The Monday Stack: Who Did You Miss at Dreamforce? Plus LinkedIn Lead Gen
The Stack is back -- from Dreamforce and other points west. Maria Pergolino, SVP of global marketing and sales development at Apttus, was at Dreamforce too; but so crazy was the event and scheduling that we ended up talking about it in New York.
Apttus is a quote-to-cash software vendor, which means it needs to align snugly with both marketing and sales -- marketing, Pergolino told me, because even the B2B buyer these days is very socially active, reading a lot about products and prices before even speaking with a sales rep. The Apttus solution, she said, "doesn't start with a pretty website with products on it; but with products, pricing, promotions, all digitized, and accessed across all channels, you can create a customer experience which is ideal."
What kind of pain-points can Apttus help with? Pergolino gave me the example -- and it must be a familiar one -- of a B2B VP of eCommerce competing with sales on conversions. The customer researches online, buys by phone -- or vice versa. Who's sale it that (and who's commission?)? Apttus seeks to provide visibility into the purchase process across all channels.
But what about Dreamforce? "I love Dreamforce." Was it her tenth? She's a veteran anyway; she's been a certified Salesforce administrator for about ten years. "I'm impressed by lots of positive things about the Salesforce brand," she said, adding that the company is an Apttus investor. This year, she came away feeling slightly "mixed" about the experience, only because it's grown so large. "There's not enough time to use it really well." There are so many people to catch up with (Apttus took over a floor of the main conference hotel) that "you don't experience the content itself."
For Pergolino, the whole marketing tech space has become dizzyingly large. Five thousand apps? "We can't sustain all these products," she said. "It's too ridiculous." But: "It's the apps sitting on Salesforce which help to bring about business transformation. "She cites a Nucleus Research report which finds 4.2 times ROI when core CRM is supplemented with edge apps like the Apttus quote-to-cash and incentive compensation offerings.
Is that a statement against Salesforce? "I don't think so," she said. "Salesforce provides the platform that brings all that tech together."
LinkedIn kicked its lead gen offering into a higher gear with two new ways to collect leads. Lead gen forms can now be used on Sponsored Inmail campaigns, allowing the collection of "quality lead data at scale." LinkedIn Dynamic Ads, which demonstrate double the click-thru rate of standard display ads, will allow members to send name and email just by clicking -- no form filling. That's available right away; the Sponsored Inmail initiative will roll out over the next two weeks.
Happy Thanksgiving to Monday Stackers and all our readers who celebrate. We'll be posting content right through the holiday. Too ridiculous!
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