This month, I’m excited to have Lee Somerhalder from TekStream as the subject of my “5 questions” customer blog. TekStream, based in Atlanta, has been a Silverpop customer for one year. The company is an Oracle Gold Partner specializing in the sales, deployment, resourcing and service of the Oracle WebCenter suite. With its goal to become a $50 million Oracle Partner in five years by helping enterprise businesses scale data effectively, TekStream is very focused on leveraging a well-tuned marketing automation platform in an enterprise environment.
1) Tell us about your role at TekStream.
[caption id="attachment_5320" align="alignright" width="125" caption="Lee Somerhalder, TekStream"]
I work under our VP of Consulting Services and CEO to build lean lead generation systems that propagate sales growth and drive brand identity at a fraction of the cost of traditional channels. By leveraging marketing automation, social distribution channels, live media and rich targeted content, I team up with Oracle and our partners to execute campaigns that target and close valuable prospects, and champion long-term success with the use of Silverpop’s marketing automation solution. I’m a Salesforce.com Admin, Engage, and Oracle WebCenter Portal and Content certified.
2) What were the business challenges you were trying to overcome when you started looking for a marketing automation solution?
To meet our goals, TekStream was constructed to grow intelligently, with the customer experience at the front of our core values. By incorporating Six Sigma principals, we pinpointed “must have” functionality that would allow us to define, measure, analyze, improve and control our sales growth.
The solution must:
- Be an easy-to-use, business-user tool with intuitive functionality
- Integrate with Salesforce.com
- Have a strong community with a deep knowledge base
- Provide robust reporting, segmenting and list building
- Enable social sharing, analytics and reporting
- Offer on-demand support
- Perform with minimal error
With these in mind, our primary challenge was to deploy a solution that could manage and execute our marketing campaigns to thousands of prospects monthly with one internal Salesforce.com administrator. This specialized role would develop and maintain our entire data infrastructure while bridging the gap between marketing and sales, providing a seamless transfer of strategy to tactic to deployment to reporting.
Other challenges included quickly creating, launching and reporting on campaigns and landing pages we were running with Oracle to enhance our branding, enabling lead routing and scoring to drive leads to sales reps in real time, and allowing sales reps to send automated messages via Salesforce.com
3) How are you taking advantage of Engage to meet those business challenges?
We currently run four different programs to capture more leads in a shorter time with less overhead. Our entire sales team has access to personalized Engage email templates in Salesforce.com that they can use to quickly target and touch prospects. Landing pages are easily created and deployed to capture leads and convert them to customers, while our lead-scoring models completely automate the flow of leads to their pipeline.
As an added bonus, we’ve successfully launched internal and external QA surveys using Engage landing pages, improved the monetization of our social channels with a Facebook Web form, delivered self-service reports using the Excel Plug-In, and significantly improved our data quality with Social Sign-In. By focusing on lean processes and specialized resources with highly efficient technology, TekStream has been able to exceed our projected growth numbers through our second year while stabilizing a marketing automation solution to support and propagate rapid growth for many years.
4) When you decided to set up a lead scoring model, what factors did you take into account?
Lead scoring models for TekStream needed to discover potential opportunities from a multitude of channels including Web, social, landing pages, email programs and automated messages. We wanted to uncover any interest a prospect had, but also ensure we understood exactly what their interest was.
We developed buckets and then made up personas that loosely resembled potential customers and their behaviors. The buckets were “Web,” “Landing page,” “Social” and “Email.” Within these buckets were personas and typical behaviors such as
- “Sally, an IBM Exec, received business card and visited the website”
- “Marty, a technical architect looking for a job, saw a social post and registered for a Webinar”
- “John opted-out”
- “Charles, a current customer, opened second email in Legacy program and clicked on our services video link”
We weighted each behavior as it relates to how close the contact would be to a buying cycle and equalized that into a 1 to 100 score model. We then looked at ways to be dynamic with scoring and found that utilizing “Scores from Data Fields” and Salesforce.com allowed our sales reps to contribute to the scoring model by adding or subtracting points based on movement in the prospecting cycle.
After this model was deployed, we instantly gained a 360-degree view of our prospects’ behaviors and enabled an automated notification process that gave our sales reps the ability to proactively respond in real time. We’ve seen our pipeline expand significantly by understanding more about a buyer’s needs and timeline. Instead of prospecting to leads that are out of the buying cycle, we’re spending time on valuable leads.
5) What advice would you have for fellow marketers that were just getting started with marketing automation?
I would suggest starting with quantifiable goals and a high-level strategy for what you want to accomplish, then whiteboarding the details. This was the most efficient way for us to quickly take an idea to market. I think it’s also important to stick to the basics of understanding the buying patterns of your target audience, how they want to interact with your brand, and when they want to be contacted. Following this model has saved us tremendous amounts of time and resources.
From a technical perspective, leveraging the customer community is invaluable when troubleshooting problems or exploring the possibilities of the platform.
Finally, test, test, test. In some cases we’ve tested programs, lead scoring models and forms 20-plus times to ensure successful Salesforce.com integrations, lead routing and scoring notifications. Our commitment to quality doesn’t stop at our client’s office. We’ll reach our goals by ensuring that the systems that drive our business support our passion for excellence. And that’s why we use Engage.
For more information on TekStream, visit tekstream.com.
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