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7 Posts authored by: heatherfoeh

This is the happily ever after story about the introduction of lead scoring at Blackboard, an enterprise technology company focused in the education space. Like many happily ever after stories, it begins with some doom and gloom: the sales team was frustrated with the marketing team for sending over too many unqualified leads and, in their opinion, wasting their time. They wanted to be closing deals, not qualifying raw leads.


The marketing team heard the alarm trumpets and rode in to the rescue! Okay, so it wasn’t all blazing saddles and overnight success – it took eight months of work before the celebration feast could begin. What happened during those 8 months, you ask?


First, the sales and marketing stakeholders at Blackboard gathered together in a room to agree on the best scoring criteria. This wasn’t simple because they really needed to think about each of their 8 vertical audiences separately. (Happily, the marketing team knew that having different scoring models inside of the Eloqua application wouldn’t be a problem!)


Next, the marketing team built the well-loved Contact Washing Machine* into their Eloqua processes. They took the jumble of titles in their “Title” field and created standardized values in the new “Job Title” and “Primary Role” fields. This data was important to make sure that the explicit (demographic) piece of the lead score would be as accurate as possible.


In order to build the implicit (behavioral) piece of the lead score, the marketing team performed an audit of all the content on the website to ensure that they were offering the right information to their audience and were also scoring on the correct pieces of content. They received buy-in from the sales team by vertical as to which items indicated true buyer engagement in that particular vertical.


Lastly, the team looked at how all new leads should be routed based on lead score, and put rules in place to determine whether leads should go directly to sales reps or to a queue for further qualification and nurturing. Each model was tested before launching, and after launching the results were reviewed by everyone to determine effectiveness.


The result? Blackboard now has 8 well-oiled lead scoring models -- they rolled out one each month for each of the 8 months -- which they review and evaluate every quarter with the verticals teams. During the discussions, they evaluate every aspect of the models and determine if anything needs to be adjusted in order to optimize leads. Sales now trusts the leads that marketing provides, knowing that they will be of high value. In addition, the sales team is more efficient because they’re not wasting time with unqualified leads that just aren’t ready to buy.


The results?

  • Increased Quality: With lead scoring in place, the marketing team has been able to convert 34% of their inquiries into Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and nurture the remaining 66%. This is significantly higher than their previous conversion numbers.
  • Better Targeting: Blackboard is now able to see which profiles are making purchase decisions, with reporting broken down by score to ensure that the correct profiles are being targeted in ongoing and future campaigns.


And let’s not forget the happily ever after result of a more productive, less frustrated sales team who is able to close deals faster.


Are you ready for your own fairy tale ending? Is it time for your organization to implement (or make changes to) a lead scoring program? You’ll find that it’s incredibly easy to do in Eloqua10. Take a look at the Resource Center here in Topliners for screen shots, instructions and other helpful links.


If you have questions about updating to Eloqua10 or adding extra Lead Scoring models, your Account Director/Account Executive can help! Fill out this form to request more information!


ALSO - We have a recorded webinar demo of the Lead Scoring Module - check it out: Spotlight on Success - Lead Scoring



(*Looking for information on a Contact Washing Machine? Check out these posts:

Nine Tips for Building a Contact Washing Machine

Normalizing Country/State Values

Normalizing Job Titles

Gain Your Hours Back: The Data Washing Machine)

The marketing team at ReadyTalk is responsible for driving a significant amount of revenue for the company. (That probably sounds familiar, right?) They were already relying heavily on Eloqua to help them in pursuing their goal, but they knew that in order to fully meet their target they would need to enable the sales team more efficiently so that they could be jointly successful.


At ReadyTalk from the moment a prospect enters the funnel, their lead score, activity history and more are all tracked in detail inside Eloqua. This information is used to segment messaging and create targeted campaigns. But it was also important that the sales team start seeing this information to help them close deals faster and target the right buyers. The marketing team turned to Eloqua Sales Tools to help them share all this great digital body language with their sales counterparts.


They implemented Eloqua Profiler which integrates with (ReadyTalk’s CRM system) so the account executive can see the behavioral patterns of their prospects -- email opens, page visits, downloads, clicks, form fills, etc. right inside the tool they’re already familiar with. With this insight, the account executive can see what patterns make up the lead score and modify their calls based upon recent activity.


The Eloqua Engage tool enables account executives to send personalized emails, usually based on templates provided by the marketing team to ensure brand and message consistency and also make the life of the sales team a bit easier. Sales representatives are given the freedom to customize each email if desired, but at least they have an easy starting point. Because these emails are tracked via the Eloqua application, everyone can see important metrics such as email opens and click-throughs as this information is recorded in as well.


Finally, while not officially part of the Eloqua Sales Tools suite, ReadyTalk made effective use of a Cloud Connector to enhance the amount of information that the sales team received about a prospect’s level of engagement by seeing webinar attendance date, time and length, as well as their answers to polling questions. This has made that first follow-up call from the account executive much more effective and timely.


How did all of these tools move the revenue needle?


First the marketing team simply tracked several metrics to gauge the effectiveness of sales enablement tools. They found a 30% email open rate for sales emails sent using Eloqua Engage which was significantly higher than their non-personalized marketing-based emails. In addition, their attendance rate at demos is now over 60% when the prospect is invited through an Eloqua Engage template – again, significantly higher than their previous response rates.


