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.

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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. 

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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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