12 months in and a steep learning curve
Starting any new job brings its’ own set of challenges. For me, this meant brushing up on my Eloqua knowledge.
I’d used Eloqua 9 previously when I was at Ernst & Young. Since then, Eloqua had released Eloqua 10, a completely new platform with a radical new HTML 5 interface.
The highlight for me personally has been the interaction with some amazing marketers, helping them get more from Eloqua and working to ensure it helps them deliver a superior CX (Customer Experience) while supporting the Sales team with better qualified leads.
Each of my customers has unique set of customers and clear objectives about how they want to communicate. Their goals vary but essentially they’re trying to engage with one or more of the following groups:
- Business Partners or
- Internal Staff
Most of my customers are focussed on prospects from a lead generation point of view. However I’m constantly trying to help them see the benefit of marketing automation across the three other groups listed above.
For example, customer communications can be broken down into several groups:
- Current customers i.e. those you’ve invoiced within the past 12 months.
- Previous customers i.e. those who have you products or services in place, but you haven’t invoiced them for X period of time.
- Current customers who would benefit from additional products or services e.g. a cross-sell or up-sell opportunity.
When you take your customer sand segment them further, you can begin to map out specific communication strategies for each group. As an example, I’m doing the following at the moment myself with our customers.
- Current customers – those in a buying or decision making role.
- Current customers – those who are end users of Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud.
- Current customers – those who are part of the company, but in a separate division and may not be users of Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud. You could argue these “customers” are in fact “prospects”.
Part of my role is observe and understand our customer and prospect segments in detail so we can personalise our communications to ensure we’re delivering value and also providing insight to help them from a best practice point of view. I’ve found the powerful segmentation capability of Eloqua, closely connected to the quality of the data we have against each contact, critical to helping me execute these various communication strategies.
What the past 12 months have taught me
It’s easy to rush to a solution, especially with a platform like Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud. It’s so functionally rich and can do almost anything the customer wants. Over the years I’ve discovered that it’s better to have a discussion, listen intently and then share ideas for process improvement.
This approach is balanced with the experience that what the customer asks for is not necessarily what they want. People’s expectations are often based on what they know, that knowledge can come from the previous platform they’ve used. In my world, that may mean a basic email marketing platform like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor.
From time to time, I need to balance my “listening” with some direction suggesting there is possibly a better way to do something.
I’m not sure if it’s my grey hair, well I don’t have any hair, but if I did it would be grey. Over the years I’ve seen outstanding sales people build networks, these people have influenced me professionally in many ways. I’ve spent time working for major brands as well as smaller companies in a partner environment.
One of the key aspects of the way I choose to do business is to network and partner with people and companies smarter than my own. These relationships, nurtured over time, help me to help my customers. There has been a number of situations over the past 12 months where I’ve been able to introduce past colleagues to current customers.
In addition, outside of my current role I’ve been in a position to support previous colleagues by connecting them with others in my network. While this brings a great deal of personal satisfaction, it’s also helping to pass on the goodwill and expertise of my professional associates.
My current role is divided into two areas:
- Designing, building and executing our own Marketing activities using Eloqua.
- Support customers through our Customer Success program.
Doing the first really helps me deliver on the second. I firmly believe there is credibility from being a practitioner, not just a user. In my case, I’m referring to my use of Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud.
My managing director has made it clear though that I need to “limit” my learning 🙂 There comes a point where my knowledge and expertise hits a ceiling and I need to hand customers over to our team of Eloqua Technicians. I’ve found this ceiling realign comes into play as soon as HTML gets involved – that’s not my strength.
However, working directly with customers and understanding their specific use of Eloqua has increased my knowledge of the product. We’re a small firm, the way we use Eloqua differs to the way some of my larger customers use Eloqua.
So the key point here, get buried in your product. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know the answer to your question”, just be smart about working out how and where to get the right answer and then get back to your customer.