Testing... the most critical, ongoing process for your applications.

December 17, 2014

Hello,

Quality assurance testing has to be one of the most important aspects to your application development process.  Actually, software testing spans well beyond just the development process; as it is essential to ensure that your products, systems, infrastructure, etc. is working (an continues to work) at peak efficiency.  If there are errors and bugs that are left unnoticed, it can be a recipe for disaster.

All of our businesses are now completely reliant on multiple forms of technology.  Our infrastructure, business intelligence applications, our HR information systems, accounting, etc. are all automated.  For some of us, our product and services consist of business intelligence and mobile applications.  Therefore, we are supporting ourselves and our clients through our technology.

If our businesses are so dependent on technology, doesn't it make sense for us to ensure it runs correctly?

Astir has a long list of quality assurance testing services that can help ensure that your IT environment runs perfectly...  because if you don't have ongoing testing for your applications and products, then it is just a matter of time before something goes wrong.

Astir can provide on-site, off-site, and off-shore quality assurance testing services that are customized to your exact needs.  We can provide you with an individual technical resource, a team, or even take full ownership of a testing project.  Whatever your needs are, Astir has the correct fit for you.

Give me a call at 908-279-8670 ext. 716 and we can discuss your QA testing needs!

Best Regards,

Adam Moltisanti

Manager, Marketing and Vendor Relations

IT Staffing, Outsourcing, QA Testing , , ,

Account Based Marketing for a B2B Niche Marketer

October 22, 2014

Below is a whitepaper that discusses Account Based Marketing for niche marketers.  It can also be viewed at: Modern Marketing 101

Abstract:

In an effort to demonstrate impact to business, marketers need a methodology for measuring marketing campaign influence on the sales funnel and revenue.  In order to accomplish this task, two marketing professionals (one from a healthcare technology firm, and one from a marketing and sales analysis firm) worked together in order to shift the marketing campaign perspective to account based marketing, and develop a reporting engine that matches marketing campaign data with sales funnel revenue data.  The resulting reports enabled a true measurement of marketing campaigns influence from the perspective of the sales funnel data.  The measurement showed a significant increase in sales funnel activity for accounts that interacted with marketing campaigns.


Marketers look to drive customer engagement from “brand to demand.”  Traditional marketing efforts look to drive leads to the sales department; and traditional measures include client interaction within both online and offline environments.  This leads to a unique set of challenges for marketing professionals, as they are unable to provide a clear measurement of impact to the sales funnel… which is the exact metric executives demand.  This creates an ongoing struggle for marketing departments who have to demonstrate their organizational worth to stakeholders.

For our specific situation, this challenge was compounded by several factors.  The solutions we provide to customers are quite complex and the average sales cycle is approximately 18 months.  Additionally, operating in a niche market forced us to view leads as interactions within key decision making groups in a finite number of accounts.  This translated into constructing marketing campaigns that focus on the groups who drive the decision making process rather than the hundreds or thousands of new leads that come in from new businesses.

 


 This represented the first major challenge we faced, as this was a paradigm shift to Account-Based Marketing.  The focus needed to shift to account interactions; consisting of interactions by decision making groups rather than individual contacts.  Marketing strategies were adjusted and marketing campaigns and programs were designed to foster account level interaction throughout the buying cycle.

Once these new programs and campaigns were in place, the second major challenge emerged.  The current measurement methodologies in place needed to change in order to reflect account level engagement.  This new measurement must evaluate the number of accounts and key decision making groups who were participating in marketing programs, campaigns, and events.  Measuring in this fashion would provide a more holistic perspective when compared with measuring email campaign open and click-through rates by the hundreds.


The final, and arguably most difficult, challenge is one that is shared by most marketers: how to measure and demonstrate the influence these new marketing campaigns had on the buying cycle.  This challenge was quite complex, as there was a recent implementation of a customized SalesForce instance that enabled sale velocity measurement.  Ultimately, executives and stakeholders wanted to see how the efforts of the marketing department were impacting sales, including number of closures and velocity from a solutions perspective.

