Here is what we found in the market:
- Companies that built their marketing around marketing data warehouses are finding that their sales and marketing databases have become separate silos. The lack of synergy between sales and marketing regarding leads is so common as to risk cliché.
- Companies are looking for a better alignment between marketing and sales. Sales wants to see all of the actual marketing touches for any specific lead. Marketing needs to get measured on the leads that actually convert.
- Salesforce.com has become the de-facto database of record. We have had any number of CMOs tell us that the marketing data has to be pushed back to Salesforce.
Given this situation, we decided early on to build Act-On around a marketing behavior database, rather than a marketing contact database, which might already exist in Salesforce.com or some other CRM system. (That said, we do have many customers, including our own marketing department, that use Act-On as the central marketing contact database.)
To start using Act-On, you don’t need to go through an elaborate setup phase around your marketing database. You can start by uploading lists (pulled from your CRM system, your old marketing database or even collected at your tradeshow booth) and then using Act-On to interact with your prospects. As you interact, we automatically build the marketing behavior database in the background. If the same person happens to be on 2 separate lists, it’s not a problem. The marketing behavior database automatically collates and consolidates the interaction information.
This makes Act-On an ideal complement to Salesforce.com. We have created Salesforce plugins to be able to move selected Salesforce leads and contacts to Act-On, and to make Act-On marketing histories, lead scores and reports accessible from within Salesforce.
This also explains our pricing model, which is not based on the size of your lists but is instead based on the number of “active contacts”, i.e., the size of the marketing behavior database.