3 Opportunities for Marketing to Impact Sales Productivity

Call me an optimist, but in my opinion there has never been a better time for marketing to directly impact sales productivity.  I’d even go so far as to say that we’re experiencing a “perfect storm” for this opportunity – i.e., “an actual phenomenon that happens to occur in such a confluence, resulting in an event of unusual magnitude”. Wikipedia  More specifically:
  • Over 45% of the buying decision today (i.e., for large purchases) is being made before a buyer even says hello to your rep. [translation:  marketing plays a much greater role today in influencing the buyer’s journey, and it is incumbent upon us as marketers to better equip reps for this new buyer 2.0 reality] (click here to learn more about the buyer’s journey)
  • Sales organizations are struggling to make more informed investment decisions, however, in many cases they lack the data and core competencies needed as part of this process [translation: marketing, your internal “customers” have a clear pain point that can be addressed by the “products” and “solutions” that you’ve been trying to offer them for years]
  • Sales organizations are beginning to put in place Next Generation Sales Operations teams to drive greater improvement in sales productivity, taking a more strategic approach than in past years [translation:  marketing, you now have a “buyer” that is interested in what you have to offer and is willing to collaborate with you at the intersection of marketing and sales – i.e., strategic planning, lead/pipeline management, sales enablement and customer intelligence for sales
  • At no time in history have we had so many applications focused on improving the interaction between marketing and sales in a more automated and productive fashion – bringing value to sales reps(and channels) in addition to management.

To avoid making this just another blog post about how sales and marketing need to have a group hug, I’d like to get real specific here and focus on 3 opportunities for you, as marketers,  to bring more value to the table for your sales organization (click here for more details and the 5 min. video of this post):

Opportunity #1:  Sales Resource Planning

  • Sales is plagued with a lack of information to help them make more informed resource planning decisions.  (e.g., overall staff investment, local staff allocations based upon market share and growth)  Marketing is in an ideal position to add value here.  For example,
    • Reach out to your VPs of sales in each region to determine how the market segmentation data you are already buying from IDC can be leveraged to help identify the number and mix of sales teams at the local level
    • Provide your VPs of sales with an opportunity to tap into your marketing analytics team for a territory planning exercise. (start with one region.. .or better yet, one country as a pilot test and a way to demonstrate impact)

Opportunity #2: The Account Planning Process

  • The most productive sales organizations have shifted their traditional account planning process into the next generation of account planning. . . . . . one which taps into the intelligence of their entire company and ensures that the account planning process is dynamic and supports more tactical opportunity management activities throughout the year. Be there for your sales organization as they make this transition.  For example:
    • Insert your team into sales’ annual planning and regular opportunity management processes, providing in-depth market and customer intelligence that is targeted and relevant to them.
    • Provide share of wallet data to help sales identify the greatest potential for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities

Opportunity #3:  And last, but certainly not least, Sales Enablement – getting the right intelligence to the right sales teams and channels in the right time, place and format to help move an opportunity forward.  Bottom line here is to ensure that you treat sales enablement as a strategic initiative and not a tactical maneuver.  Improving sales enablement offers the opportunity to increase revenue by 10%!  CLICK HEREfor a full overview of what it takes to be successful in this area, including 14 attributes for a best-in-class sales enablement strategy.

IDC’s 2013 Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix: Are you a Marketing Leader, Achiever, Contender or Challenged?

CMO ROI Matrix
IDC’s 2013
Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix

If you are a B2B Marketer you’ve read the articles, heard the pundits, and attended the conferences – marketing is transforming. This is not ground breaking news. However, what you probably have not seen is a tangible and holistic way to measure your organization’s marketing performance. Today you are in luck.

IDC’s CMO Advisory Servicehas just released our Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix. This Matrix not only provides measurement on Marketing ROI for those companies who participate in our annual benchmark survey, the recently published reportalso provides fact based analysis, actionable recommendations via IDC Analysts and best practices from leading marketing organizations.

For the down and dirty on the report view our press release

For some quick and interesting facts from the study look no further, you are in the right spot!
You must have the muscle (ie: budget) to move the needle.

 #CMOFact: As a percentage of revenue, Marketing Leaders spend ~3X more on marketing than the Challenged http://bit.ly/CMOROI Tweet This!

It is important to note these properly funded Marketing organizations were not just blessed by their CEO with a strong budget, they first proved their worthiness. The first step to earning your budget is to be efficient and effectivley track the dollars given to your department. Leading companies spent years optimizing (and wisely spending) their budget before earning a larger piece of the pie.