In order to architect a new measurement methodology that would demonstrate the influence of marketing campaigns on the sales funnel, the marketing and sales departments collaborated to identify the following list of questions:


  •         Who within our target organizations were responding to our programs, campaigns, and events?
  •         What solutions where they interested in?
  •         What marketing activities and programs caused them to engage?
  •         What sales and/or opportunities could be attributed to our marketing efforts?
  •         Did interaction at an account level impact the number of opportunities for a particular product?
  •         Did interaction at an account level impact the velocity of individual sales opportunities?


       Those marketers who have implemented Marketing Automation Systems may feel that these questions are easily answered.  These complex applications enable measurement at a high level, including interactions by campaign, trends, etc.  These applications also enable information sharing between marketing and sales, so that available data can be leveraged during the sales cycle.  This is made more efficient if there is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system (such as SalesForce) integrated into the Marketing Automation Platform.

 


However, in our case, these challenges were beyond the capabilities of most Marketing Automation Systems.  We needed to measure marketing campaign and program influence at the account level for their products and solutions.  Given the aforementioned definition of account level measurements, this was not possible through usage of the available Marketing Automation Systems and CRM platforms since they record at the individual contact level. 


The reporting demands coming from executives also created another set of complexities in regards to opportunity tracking and velocity.  Most Marketing Automation Systems look at velocity and opportunity tracking at a very high level.  Executives desired to look at campaign influence from a solutions perspective; isolating the exact products targeted by a campaign.  Other Marketing Automation Systems will show collateral solutions information:  I.E.  Marketing campaign A will be measured as to the impact to all solutions, even though it was designed to market product A only.  Isolating the solution set will allow for extremely targeted marketing campaign evaluation.


In order to demonstrate the efficacy of the marketing efforts on the buying cycle, a new data management and reporting process was needed.  This task required a high level of data analytic expertise.  Our organizations worked closely in order to determine a set of business rules for the creation of a new reporting engine.  This reporting engine is capable of combining, cleaning, and housing data from multiple sources, creating a singular environment where it can be retrieved and manipulated.  Additionally, this reporting engine would then apply the complex business rules needed in order to create detailed reports and dashboards.

 

Due to the complexity and depth of the measurements desired by executives and stakeholders, the reporting output is a combination of manual and systemic analysis.  Complex dashboards are developed through a joint effort of our two organizations.  These dashboards are designed to measure how the account level interactions of individual marketing campaigns and programs influence the number and velocity of sale. 

 

In order to understand the complexity of the reporting capable through the new reporting engine, it is imperative to understand the workflow.  Initially, a “baseline report” would be created for each marketing campaign or program.  This baseline would identify the number and types of sales opportunities currently in the funnel for the individual accounts and solutions targeted by that marketing effort. 

 

By creating this baseline, marketers are now able to identify several distinct items.  First, this baseline is designed to isolate the solutions that are specifically targeted by that marketing effort, and identify existing sales opportunities.  By identifying existing sales opportunities, we can identify potential solution gaps for individual accounts (referred to as “Whitespace.”)  Identifying existing sales opportunities also enables the measurement of new sales opportunities generated, as well as the value and velocity of all sales opportunities associated with that marketing effort.  Finally, by benchmarking the individual solutions marketed by a campaign, a more focused measurement can be applied.

 

Next, there are a number of different, complex business rules that are applied to this data that determine exactly how to track, what to track, and the duration of tracking for individual marketing campaigns and programs.  These business rules are agreed upon by sales, sales support, and product marketing; and can evolve to match the specifics of a marketing campaign or to satiate executive requirements.  The marketing department used these reports to understand how marketing campaigns, programs, and elements impacted individual accounts and their sales opportunities.

 

As this new reporting structure was rolled out into the marketing and sales environment, there was a request from executives to understand an even higher level of marketing campaign impact.  To this point, the new reporting engine was being used to develop dashboards corresponding with individual marketing efforts.  Executives were so pleased with the level of detail that was provided; they wished to understand the overall impact of how all marketing efforts affected the entire sales funnel.  This resulted in a unique scenario.

