organization that it would be a recognized focused executive here at Xerox and each letter was then customized to the different industries that I mentioned at a very simple way, the first paragraph started out talking about the kinds of issues that people in that industry would face around communicating to the people they want to reach. So in banking, it was focused around like new clients. New client acquisition and the whole getting to know your new client and the new client file on process. In higher education, it was around communicating the students or to alumni and donors in the giving populations. So with each one of the different industries there was a different focus in terms of, these are the people you want to communicate with.
You're the kinds of problems that you are facing. We can come in and help make those prophecies smoother for you as it relates to the documents that you use for communicating with them. So very simple opening paragraph, talking about the kinds of problems and then we just led into a Xerox can help you do this. And there were three bullet points in there and one of them always have sort of a case study what would say, here are the three kinds of things we can do to help you solve these problems and here's the link again or here are something that you should go check out a website to help you learn more about that, and then the letter close to say, I would like to invite you to have a conversation with us about this and to tell us more about the kinds of issues that you are facing, and I am going to ask my team to give you a call shortly and followup. So letters we wrote, a simple one paged document executive signature, we send out through Federal Express, because we wanted to know that they would get there on an exact date and be delivered to the exact people that we are targeting, and on the day after that we knew the FedEx letters were delivered. We had the sales people give a phone call and they made the first contact, there is a script that reiterates some of the other points trying to get through the person. And then we followed up with an email and in the process when the sales people made their first phone calls, they also then went in to salesports.com and disposition how those phone calls went. Do they get through? And if they did, did they get an opportunity to talk and do they not want then the rest of the email sent, because they have got a live fish on the hook so to speak. If they did not, they would disposition it a different way and then we would send out the second wave of emails.
The second wave of emails focus on customer stories, and again there was a phone call after that and then the third wave of email that basically said, what is more of the hard sale, that said, I really would like to set up some time and bring us in and show you what we can do. And then another phone call and then finally the third email which was the closure -- I hope I have given you some good things to think about, if you find -- if this is the right time, that is great, but please keep us in mind and I will check that with you in the future.
And what I like about this is again, when it comes to demand generation, it does not have to be about a cast of thousands, you do not have to send over thousands, and thousands, and thousands of lead. It is really about quality and if you go back and take a look at this case study that you are sharing with us, it is about quality which started with the right lift.
And so, I love the story. So keep telling us what happened next.
In terms of the results, I mean the campaign was very well received and both times, the campaign has kind of ended up with the same sort of results, so would you start up with sort of this pool of 400 to 500 contacts by making the phone calls and whittling things down, by the time we are doing the third email, we are kind of down to about half of those and we still have it like made a connection with. The first half, we have made a connection with and this sort of disposition and in terms of a whole process, when we looked at it, the completion, you know we were in the neighborhood of having established somewhere between a dozen and 15 appointments actual face-to-face appointments with the different reps were involved. Now, again the number of reps that were talking about vary between 30 and 50 in terms of who was involved in the two different programs. I think the call back part was really important part and was it to be frank apart that some of the reps struggled with. In our fall campaign, we had about a fifth, so 20% of our reps managed to get 100% call completion rate which was fabulous. But you could see that there was sort of after the first letter, there was a big push and then after the first email, things kind of trickled off a little until there was the last call and then they all sort of push again. However, through the fourteen appointments, what we were able to find is that we ended up being able to add about 50 million dollars worth of total contract value opportunity to the pipeline for each campaign that we did.
I think that is amazing.
And here's the thing. Other than our blood, sweat and tears and labour and stuff like that, we spent between $10,000 and $20,000 on each campaign and that was primarily for list development cost and for the FedEx physical mail distribution cost.
I would say that is pretty gone good example of how you get a very high or a why and I think that again, what a great example of regardless of the size of company you are of beginning with the very, very targeted of creating a program with marketing ops and also sales ops and also sales people too and then delivering on the value in that. When was the last time __26:22__ spent $20,000 to $40,000 when you got $50 million of opportunity.
And say, you have just a fabulous return. So let me ask you this, Laura and I have already heard one lesson learned that you talk about that is that the call back part is very important.
What are the lessons learned in this that you would share with the revenue marketer?
