The Curious Case of The Constantly Questioned Marketing Department

The Curious Case of The Constantly Questioned Marketing Department

(This post was written by Emily Salus, marketing extraordinaire with experience driving successful programs, developing campaign strategies, and aligning with sales to drive measurable growth.)

A friend recently told me that the company he works for has frozen marketing hires because the finance department wants marketing to prove its value before adding more headcount. Not long after, another friend let me know that the North American branch of his marketing department had recently been reorganized.

These things simply don’t happen when marketing produces pipeline — and can prove it.

It’s been almost a decade since I started working for marketing departments that assessed their team according to pipeline created instead of number of leads. And yet surprisingly, a majority of businesses tend to lag on this. The result is that marketing — often considered one of the most important departments in data-driven organizations — still gets cut, cut back, or questioned in too many cases because ROI isn’t being (or can’t be) measured.

If a marketing department has the ability to analyze and derive insights from their metrics, the tough questions—what’s marketing doing to support company goals, where and why they’re spending money, and why they should continue to receive budget—simply don’t get asked. If that marketing department is aligned with sales, delivering the qualified leads that sales needs, and supporting sales in account-based marketing efforts, the sales team is absolutely going to support marketing initiatives. But beyond that, they’ll also press the argument that they cannot do their jobs and reach their goals without marketing – and that marketing budget should therefore be increased instead of cut. With sales and marketing working together as the revenue-generating powerhouse of a company, the finance department, executive team, and board have no reason to reorganize marketing, freeze hires, or cut budget.

How do you get here? It of course starts with metrics, but then you have to know what to do with the numbers. You can have any variety of results, say, “Our average email open rate was 20%!” But if you don’t know if that’s trending up or down, or if opens are indicative of moving leads towards opportunities instead of just informing people who will never buy, then they are irrelevant and you might as well not even bother.

Your metrics only matter if they help you make data-driven decisions about investments that maintain, increase, or accelerate pipeline.

Your first step is to determine which questions you need to answer in order to make good decisions. For example: Which channels add more people to your database? Which channels add more leads that become opportunities to your database? Which topics and programs are informing prospects and helping them to become customers? Is your definition of MQL accurate, or are too many not being converted by sales even if they are marketing qualified? Where is your pipeline coming from? If your sales cycle averages nine months, how many leads do you need to add today in order to meet your sales goals in three quarters?

With a fully optimized and measured funnel and metrics for your more tactical efforts, you can answer these questions. But without them, you can expect your department and budget to be constantly questioned.

Marketing Influence Explosion: The Emerging CMO

Marketing Influence Explosion: The Emerging CMO

Before There Were CMOs

My first marketing job was for a database company that had no viable CRM. In today’s digital marketing age it’s almost hard to believe, but less than twenty years ago most companies didn’t have one. As marketers we were largely flying blind, and everyone knew it. Generating leads could pretty much be summed up as a bunch of tradeshows, seminars and direct marketing, with a scattering of fun parties in between. Marketing leaders were usually brand and corporate marketers.

Lead management was also kind of ridiculous. Usually we knew just two things about a lead: the date we got the name and the first activity. Then we pushed leads straight to sales. Sometimes we knew the date it converted to an opportunity but in most organizations there was no rule for conversion, so time-challenged sales teams would just create net new opps, erasing the previous lead data. And nobody really cared, certainly not the heads of sales, who were focused on one thing: getting the deals done. And you couldn’t blame them; marketing then was not what it is today. The concept of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) didn’t even exist.

And Then We Got Data

When everyone started living more digital lives and marketing got data, the opportunity just exploded. We still do many of the same things but our ability to nurture people, predict outcomes and forecast business is significantly more effective now, and the role of the marketing organization has grown.

The difference is threefold: (1) the nature of how people gather information is changing and discovery is largely self directed; (2) we have a ton of data and more each day; and (3) innovation gives us new marketing tools each year, growing from about 100 in 2010 to almost 2,000 in 2015. This means we can better track behaviors and outcomes, and use those insights to cultivate people over time from raw lead status through win, loss and renewal.

The Emerging CMO

Having all this data means everyone ends up knowing more, from the most junior analyst to the CEO. But data in the wrong hands can be misleading. So increasingly, marketing—the team tasked with building the infrastructure, designing the data and workflows, and ultimately, understanding how everything on the front-end is working—are providing the key insights, which has increased the CMO’s influence across the whole organization.

