Sales process – the missing ingredient for marketing ROI

Most marketers in B2B enterprises have never been trained on sales process. If I were running your marketing or sales organization this would be the first thing on my agenda. Why? Because without understanding sales process, marketing is essentially set up to fail. How can anyone improve or contribute effectively to something if they don’t know how it works. It’s like setting up your manufacturing to produce blue widgets but not telling your suppliers what parts you need for your particular widgets. So they ship you tons of blue stuff and hope that somehow it all works out. That’s the position, to one degree or another that most enterprise marketing organizations are in even at some of the most advanced process-centric companies in the world. Largely because they have chopped up the customer creation process into a collection of departmentally independent activities. 

In a large enterprise with many products lines, business units and segments, there are likely to be a number of different sales processes. Marketing and sales resources should be aligned against these processes horizontally. This is the key to making the shift from a siloed command and control organization to a responsive, integrated customer focused one. Not only is it important to design around sales process, which should be designed around the buyer’s journey, but it is important to design for change. Markets are dynamic and sales processes change.
Marketing automation systems, especially those that are integrated with the sales force automation or customer relationship management system, have begun to provide marketing with some clues to sales process. At least they can see what happens or does not happen when they deliver something to sales. But the data does not always explain why, and that’s the critical part. Marketing needs to understand very specifically how Sales operates in order to optimize around customer outcomes. The alternative is for marketing to optimize around departmentally focused KPIs like the number of MQLs (ugh), or SALs, or worse vanity metrics like hits, sentiment, likes, etc. These metrics are useful indicators for some marketing activities, but not as business drivers for marketing investment.
Aligning marketing and sales around sales process is the first step to formulating an enterprise customer creation process that extends across all customer touch points, including: billing, fulfillment, service and support. At each stage of maturity, marketing, as well as all the other customer facing departments, gain much greater visibility and accountability to the whole process and its connection to corporate objectives for growth, market share, and margin. This is all necessary for a true picture of marketing ROI.
Your action items:
  • Marketers: lobby your top executives to make regular sales process training for marketing a priority. 
  • Sales executives: demand that marketing know how the different parts of your sales force work so they can more effectively develop prospects and serve customers. 
  • CEOs: get smart about your customer supply chain by applying the same level of due diligence and process discipline to it that you have to your product and services units. As a result, you will make much more effective use of marketing investment and be able to hold your whole customer facing team accountable for its contribution to your strategic objectives.

Benchmark your Marketing Organization with IDC Research – 2013 Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey

Here at IDC’s CMO Advisory Service we are in the field with our 11th annual Tech Marketing Benchmarks Study. I would like to offer an invitation to participate to marketing executives across the industry. 

Have you ever wondered, “Is my marketing organization receiving enough budget to compete?” or “Exactly how much should I be spending on marketing automation?” If so, IDC’s CMO Advisory Service’s benchmark survey has been helping senior marketers answer questions like these for over 10 years!

Below are the essential “need to knows” around our survey and further down I’ll dive into all the great value of benchmarking your marketing organization. Let’s get started:

What are the benefits?

  • Complimentary copy of our 2014 Marketing Investment Planner to benchmark your company’s marketing data against the industry’s data.
  • Receive an invitation to our client only telebriefing held by IDC Analysts. 

What is needed? 

  • Email me (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) to get our survey instrument and taxonomy.
  • Complete the survey and send it back in a timely manner (‘due date’ to be discussed).

What is the Quality of Data and Confidentially?  

  • This is the 11th year IDC has fielded the Tech Marketing Benchmark Survey and will include participation from many of the 100 largest tech companies – this depth and expertise is unmatched
  • All responses are 100%, no questions asked, confidential. We take this part very seriously.  

Bonus to all Participants

  • All participants will be eligible for our 2014 Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and will have access to their placement on the Matrix. A great way to easily compare your marketing progress against the rest of the industry’s. 



Need More Information: View this excerpt from Kathleen Schaub’s excellent post, IDC Tech Marketing Benchmark: Behind the Scenes. It explains all the intricacies (and value of benchmarking).

