How well does your company fare at engaging customers online? Find out where you fall in the digital engagement spectrum and why companies with long sales cycles are shifting more spend towards digital sales and marketing programs.
Richard Barnett, CMO of Supplyframe, is a self-professed fan of #models. Specifically, models and processes to help global electronics suppliers address engineering and production life cycles, from design to new product introduction. He has recently introduced the Digital Customer Engagement Maturity Model to the industry, which helps companies evaluate their current state in how they engage with prospects and customers online.
According to Richard, "the electronics industry has been fairly stagnant in its approach to embracing a digital transformation over the last two decades" and the COVID shut-down helped executives to begin opening their eyes to the benefits of digital marketing and sales.
During the episode, Richard walks through the five maturity levels, which include:
- Ad hoc
On average across 180 electronics distributors and supplies companies surveyed thus far, the industry maturity average is at a level 2.4 which translates to LOTS of opportunity for improvement. When I asked why the score was so low, Richard cited some disturbing statistics on the lack of sales and marketing digital engagement investment.
The model is open to anyone, and Richard encourages both marketing and sales to take the survey, compare results, and use the information as a catalyst for change within the organization.
- Introduction to Supplyframe's Customer Engagement Maturity Model
- Infographic: Digital Transformation in Customer Engagement
- Supplyframe's Executive Panel: Digital Transformation of the Customer Experience (including Richard and Wendy)
- Resources from Supplyframe
- Richard on LinkedIn
How well does your company fair when it comes to engaging customers and prospects online? How do you compare to your peers and your competitors? Well, in today's episode, we'll walk through a digital Customer Engagement maturity model, which spans the spectrum of sales and marketing activity, from ad hoc and opportunistic to integrated, optimized and intelligent. We take a deep dive on how this model can be applied to address different buyer needs through the design and production buyers journeys. You'll also learn key statistics and gain advice on how you can influence more investment in digital marketing and sales.
Let's do this.
Welcome to Content Marketing Engineered, your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Koby.
Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend challenge or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You, me, colleagues, friends and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories. And I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take actions before we jump in. I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency. True Marketing True is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit True Marketing.
Com and now on with our podcast. Hey, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing Engineered. I'm joined today by Richard Barnett. He's the chief marketing officer for Supply Frame. Welcome, Richard.
Great to be here. Thank you, Wendy, for having me.
It's so good to see you again. I think the last time we were recording something was our panel discussion that you hosted, and it was during the big freeze in Texas, and it was quite interesting time to be recording something, but we got through.
It seems like it was just yesterday. Honestly, it's kind of etched in my memory for a long time.
Well, Richard, the interviewer in me is a bit intimidated to have you on, because I see that you were part of the Stanford Debating Society and even a nationally ranked debater in your school days. So I'm nervous.
No, don't be nervous. I did debate through high school and College, and it was just great training for critical thinking and processing lots different information. But the key is to understand kind of multiple, not just two sides, but multiple perspectives on the same issue and topic. And I really found that that really helped me in my professional career, kind of dive deep and understand market or what's happening, implications of policy reforms, all of those kinds of issues that we really face down in kind of our professional careers.
And wouldn't we all benefit from people considering different sides of any sort of issues? So I appreciate that. Yeah. I also saw another fun fact on your LinkedIn profile. It says you like to talk about hashtag models. I can all sorts of fun with that.
Yeah, that's the center, the hashtag to be in the context that can mean something completely different. So I think I'm guilty of not thinking through the full implications of every use case of hashtag models.
Well, I have a feeling by the time we get to the end of the episode, it will be clear what type of hashtag models you're interested in. Well, let's start with just a brief overview of supply frames for those listening or watching that aren't familiar with your company.
I sure you bet. So Supply Frame has been around since 2003, and the company really has grown over time to develop the world's largest what we call the design to source intelligence network. And that network really has evolved over time organic lander acquisition to include both website properties that are highly used by engineers to buy chain professionals both across sort of global manufacturers design electronic products and hardware, but also key players in that by each thing. And we also have as solutions and software that help to optimize, really the process for procuring and managing the sourcing process as well as provide sort of go to market capabilities for component suppliers, distributors.