So you know Debbie, my background prior to Xerox is as you mentioned was at Forrester where I started up and ran their business-to-business marketing practice and one of the key things that I focused on there was this whole marketing automation, demand management process and the biggest lesson for me was -- I always though of you got to really sort of -- to be successful, you have got to really take this on and design in this very important widespread lengthy demand generation and nurturing program for the lot of sophistications so that you are always delivering a constant swell of well-qualified marketing-qualified lead to their sales organization. And if you have that kind of experience or that kind of ideas, that is very ambitious and in particular, very large companies like Xerox have a long tradition of being sales led, and the sales organization reign supreme, and from that standpoint, if you are not bought into or if the sales organization is not bought into, the fact that marketing can help them generate demand. The best plans for how you put together marketing automation and programs and try to generate leads will just so to speak fall on deaf ears. So the big lesson for me is you have to get sales to lead. You had to get sales to -- if not believe, then -- feel like that the whole idea was there and that they needed to be "in charge of the process" and taking that second seat was kind of a tapping to do.
So I think part of that also is that there had to be a driving need for sales because if you go out and approach your sales organization that's meeting quota -- there is no burning need to do something different. [Crosstalk]. Clearly, yeah you had brand new people and you were doing the hardest thing you could possibly do and that's going out and getting that new logos so there were the burning needs to work with marketing on this.
I think the other big lesson was you don't have to be horribly sophisticated in what you do.
You know, this was letters and phone calls and email and that I think where we were really tight was on the cadence in terms of how we did things. I mean internally after -- we had certain date scheduled where this is where you would make your phone call and then the day after we would have the sales meetings in the different regions for half an hour just to get everybody on the phone and ask the question so how did it go.
And you could tell by the second set of phone calls that they were all getting very excited about it and they were starting to share stories about -- well, I got a hold of this person and I got hold of this person and I got a meeting next week and when that kind of enthusiasm, when they started to hear that amongst themselves, then the other one start to like wanna jump in and wanna like be more aggressive about making their phone calls and taking advantage of the program.
I absolutely love that. We have just started, so interestingly you are sharing that story. We're doing something similar, we just started, I mean like -- within like 10 days ago and we have a similar kind of cadence of what we're doing, exact things that we're doing -- all the segmentation, very, very small list of like 50 companies, but what we're doing Laura, in addition to the letter, we're actually sending the executive a hammer.
I use a regular hammer from a hardware store.
Dimensional mail, yes.
Dimensional mail and basically what we're saying in the hammer is -- the notion is let us build something together and if you take a meeting with us we'll donate $250 to Habitat for Humanity.
Yeah, that's wonderful.
Yeah and we put our name on the hammer. So we just did a very small test mail of 10 because again -- it takes a while to do this and we already have two substantial appointments set up. I mean it's a wow.
And that's why I think that physical mail, whether you're sending a feed, the FedEx letter was kind of our hammer.
Yeah, I think yeah, yeah.
It was something that you knew would show up and that somebody would pay attention to, because that's sort of out of the regular realm of junk mail you get at the office.
Yeah, yeah. Now, we had the dimension of that because again, we had the hammer and then we have the emails right?
So the dimension that we've added to this that we took a look at all the contacts within the company and so there is now a whole cadence of emails going out to all the contacts from the company, not just to the senior executive in the company. So I will let everybody know how this campaign turns out, but I was tickled to hear that you were doing something very similar and that you guys had a great result with that. So, okay so those are lessons learned, you've tried your sales to lead, sales really has to have a burning need to wanna participate this heavily and that you do not have to be horribly sophisticated to get something up and running and to have an impact, but I think the other lesson learned is the time and attention around segmenting and messaging the right people with the right message.
That was some of the lessons learned. So I wanna hear about one of the things that people asked me a lot about when it comes to demand generation Laura is content. So tell me about what you guys did around content to help the campaign and did you have challenges in creating content?