  1. Today’s buyer is largely gathering information online. Whereas we used to think of sales as a selling process, we’ve know now it’s a buying process and the buyer is in control. By nurturing people from before they even know what they’re problems are, we educate them on our products and value while providing a framework from which they can launch active sales discussions with us and other vendors. Marketing drives this extended process.
  2. Deep exposure to the prospect and customer experience means CMO has a unique perspective on the state of the business, and can directly influence improvements to the bottom line: reducing sales and maintenance costs, increasing margins, driving repeatability.
  3. The CMO is increasingly charged with ensuring the organization has the right marketing and sales technologies, that they’re integrated and that they work—which is a departure from how functional IT was managed before. So while in the past the CMO mostly focused forward and outward, building interest, the emerging CMO also needs to understand technology and tech operations, and in smaller companies manage a significant IT program, including framing the program, acquiring and running the technologies, and designing critical data flows. In many organizations this includes the CRM.
  4. Cold calling is over. It’s smarter for sales to reach out to people who show growing interest than to work fresh names we know nothing about. And now that we can cultivate people and track their activity, by the time we push leads to sales, about 80% of the buying process is complete. Since marketing now formally controls more of the buying cycle, sales has time to cultivate opportunities that have a chance.
  5. Marketing contribution to making money (selling!) has been formally acknowledged. An anecdotal survey of my colleagues in tech marketing revealed that marketing is now tasked with delivering 70-100% of new business pipeline, which is the primary growth indicator for most companies and also the balance of revenue for earlier-stage companies. In effect, the company’s sales forecast depends heavily on the CMO knowing what’s up and getting it right. This has evolved marketing from a cost center to an acknowledged revenue generator, elevating the authority of the CMO. The CEO and board now look to the CMO for insights about the state of the broader business.

It’s Just the Beginning

It’s a long way from the days of marketing with no database, when there was no CMO role and we hovered around the top of the funnel, and success was based on top-of-funnel metrics like share of voice, event attendees and lead scans. Marketing’s presence in strategic discussions then was rare. Now that we can engage with people as they navigate their buying experience, everything’s changed—and as we get even better tools and more useful information, our opportunity and accountability will continue to expand, increasing CMO authority and marketing influence even more.

About Rebecca White
Rebecca is an experienced marketer with a passion for demand generation and content marketing, and delivering fast, sustained pipeline for high-growth companies. She’s has deep expertise building inbound and outbound demand generation programs and engines, with a focus on marketing strategy, content strategy, campaign design, marketing programs, SEO, PPC, channel marketing and marketing operations. Learn more about Rebecca on LinkedIn.

Why Marketing Technology Is a Double-Edged Sword

Why Marketing Technology Is a Double-Edged Sword

(This post was written by Neha Jewalikar, Content Marketing Specialist at Radius Intelligence.)

Just over 2 years ago, most CMOs relied on two technologies to build their marketing campaigns: a customer relationship management system coupled with a marketing automation pl
atform. As of Q1 2015, there are 1876 different marketing technologies available to marketers.

Typically these technologies promise to increase efficiency, expedite workflow, and increase the value of data. However, in most cases they fail to integrate with previous tech
nologies, require substantial onboarding time, and often produce mass amounts of data that overwhelm marketers.

Marketing technology also tends to be exceedingly expensive, and can require large portion of your marketing budget. We reviewed 7 of the most popular technologies and estimate
d how much it would cost you to invest in all of them.

Lead Scoring

What is it? Predictive lead scoring helps sales reps prioritize prospective buyers so they can focus exclusively on the leads likely to purchase their products.
How much would it cost me? A typical lead scoring platform would run you around $4,000 a month.

Marketing Operations Services

What is it? Marketing Ops helps organizations manage their data to fuel marketing campaigns and advance the growth of their sales pipeline.
How much would it cost me? 75 cents per contact. Typically you can plan on pulling data for around 100 to 500 contacts per month.

Web Personalization

What is it? Software that uses big data and predictive analytics to gather information about prospects while they’re still anonymous (they haven’t yet been added to your CRM).
How much would it cost me? You can expect to spend around $2,000 a month.

Predictive Analytics

What is it? Predictive Analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques such as machine learning and data mining to analyze historical facts to make predictions about the future.

How much would it cost me? Expect to spend $1,500 per user every month.

Customer Data Platforms

What is it? David Raab defines CDP’s as:”A marketer-controlled system that supports external marketing execution based on persistent, cross-channel customer data. Many CDPs provide predictive modeling or best-treatment recommendations that go well beyond the storage functions of a basic data warehouse.”
How much would it cost me? You can expect to spend around $8,000 a month.

