First off, what exactly are Cloud Connectors?
Simply put, a Cloud Connector is a seamless connection between Eloqua’s marketing automation workflow and any other system. So the data derived from a third-party application, or even from a homegrown Eloqua Connector like the Name Analyzer, are fed into our platform so it can be used for marketing campaigns, nurturing flows, lead scoring or communication efforts.
You see Cloud Connectors as intrinsically tied to Revenue Performance Management. Can you explain the relation between the two?
Revenue Performance Management is about getting a single view of the marketing and sales pipeline, which means from the early stages of awareness through the entire investigation process to close. So you need to do a couple of things. You need to get data from all kinds of sources, from social media, from events, from webinars. All of these sources are communicators that buyers provide that you need to pull in.
Secondly, you need to understand that data in context, which really comes down to identity. It’s identifying Jesse Noyes’s email account as @noyesjesse on Twitter and as Jesse Noyes on Facebook. Once you understand the data in context, you’re going to guide them through the overall buying process, which means more then sending them an email. It’s getting a Twitter message in front of them, getting a Facebook message in front of them, getting a targeted ad in front of them, getting social context involving their peers in front of them. What Cloud Connectors enables, in terms of Revenue Performance Management, is the pulling in of that data, the pulling in of buyers’ identities and the triggering of well-timed communications.
So it’s not just a one-way street. You can pull in data and also push out messaging?
You can suck in data, you can clarify identities by pulling in that data, and you can trigger targeted messages. Cloud Connectors are just extending our core platform, which absorbs and digests that date and ties it into the rest of the Revenue Performance Management ecosystem.
People seem to immediately understand the value of Cloud Connectors at the top of the funnel. Can you talk a little about what value they bring within deeper stages of the funnel?
Sure. Really, Cloud Connectors are part of a fully integrated lead management process. When you get a person in that investigation phase being able to understand what they did in webinars and events is absolutely key. Did they attend? What did they do when they were at the event? What content did they find interesting at the show booth? That gives you an indicator of whether or not a prospect is ready to talk to sales yet. That’s middle of the funnel stuff. At later stages, Cloud Connectors help tie in an understanding of the business, whether the business you are talking to has the same fit of other businesses you’ve sold to. That’s where you can use information from D&B or Hoovers or Jigsaw. That way when you get sales in front of them you’re only getting them in front of people in those organizations with a strong fit.
I imagine many people see how this could lead to a greater amount of prospects and leads. But how does it improve the quality of leads?
This is the core of Revenue Performance Management – it’s not about more or less. It’s about aligning the right revenue assets with the right buyers. Marketing is typically not that effective but not that expensive on a per person basis. A billboard on the side of a highway will reach tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people, but it doesn’t really help that much except for reaching people mildly interested or totally unaware. A field sales rep having a conversation is ridiculously expensive on a per person basis, but highly effective. So the goal of Revenue Performance Management in many ways is solving an asset allocation challenge. It’s not about the pure simplicity of more or less leads going over to my sales team. Revenue Performance Management is looking at the entire funnel and saying where in the funnel do we need less based on effectiveness and cost.
What feedback are you getting from customers using Cloud Connectors? How are they using them?
Probably the most popular Connectors would be the webinar providers. The benefit to the marketer is quite tactical. It’s, “Can I get the list from this event and who attended into my normal platform.” It saves them a lot of work, but it’s also a bite of the elephant. By making that easy and automatic, it enables them to, bit-by-bit, bite off that whole elephant so they can understand the buyer at all stages of the buying process and can react in all of their marketing to that buyer. The operational benefits build up to the broader strategy.
So the ideal Cloud Connector user would use them across all the various platforms? Is that the end goal?
That’s the end goal of Revenue Performance Management: it’s getting a full view of buyers. Cloud Connectors are one very effective way to get one aspect of that overall picture into focus. Cloud Connectors are the enabling piece for reaching that larger vision.
10 million transactions have already taken place through Cloud Connectors. How fast is this initiative moving?
We’ve got 25 different Connectors right now. It is moving fast. It is getting popular. It’s moving very fast because of the nature of cloud. If you want to be set up in the right way, you need to build out these integrations.