Taking the Journey
The question for Marianne Steckert, Moody's Analytic's senior director of events and outreach in the Americas, was how to measure the value of each event in a way that would offer insights to support an overall events strategy.
"The events and outreach team in the Americas is responsible for developing strategy that aligns Moody's [events] activities with market needs," said Steckert. "We play a vital role in helping the organization find, win and retain business in new and established markets."
One avenue for measuring the value of these events, Steckert knew, was to measure the value and long-term sales conversions of the leads generated from them. It's a concept that Steckert had been chasing already, but with several manual processes that were slowing down the process and reducing the overall value of the lead over time.
"We had a stand-alone registration system that captured basic information about registrants and participants [at Moody's events]," said Steckert. "And we obtained registration and relevant lists from non-Moody's events that we shared in advance of the event with sales and marketing [who would attend]. After those events, we collected business cards and notes collected by our internal attendees." All of this lead information was then manually processed against a score card that included qualitative and quantitative measures that helped Moody's sales and marketing teams track value.
"And, lastly, we chased leads. And when I say chasing the lead, it truly was," said Steckert, citing Moody's lengthy average product sales cycle (12 to 18 months), a continuously changing sales team or chain of responsibility that saw resulted in the hand off of leads to new point people at any given time.
To that end, the ability to understand not only the initial value of the lead, but the current status and the upstream history of the lead was of critical importance to Moody's. The answer, said Steckert, was to integrate three different technology systems that could capture and score the initial value and continue to support that value as the lead flowed through the sales and marketing cycle. Without that support, the value of the lead could easily diminish—and ultimately diminish the value of the event as well.
Integrations Answers the Challenge
"There were three systems in play: our event management system—Cvent— that the events and outreach team had implemented on our own, plus a marketing technology system and customer relationship management system, both of which we [the events and outreach team] are users on," said Steckert. "We worked very closely with counterparts in the organization—including marketing and data teams—to ensure the integration was getting us the information we needed. Some of the information was complex, so we had a consultant or two help us develop the APIs we needed to get it."
The integration was not without complexities, admits Steckert, who also notes that the system will always be a bit of a work in progress to improve data capture and generate more databased insights. "There was a fair amount of trial an error. There have been times when we have pulled reports but the figures don't look quite right, and we realize what we thought was an innocent change to a data field or two has resulted failed data transfer and incorrect reports—and, then, you have to go back.
"We also learned about defining objectives ahead of time and that you have to be prepared to sell [the value of the project] to the organization to get buy-in to make it work. Just because our team saw value in the effort, it didn't mean that our stakeholder saw it immediately as well."
In the end, however, Steckert and her team have facilitated a seamless flow of information through three technology systems via a network of APIs. This integration has enabled events, sales and marketing to work as a cohesive unit to support the sales lead lifecycle and convert more real business for Moody's on the leads that come out of the organization's event activities.
"We can score leads and have them assigned to sales automatically and at any point we can now see the value of the lead through our CRM system," said Steckert. "We also have some system generated ROI reports which allow us to look at event effectiveness."
Moody's is already using these reports to help evaluate individual events, but Steckert is realistic when it comes to evaluating event effectiveness from a data-based perspective only. "As much as we want to completely automate ROI, there are certain qualitative measures that won't be captured in automated systems and will always require manual interventions," she said. "But understanding the value delivered from leads is one good strategy to get at ROI—and ROI is playing a big role in our go/no-go decisions for events."Download PDF
About the Company:
Moody's Analytics provides software, advisory services and research tools for measuring and managing risk in a constantly evolving marketplace. It stands to reason that a company focused on information, analysis and value for its clients wants to implement value and strategy analysis for its own events—and for industry events in which it participates. Measuring the value to the company of an internal or external event allows Moody's to focus its events and outreach on the most strategic opportunities for its business.
"Understanding the value delivered from leads is one good strategy to get at ROI—and ROI is playing a big role in our go/no-go decisions for events." – Marianne Steckert, Sr. Director of Americas Events & Outreach, Moody's Analytics