Customer Success

What is it? Customer Success platforms help support teams proactively manage customers through early warning signs.
How much would it cost me? A standard customer success platform would cost you somewhere around $4,000 a month.

Sales Intelligence

What is it? SI helps salespeople keep up to date with clients, prospect data, and drive business.

How much would it cost me? Expect to spend roughly $200 a month per account.

According to our estimates, it would cost you $20,075 per month to invest in every single one of the following platforms. That’s $240,900 a year exclusively on technology.

Rather than investing in a set of disparate solutions that only improve one specific marketing function, marketers must wait for an end-to-end solution that encompasses all 7 a
ttributes. We call this solution Marketing Intelligence.

Marketing Intelligence is a technology layer that encompasses all seven of the above functions and integrates seamlessly into your existing technology stack. It reduces the tim
e spent on researching new technologies and takes only a fraction of your marketing budget.

Will 2015 be the year companies build one?

About Neha Jewalikar and Radius
Neha is a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media Manager at Radius. She specializes in building engaged online communities and sparking conversations about business-to-business marketing trends. To learn more about how Radius is changing the way B2B marketers understand, target, and acquire customers, visit www.radius.com.

Trendspotting: 2015 — The Year of Data-Driven Sales and Marketing

Trendspotting: 2015 — The Year of Data-Driven Sales and Marketing

(This post was originally published on the DiscoverOrg Blog.)

As we reach the end of the current year, our eyes turn to the New Year and contemplate what it might bring. DiscoverOrg recently pulled together a panel of three innovative CEOs to discuss data-driven marketing and its impacts on the sales process. Our own CEO, Henry Schuck, was joined by two others, Craig Harris of HG Data and Nadim Hossain of BrightFunnel. Below are some of the most important developments they anticipate in 2015.

The Rise of Predictive Analytics

Nadim Hossain of BrightFunnel anticipates that lead scoring—the science of “What are your best bets?”—will give way to models that can deliver even more intelligence to the sales process. Lead scoring currently tracks activity between a prospect and an organization and tries to predict—at the very first stage—what is going to turn into an opportunity. Hossain notes that in the future these analytics will go much further, “looking at the whole funnel to understand how things are going to move from stage to stage all the way to revenue—really predicting the pipeline and the revenue in a way that marketers can actually react.  “The future of predictive analytics in marketing is not just predictive, but really being prescriptive.

Many predictive analytics tools are currently being developed that will be available both as stand-alone and integrations into popular CRM platforms. Henry Schuck of DiscoverOrg points out, “Salesforce recently bought RelateIQ, which was basically a CRM that was built around analytics. I think that they’re realizing salespeople want to be able to see which prospects convert best and how that translates to other prospects who might follow the same pattern.” The tools are designed to help salespeople map out those high-likelihood prospects and use that template to identify more high-likelihood prospects. The process of identifying the best prospects will require less guesswork and sales efforts will be more effective as analytical tools become more widely available.

Craig Harris of HG Data anticipates “more and more toolsets that enable large and even small companies to build these predictive models themselves. This is a very exciting time for sales and predictive analytics.”

Shift in the Marketing Role

This year, we have seen an even more dramatic shift in the marketing department’s increased role in both sales and IT processes. The primary driver behind the change is the data-driven nature of sales and marketing today, pushing marketing to be more technical and analytical in nature.

To this point, Nadim Hossain said, “Business-to-business marketers are ultimately going to be much more data-driven than even business-to-consumer. What has happened in the last five years or so is that marketing automation platforms have matured. With this basic foundation of tools in place, B2B marketers can take it to the next level, integrating new advanced tools. The time for data-driven sales and marketing is here.”

What this shift brings us to is an evolution of what the marketing department even looks like, who is hired and what they do. Henry Schuck says, “Marketing is becoming more of a technical position than it is an artistic or creative position. I think a technical background is critically important and will continue to become even more important. Marketers are coming from math and engineering backgrounds now.”

Hossain adds, “What you’re seeing is the rise of Marketing Operations. A trend I am seeing is that some companies are even combining sales and marketing operations, with the marketing operations team responsible for forecasting and prediction. Some companies are calling this team a revenue operations team, or revenue marketing.”