So we really have this unique position of sort of engaging with over 10 million engineers in supply chain professionals monthly. We have $120,000,000,000 worth of direct material spend that run through this network. And we also kind of look at over $500 million worth of ecommerce transactions that we influence. And then the idea is to take the digital exhaust of all that engagements happening in real time and then translate that into the context of how do we make better decisions about designing better products, about improving resiliency, which is a critical issue right now at the point of design for the overall product lifecycle.
And how do we drive greater kind of engagement that's helping to actually make better decisions across this very complex value chain and that's increasingly growing globally. And it's important. And if you love to the global component chip shortage, the need has never been higher than right now to have these new forms of intelligence and new ways of thinking about how do we address these really global challenges that really got kicked off during the Kobi period?
Supplyframe early on really made that shift to digital. And I can hear now and how you describe this. You're very digitally oriented. And so one of the things that you created recently was a digital customer engagement maturity model. Tell me about why you created this and what the heck it is.
Sure. Yeah. I mean, it's a bit of a mouthful. I think if you boil it down, it's really the core goal was to take a holistic look at how do we define what are the current capabilities and key dependencies and the different dimensions of success as a company is growing through a journey, a digital journey typically around their go to market right around how they engage with their customers and the thing about the unique nature of of global manufacturers, component suppliers in electronics. But it could be in any kind of manufacturing engineered products market that you're sort of going to market against.
Is there's this really unique aspect of understanding the design cycle, the engineering design cycle of a customer and that customer journey and then figuring out how to influence, engage and then drive success in that model? The other observation is that when I came to supply frame and I started understanding a little bit more deeply, like just basic things. Like, what's the level of investment? Why are our customers who are marketing leaders inside semiconductor companies, component suppliers and distributors struggling? They're struggling to get investment. They're struggling to get focus and attention and sort of sales.
And the commercial teams were overly sort of managing and optimizing the investment model. And frankly, just felt like we hadn't moved a whole lot as a community since the 1980s. And so this maturity model was actually mapped out and created based on other work that we've done. And I've done in the past around supply chain and other maturity models that helped to kind of provide an overall model for companies to think through their journeys. But it was really needed in this area because we really felt like we needed to help provide context for leaders in marketing sales.
Commercial leaders, too, re examine what they're doing, holistically and build a progressive roadmap for the future and then COVID hit. And then these issues all became super important overnight because we had to switch from relying on physical annual events or whatever in market to virtual engagement. We couldn't fly. Sales teams couldn't fly with their Fae or engineering teams to key accounts as road warriors, so to speak. And then they had to move to virtual engagement. Right. So there's a lot of great things, things that happens, catalyst in this amazing challenge that occurred.
And so we feel like the moment is now to really take a step back from the reactive mode of just trying to get in front of all the change. Take a breath and figure out. Okay. What did we learn here? Where are we at? And what does the next step look like? And that's really what the maturity model was designed to do is to be a tool of model to help companies figure out their roadmap.
Yeah. And it sounds like to think more strategically about that buyer's journey. Heck, given a tool to the marketers to help woo some of those Laggard executives to see that. No, this is just a new way of doing business, and it's not really that new here's where we are. So I love that it's a third party source coming in and helping to aid those discussions. So let's get our hands dirty with it. Walk me through if you will. Each maturity stage.
Sure. Typically just as a quick Sidebar. This concept of maturity model actually comes out of work that was done to define how software development processes work. The first one was kind of done with CMMI, and then that model has been applied to different markets and different areas. And I think that when we kind of surveyed all of the different maturity models that existed in this area, there were like little niche kind of inside sort framework that were developed, but they weren't broad enough, but they weren't holistic enough.
Maybe I was just looking at an e commerce journey in general or looking at just sort of be to be sales sort of maturity. We really wanted to combine the scope of all go to market activities, including marketing and sales together because we think that's part of the future. So we kind of look at the different five stages. It starts with ad hoc. It means that customer knowledge around their journey is really static. A lot of programs are sort of may be reactive or very narrow in terms of what's being funded.
