Leveraging culture as a predecessor and highly synergistic compliment to business strategy, implementing a go to market business model based on continuous customer success and championing the best practices of the most successful customers for the benefit of all customers are just a few of the actions of industry leader Eloqua, and its tenured CEO, Joe Payne.
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Key take away points in the discussion with Eloqua CEO, Joe Payne:
Eloqua strategy and long term vision starts with culture. Eloqua culture begins with recognizing, planning, measuring and rewarding based on customer success. The industry is nascent, the market is emerging, most new customers are adopting marketing automation technology for the first time, and therefore strategy must be a product of answering the question, 'how do we make our customers successful?'
A critical success factor of the SaaS business model, and an inherent part of the Eloqua culture, is the customers' success in the daily software operation. Eloqua's go to market model goes beyond the software sale and includes the services and ongoing assessments to make clients successful. Where customers adopt the SmartStart program, the company backs up its success commitment with a money back guarantee; something unusual in the marketing automation software industry.
Eloqua's vision is to be the system of record for marketing to prospects and customers—tracking every click for every anonymous or known visitor, building prospect profiles, segmenting accounts for campaigns, applying tools and processes for data cleansing or data augmentation, leveraging the company's cloud connectors to seamlessly share data with complimentary applications, and complimenting the CRM software customer record for increased understanding among both sales and marketing professionals.
Eloqua's customer market includes companies with some form of considered purchase environment, those organizations with sales forces that achieve the closing of new business, and as such need marketing automation to nurture, score and forward sales-ready leads. The company's perfect prospect profile (PPP) is less about demographics like company size or industry, and more about psychographics such as those companies with strategies and processes to pursue a journey of continuous process improvement across the revenue cycle. Having said that, companies which are generally not a good fit for Eloqua include e-tailers, e-commerce merchants closing sales transactions over the Web, or commodity/low margin products.
Based on learning from some of its most sophisticated customers, Eloqua is championing the business strategy of Revenue Performance Management (RPM) across its customer base. RPM goes beyond the traditional marketing measurement to include the entire revenue cycle, and the factors that most directly influence particular revenue goals. To aid all customers to more effectively manage their revenue cycles, Eloqua has expanded its data model, created a data mart which collects marketing data, sales data and other data points, and empowers decision makers to apply analysis to discover the metrics, levers and results from various business processes. Eloqua includes five Revenue Performance Indicators (RPIs) as best practice standards and further benchmarks each Eloqua customer among the industry at large—delivering not just absolute values, but relative performance among peer groups.
Eloqua customers continue to want to leverage social media for their lead generation and marketing programs. Eloqua believes that social represents a circle of people that buyers trust, and bringing that element of trust into marketing efforts and the B2B purchase cycle will increase revenue effectiveness. The company has delivered tools, such as website tracking scripts, to understand prospects' digital body language. Social goes a step further to understand who those same prospects trust, and how influential those trust sources are.
The company believes its uniqueness and competitive advantages stem from having the longest tenure and most customers in the marketing automation software industry—or more specifically the many lessons that have been learned during that period and baked into the product. The marketing software functionality is rich, and ultimately helps marketers do their jobs better. Leading edge technology, such as HTML5, delivers an impressive browser interface and user experience, accelerated user training, IT cost effectiveness and web application longevity. The Eloqua cloud connectors are a unique offering which eliminates custom integration and delivers on-demand connections to link marketing data and processes with complimentary applications used by marketers and others. Being three times larger (in revenues) than the next direct competitor allows about three times the R&D staff and investment, and ultimately the opportunity to deliver a more continuous stream of innovation.