The Importance of Integrated Toolsets

One issue that organizations have been facing (that is possibly going to get worse before it gets better) is being able to compile intelligent data and effectively apply analytics to produce usable intelligence about sales and prospects.

It is essential to choose tools that not only integrate between the systems used by sales and marketing teams, but also that fuel intelligent conversations with prospects. Henry Shuck points out, “Complete data in a well-integrated system will go beyond low-value commodity lead information (name, main business phone, email). Predictive analytics applied to your data will put you in front of your highest value prospects with the right solution at the right time. ” CRM systems populated with complete prospect data that includes sales triggers, events, insights and context (job functions, reporting structures, spending initiatives, online behavior) enables your sales people to be more effective in their prospecting efforts and more able to cut through the noise.

Harris points out, “Of course data-driven marketing is not a panacea. If not done right, it will create more problems than it solves. If you go down the data-driven marketing path, you need to make a long-term commitment to it: you need to hire the right talent; you need to populate the system with good data; and you need to understand how to measure efforts. Don’t get scared when you have your first couple of hiccups. We are at the forefront right now, and those that are really investing in data-driven marketing are the early adopters and you are helping to figure it out for the rest of them.”

Work Smarter, Not Harder in 2015

The amount of information available to sales and marketing teams this year (and even more so in 2015) is overwhelming. However, aligning the expertise of your marketing team to the technology available and integrating the information collected across platforms will set your organization up for success… and ahead of the curve in terms of adoption of such practices.

Hossain summed it up well: By implementing these systems to tame the data and get the most out of your efforts, “you’re getting the best leads, but also throughout the funnel you are shortening sales cycles, accelerating the velocity and increasing the deal size.”

To learn more about how predictive analytics can help your company connect marketing to revenue, prove ROI, and make more intelligent marketing decisions, watch a recording of the webinar, or schedule a BrightFunnel demo today. 

10 Stats That Will Change The Way You Think About Attribution

10 Stats That Will Change The Way You Think About Attribution

(This post was written by Amber Tiffany, Content Marketing Manager at Invoca.)

We all understand the importance of attribution. It’s how we prove our worth, justify bigger budgets, and hopefully earn that much needed raise. But unfortunately true multi-channel attribution is more like a unicorn than the marketing work horse it should be.

While there are powerful solutions that shed light on the customer journey, they weren’t designed to with phone conversation in mind. As soon as a prospect chooses to make a phone call, the attribution trail can be lost. Connect the dots from online engagement to phone conversation to sale is extremely challenging.

All your digital marketing training and tools have taught you to ignore the real world of human-to-human interaction. But it’s time to break free of that kind of thinking. Here are ten stats that will show you why phone calls can’t be ignored in digital attribution.

In a mobile world, attribution must account for offline touchpoints

  1. In 2013, 30 billion phone calls were made to businesses from mobile search alone. BIA/Kelsey expects this number to increase to 73 billion by 2018.
  2. 60% of mobile searchers say it is extremely important to call a business during the purchase phase (source: Google, The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase).
  3. 70% of mobile searchers have used the click to call button (source: Google, The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase).
  4. 76% of marketers want their marketing campaigns to drive more calls.

But marketers don’t have an offline call attribution strategy

  1. Only 13% of marketers say they use offline call management and tracking system (source: to MarketingSherpa, 2013  Marketing Analytics Benchmark Survey).
  2. Only 1% of marketers sat insight into offline marketing interactions in determining a marketing dataset’s usefulness according to MarketingSherpa.

And without call attribution, they can’t measure marketing performance, ROI, or optimize to drive more calls that turn into sales.

  1. 39% of marketers cannot effectively measure the revenue and costs for mobile marketing according to MarketingSherpa.
  2. 54% say their marketing teams never (or only sometimes) receive credit for inbound call leads and revenue.
  3. 68% of B2B marketers are unable to track inbound calls in their marketing automation and CRM system.
  4. 60% of B2B marketers don’t know which marketing campaigns drive inbound calls.

The customer journey is complex, spanning channels, devices, the digital and real world. It’s time to take a holistic approach to attribution and close the loop on all customer touchpoints.

About Amber Tiffany and Invoca
Amber bring her experience in lead generation and content strategy for both B2B and B2C organizations to her role as Content Marketing Manager at Invoca. Invoca helps the modern marketer drive inbound calls and turn them into sales. By bringing call intelligence to marketers and their existing marketing technology systems, Invoca’s platform delivers the visibility required to engage​ ​customers beyond the click.​ To learn more, visit www.invoca.com.

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