For most of my career, the discipline of marketing was viewed and treated as a cost center. I was given a budget and tasked with promoting the company and its products or services. When it came to discussing revenue and results, marketing wasn’t part of the conversation.
That world is changing. In today’s B2B world, CEOs are beginning to see marketing strategy as a key differentiator for their business and are looking to marketing for demonstrable revenue contribution. Why? Because, there has been a huge shift in buyer behavior.
Whether or not you believe the recent statistic that buyers can be up to 50% or more into their buying journey before engaging a salesperson is irrelevant. We know from our own personal experience that the wealth of information at our fingertips is influencing the direction we take and our buying decisions. We initiate web searches, read blogs, observe what’s trending on social media, listen to the experts and influencers, etc.—all areas where marketing can make a considerable impact. This is excellent news, since a strong marketing strategy, executed properly, can improve your company’s bottom line.
Optimizing Your Marketing Strategy
Aligning Sales and Marketing
In an earlier blog, I shared the importance of sales and marketing working together as a team to increase profits. I offered four steps on how to align these two groups. Bringing these teams together as a cohesive unit is absolutely necessary if you want to grow that revenue.
Consider the following statistics:
- B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth. (SiriusDecisions)
- The inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost B2B businesses upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year or $100 million for a billion-dollar company. (IDC)
- When sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies became 67% better at closing deals. (Marketo)
An integrated marketing and sales team possesses the strengths and abilities to create excellent customer experiences. Positive customer experiences lead to more sales.
Optimizing Your Marketing Technology Stack
Technology is leading the way on all fronts, and it’s no different for the modern B2B marketer. If you have a marketing automation platform and a disciplined process for tracking your marketing campaigns and lead attribution then you have enough data to optimize your marketing mix. However, technology investment is costly, so I recommend the following:
- Assess your database, making sure that it is clean and updated. If need be, engage your sales and/or marketing operations teams to develop a strategy for cleaning and maintaining.
- Perform a gap analysis on your current technologies, campaigns, activities, and sales enablement tools against your buyer’s decision journey stages to see if they are advancing the buyer forward in the funnel and impacting revenue.
- Craft new, relevant, and targeted marketing initiatives that fill the identified gaps to improve buyer-to-content engagement and impact-to-revenue performance.
- Track prospects movement forward to next stages in buying decisions after new initiatives have been launched.
- A/B test or eliminate any activity or tool that is not performing to optimal levels to hit targets.
Measuring and Reporting
Measuring and reporting prospect engagement, attribution data, and competitive intelligence back to the C-suite will not only give marketing great visibility but will allow marketing the opportunity to report the following information that could impact company strategy:
- Important findings
- Recommended action points
- Data points about the business in terms of opportunity or threats
Marketing data reports should always have great structure and be tailored to appeal to the audience/stakeholder receiving the report. For example, the CEO will want a well-structured report with an executive summary while a sales leader will want to see recommendations for improvements or opportunities. Your report should also focus on providing useful interpretations of your marketing data so that the information will translate into actionable advice for the stakeholders.
According to marketing consultant Adriaan Brits, the report should consist of the following six sections:
- Executive Summary – A short, accurate summary that draws together the main points without graphics. The audience is executives or senior management. This section appears first.
- Report Introduction – Contains an overview of what can be expected in the report such as research methods, what sources will be used, and data sources.
- Key Findings – A well-written interpretation of data, followed by discussions using data snippets, descriptions, and images.
- Opportunities and Trends – Elaborate on data presented earlier and what it could mean to the business in terms of opportunity or threats. Use this section to discuss the competition or any changes to the competitive landscape.
- Recommendations – The opinion of the marketing team based on data, recommendations to the business, and how the business can take action to improve.
- Conclusion – Wrap up main points by discussing findings without graphics. Mention areas where there are future opportunities based on the data and make recommendations for future research. Include a reference section and a glossary of terms.
In summary, once you’ve assessed your data and implemented sales and marketing alignment and technology stack optimization, you should be able to tie yourself to revenue attribution. Measuring and reporting are critical to solidifying and carving out future budget dollars and strategically aligning your marketing mix spend.
We Can Help
We can assist with aligning your sales and marketing teams through a MarketSource assessment of your company. Discover how we can help and learn about MarketSource’s proprietary process, empowered people, and proven performance by contacting us today.