Absolutely. I think content is probably one of the hardest things that revenue marketers face in terms of the different challenges around strategy process, people and technology. Fortunately for Xerox, we have content that I think is very interesting and very valuable in the forms of case study of customer success stories and actually get a fully published one that we have up on our website that we can refer to quite easily electronically and these case studies tell customer stories in terms of what are the problems that they were trying to solve, how was Xerox a good partner in helping them solve it and what were some of the specific results that came out of it. And so for each one of these and many of our case studies are industry specific. So what we did in terms of content was basically, I mean this were short letters, short email, it was basically saying we understand your problem, here are some case studies that show we solve these problems for other people like you. Give us the opportunity to talk to you more. So in terms of content, all of the letters sort of follow the very same format and the emails follow the very same format. We just changed them slightly to fit the specifics of the industry.
So you guys really had a good set of case studies that really work very nicely within the campaign.
Yeah, I don't wanna oversell it. There were a couple of industries like the retail industry where we really struggled to have a client case study that we could use there.
I think the other part of the content that was difficult to struggle with is that once you got, the sales rep got somebody on the line, the phone call, then how did they prepare, for that particular meeting and what content could they bring to bear on that particular meeting and I think that I wanna go back to sort of the account targeting that we did in segmentation that we did at the beginning because it's part of that process, we then knew or hear the 400 or 500 contacts and these where the accounts that they represented that when a rep got an appointment, they then came back to marketing operations and said here is the one that -- we contact and we have got a meeting to go in with them, what can you provide us marketing operations so that we understand more about what's happening in their company and so we have a lot of data forces that we subscribed to, things like -- Hoovers and First Research and iProfile and a bunch of these others one source that talk about what's going on inside of these companies, so kind of like clipping services on steroids and so our marketing operation's team then knowing which of these accounts could rapidly pull that information together, building account profile, give it back to the rep so they could like study up and prepare how they were going to approach that particular account when they got into that -- when they got to the meeting so to speak.
So Laura, let me ask you this, so when you guys were creating the overall campaign and let's say the first part is the rep follows up on the letter and they also follow up at certain times behind the email, did you give additional content pieces to the rep to use as a additional ammunition as they were working with that prospect?
That would have been a wonderful thing to do, but no, we didn't. It was basically just the call script and -- but they all had access to the same case study. What we did is we put together an online portal so to speak, shared whatever -- like a share point, we call them collections here at Xerox and all of the reps had access to that and inside of that, we would put things like slide presentations for those specific industries that talk about those industry's issues and how Xerox can help. We put copies of all of the letters and copies of all the emails, copies of the case studies plus internal slide presentations that walks them through the whole process of what the campaign look like, which things went where in the process and gave them references to other resources that they could use as well.
That is so interesting and what a smart thing to do. I mean you're really completely arming the sales person to be successful along the campaign that you're driving, I love that idea.
I think the other key thing that we did is before the campaign actually started, we had a training session and we kind of walk them all through this as well in terms of why are we doing this, what is the offering, how do we position it, how we position it to this industry and -- how do you follow up.
I love that, and this is such a great example of sales and marketing working together to make a revenue impact, I love it. So I know that one of the things that you said Laura is that at Xerox, sales is king and so when you and your team began working with this group at the beginning of the project, how do you think or did it change the sales perspective of your group in the role of marketing change from the group beginning of the project to the end of the project and if so, how?
I think we move the ball forward in helping them to understand that when you get marketing involved, it really helps to scale what sales can do. The whole concept of this kind of campaign actually started in the sales operation side of this particular group when they were a much smaller group. When they were -- under 30 people and what they had this in a couple of regions, they were broken up into like five regions and like one or two of those regions, the guys who run these regions started this kinds of email what we called VITO, a very important top officer, VITO letter campaign and they had some independent success with that, but what they weren't able to do by using sort of the overall messaging and the packaging and the account analysis and the automation that marketing brought was the scale that across an organization of 80 people of which 50 or so were new.
So Laura, were you guys also providing any digital body language insight to the sales team as this campaign what's going on.
I wish, yeah, I wish I could say that we do and for a number of reasons mainly related to how -- really some significant issues that we need to manage in terms of brand on the xerox.com site because the brand is very important to our company. The organization called Interbrand recently served in a brand study and they came back and told us that the Xerox name in terms of -- goodwill and market capitalization or whatever is worth about $6.5 billion to Xerox.
