What Is A Customer Engine?

I chose the Customer Engines name because that’s what I’ve been building and refining for a while now.  End-to-end Marketing machines that run 24/7, work anywhere on the globe, and drive maximum revenue at minimum cost. Oh, and make the happiest customers…

Version 1.0 was built at BEA, 2.0 was expanded and enhanced at Documentum, and 3.0 was the scaled-up version at EMC Software. Parts of 4.0 – 8.0 have been implemented at multiple clients since then.

Scaling up B2B demand generation means building repeatable processes for moving prospects through the pipeline and turning marketing efforts into revenue.  It means being able to measure everything you’re doing, and continually turning the dials to optimize results.

At it’s core, this concept has three key components:

It’s online, and the customers are in control. 

Marketers tend to think in terms of outbound activities; if feels great to crank out another beautiful-looking campaign, to have a list of this quarter’s activities that make you look busy.  But that really boils down to interrupting prospects when you feel like it.  What about when they want to browse, reasearch or buy? On their schedule. Are you ready?

If your inbound, web-based content, offers and calls to action aren’t completely in sync with your outbound efforts, and the path from there to Sales absolutely effortless, then you’re wasting your time.

Get connected with Sales, and with the pipeline.

Marketers hate to hear this, but the only reason their jobs exist is revenue.  Creating a great brand, delivering the next great campaign, getting 1000 people to your webinar, those are all relevant and important.  But can you connect them to revenue?  If you can’t, how do you expect to get budget and headcount?

Unless you’re operating as a strictly e-commerce operation, the path from Marketing touch to revenue in most B2B companies goes through Sales (or a channel partner).  Get to know them, understand what they do with the leads you give them, and help them get better.

This doesn’t mean taking orders from Sales.  Exactly the opposite.  Don’t give them what they want, give them what they need.

Meet regularly, and walk through your shared pocesses once a month. Have they changed territories? Are they still able to follow up on 100% of your leads?

Measure and Tune

Track the effectiveness of everything you do.  This sounds much harder than it is.  I will spend many more blog posts on this, but here’s a hint: don’t bother trying to get Sales to correctly tag leads so you get credit.  They don’t like sharing the glory, and there are much smarter ways to measure. 

If you measure, then you have to take action.  Make changes.  Everything from email deliverability by day of the week to the order of links on web pages is up for grabs.  Measure again.  If it gets worse, then put it back.  If it gets better, then keep doing it.

Ok, that’s the high-level view of a customer engine.  Stay tuned, and we will dive deeper into how to build one, and how to keep it humming.


Peter TaitWhat Is A Customer Engine?
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