Given the size of the niche market operated in, the vast scope of the marketing efforts, and the types and numbers of products/solutions marketed there is a high probability of overlap in the accounts and solutions targeted by marketing campaigns. Therefore, the same or similar sales opportunities could appear in multiple marketing campaign reports.  In order to view an overall marketing impact report, an additional report structure was needed.  A marketing campaign “roll-up” report was created, which utilized an even more complex set of business rules.  This report combines all marketing campaigns, and eliminates any redundancies to present only the unique sales opportunities for the appropriate accounts impacted by marketing efforts.

 

The structure of the reports provided the Marketing and Sales Departments with a tremendous amount of actionable information. These reports were run for individual marketing campaigns, programs, and events; as well as overall impact of all marketing efforts. Once these reports are generated by the reporting engine, additional manual analysis is applied through a joint effort of our organizations to create complex marketing dashboards.  The types of data addressed include:

 

  •        Number of accounts touched by the marketing campaign
  •        Number of accounts that interacted with the marketing campaign
  •        Number of sales opportunities per account prior to the marketing campaign
  •        Number of new sales opportunities per account generated by the marketing campaign
  •        Number of sales opportunities per account that have changed stage after the marketing campaign
  •        Number of closed-won sales opportunities per account after the marketing campaign
  •        Sales funnel stage per sales opportunity, per account prior to the marketing campaign
  •        Sales funnel stage per sales opportunity, per account after to the marketing campaign
  •        Booking and In-Year value of sales opportunities per account prior to the marketing campaign
  •        Booking and In-Year value of new sales opportunities per account generated by the marketing campaign
  •        Booking and In-Year value of sales opportunities per account that have changed stage after the marketing campaign
  •        Booking and In-Year value of closed-won sales opportunities per account after the marketing campaign

       

These measurements allow for a unique evaluation of marketing campaigns.  Marketing efforts can now be viewed as to their impact to specific accounts and/or solutions in the following ways:

  • Increase in sales
  • Velocity of sales
  • Increase in new opportunities
  • Value of sales
  • Value of opportunities
  • Etc.

       

The marriage of marketing campaign, sales, and campaign interaction data also enables a measurement of campaign influence between accounts that interacted with a marketing campaign and those who were merely touched by the campaign.  These reports finally allowed for the marketing department to truly measure and demonstrate their influence on the sales funnel.

 

One of the most powerful measures capable through the use of this new reporting system is the ability to look at marketing campaign influence of accounts that interact versus those that are only touched by a campaign.  Once several months’ worth of these new reports was compiled, trends began to emerge.  Measuring accounts that interacted with marketing campaigns and programs showed a significant impact to the sales funnel.  Below are some highlights from the marketing efforts: 


  •          Accounts with campaign interactions were approximately 20% more likely to have opportunities in the sales funnel
  •          Accounts with campaign interactions were approximately 16% more likely to have sales opportunities with positive movement
  •          Accounts with campaign interactions were approximately 15% more likely to generate new sales opportunities
  •          Accounts with campaign interactions were 11% more likely to have closed-won sales opportunities

       

The above findings represent just a fraction of the actionable data made available by shifting to this new measurement methodology.  The new reporting engine and the resulting dashboards have enabled marketers to fully demonstrate their impact to funnel and return on investment (ROI.) The shift to Account-Based Marketing allows for marketing campaigns to be highly targeted and truly nurture individual sales through the buying cycle. This type of trend information allow for our marketers to predict the impact of their campaign against these percentages


As it has become more prevalent among customers to make purchasing decisions by “committee,” it is this group of individuals that must be monitored within an account.  It is their interactions that marketers are now delivering to the sales team as leads; and it is the holistic impact to the individual account and sales funnel that is measured.

Making the most of your data

August 07, 2014

Hello,

There is a tremendous amount of data available to your organization.  Every action you, your team, your customers, your prospects, etc. take generates data that can be invaluable for your business strategies.  This information can be influential to your processes and workflows, as well as how you market your brand and interact with customers.  Your organization needs to take full advantage of this data; because your competition definitely is.