Now let’s talk about revenue – where the rubber meets the road. Driven by sales enablement, marketing met their revenue targets and sourced a significant amount of new revenue that continues to increase year over year. In addition, they’ve seen a 50% increase in deal velocity which has had a direct positive impact on their bottom line.


Finally, the relationship between marketing and sales has improved significantly because the sales team has more insight into the programs and activities that marketing is running. Having a holistic view of a prospect’s activities makes them more motivated to follow up on leads. It also makes them more effective.


From one of their sales team members: “Marketing has given us several tools over the course of the year that have been great in helping me uncover the right prospect., prospect profiler and the Eloqua plug-in for Outlook have helped me tremendously in my job over the course of this year. I am having better conversations and deeper discussions because of these tools.”


Want to learn more?

Tired of running yourself ragged creating emails for your events? The AB SCIEX team was! They were running several hundred events each year using fairly manual processes inside the Eloqua platform. They knew they needed to streamline this so they could save their own sanity, but they also had a feeling that a better communication cadence would result in higher registrations -- and thus higher conversions and revenues. They purchased the Eloqua Events add-on to meet these goals and have been thrilled with their success!


Take a look at some of their metrics:


  • Registration rates increased 16%
  • Unique email open rates increased 49%
  • Unique email click through rates increased 216%
  • Possible email forwards increased 363%


Those are some amazing numbers that reflect some true event nirvana! And how did they do with their goal of saving their sanity? The amount of time needed to create the assets and campaigns was reduced by nearly 50% after the implementation of the Eloqua Events add-on. Sanity restored! Now they have more time to pursue other creative campaigns.


In addition, they plan to enhance their segmentation in the near future because the Eloqua Events allows AB SCIEX to identify individuals that have registered for past events that are similar to future events. This provides them with the ability to send event invitation to a more targeted group of individuals that have expressed interests in past events. Perfect!


Want more information about this optional add-on? Download the datasheet below to get started or request for your Eloqua Account Manager to contact you.


RSVPs Made Easy

Posted by heatherfoeh Aug 31, 2011

Last week I received an event invitation from our friends at Cvent for their Dreamforce '11 party. As a big proponent of the concept of the "Eloqua9: Trigger multiple actions with an email click-through (via "blind form submit")" (or "hidden form submit") I was quite pleased to see their use of it. It made my RSVP process very smooth and easy! With their permission I'm showing a screenshot of my invitation and the handy links that use this feature:




Wondering how you can do this? Read all about it here on Topliners: Eloqua9: Trigger multiple actions with an email click-through (via "blind form submit")  -- or --  Eloqua10: Trigger multiple actions with an email click-through (via "blind form submit"). Then share your results and maybe a screenshot or two when you implement. We'd love to hear about it!

At the beginning of February we decided to run a test on our Customer newsletter (“The Conversation”). Like many of our customers, our goal was to see if we could increase our click-thru rates and thereby increase our engagement with our audience. We have several future tests planned as well, but for this first one we started with the design. Traditionally “The Conversation” has used a graphical, HTML design, so we decided to pit that against a ‘plain’ text-based designed. Which one might lure people to read and click? This was one of those times when I had no idea what the outcome would be, so I was really looking forward to the results.


Here’s what The Conversation traditionally looks like:


This is the modified, ‘plain’ text-based version we tested:


Using the “Percentage Based Routing” option in Eloqua’s program builder module, we split our distribution list in half (50% received the HTML version, 50% received the plain version). We send a North American version of the email which goes out in the afternoon Eastern Time, then a slightly modified International version of the newsletter which goes out at 7 AM GMT.


What did I learn? I discovered that our North American audience prefers the graphical design, but not by a landslide. However for our international audience, the results were clearer – the text-based format won by a fair bit. Now I need to find a way to put that into practice more regularly for our international customers and give them what they want. Have any of the rest of you experienced this as well?


In the interest of full disclosure, and because my goal in 2011 is to increase these metrics, I’m going to share with you our nitty gritty numbers:


North America
Open RateClick-Thru RateOpen RateClick-Thru Rate
HTML Design25.57%5.12%25.47%3.73%
Text Design22.02%4.35%25.97%8.02%



What am I going to test for the April version of The Conversation? I’m leaning toward shorter (less articles) versus longer (current number of articles, which is usually around 6). However, I’m open to ideas! What do you think?

Listen to Jennifer Pockell-Wilson, Senior Director of Global Marketing Operations at Polycom, as she explains how creating agreed-upon definitions of terms between Marketing and Sales was the first step in their journey toward true Revenue Performance Management. Now Eloqua is the "glue" that keeps the conversation going between these teams.

Earlier this year the team at Balluff had the chance to run an interesting A/B test of two email design choices. In the past, their emails focused more on their products but with this test they were able to experiment with a more fun style that showcased their benefits instead. Their audience is primarily manufacturing companies so they were unsure how they would respond to the cartoon style. Instead of relying on gut instinct, they let the numbers speak for themselves.


Email A:



Email B:

Extraordinary Email - Balluff - Top25email.jpg


Email B was the winner: it had an 8% higher open rate and 16% higher click through rate!


How has Balluff used these test results? They've begun sending more emails in the fun, graphical style and they're using this as a way to differentiate themselves from their competition. Great work, team!

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