“Marketers, tear down these walls!” 

#CMOFact: Marketing leaders staff Campaign Mgt roles at 5.4% of their staff. http://bit.ly/CMOROI Challenged staff at 1.7%… Tweet This!
The quote was once said by Ronald Reagan…ok, maybe he didn’t say that, but we are seeing leading marketing organizations aggressively staffing areas that promote communication and knock down proverbial departmental walls. Leaders staff Campaign Management, Sales Enablement and Marketing IT at a significantly higher rate than the challenged.  They also staff MarCom and Executive & Admin positions at much lower rates.

Remember who keeps the lights on and bust your…you know…to make their lives easier.

#CMOFact: Marketing challenged spend 22% of their program budget on digital. http://bit.ly/CMOROI The leaders spend 33%! Tweet This!

Within tech we often think of innovation as tied to R&D and the product; however leading companies are actively innovating their marketing tools and strategy. The buyer has changed and no matter how good your product is, if the value proposition is not delivered in a way that ‘speaks’ your buyer’s language you will risk losing business. Leading companies are pushing boundaries through new and innovative digital strategies and cap spend in areas like Email Marketing and Events.
This is research the team is excited about and truly believes it will help marketers continue to improve their organizations. What is clear from this research is the gap is widening between the marketing teams that “get” the marketing transformation (the Marketing Leaders) and the ones still wallowing in traditional ways (the Marketing Challenged). Continue working hard and using all the resources at your disposal to stay ahead!
For more information about the Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and a complimentary executive summary email me smelnick (@) IDC (dot) com. To be considered for the 2014 Chief Marketing Officer, you guessed it, you should email me.
You can also download the full report here and don’t forget to join the discussion on twitter by using hashtag #CMOFact
Oh, one last thing… Follow me on twitter: @SamMelnick

Innovation is a Core Competency of a Successful CMO!

And this was clearly evident as several CMOs shared their success stories at Mass Tech Leadership Council’s recent 2013 Marketing Summit.  CMO’s and other marketing executives shared valuable insight on how to do “more with less” – the theme of the event.  Sure, as marketers we’ve been using that term at least since the Internet bust ~13 years ago; however, we’ve come a long way since then. Not only has marketing slimmed down from a staff perspective, but more importantly, we’ve developed a laser focus on being more relevant to our buyers and internal customers. In addition, we’ve developed a healthy obsession with metrics to demonstrate our value to the organization and better manage our precious budget. But even with this greater maturity, the worst thing we can do at this stage is lessen our drive for innovation.  Here are just a few of the key insights from this summit to help you and your marketing team keep innovation at the forefront of your marketing strategy and tactics:
  • Content is King:  Be a source of value for your buyers, even if your content strays from your product offering
    • Inbound marketing offers a significant opportunity for marketers to connect with customers, however, content used as part of this strategy must be of high value and relevance in an increasingly crowded (and noisy) environment
    • As Andy Zimmerman of Brainshark indicated, “We focus on idea generation content with our buyers.” – Andy gets the fact that as marketers, we need to set the vision for our buyers and help them be successful in their job and career.
    • “A BtoB Marketing organization must be a content machine. A key success factor is to hire domain experts, or at least those that will become domain experts and trend watchers. These individuals must communicate about your key topic to your end users and influencers – it must be their passion.” Christina Inge, eZuce
  • But Don’t forget to market your content: A “build it and they will come” strategy is a sure path to failure otherwise.
    • Yes develop great content, however, market your content “gorilla” style. . . . no, I don’t mean “Gangnam styleJ 
    • Brainshark leverages “micro-campaigns” to get the greatest leverage out of their content, using email and other marketing channels
    • Try the pathways that are less followed.  Yes, some will fail, but that is the cost of innovation. (e.g., direct mail, new social media channels, etc.)
  • Your web site is still the front door to your company, so don’t fall short in your first impression with your buyers
    • IDC’s CMO Advisory Service indicates that 45% of a big ticket buyer’s decision is made before they even say “hello” to your sales rep – and the web site is one of the top places they go as part of their decision process prior to meeting with your rep (in addition to their peers of course)
    • Develop customized and high quality messages and content to your buyers on your site, and ease the process for them to get to that information. “Message to someone while on your site, think customization.” [Zimmerman, Brainshark]
  • The power of a successful trial or proof-of-concept cannot be underestimated!
    • Mike Ewing, CMO of LogMeIn, said it well, “A couple of years ago it was all about trial transactions with buyers; now, we need to allow buyers to achieve value through our trial interactions.”
    • One CIO I spoke with at a recent IDC CMO & Sales Advisory meeting indicated, “We did a $3M deal driven by a $50K proof of concept chance that a vendor took on us.”
  • Hire and sustain an analytics team within your marketing organization
    • I don’t mean a simple database analytics team.  You need individuals that can not only analyze data, but more importantly, can extra value from that data that is relevant to your business, and communicate that value/insight in a simple and cohesive manner to drive impact in your organization.  No easy feat.
    • “Two top steps for a CMO to secure a solid relationship with their CEO?. . . set clear expectations and base your strategy and results on METRICS.” as indicated by several CMO panelists at the event. . . . And you’ll need a “crack team” of marketing analysts to help accomplish this objective.
    • IDC:  “50% of new marketing hires in 2013 will have technical backgrounds.” IDC’s CMO Predictions for 2013
  • Marketing Mix
    • The “right marketing mix” varies by company and is dynamic throughout the year. 
    • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different marketing strategies and tactics: “As with any VC firm, the CMO must leverage a diverse set of marketing tactics to ‘beat the market'”, Ellie Mirman, HubSpot.
    • Consider viewing your marketing investment allocations from different perspectives:
      • IDC CMO Advisory data: “B2B Tech CMOs are spending approximately 30% of their budget on digital marketing programs. This is up from 12% in 2009.”
      • “80% demand gen of investment; 10% thought leadership; 10% sales acceleration.” Mary-Katherine McCarey, Ipswitch
      • “57% acquisition (new logos), 13% retention, 30% other.” Melodye Mueller, NaviSite