There are multiple roadblocks that can keep you from accessing this information.  For some organizations, the problem is a matter of collecting and housing that data.  Knowing that there is data available to you, and even knowing how to use that data, is meaningless until you are able to properly gather, cleanse, and house it.  This step may not be very easy, as collection methods can range depending on your target audience and the types of information needed.  Additionally, as the volume of information increases, the likelihood of redundancies, incomplete, and bad data increase; making it abundantly necessary to perform both initial cleansing and routine maintenance.  This is compounded by the need for a system to store, manipulate, and retrieve this information easily and efficiently.

Then there is the problem of what to do with your data.  The knowledge of how to slice apart, massage, and interpret data is not always readily accessible.  Sometimes the problem is as simple as where to start.  you may have access to a ton of data, but have no clue what types of measurements you need to fully leverage this information.  Other times, it is a matter of not knowing how to perform the measurements. Certain types of data analysis, such as median and average measurement are simple; but when you need to look at intervening and mediating variables through the use of regression analysis, you may not have the knowledge or tools.  

 

Finally, there is the problem of visualization and demonstration.  In order to demonstrate the conclusions and insights drawn from your data to stakeholders, you need the right visuals.  You need to understand how exactly to show data in the correct formats in order for your audiences to easily understand and digest your findings.  Again, the difficulties in this area can be both knowledge share and access to tools.  Either way, unless you have the best charts, graphs, and tables, you may not be able to properly convey impact.

Astir understands these business problems, and specializes in custom designing data solutions.  We have products and services that can help you gather, cleanse, house, retrieve, analyze, and display your data.  We work closely with clients in order to understand their data and reporting needs, and custom design solutions that help leverage data in order to improve businesses.

Give me a call today (908)279-8670 x716 and we can discuss how Astir can help you make the most of your data.

Thanks!

Adam Moltisanti

Manager, Marketing and Vendor Relations

Astir IT, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing , , , , , ,

Using Twitter for Business - 5 Best Practices

July 16, 2014

Hello,

Twitter is one of the largest and most popular social media platforms; and holds exciting potential for marketing your brand.   With the high volume of existing and prospective customers, a business needs to understand the best practices for Twitter.  Below, Astir has outlined five of the best marketing practices for optimizing your corporate Twitter profile.

1 - Follow... and be followed.

Every business is concerned about how far their message will resonate within social media platforms.  On Twitter, the reach of your brand can be measured by the number of followers your company attracts.  Followers are an excellent indicator of how attention grabbing your Twitter profile is.  While there are many theories behind gaining followers, one of the simplest tactics to employ is to be the first to follow.  This is an often overlook strategy, but following those with similar messages, interests, and solution sets can open the floodgates for your Twitter profile to be noticed... and followed.

This is a very straight forward, and eloquent concept that is akin to complementing someone.  Complimenting someone else's brand will often lead to them complimenting yours.  Following like minded Twitter profiles can open a window to prospective and current customers, potential partners, etc.

2 - It's all in the Headline.

The Headline is an incredibly useful tool on twitter; and the first segment of your text the target population will read.  The use of attention grabbing and entertaining headlines are a great way to attract readers to your content.  Having headlines that are not only relevant to your brand, but relevant to your target populations can help you interact and connect with readers.  Some great examples of headlines that are sure to grab attention include lists, information and advice from influential figures, and "how to" articles.

3 - Look the Part.

There are occasions where having the best content may not always have the desired effect.  The visual elements of your corporate Twitter profile are as important as your content; and are critical to success.  Make sure you have filled out your profile bio, and make sure that your profile picture and cover photo is representative of your brand.  The visual elements of a Twitter profile are often the first thing noticed by readers; so they must be clean and precise.  These visual elements also encompass the content of your Tweets, which should also be concise.  Utilize tools such as www.tinyurl.com to shorten links... saving space for the ever important hash tag.

 4 - Define your Goals.

Like any other aspect of your business, social media usage must have a proper strategy.  The first step is to define what it is you wish to accomplish.  This may include the marketing of a specific product, the increase of website traffic, or strengthening the awareness of your brand.  You should establish your tone as professional, casual (funny when appropriate,) and continuously adjust based upon the response of your target audience.

5 - Just keep Tweeting.

