Sirius Decisions Summit
Nice one, Oracle!Wow, what a show! Sirius Decisions Summit is coming of age and this year’s SD event in Orlando was a great testament to that. Over 2,000 attendees, a buzzing solution showcase, and most importantly, a ton of relevant content capturing the essence of modern marketing.

If you weren’t able to attend the event yourself, don’t fret! Here’s a snapshot of the 5 key takeaways that I walked away with as a marketer in attendance:

1. Marketing automation adoption is on the (rapid) rise

What percentage of B2B companies have adopted a marketing automation platform (MAP)? If you’re among those that have, you may find it hard to believe that the answer is less than 20%. But the annual growth rate in adoption is 22% so this number will rise quickly over the next 2-3 years (and I would argue that this annual growth rate is likely to increase as barriers to adoption go down and capabilities go up).

For those who have adopted Marketing Automation already, the good news is that actual usage and ROI is skyrocketing. More marketing teams are implementing sophisticated lead scoring programs, global demand generation methodologies, dynamic web content, split testing, and more. The results? Better click through rates, more qualified leads, increased funnel velocity, and more predictable forecasting.

The very active social wall!

2. It’s a Smarketing world for B2B companies

Sales and Marketing alignment has officially crossed the chasm from wishful idealism to a working reality. Thanks to the rapid advancement of marketing automation, CRM, and content marketing solutions – coupled with maturing methodologies for demand generation and funnel conversion – an increasing number of B2B companies are walking the talk when it comes to aligning the activities, strategies, and goals of their Sales and Marketing teams. When Sales and Marketing come together, I like to call it Smarketing. And when both teams are aligned with common goals for leads, opportunities, pipeline and revenue, good things are bound to happen.

What is Smarketing?

3. The era of DGaaS has officially arrived

And the mystery acronym is… Demand Generation as a Science! This is super exciting to me. Everyone is talking about bringing science to the art of demand generation, and new technologies are making this very real. Bleeding edge marketing teams – even those at large companies like Cisco (great main stage session by Joseph Puthussery!) – are reaching a point where they can forecast future pipeline and revenue based on the current month’s MQL production. And more importantly, they are using data and analytics to understand what levers they can pull as a marketing team to directly impact future revenue output. Welcome to the adult table, marketers!!

4. Account Based Marketing rising in popularity (and effectiveness!)

Target!Lots of talk about Account Based Marketing (ABM) and how to use a mix of technologies to do highly targeted, and highly personalized, marketing campaigns to attract the big fish. From real-time personalization solutions to company-specific retargeting and nurture campaigns, ABM is emerging as a critical (and well recognized) marketing practice. Happy hunting!

5. From clicks to engagement tracking: the future of lead qualification looks bright

Lead scoring and automated nurture programs are reinventing how marketers pre-qualify their prospect base and identify leads with a higher propensity to purchase. And while most lead scoring and nurture programs are currently designed to drive and track specific digital transactions (i.e. email click throughs, page views, form completions, document downloads), we are on the cusp of enabling more sophisticated tracking and scoring based on actual engagement with the content you are publishing. What’s the difference? Well, if someone downloads a white paper, you give them a high score but you have no idea if they actually read it! Wouldn’t it be nice to progressively score them based on how much of the content they actually read or watch? I was pleasantly surprised at how many times I heard this idea discussed.

How About You?

I could go on and on with many more takeaways, but I’d rather hear some other perspectives. What did you learn at this year’s #SDSummit? Who’s out there walking the talk when it comes to MAPs, Smarketing, DGaaS, ABM, and engagement tracking? Which company impressed you the most?

Tyler Lessard