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.

Top 5 Marketo Revenue Analytics & Lead Lifecycle Best Practices: What I Learned from Advising Hundreds of Marketo Clients

Top 5 Marketo Revenue Analytics & Lead Lifecycle Best Practices: What I Learned from Advising Hundreds of Marketo Clients

Amongst the 500 odd or so clients I have worked with, each new Marketo customer I’ve interacted with has an equal degree of excitement to get their Marketo deployment to be a booming lead-generation machine coupled with the anxiety that follows of there being a ton of things to take care of (marketing campaigns, lead scoring, lead nurturing, lead lifecycle, communication to sales and the list goes on).

Reporting and Analytics invariably makes it to the list of top priorities too. However, most marketers I have worked with are keen on reflecting on how effective their campaign was in the short term. Often times, this is the demand generation manager, who is keen on immediately using Marketo for e-mail campaigns, let’s say, and wants to show quick results. Now one of the challenges with this approach is that the definition of effectiveness varies, depending on the various roles you speak to. The demand generation manager – the person using Marketo on a daily basis — might be more interested in knowing the number of people who responded to their campaign, while the CMO might be more interested in how the various Marketing programs are influencing your company’s top-line growth.

In an environment where the focus for companies is mostly on driving growth, the ultimate criteria for marketing effectiveness is how your marketing programs are influencing pipeline and revenues. Paradoxically, many Marketo users don’t set themselves up initially to do that (and it’s important to start off on the right foot, as you’ll see below).

With that in mind, no matter what your immediate priorities are (yes, there’s always a webinar that needs to be done, and there’s always that e-mail that needed to get out the door yesterday), here are things that every new customer must absolutely think about and implement right from Day 0 of getting their Marketo platform. Whether you have Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Analytics platform on not, the following list will get you off to a magical start for when you’re ready to do Revenue Cycle Analytics (And yes, every client at some point should definitely invest in revenue analytics – at least through RCA, or better yet, with a predictive analytics platform like BrightFunnel):

1) Define the Channels That Drive Your Demand Generation Efforts

Take a stock of the various ways in which you promote your business. That’s exactly what Channels are. At the highest level, a company always wants to know which marketing medium generated the most pipeline and revenue. Are Tradeshows working better for your company, or are your media partners more effective at generating the awareness, pipeline and revenue for your company? Do your webinars influence revenue? Are any of your Social Media promotions revenue generators?

Whatever these various drivers are, make a list of those. Think of Channels as the broadest category of Lead Sources you’d like to report on. Marketo does have a list of some great out of the box channels, but think of any others you might want to add to the list. Example: You might need to add Content Syndication, Social Media etc.

You’ll always have situations where you’re promoting a new partnership, or a product launch or a critical new product feature through various mediums, and in those cases, you will indeed setup multiple programs (1 program for each channel) for that single promotion.

Not every single e-mail blast you do should have the Channel of Email Blast. Some of these could be invitations to events, invitations to webinars, etc. These e-mails should be parts of Programs with Channels Events, Webinar respectively.
Thinking about and defining your initial list of channels will ultimately help you answer CMO-level questions regarding whether to spend your 2014 marketing budget on events or online ads. If you’re the CMO, give your team enough time to think through these issues, to give yourself the option of accurately measuring results later on.

2) Configure Program Membership and Program Success Rules and Triggers

This is a new concept for 95% of new Marketo clients I’ve spoken to, the most overlooked one, and the most critical component for getting accurate reporting on how your marketing programs are influencing pipeline and revenue. If there’s that 1 thing you should be doing right from the first day of having Marketo, it’s setting up your Program Membership and Program Successes diligently and accurately as much as possible. If you do not put in the effort initially, it will be much harder to measure marketing effectiveness later on.

Here’s why:

When Marketo calculates whether a program influenced pipeline and revenue generation, it takes into account the timing of whether someone achieved success in a program before an opportunity was created or whether someone achieved success in a program before the opportunity was marked as Closed-Won. If someone registers for a webinar, say, and then turn into opportunity, and later revenue – while that’s great, unless you defined webinar registration as a “success,” it won’t show up as having influenced that opportunity.

In other words: you can’t really take a crawl-run-walk approach with Marketo. When you start crawling – for example, sending your first webinar invitations – you have to also plan for eventually running (in this case, solving the CMO’s pain point of planning marketing investments).

Don’t worry, this is a bit counter-intuitive for most people! I myself have been guilty of not setting up campaigns to track program success, because there’s always that e-mail that needed to go out last week for a webinar that is just 5 days out, and the attitude is: “let’s come back later and setup the Program membership and Program success.” But guess what – that never really happens, you forget to do it, and it’s a costly mistake in a world where each marketing dollar needs to be accounted for.