The Twitter social media platform is unique in how it delivers content.  Twitter users can offer followers small amounts of content at a high frequency.  The ideal frequency has been listed as around 3-4 tweets per day, in addition to responding to external interactions.  Tweeting 3 to 4 times a day can help you spread your content in the most efficient manner possible; and help capture the attention of a large number of twitter users.

Astir IT, SEO , , ,

Applications that Streamline your Workflows

April 29, 2014
Astir IT Solutions, Inc. specializes in providing clients with technology services and solutions that answer their unique business requirements.
 
One of our clients had the distinct need to trend, analyze, and report on their customer data.  In order to fulfill this clients' unique business requirements, we custom built the Customer Benchmark Survey.  This innovative application gathers, warehouses, and trends customer data.
 
Astir was able to take this application to the next level, and designed an automatic recommendations engine that provided the client with a road-map  linking customer needs to client products.  This point and click report leverages powerful analytics, and can be placed in sales personnel hands for rapid follow up.
 
Astir IT has a full range of technology services, and also places expert IT professionals at client locations, supporting client IT projects.
 
Give me a call at (908) 279-8670 ext. 716 so we can discuss how Astir can help your organization.
 
Best Regards,
 
Adam Moltisanti
Manager, Marketing and Vendor Relations
 

Application Development, Recent Posts, Software Development, Web Development , , , ,

Look to Astir for your IT staffing needs

March 12, 2014
Do you have a need for Contract Programmers, Testers, Project Managers or Business Analysts for any IT projects?
 
We have 250 W2 consultants and offer nationwide contract staff augmentation services with LOCAL U.S. TALENT available immediately!
 
We can provide contract staff for the following areas:
  • .NET and Java Development
  • Oracle and SAP Development
  • Informatica and Business Objects Development
  • Software and Quality Assurance Testers
  • Network and Infrastructure Administrators
  • Etc.
 
Using Astir IT contract IT resources will enable you to bring on the IT staff you need without the costs associated with full-time employees.
 
Bring on our IT contractors for the duration of your IT projects, for part or all of your technology projects.
 
Astir can provide you with expert IT resources at any location, across the U.S.
 
Please contact me to discuss any IT need you may have. I can be reached at nicholasp@astirit.com or 908-279-8670 ext. 717. I look forward to speaking with you
 
Best Regards,
 
Nicholas Picerni
Account Executive
Astir IT Solutions, Inc.

Astir IT, Consulting, IT Staffing , , ,

Astir still needs candidates for the 2015 H1 quota

February 19, 2014

Hello,

 

Astir IT Solutions, Inc. is still looking for candidates for the 2015 H1 Quota. We are offering H1 sponsorship to experienced individuals, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.

 

Astir has a high volume of client projects, and are looking to bring on highly skilled IT consultants.  Qualified candidates will hold a minimum of a Bachelors’ Degree in a technical field, with skills including, but not limited to:

 

·         Java

·         .NET

·         Oracle

·         Project Manager

·         SQL

·         Business Analyst

·         Data Analyst

·         Automation QA

·         SAP

·         Business Objects

·         Informatica

·         Etc.

 

We are providing H1 sponsorship to individuals holding the following visa statuses:

 

·         F1 OPT

·         L1

·         L2

·         F2

·         H4

 

Astir is offering competitive compensation packages that include a comprehensive suite of benefits.  Our consistent and profitable growth rate, in conjunction with our high volume of client projects and ongoing training opportunities has given us the reputation as a preferred employer.  Astir is an EEO Employer and an E-Verify Company.

 

If you are looking for H1 sponsorship and meet the criteria listed above, please contact us at contact@astirit.com or (908) 279-8670 ext. 728.

Astir IT, H1 Quota, IT Staffing, Recent Posts , ,

Astir can fulfill your IT needs

February 05, 2014

Technology has become a prerequisite for doing business.  You need the right hardware, software, networks, applications, and technology environment in order to conduct everyday business.  Yet, this is only half the battle, as you need skilled experts to manage it all.

