Bonnie Crater is a five-time Vice President of Marketing, a former colleague of this blogger from our days at Oracle in the late 80s, and in 2000 was named one of the “Top 20 Female Executives in Silicon Valley” by San Jose Magazine. In 2011, she became President and CEO of Full Circle CRM, a company dedicated to helping VPs of Marketing use Salesforce.com to get accurate and useful performance data about marketing campaigns. I sat down with her recently to find out more about her company and what makes their solution different.
HS: Where did the idea for Full Circle CRM’s product come from?
BC: The idea for the product came from a collaboration — a “Perfect Storm” of experiences among our founders. Andrea Wildt, former product director for the marketing product at Salesforce.com, had been working with Roan Bear, an expert Salesforce consultant, on a project where a client wanted to get an accurate tracking of the marketing impact on their revenue. It was the third time they had worked on such a request. In the meantime, our CTO, Dan Appleman, had moved from the Microsoft platform to Force.com and had developed many software projects in APEX, the programming language for the Salesforce platform. Coincident with that, I was in my fifth stint as a vice president of marketing, asking my team for metrics from Salesforce, which they weren’t able to provide. In addition, Salesforce had just extended their platform to support the development of robust yet highly customizable solutions. So when Roan, Andrea, and Dan asked me if I was interested in starting a company to solve this problem, I jumped at the chance.
HS: What’s the key problem you solve?
BC: Full Circle CRM allows Salesforce marketing users to get the data they need to understand how their marketing works: for example what programs are working at what part of the revenue cycle, what programs are not influencing revenue and where the bottlenecks are, and where a budget reallocation can make a big difference in results. For Sales Operations, we deliver a comprehensive lead lifecycle system facilitating sales follow-up on responses across both the Lead and Contact Database.
HS: How are you different from marketing automation vendors like Eloqua or Marketo at addressing this issue?
BC: First, our software is complementary to marketing automation systems and Salesforce. In fact, all of our customers today (with one exception) use both Salesforce and a top marketing automation system. However, our approach is very different from the marketing automation vendors and here are three examples. First, we’re focused on the data inside Salesforce.com to ensure we deliver complete and accurate database of information that can be shared across sales and marketing teams. Second, customers can leverage flexible, weighted campaign influence models to evaluate the revenue that each campaign drives. And third, because we’re inside Salesforce, customers who want the details can drill down to get the underlying Lead, Contact, Account, and Opportunity data.
HS: Doesn’t marketing performance data often break down with sales and how salespeople use Salesforce?
BC: Yes, you’ve noted one of the great frustrations to marketing scientists who want to get an accurate account of marketing-driven revenue. We’ve addressed this issue in the product by shoring up the sales workflow that can corrupt the data. As one example, if a sales rep creates a Contact, Full Circle CRM provides a simple pull down list to select a sales campaign for the source of the Contact. This ensures that every new Contact is associated with a Campaign and therefore maintains data integrity.
HS: Does having Full Circle CRM data affect how Sales and Marketing departments communicate with each other?
BC: We often work with companies where the sales department and the marketing department have very different data on the results of sales and marketing programs. The funnels look different, conversion rates are different, the impact of marketing and sales on revenue is different. That’s often because marketing and sales are using two different methods and two different databases of information. By keeping all the data in Salesforce, there’s one source of truth, and that allows marketing and sales to have more meaningful conversations about how to grow their companies faster.
HS: Thanks Bonnie!
For more information on Full Circle CRM, visit their Website at www.fullcirclecrm.com.