Please share your comments below, or feel free to reach out to me directly at mgerard@idc.com to continue the conversation on what it takes to consistently deliver value as a BtoB CMO.

The Secret to Marketing to the Line-of-Business Executive

Many technology companies have directed their marketing and sales teams to look for business beyond the traditional IT customer.  The secret to marketing to the line-of-business executive is to think like they do. Huh? Is this a secret?

Imagine you have a cute little terrier that you love dearly but who chews up everything in sight.  You fear that you will have to give the dog away if he keeps wrecking things.  As a super-busy person you rarely have time to read articles, however, one of the articles below will stop you in your tracks. Which one?
       a) Animals around Our Home
       b) Dogs: What do they do every day?
       c) Why We Love Terriers
       d) How to Stop Terriers from Destroying Your Home

You know that the answer is D.  And if each of the authors had a dog training business, which one are you most likely to contact?

Everyone gravitates toward things that they believe are made “just for me” and ignores things that are made for “someone else”.  It doesn’t matter if you are trying to get the attention of the Chief Marketing Officer, the Vice President of Human Resources, the head of pediatric medicine, or a  terrier owner. The more completely you enter to your customer’s world, the more likely you are to be successful with them.

Do the Work
It’s a matter of simple economics.  As the busy owner of the errant terrier, you do not want to waste your precious time reading articles that are of marginal value (Animals around Our Home?).  Nor are you willing to do the heavy cognitive lifting needed to mine a useful nugget from a broader purpose article (Why We Love Terriers?). 

If you want to attract and serve the line-of-business customer, then YOU (or at least someone in your company) must do the heavy cognitive lifting learning about your customer’s world. YOU must spend your precious time (and money) to customize your offerings and messaging for them.  There is simply no other way.  Someone has to build the cognitive bridge between your world and your customer’s. Your customer will not do it – so that leaves only you.

Avoid the “Vertical Slap”
Line-of-business customers will feel annoyed and betrayed if you evade the work of customization by using a technique that I call the “vertical slap”. The “vertical slap” gets its name for the unfortunate practice of slapping a picture of a nurse on a regular, old, horizontal, campaign and claiming that you market to the healthcare vertical. 

Don’t be superficial. Do the work. At least one person on the campaign team has to bring direct experience in the line-of-business focus area. Alternatively, at least one person has to acquire this deep knowledge. (HINT: in addition to understanding the line-of-business, you may also need to invest in understanding the differences between the worlds of different executive levels – for example, a CMO thinks differently than a Director for Marketing).

Don’t be cheap. Spend the time and the money. You can either pay up front for customizing content and offerings – or you can pay down the line with low conversion rates.

Actually, the secret to marketing to the line-of-business executive is not a secret. It just takes work.