There's sort of a periodic engagement with the market, maybe through events or just through a handy and contact 101 account management, but not a holistic approach to go to market.
That reminds me of, like, the activity Excel spreadsheet right here's our list. And like you said, it's mainly trade shows. And then, oh, this is a month where nothing's happening. Let's do an email, let's see an ad hoc thing.
A really out of hog. And often the other aspect is really silent. There's really in this stage, very low collaboration coordination between market and sales activities in general, just functionally. And then the second stage is really opportunistic. And this is where we're getting into we've got some defined customer personas. We maybe done some market segmentation. We do have content, because in this space, technical content is critical, and it's very normal to create technical content with any new product, introduction, new component offering, etc. So you've got kind of narrow technical content available.
And then campaigns are often times like you seasonal or time based. And again, it's kind of there's a publishing of content which is kind of disconnected from a marketing activity where we're engaging with potentials, say, engineers or customers. And again, the sales motion around key accounts. They're typically overly optimized, being most of 9% of their time on the 20% of the key accounts that they think represents 80% of the reps. So these things are going on. They're targeted, but they're very disjointed.
Still, it's opportunistic integrated activity. Sales and marketing still aren't talking. And from what you said about content that made me think of the requisite data sheets or other specs, but I necessarily educational content that's taking into account where the buyer is on their journey or where they are in their design cycle, right?
I mean, it just reminds me of something. I mean, the one thing that everyone in the industry that's been around for 20 plus years can relate to is that the big digital impact was literally moving from parts catalogs that sales people had these huge binders in their trunk and would literally drive around and have divide everything you needed to know. And then moving that to digital was the big win that check the box. We're way past that point. You know what I mean in terms of digital funds.
Now they've got digital content. How do you put to work? Right. So the next stage is really about what we call being integrated. And so this is where you've got better audience segmentation based on needs, goals, motivations. You still have a lot of data that's in silos from a systems perspective, things are kind of like maybe there's a CRM system that has some of the account history, order, history, et cetera. Maybe in the RP, marketing maybe has a Mark automation platform, but the usage and the adoption and the sharing of that information is still fairly siloed.
And then you've got but you do have beginning to use kind of a multi channel approach. There becomes a little bit more of a coordination between. Okay, I'm going to do a broad campaign for awareness across these different channels. We're going to try to get both their brand and maybe highlight some new product introductions. Hopefully that's reaching our target audience from an engineering perspective, but it's not super targeted. I don't have a feedback of my fitness necessarily. It's more awareness oriented, more of a push model.
But sales and marketing is using that same information. There is a kind of a cadence to when you're pushing or presenting new parts and products, and you're trying to tailor that to different broad audience segments. That could be by geography, by vertical or like an application use case space. Basically, if it's an engineered space, what is the cluster of decision making design work that's happening in that area?
So a big change from the adhoc spreadsheet model, but you're still not able to measure the impact. And it sounds like still somewhat maybe lack of yeah, there's no feedback loop from sales is what I'm hearing is a big drawback of that. Right.
And as we'll talk about kind of it and we look at the total results, this is one of those challenges that you're talking about, right. Where understanding the value proposition or the potential of being more integrated in this stage three is what's really a critical pivot point to whether you're going to move to stage four because executive leadership, finance and others are still struggling a little bit with how do we measure value creation? How do we understand how this accelerates both revenue adoption or creates competitive advantage or moves the needle on revenue?
And again, the ability to kind of combine efforts, even if it's fairly rudimentary, if it's maybe just based on core campaigns. But then blending what the value ROI metrics alignment is in this area that sometimes it's happening in stage three, which is really, really great, because if that happens, then you can experiment. Iterating grow, get more sophisticated. But you also have a little bit more wind at your back and acceptance of the need to kind of push and develop further in this area. So it's really easy for organizations to still get stuck here and not advance because they're not solving the fundamental business alignment instead of management metrics the optics on this and then driving further investment, which is sort of below the line.