Marketo does give you the ability to go back and “fix” your data. Here’s the catch: It’s easy to fix your data when you only have 5 leads who achieved success in a program. In that case, you can go ahead and identify the date when each of them met the success criteria and fix the success data for those leads. But imagine having to do that for 1000 leads who achieved success in a program, that too on various days. To keep things simple, you could always run a campaign to say that these 1000 leads achieved success on April 15th, 2013 but that’s again an estimation and not the most accurate representation of which date someone achieved success on. Having an accurate view of such dates is essential to accurately do any kind of marketing attribution.

To summarize, ensure you’re setting up campaigns in which you’re tracking Program Membership and Program success diligently without fail.

3) Think Through Your Lead Lifecycle

There’s a lot of varying opinions on at what point do you have the Lead Lifecycle discussion. Lead Lifecycle is essentially accounting for the various stages a lead goes through from it’s inception to when the opportunity on that record (contact) gets marked as Closed Won or Closed Lost. While the correct answer to this is that you should be having this discussion sooner rather than later, not having the perfect lead lifecycle built out is NOT a show stopper in your implementation plan of Marketo. Lead Lifecycle might be a 2 hour discussion if you’re a small company with all processes in place or it could take months if you’re a multi-billion dollar with complex products, teams and processes (because the hard part might not be whiteboarding the perfect lead-life cycle. The hard part is the 100s of your team members adhering to the process that you just white boarded).

4) Avoid Marketo-SFDC Reporting Discrepancies

Amongst the companies I have worked with where all of the above areas have been figured out, there’s always that challenge wherein the Salesforce.com reports are being compared with the Marketo reports and the numbers across the two platforms vary, thereby raising questions around the validity of the reports in Marketo. Typically, Salesforce.com has wider cross-functional adoption than Marketo, and in any case is where the bookings and revenue data resides, so it’s often seen as the source of truth. This can put marketers in a tough position, because your marketing reports lose all credibility if the numbers don’t match.
So what can cause Salesforce.com and Marketo reports to be off?

There are several reasons as to why the numbers might be off: criteria used in the report across the 2 platforms, variations in terminology, so on and so forth. As a person who’s been an ex-employee of both of these companies (so my opinion isn’t biased), and as an expert-user of both of these platforms, let me assure you that the numbers across these two platforms shouldn’t be way too off, however, you need to ensure that the parameters you’re looking at across both of these systems need to be consistent.

To add 1 less variable to the mix to ensure that the reporting across these two platforms is consistent, I typically recommend to companies to sync all of their leads from Marketo to SFDC, instead of holding back in Marketo leads that are not MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), as yet. Of course, there’s always those clients whose SDR teams are getting overwhelmed with thousands of leads to manage (and you’re fortunate to be in that space if your company is one of these), however, if that’s not you, syncing all leads from Marketo to SFDC is a good idea. Your SDR team will still have visibility into the leads scores, so they can always prioritize leads to call on/e-mail based on the Lead Scores.

Keeping these things in mind should get you off to a great start, as you build out your marketing automation efforts using Marketo, and plan not just for the immediate reporting needs of the demand generation manager, but the revenue and pipeline ROI reporting that CMOs require.

5) Plan and Predict Future Pipeline and Revenues with Marketing Forecasting

In addition to all of the above, I recommend that Marketo customers spend some time thinking through how to forecast future results, not just dwell on the past. This often makes the difference in marketing’s – and the CMO’s — perception in an organization: can it sit at the revenue table and drive towards future goals? There are ways to do this through spreadsheet analysis of course, which many Marketo users do today. But I would also recommend that you look into the automated, out-of-the-box revenue analytics that BrightFunnel provides. If you are guilty of not having done steps 1 through 4 perfectly, for example, BrightFunnel can make revenue attribution quite automated and painless. And it can do so in a way that is CMO and Boardroom ready.

But automating revenue analytics and forecasting is just a start. What excites me the most about the BrightFunnel platform is that it takes the analytics from Marketo and Salesforce.com a notch further. BrightFunnel solves the questions that every marketer I’ve spoken to has – “what is the ideal sequence of programs/campaigns that could convert a lead into an opportunity?” Or “what is the ideal sequence of content that moves the lead through the lead lifecycle in the least duration?” Knowing answers to these questions could catapult your marketing automation efforts and thereby your company’s growth plans.

I would love to hear your thoughts on any other things to think about or any other challenges you run into from a marketing analytics standpoint.

About the Author

kashmira-bakshi-headshot Kashmira Bakshi is the Principal at ROI Targets, a consultancy helping businesses execute on Demand Generation strategies. She previously led the SMB Professional Services team at Marketo and served as an analyst at salesforce.com.