Marketing automation / demand generation software provider Manticore today announced the release of Manticore Technology VII, which includes a fully customizable user interface, email and landing page folders, an email delivery wizard, and drag-and-drop list building functionality. The company made the announcement at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. Although the improved UI is the big change, the new version also adds integration with SalesForce.com for AdWords campaigns and improved lead generation capabilities.
Manticore was founded in 2001 by Nick Walker, who is now the CTO, and has been led since March of this year by Jeff Erramouspe. The company’s original focus was on web analytics. At the request of customers, email delivery and tracking capabilities were added in 2004, and the firm’s product has now evolved into a full marketing automation suite. Privately held and self-funded, Manticore has grown at a 50+% clip since 2005. It competes with vendors such as Marketo, Eloqua, Marketbright and Genoo. Pricing for Manticore VII, delivered on a SaaS platform, starts at about $24,000 per year.
The marketing automation market as a whole is still in early stage growth mode. Sirrius Decisions projects that penetration of marketing automation systems will increase from less than 10% in 2005 to more than 50% of BtoB marketers by 2015. Manticore’s Jeff Erramouspe believes penetration is still likely no more than 15% in the North American market, and even lower internationally. The early-adopting high tech segment is perhaps 25% penetrated. Jeff contends that marketing automation systems will become required tools for any b2b “considered purchase” (i.e., any significant price point, non-commodity products).
As many others have noted, the rise of social media and the explosion of online content has fundamentally altered the b2b sales process. Prospects no longer rely on sales people and marketing collateral for information; most of their research is now done before they ever make contact with a sales rep. This has made the marketing funnel longer, and the actual sales process shorter. Proper lead nurturing has become critical, which is where marketing automation systems come in.
As Jeff and other executives in this space point out, the biggest barrier to adoption isn’t the technology—which over time has become both more powerful and easy to use—but rather the change of mindset required, and developing analytical, process-driven marketing practices that capitalize on building upon the information prospects already have to help move them through the marketing and sales pipeline. While Manticore relies on its resellers to provide expertise with client-specific issues, the company is also creating a “success framework” that will guide users through the basic steps in lead nurturing.
Interestingly, the company notes that the heaviest users of the system tend to need the least technical support, because they know what they want to do with the product and use it on a daily basis. The experience of other vendors is likely similar; customers who have truly made marketing automation and lead nurturing an intrinsic part of their marketing and sales processes will be the most self-sufficient, and should theoretically be the most successful as well.
Marketing automation vendors like Manticore are likely to see continued sales growth as more b2b companies recognize the expectations of their buyers have changed. Just as buyers are now able to access and incorporate more information about vendors and products early in their buying process, so vendors will be expected to use all of the tools at their disposal to understand their prospects, and address their specific issues rather continuing with obsolete one-size-fits-all marketing practices.
Note: this post was originally published on the WebMarketCentral blog in November 2009.