That's one of the just indicators of maturity is just simply looking at how much investment going into digital marketing. You know what I mean in general. And this is where that begins to increase typically and where you see kind of a shift to let's accelerate. Let's be more clear about what we're trying to do and accelerate digital marketing. Digital go to market efforts.
Would you say that this is the place where companies spend more time on your value proposition and testing messaging? And iterating in that area, right?
I think with a lot of our customers, what we see is we'll try to meet them with where they are. We have some customers that are pretty mature and then others that feel like they're just getting started fairly disjointed. But everything we try to do is to align. Okay, your business goal and objective. And then what are the combined sets of activities that we can do in combination with you to really make an impact? And so some of those are awareness oriented. But maybe it's awareness within a new, expanding market segment that they're trying to reach or grow into.
And we have all these interesting sort of dynamics occurring where it's new innovation around precision agriculture or digital cities and smart cities initiatives. You know what I mean? These things are really interesting and often times to create context for let's participate. Let's drive to leadership. Let's understand what the use cases are that are the future and get in front of that. So that could be a really interesting targeted awareness campaign. In other cases, it's much more around segmenting specifically where new design cycles are occurring with engineering audiences and customers, and kind of building on where customers do have a high degree of managed account visibility because they've been meeting with them regularly on a regular cadence every quarter, trying to understand what the roadmap is.
And really there's a feeling that there's a tight relationship there. But when you're trying to understand where emerging new design cycles are occurring outside of that managed account base, so emerging markets or the long tail or SMB, it's different labels for how they segment that that's usually just Greenfield opportunity to scale, influencing specifically where new engineering sign cycles are. So we can define campaigns that are really targeted in that area. And then over time, it can be much more of a scale out approach that's really truly multi channel, where you're influencing the entire customer journey and thinking okay, what's the point of engagement?
What's the right content at the right time in that journey? What is that experience right, then we provide value at how do I drive folks through more of a self service experience that connects all the way through quotation, order management, et cetera. All the way through the purchase election, and then the ongoing support that's the most mature kind of approach and building that as a campaign strategy is really fun and interesting. And, you know, a few of our customers are really getting to that point.
And we can ignore the fact that over 50% of the technical buyers journey happens online before that buyer chooses to speak to sales. And so the self service model shouldn't be scary. It should be expected and a priority investment for companies who don't have that coverage because the buyer is expecting it. I find something interesting in what you just said about how sales working with key accounts. They know when new design cycles are occurring, they're in tune with that account. But what about that long tail? You can't have coverage of everyone.
And so how do you figure out where they are in that design cycle, that they're starting something new? And really, is it possible to figure that out, or is it better to just have coverage and let people self select and drop in where they can? What are you seeing? How are you seeing different companies that I think it's.
It'S an interesting dynamic where, on one hand, you want to meet those engineers will say or design team leaders working on either kind of concept ideation or actually in the actual component selection in PCB design or CAD environment, et cetera. In that zone, engineers in general, like autonomy. They don't like a commercial engagement. They want to be armed with the right knowledge and information, and they want to seek that knowledge and information, not just from a website. They want to see it from a pure community and learn from what others are doing.
They want to understand it from third party aggregators of information that are solving for the complexity of being a one stop shop. Maybe for them to kind of get most of the information that they need across multiple suppliers and multiple different sort of commodity areas and design application types, et cetera. In one shot. And so the intersecting that is really hard, both from a you need to have really evaluated technical content at the right time in that journey, and you need to make it available both self service.
But you also need to push and engage when you think it's relevant. You know what I mean, and you drive this kind of new forms of engagement, but increasingly, it's it's what I call syndicated. This content is across multiple networks and most companies the challenges they feel like if they've instrumented their website and they're sensing and seeing all of the maybe anonymous traffic or specified traffic or converting users to registered users for the newsletter or whatever that they're done. And while that's critical, it's critical to get that right because there's an amazing amount of intelligence you get off of just instrumenting your website correctly.
