I've gotten to know Debbie and her story quite well. We've been collaborating in preparation for our fast-approaching session at this year's MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit in San Francisco (Sept. 30 —Oct. 3), where she'll inspire many more by sharing both the turmoil and success of her own lead gen program.
Debbie manages programs on the Services side of Siemens Healthcare. This global company is one of the world's largest suppliers to the health care industry with more than 370,000 employees. On top of supplying products, Siemens also offers its customers projects and solutions for the entire range of patient care.
It's the customer-centric portion of Siemens' mission that makes Debbie tick. She transformed a lead gen program for Siemens' service engineers to help increase quality of leads they relay to Sales. Of course, doing so for a $79 billion company with hundreds of thousands of employees presented an extremely complex challenge. It was like having to run a small business inside Siemens.
The way Debbie tells her motivational lead gen tale is unparalleled, so I'll leave that artistry and those details to her when we speak at Summit. However, I want to share the major dimensions of Debbie's program so you can examine some key questions you should consider as a B2B marketer.
Debbie's dedication to her customers is absolutely invigorating. The customers' needs and wants were her fuel — and she kept this in her heart throughout the entire implementation of her program. Did I mention Debbie traveled for a year delivering presentations and setting up one-on-one meetings to get employees on board for the program? Companies should strive for internal integration to form a Customer-Service-Sales loop that always routes back to customer needs. However, as with any multinational company, Siemens had an internal structure of separate entities — Service and Sales weren't linked, which shed light on the issue of disconnection to the customer.
Key Question: Do any of your existing internal processes get in the way of delivering value to your customers?
The need for Debbie's lead gen program initially rose when service engineers who were fixing the medical devices were the ones gaining invaluable insight into customers' needs and wants. For example, the service engineers were the ones building relationships with customers and were recognizing who needed upgrades and replacements.
While service engineers harnessed this information through their direct interaction with customers, there wasn't a set, existing way to effectively communicate these leads to the sales department to ultimately benefit the customer.
Key Question: How do you enable customer-facing employees to let your organization know what it is your customers want?
The core focus of any sales department is closing customer transactions. So, gathering as much customer information as possible is crucial. In Siemens' case, this was especially critical due to the complexity of the sale in a large B2B market that relies heavily on relations with existing customers.
There was a wealth of customer insight from the Services side. However, these customers were going un-served, falling into a black hole due to the absence of an efficient way to report this information to Sales.
Key Question: Does your sales department have access to key company knowledge about the customer?
It seems obvious, but remember, whatever technology your company is utilizing, it should be helpful, not hurtful.
Some of the technologies Siemens put in place were actually contributing to the problem or creating new ones.
Debbie's team explored different technologies. But, the key was connecting a new solution to exciting processes and technologies — even if it presented an initially difficult implementation. For Debbie's program, it was technology that tied everything together.
Key Question: Is your technology a tool or a hindrance to facilitating communication between key departments?
I'm so eager to listen to Debbie tell her story to hundreds of marketers in just a few short weeks at Lead Gen Summit 2013, but in the meantime, I hope I was able to at least skim the surface for you today. These questions and dimensions might serve as helpful little nuggets to aid you in your own efforts.