Unfortunately, it can be cost prohibitive to bring on full-time personnel to manage your technology landscape.  IT consulting offers an elegant solution to this problem.  Astir IT Solutions, Inc. can provide you with the skilled IT experts you need, without the cost of bringing on a new, full-time resource.  We can also manage your projects from soup to nuts, ensuring your critical projects are delivered correctly and on-time.

I want to take this opportunity to introduce my colleague, Nick Picerni.  Nick is an Account Executive here at Astir, and is the person you would want to contact if you have a pressing IT need.

 

If you have a technology project you need supported, don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We will design a custom solution that fits your needs and budget exactly.  Nick can be reached at nicholasp@astirit.com or 908-279-8670 ext. 717.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards,

Adam Moltisanti

Manager, Marketing and Vendor Relations

Astir IT Solutions, Inc.

Consulting, IT Staffing, Outsourcing, Recent Posts , , , ,

Astir is sponsoring F1 OPT candidates!

January 23, 2014

 

If you are on F1 OPT status and are looking for a reputable company to sponsor your H1 visa, Astir IT Solutions, Inc. can help. 

 

 

Astir IT Solutions, Inc. is an established IT consulting and software development firm with over 10 years of experience.  We have over 250 W2 employees placed at client locations across the U.S., many of whom are supporting Fortune 500 companies.

 

 

Astir is offering Free H1 Sponsorship for F1 OPT candidates.  If you are interested or want to learn more, please contact us today at: contact@astirit.com.

 

 

With the exponential grown Astir has had over the past few years, we are in need of qualified individuals to support our client projects.  Ideal candidates are on F1 OPT status, and have a minimum of a Bachelors’ Degree in a technical area with skills including, but not limited to:

 

 

Java J2ee, .Net, Oracle Developer/DBA, Project Manager, SQL Server, Business Analyst, Data Analyst, DW/ETL Developer, Automation QA, Windows Administrator, SAN Admin, SAP, etc.

 

 

Astir is also offering referral bonuses to anyone who refers family, friends, classmates, or coworkers who are on F1 OPT and they join Astir.

 

 

We offer competitive compensation packages, including a comprehensive suite of benefits.  We offer numerous training opportunities for you to increase your skills, and provide resume assistance and interview coaching. 

 

 

Astir is an EEO Employer and an E-Verify Company.

 

 

If you are interested, please contact us at contact@astirit.com or (908) 279-8670 ext. 728.

 

Blog, BlogEngine.NET, Consulting, H1 Quota, IT Staffing, Recent Posts , , , , , ,

Astir IT is screening candidates for the 2015 H1 Quota

January 15, 2014

Astir IT Solutions, Inc. is gearing up for the 2015 H1 Quota.  Every year, the H1 quota opens up on April 1, and Astir is looking to sponsor experienced individuals.

Astir has grown exponentially over the past few years, and we need to hire the best and brightest in order to support the many unique internal projects, and lucrative client projects we have.  These projects, coupled with the comprehensive suite of benefits we provide, has gained us the reputation as a preferred employer.

We are looking for experienced individuals who hold the minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in a technical area, and have one of the following visa statuses:

  • F1 OPT
  • L1
  • L2
  • F2
  • H4

 

 

 

We provide free H1 processing and look for individuals who have skills including, but not limited to: Java J2ee, .Net, Oracle Developer/DBA, Project Manager, SQL Server, Business Analyst, Data Analyst, DW/ETL Developer, Automation QA, Windows Administrator, SAN Admin, SAP, etc.

Astir IT Solutions, Inc. offers competitive compensation packages that include comprehensive benefits.  The consistent, profitable growth rate we have experienced enables us to provide our employees with the stability and support they need for career growth.  We also offer a variety of training opportunities that help our employees expand their skill sets and increase their employment options. 

Astir is an EEO Employer and an E-Verify Company.

If you are interested, please contact us at contact@astirit.com or (908) 279-8670 ext. 728.

Best Regards,

Adam Moltisanti

Manager, Marketing and Vendor Relations

Astir IT, Blog, BlogEngine.NET, Consulting, IT Staffing, Recent Posts, Software Development, Web Design, Web Development, H1 Quota , , ,