It's just not enough because, as you said, engineers like most B to be sales processes we know are occurring online before they want to engage with the sales team. In this space, it's almost even more difficult because it starts with engineering, and then it moves into a sourcing procurement supply chain organization, and both of them have their different patterns for when they want to engage at the right time.
And there's a point.
So this is kind of complicated, but a lot of fun to figure that out and then design. What are those points of engagement at the right time? Let me just comment on the last two stages, because I think this is where we also from our survey results to see very few folks in this zone, right. So this is a little bit more maybe aspirational this is the zone where you really want to build a roadmap. But we do think that the opportunity to get there is totally doable.
And winners and losers will be determined in the market, in our opinion on how fast as they get there right in their own way. So the fourth stage is optimized in the fifth stage is intelligent. So what do we mean by those kind of that distinction? So optimizes when you've got audience segmentation, demand sensing, et cetera. Intent is fairly automated and you're tracking and building an audience segment and sort of understanding where that audience is engaging at some point in a customer customer journey, et cetera.
And then you're figuring out how to design campaigns that are also somewhat automated. So what I mean by that is if a customer and engineers going down a certain path of engagement, then there's a personalized campaign flow that is related to kind of where they are, maybe in their journey, customer journey, but also in the context of what they're looking for and what they need. And that could be coming from the website. So, hey, these kind of chat bots on the website are kind of fun.
We use drift, for example, on our website. Those kinds of things are interesting because they create a little bit of a personal dialogue. But again, that's automated and kind of self directed around. How can I help you today? What do you need? Okay. I see you're looking at these parts, like, have you checked out the video? You know what I mean? That tells you more about that. Those are examples of kind of innovation that we can all relate to, because that's true across a lot of B to B and even B to C experiences both engineers.
It's also important to kind of figure out how do I invite them, maybe to a virtual seminar that's led by my FA team from an engineering perspective that is scaling that engagement that used to be individual. You're having dialogue Q and a hands on lab kind of discussions that's super valuable. But you got to engage at the right time for that to have a high impact. So it's all about offering up the right experiences, but really synchronized to that design journey. So building automation and then trigger points for when to engage is really a big part of that.
And then it's really hard to do that in a syndicated network. But that's another area we focus a lot on with our customers. How do we leverage our network to scale and drive that engagement is also really quite important. So anyway, that's kind of, in a nutshell, the stages of the maturity model and how we broke it out. And again, this is very much trying to be fairly holistic, not just across one dimension, but because, in our opinion, it's not about really it's not about systems, tools and technologies.
If you start looking at things in narrow Martech stock language, it drives me crazy. As a CMO, there's over five0 Martech solutions out there, and I get in down phone calls from sales. People try and tell me, hey, would you like to figure out I'm like, no, I have more important things in Peter day, but you got to look at organization. You got to look at business strategy. You got look at incentive alignment. You got to look at technology enablement in combination to really make the move across each stage, accelerate that progress.
Yeah. So back to those final stages. I'm sitting here and I guess the Marcom person in me, I'm mapping. Okay. So some of that's behavioral data and some of that is demographic data, and it's easier than people may think to attain that personalized model with today's Martech tools. And so I think it's great that you're pushing people in this direction and showing a map that this isn't achievable. It's just putting the intelligence behind it. Okay. This is the persona of procurement Penny, along with the behavior of the pages that she's visiting and the time frame and frequency.
Okay. This equals this stage of the buyer's journey. So let's construct this automated conversation workflow whatever it is within our email system. Right. Good. Let's inspire everybody to move along in their maturity models, for sure. So the models launched, people could go play with it. But what is in some of the takeaways that you found from companies trying it out?
Well, you know, the first base core study that we did just represent kind of a market sort of benchmark, essentially, for May was 180 companies that represented close to a trillion dollars of annual revenue, so highly representative of basically everything that's going on the global electronics kind of value. And we looked at component supplier, semiconductor companies and distributors in particular. And this was primarily also North American based organizations, but many very global so we're doing some extension survey work in Europe, for example, just to extend sort of a more deeper focus on maybe regional differences or country level differences around maturity.