And so -- when you have a brand like that and let's say this is one of the only brand and I say it's two, but it could be a couple of others that also fit into that where with the brand is a verb -- and it's like can you go Xerox that for me and the other example I use is -- go Google that, what that does mean, I don't know go Goggle that and so when you have that kind of brand recognition and value, you have to very, very careful about how you use that on your xerox.com site . So we don't have a lot of flexibility on xerox.com to be able to look at digital body language and connect things together on a moment to notice and do those kinds of things. I also think that that's extremely hard for a company that is -- 22-23 billion dollars operate again 170 countries or whatever the number was 136,000-135, 000 people. The demands on xerox.com are phenomenal and so from that standpoint, you can't give everybody in marketing the opportunity to have free ray on how they change it and look at the digital body -- do things to xerox.com that allow you to look at the digital body language and the way that we need to so that just wasn't an option for us this time around.
This is a really good time to transition to a larger topic and that is -- you would mention that when you were -- one of the VPs and heading us the B to B marketing practice at Forrester that you had one perception of kind of marketing automation and how it happens and how it should happen and then you got into a big brand. You know that perception change and I think that if we go out and we take a look at a lot of the literature and a lot that is being written, about marketing automation and how it's a technology that helps the company marketing to revenue. I think a lot of that really is written about smaller companies because these smaller companies, you know they must be 6000-7000 companies now using some of these marketing automation tools, but it's the smaller companies who were more agile so I would love to hear your perspective around -- when you're a large company, when you're an enterprise company, what is the role of marketing automation and how does that eventually help transform marketing in the enterprise?
I think, that's a great question Debbie and there is so many different ways to try to try to answer it, but I think for me, the thing that I've learned is that marketing automation is an evolution and I will go back to my -- that's my knowledge at the very beginning. It's a journey of a thousand miles and you take it step by step and so what I see in terms of what we have been able to achieve and what other large company because there are other large companies using marketing automation is that the successes are gradual. They happen in packets and places inside the company and when you start to see that there is -- enough successes happening here and there then being able to bring those elements together and start to create communities of practice that eventually evolve into centers of excellent around -- demand generation, global demand generation, it's a painstaking process and it helps when the sales organization has a dyer need as we talked about, has an urgent need to make an impact on the pipeline or to move the needle on revenue in a certain way and if you don't find those packets of need and focus on those, the journey to revenue marketing and larger organization can take a lot longer.
Or may not happen at all.
And it may not happen at all.
Absolutely. So I really like the way you kind of picture this because again, I think a lot of people when they think about marketing automation -- bing, bang, boom with this technology and -- magic happens and that's just not true especially in the large company because there are so many elements that have to change within that so I really like your observations around successes or gradual and when you get enough success and you kind of bring elements together, you create communities of practice, you began to create those centers of excellence, but again if not driven by some pain in sales, it's never gonna be much more than a glorified email system.
It's just not gonna happen.
And Debbie remember that the issues around marketing automation are really around people in process and all of these things are hugely magnified in a multibillion dollar business. You know, we have sales organizational structures that are matrixed, right. We cross different geographies and product lines and industry and in those kinds of complicated sales arrangements even within your own organization, there is incredible focus on account management on how we approach customers in a one-to-one fashion and I think it's harder for them to see sometimes that clients are getting information from places outside of Xerox about Xerox and that digital avenues have become very important channels for receiving that information and that what your presence is on the website and your messages in terms of what you can deliver through this sales organization, getting those two things on the same page really takes a lot of effort. Do because of the sheer size and the complexity of a multibillion dollar company as opposed to one that's -- in the several millions or even hundreds of millions in terms of size.
I completely agree and you're right, this issues of people in process, I completely agree Laura. There are hugely magnified in these really, really big companies, but let me share with you because you told me something earlier in the interview, so let me share another perspective with you. So one of the things that you said was -- the idea for this initial campaign actually came from sales operations. They were doing some various small amount of VITO letters in the field rather than just top some success with that, okay. I recently had a conversation with one of my colleagues and he said, you know what I see, he said I see that once sales really get that marketing and the use of marketing automation cannot only be scalable, but also make a completely different level of impact on sales, I actually see sales wanting to take over marketing so they can run that revenue impact themselves. What do you think about that?
