Leading by Example

Industry leader Siebel Systems has received IDC's CMO (chief marketing officer) Advisory Award for aligning its marketing and sales. In other words, this CRM vendor has been cited for excellence in using CRM. "The Siebel marketing-and-sales alignment strategy demonstrated a compelling and well executed response to a problem that bedevils many organizations," says Paul Wiefels, a member of the IDC CMO Advisory Panel. In the past Siebel's sales were focused on establishing its brand. Over the past two years the focus has been to drive greater efficiency in marketing and sales. "As the economy constricted a bit we needed to shift our marketing from brand- and awareness-driven marketing to a demand-creation type of marketing, where we are going out to create a demand and going after those customers we have a solution for," says Jeff Pulver, Siebel's vice president, worldwide marketing. To accomplish this Siebel formed a plan dubbed ROI Marketing. The sales organization was realigned and resources were directed to prospecting, lead maturation, pipeline deal/support, and customer marketing activities--and bringing in deals. "A series of business processes were put in place to be able to effectively track the marketing process, from the creation of the lead all the way through to qualifying that lead. [We questioned,] is this a true opportunity that we should assign a sales rep to and try to close this business, or is this just someone who hit our Web site and was kicking the tires and wanted a white paper?," Pulver says. This new focus enabled the marketing and sales teams to effectively report on and track customers from lead to close. "We did an effective job driving that process through and using the Siebel marketing application and Siebel Analytics to both track and turn the marketing process from more of an art into a science," Pulver says. As a result of the new processes and practices, Siebel reported several significant metrics in its award submission, including a 100 percent increase in closed opportunities, a 50 percent increase in response from green-field accounts, and a 90 percent acceptance rate of opportunities passed to sales from the marketing and sales development teams. Especially notable is that it was all brought about by Siebel using its own CRM software. "We are using a combination of the Siebel products," Pulver says. "We use components of the Siebel marketing products and we tightly integrated with the Siebel call center and sales products, so...we can pass an opportunity from marketing into sales." Critical to Siebel's success was using Siebel Analytics to analyze the data created and proactively push reports out to key decision-makers. "We are proud to be viewed as a benchmark by organizations looking to align their marketing and sales operations," Pulver says. IDC will publish its case study for Aligning Marketing and Sales, which will include more information on Siebel's strategy, in April 2004.
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