We do have the entire survey. It's available to do a self service kind of survey benchmark, which is really interesting. See how you compare. But what's really kind of sad, honestly, although I didn't completely surprised me, is that the average across the industry is 2.4 out of five. So that means that folks are generally in stage two to stage three or gate that approach. Now we're optimistic that we'll see more progress over time because of COVID was such a shock to the system that is force people differently.
But when we look at why 2.4 for organizations that are global have been in business for 2030 years, are well respected, brand, massive kind of engineering, technology, innovation, capability, et cetera. You know, these aren't SMB companies. You know what I mean? They're just struggling or two years in their business. Right. So what is going on here? A couple of things that were really, really root cause level issues was just simply the level of investment. So if you look at general benchmarks in general across manufacturing as the investment in marketing as a percentage of overall top line revenue, that average is 14%.
In our survey, we had risk responded, same as in less than three and investing less than 1%.
Incredibly obvious point is that of all the mix of investment in marketing, digital marketing field marketing, whatever the combination marketing activities is globally, you cannot evolve. You cannot move down this digital journey if you don't have the appropriate level of investment. So the big call to action here is to add a board at a senior management leadership level is to take a step back and look at your combined investment in sales and marketing and understand how they work together and how the digital marketing activities and investments create context for sales, engagement and scalability and repeatability.
And the revenue the business model that creates goodness. Right. You know what I mean?
It's a cycle right there. Those two working together with proper investment to move the company forward to address the buyers journey online.
Right. Right. But the good news started the story to some extent is that we also found that 40% of the organizations surveyed launched a digital transformation initiative in e commerce and customer experience in the last year make sense. So it's a big driver, right. For that, we were in the initial flying stages, has said that they've had an initiative in place for over one and a half years. So it means preceding. So there's an interesting dynamic here. Right. Number one organizations did not have a defined digital transformation initiative is sad.
That's a problem are kicking them off. Great. But the other dimension of this is that we look at the scope of what they're trying to do in these areas. And it's probably still fairly narrow depend on where they're at. It may be an initiative to scale out digital content better. You know what I mean, a cross channel or it may be supporting more of a virtual sales, you know, demand center kind of model, right where you move your field sales into an inside sales organization, which is great.
But now we're trying to figure out what do we do with that organization. And when do they engage and how do they engage? Right. That's kind of a lot of the sort of survey results on those initiatives right now. And one of the other big issues is just when we looked at our organizations define where they are in understanding their customer journey. You know, more than half said that they have an ad hacker opportunistic view of the entire digital customer journey. And that makes sense because they're maybe they're only engaging late when there's a procurement quote, request or when it's a major account, they may have visibility programmatically y.
Generally, they do three design cycles a year. There's four engineering groups in these geographies. There's one in Europe, one in us, and then there's two in Asia, and we know the rhythm of what they're doing. So we're pretty good. But oftentimes it's over investment on a much smaller, not just their total revenue customer base, but the market potential, like from a from a total available market perspective, they're just scratching the surface of some of these customers have 30,000 customers, and they actively manage 100 to 400 target accounts.
And that's the actual existing customers. Not to tell you, when those new startups are going to innovate and drive the next billion dollar product, they're completely messing out on that, right. It's just totally reactive.
There's available market share that's just not being addressed because their focus is sales oriented behavior to these key accounts that isn't scalable. And yet there's this hesitancy to invest in digital marketing and sales, for that matter, to address the rest of this market.
Right. And then the other dimension, which also, I think, makes sense. But it was really clear in the survey results is that when we talked about what are your key challenges to achieving digital transformation in 2021 and on? Number one was lack of talent, anecdotally that really rang true for me, because if I talking about one of our key customers, the ones that have made a difference have brought in marketing leadership talent from outside of the electronics industry. So you may have digital transformation officers that have a consumer goods background or digital marketing leaders that come in from an adjacent industry that's much more mature around generally digital marketing transformation.