You know I think there is a lot of different areas in marketing and -- I think that sales taking over sort of the field and demand generation at the local level sort of thing could make sense. I think there are other things though about brand and -- yeah, the corporate presence, they need to remain more centralized.
But did you see, I mean I'm with you, I mean I recently I think I've had a couple of folks that I know who are head of marketing call me and say, I got -- tell me, give me some advise on how to get my VP of sales -- out of my instance -- then why don't you do things and drive things so I just think this is so interesting and you're right, it's not all of marketing, but this demand generation perspective and let me ask you this one. Again, these are kind of high level budget, but this is question that is so have so much experienced then I just would love to get you to share that perspective. I've been saying for three years now, three years in a row, this is probably the fourth year, this is the year that sales is really gonna get again the promise of this marketing automation systems. I mean that's really over simplifying it, but as a sales person, I can either have marketing -- nurturing leads for me and cueing things up for me exactly when the time is right or I can be -- punching the telephone numbers -- on a phone call, what do you think it would take, what do you think it will take for sales to really get on board with this new way of selling?
I think, honestly Debbie, I think we need a whole lot of generation of sales people to kind of come through who'd been more like raised on marketing automation or just automation in general like sales automation.
Because -- I see this not only in companies like Xerox, but other big companies in my experience at Forrester that there are different profiles of sales and there are some sales people that still remain sort of your loan cowboy or whatever, right. They know how to bring in the money and as long as they're doing what it is that they're doing, sales management is going to leave them alone and there were other kinds of profiles too that very much sort of fit into the sophisticated revenue generation engine kind of models that we have been talking about and until you get sort of that shift from the old school to the new school, where the new school says no, this is how I'm used to doing it, if you want to hire me, you got to have the sales automation tools to support me. I think it's going to take longer than we've all continued to expect.
I love that story and let me share something with you. So cool that you said that, it's another generation of sales people so I have a daughter who is graduating from college and I think May or June.
Thank you. Her undergraduate degree is in sales and every person who graduates from the school in that program are highly recruited. In her interviews, she asked every VP of sales that she talks to, are you using marketing automations and if they're not, she is not interested in talking to them.
That's amazing and that is what I mean. We need that next generation.
We do. We need that next generation.
[Crosstalk] ...beyond the sales people too into sort of the sales management, the sales management needs to be run and to understand how marketing can help them scale their teams ahead of -- the revenue curve, right, so you don't have to grow the heads in sales at the rate that you wanna grow revenue.
I agree. I think it's more than probably of a sales management issue than even of a sales person issue, but I could not agree more. Well, we have a few minutes left Laura and so this has been such an insightful interview. So many great pearls of wisdom that any revenue marketer can take away.
Debbie, you're too kind. I'm glad we joined you today.
Absolutely true, but do you have any last thoughts, any last words of wisdom. I mean if you were to meet -- let's say you met somebody at MOCCA yesterday and maybe they were just beginning this revenue marketing journey, what words of wisdom would give them?
You know, I would say embrace -- which side is the creative side now, I forget at the top of my head. Embrace your left brain, am I right? Embrace the analytical side is what I'm trying to say, right brain is creative, left brain is analytical. Embrace your left brain.
Because I think that right now, what I'm foreseeing is that the role of the chief marketing officer, the top most ranks in the profession, we're kind of divided between sort of the traditional brand PR advertising oriented creative mindset and the newer mindset that is more analytical in business driven and the more you can lean to with being business driven and demonstrating how marketing impacts the business, the more success you'll have in your career.
I completely agree with that. In the marketing, it's no longer the make it pretty department.
It has to be the -- help get some revenue in the door of the department so...
Laura it has been delightful, I really enjoyed our conversation. I hope all our listeners enjoyed it. If you're listening live, you can also download this episode from iTunes and we have a very exciting guest next time. I can't quite announce it yet, but there will be something out on Twitter, in LinkedIn and also in email and also on our website in the next few days. So Laura, thank you so much for joining us today.
My absolute pleasure Debbie, thank you for having me.
It's good to talk.