Why do companies benchmark? A benchmark provides context for decision-making. You spend a million dollars a year on social marketing. So what? If your CEO asks you this question, what will you say? Tech marketers tell us that they like to benchmark for the following reasons:

  • Improve the quality of annual planning: Last year’s program budget and gut feelings are no longer sufficient input
  • Gain insight into critical trends: Learn what industry leaders and competitors are doing – and how you stack up
  • Reallocate costs: Identify areas of overspending and opportunities for better value
  • Transform with confidence: Answer questions such as how much to invest in new areas like social marketing or how should I re-organize my department?
  • Drive with data: C-level executives increasingly expect marketing leaders to manage their business with the same level of operational excellence as other corporate functions.
  • Get an independent view: Benchmark data provides IDC analysts with a wealth of information that make guidance to clients personalized and accurate guidance

Feel free to reach out and let’s have a discussion whether it’s the right time for your organization to participate!

Email me at: (smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com) or find me on twitter @SamMelnick

3 Steps to Move Closer to the Ever Elusive Marketing ROI

CMO ROIHere at the CMO Advisory Service, we recently closed up our 2013 Barometer Study which includes data from senior level marketers working at some of the largest Tech companies in the world. While there are a lot of great insights from this study, these senior level marketers made it very clear that their highest priority is “Proving Marketing’s Value”, or in other words, that always elusive marketing ROI. While this quest(ion) is nothing new to marketers, as our industry continues its transformation, marketing ROI is becoming an even more pressing topic. We see this truth in our surveys, we hear it from clients, and it is actively being discussed at industry events. This year we launched our  Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix (see the image to the right) in an effort to give participants a look into their own return on investment from marketing and continue the conversation. There is no easy answer here (otherwise my days would not be quite as busy), but I have 3 steps senior marketers can take to move closer to measuring marketing ROI.

1. Identify what matters and what does not

This might seem obvious, but to successfully prove value, first it must be understood what is providing value.  Often when we speak with clients we remind them that tactics are important, but without strategy on the front end those tactics may be wasted energy. Before creating a substantial dashboard or reporting tool, take the time to understand which data or measurements are going to further the case and which are white noise. Once done, not only will the organization be better able to prove ROI, but it will be able increase effectiveness.

Key Fact: 27% of B2B companies report they have not yet used predictive analytics to improve any marketing activities.

2. Communicate inside and outside of your department

As transformation continues within the tech industry it is creating a ripple effect to companies and then departments within each company. This means lots of change, and change can often mean confusion. Not only are marketers pushing to prove their worth, but they have to compete with this ongoing confusion. To overcome this issue, communication is a must, both within the marketing organization and across the entire company.  It is key to receive buy-in from stakeholders and make sure the steps taken are continuously aligned with expectations. It also means communicating the actions taken (and why they were taken) to staff or superiors. Remember, over communicate, as in times of turmoil “value” can be a moving target.

Key Fact: In 2013 senior marketers expect 2/3 of the marketing technology budget will come from the marketing department – the rest from IT, Sales, and other areas. Communication across these departments is key. 

3. Benchmark your progress

Identifying what provides value and then communicating as progress is made towards measurment are two great steps. However, when it’s time to share the work, comparisons and baselines will be needed. The first step is measuring your own progress. How have the KPIs improved and what can be expected in the future? The next question will be, what is the comparison to competitors? Finding ways to benchmark and measure progress internally and externally will help tell the story of value added and improvement. It will also set standards and targets to shoot for, without these benchmarks there is a risk of flying blind.

Key Fact: Close to 100 tech companies participated (For Free) in IDC’s Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and benchmarked their marketing ROI against their industry peers. To participate this year contact smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com.

What other steps would you recommend to prove marketing value or even derive that elusive marketing ROI number?

Do you think this is fools gold and there are other areas marketers should be focused on?

Let me know your thoughts!

You can follow Sam Melnick on Twitter: @SamMelnick 

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