So they're bringing their cross pollinating a lot of those kind of maybe proven ideas in other adjacent industries and then bringing that fresh perspective inside. And we see that's really a fun and critical catalyst because blending those teams with outside DNA, so to speak with the folks that have been there for 20 years and know everything about the process and the organization. That's kind of a nice combo for leadership and for moving forward. The other thing, though, is clearly they feel that they're trapped a little bit in the functionality of their current ecommerce platforms and how they engage and model and segment.
You know what I mean, the customer lifecycle and just a lack of automation. So there is an enablement factor here that is really critical to scale. I would argue that some of the fundamentals have to start way before you start scaling. You know what I mean in terms of modeling out segmenting audiences, thinking about an integrated go to market approach. But then when you start doing this, maybe in targeted campaigns, you then build success and you want to have the enablement capability, whether it's market animation to third party multi channel capabilities to really scale what you're trying to do.
And that's typically where we provide a lot of value, having to kind of guide that scalability factor and really sensing where new design cycles are and then going backwards from that to create new opportunities, new forms of sales intelligence, new forms of connecting the right technical content and the journey at the right stage in time and cycle that becomes the accelerator. But if you don't have the right organization, the right little initial investment, the right leadership, you get stuck. And it's understandable why two, four right again, is not a great number.
And I think it's important that you included in the right leadership, because I can imagine there's some sales and marketing leaders listening that say, I wanna do this. I get it. But I can't convince my executive team to invest. What advice do you have for them to influence leadership to move in this direction?
Well, I think there is a great opportunity to learn from what just happened with Cove, and it might feel, I mean, still might feel like we're in react mode, you know, it's to some extent, right. But the shift in taking the sales organization and moving into some virtual sales forms of engagement, the Fae teams or engineering technical teams also have gone to a virtual function broadly, has shifted the senior level executive mindset around, maybe biases traditional sort of silo views of what the role of marketing is and even what the role of sales is.
And so I think now is the right time to both take specific insights and lessons learned, what went well, what's not gone well, etcetera. And then make a business case to this actually sea level executive team, maybe even at the board level, honestly, to raise the level of impact and alignment to say, look, we need to take an integrated approach. This isn't just us versus them. This isn't Silo mentality, right? We need to bring integrated teams together, and it takes a roadmap vision and then a really clear set of near term initiatives that you're asking for funding to have some level of specific quantified benefit, that you can kind of build momentum from executing those together.
I think if you can combine those two elements together with the right executive audience, I think you'll see buy in and acceptance, but sometimes it's uphill work because there are paradigms that need to be broken. There are assumptions that have been in the market for a long time, build it and they will come kind of thing. You know what I mean? It's all about engineering is all about quality, it's all about dental prowess. And there's truth to that. A lot of these organizations are in a run rate demand mix kind of model, and it gives them a false sense of confidence that they don't have to invest in transforming digital engagement of their customers because doesn't good enough rule today.
And so finding the status quo and good and good enough with the context of here's a strategy, here's a roadmap, here's a vision, but here's how we're going to measure success. If you can put those elements together. I think you're going to get more often than not a real positive engagement models and executive sponsorship.
And as the industry matures in this way, the good enough people are going to fall woefully behind and it'll happen fast. And then it'll be a pill battle right to catch up to even get back to parity. When I like your advice of Small Winds Incremental. Start from where you are, start working towards. And I think that's absolutely right. However, one of the challenges also is if the company doesn't have that technological infrastructure, so a CRM that's not workable website that's not easily and updatable if you will.
No automation in their marketing platform. Those are kind of foundational investments that need to happen to even do this one incremental integrated campaign and do it properly. So just as a reminder, you kind of need both some infrastructure investment at the same time that you're launching the one campaign to the one person or whatever it is that you're focusing on.
I think that's right. And I think you know the other challenge is the traditional Martech stack. Investments in this space have a lot of challenges because they're not necessarily built from the ground up to specifically understand this complex need of influencing design cycles, then move into a procurement process. That is true, really unique. It's not really I haven't seen that in other industries, market segments, etcetera. So without naming names, just take your global most common Salesforce automation platforms. Your marketing automation platforms. They are built for lead opportunity management with an individual lead record.
They're not really built from the ground up to understand audience segmentation and customer journeys and influencing them through technical content. And they're not really built from the ground up to understand what's happening from a syndicated network perspective. One of the bouncing factors is to take an outside in approach work with solution services that are measure success and our scaling performance across the network multichannel kinds of engagement aggregator sites. They're influencing third party decisions while in parallel, you work to instrument the inbound flow of engagement on the website.
And then the other piece of advice is to really take a step back and understand what's going on with your CRM and SFA solutions and say, are we configuring this to actually drive value, or are we kind of configuring it out of the box to manage Ml to SQL conversion? Because every time I hear a marketing leader talk about, well, we're getting beaten up by not general enough MLS, and the sales leader says, I don't know what marketing is delivering for me. I get nothing in multiple industries.
We've been through this issue right for years. I'm not a big fan of this, but it's really, really hard in this space in this industry to prove value in that way. What the heck is a marketing qualified lead exactly in this market? So understanding intent, understanding the engineering cycle, design cycle, nuances and then understanding how you drive engagement at the right time and then create context for opportunity creation. That's really the critical element. This is not about generating impressions or folks that signed up for a download of a part data sheet and calling that an Ml and then throwing that over the line and then populate an SFA with thousands of contact records that the sales organizations like, I don't know what to do.
This is a waste of time. And unfortunately, if that's the experience marketing leaders have to prove and bust the paradigm of where they're adding value, because that's also the sort of weird dynamic, the straight jacket, if you will, of why they're getting put in a box and they're not getting investment. If that's your situation, I encourage you to take a real big step back, really rethink what you're doing more holistically in a more integrated way and get out of that mindset. I really am a fan of account based marketing strategies and techniques in this market, even though it's different than what we traditionally might view is just traditional AVM.
Let's say what you're saying, doing personalization segmenting the market. It's an outbound versus an inbound motion in general that I think is the beginning sort of thinking that really creates breakthrough work, even if it's very focused initially to prove that that first wave that first, you know, sort of proof point that then you begin to scale out over time. But if we stay stuck in the March stack and we stay stuck and I generate value through brand awareness and MLS.
You'Re just not going to move anywhere in my pin and a form complete should never equal an Ml. Anyway, I hear you. Unfortunately, to me, it's a replication of the old model of I scan their badge at a trade show, so I'm handing it to say, no, there's no intent there. There's just that I wanted a Bouncy ball or a T shirt. Good. Yeah. Well, I know, Richard, I know you and I, we could talk all day on this stuff, but we're running out of time. So where can hand those listening and watching?
Learn more about Supply frame and connect with you.
So I'd be happy to engage with anyone directly. You can reach me via email at Barnett. Supplyframe. Com. On our website. We have a resources section that includes a little bit more analysis and information about each of the dimensions, each of the stages of the maturity model and some of the survey results is a really fun infographic there as well that I encourage you to kind of print it out and put it on your office area if you're back in the office, maybe at home or something, but it's a really nice summary of a lot of the insights we talked about today.
Your Zoom background, right. Just when you're talking to executives and sales people, right.
And then when ready, I really encourage you are members of your team. It's take the survey in particular. We found it's really interesting to get some sales leaders and some marketing leaders to take the survey together, look at the results, see the differences, and then have a conversation. It is an amazing way. Have a fresh new conversation internally about these challenges, and that's really what we want to do is just stimulate new thinking, innovation and really help the whole community move forward in wherever you're at now, where you're at and then define the next steps and move forward.
That's really what it's it's all about.
Yeah. I think I'll be using it with some of our clients to help move them along. So thank you for all your work on this model. I think it serves our industry so well. It was a needed thing, and I can't wait for more people to try it out.
Thank you so much, Wendy.
Thanks for joining me today on Content Marketing Engineers. For show notes, including links to resources, visit True marketing. Com podcast. While there, you can subscribe to our blog and or a newsletter and order a copy of my book Content Marketing Engineers. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast. So please, when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me your review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks. Have a great day.