Marketing. The colouring in department or an integral function in achieving your business and revenue goals?

More than ever, marketing should have a permanent seat at the board room table. Is your marketing department contributing what they should to your business growth goals? Here are 5 key indicators of a high performance marketing team.

The evolution of the buyer’s journey, whereby newly empowered buyers conduct their own research before talking to a sales person, means that marketing teams are taking on an expanded scope of responsibilities.

This is a real challenge for many marketing teams that are used to operating solely at the top of the funnel, generating awareness. In many firms this activity is far away from where the real action is – generating sales and revenue – meaning marketing teams often struggle to demonstrate value.

SiriusDecisions’ Jay Gaines recently published a great article: The Top 5 Characteristics of “high performance” marketing. It’s an interesting view as it casts a harsh light on the challenges many business leaders and heads of marketing face. Inspired by Jay, here is our take on the top 5 characteristics of high performance marketing:

1. Having a Lead Generation Process

Jay states that marketing teams cannot expect to drive positive change in an organisation unless they are competent in the areas where they are most needed. He highlights the need to consider competence in both skills and processes in order to achieve this. He argues that many marketing leaders ask sales to start following up on all leads delivered by marketing in an attempt to align their efforts with the sales teams goals. A huge mistake when marketing isn’t ready to create and deliver the correct quality of leads.

This means that marketing need to take the time to:

  • Develop a defined set of processes with targeted tactics that attracts high quality traffic to your website
  • Plan a process that converts site visitors in new contacts
  • Develop a lead scoring system to score the quality of these contacts
  • Nurture these contacts to get them to a point where they are ready to talk to sales

Equally, managers need to have technology with the capabilities needed to do this, and identify individuals with relevant skills or external partners who understand how to build this lead generation ecosystem.

2. Aligning Marketing KPI’s to Strategic Business Goals

Jay encourages marketing leaders to emphasize KPIs, which indicate the overall health of the business. Metrics can diagnose causes and project likely trends, but they do not clearly communicate progress toward strategic goals.

Digital technology such as marketing automation software gives marketing an unprecedented opportunity to explicitly measure and analyse the key results of their campaigns. Providing full transparent, factual reporting to other departments on marketings contribution to the businesses strategic business growth goals provides a genuinely solid platform for building credibility.

3. Accepting Responsibility for Revenue 

The acceptance of risk and responsibility for actual revenue numbers – a burden that has increased for CMOs in the era of empowered buyers – is a core requirement of high-performance marketing.

Data is now easily available for marketers to show every individual tactics impact on revenue. For example, if your marketing automation platform is linked to your CRM, you can easily compare the cost per sale from LinkedIn vs the cost per sale from PPC. Armed with this information, the marketing team need to build a clear plan, (what we call “funnel maths”) which tells them amount of traffic and leads they need to generate in order to hit the business and revenue goals. This means at the very least understanding conversion rates from visitor to contact, contact to qualified lead, qualified lead to customer. This data is what should inform the marketing functions budget, telling them exactly how much marketing needs to be done in order to meet those goals.

4. Decision Over Reaction

To be considered an equal to other senior-level executives, heads of marketing and business leaders must act decisively rather than reactively, using insights and facts to champion their plans. “Don’t ask sales what they need for more leads,” Jay says. “Say you’ve given thought to lead generation and have ideas for how to balance quality and quantity.”

Leaders must give marketing a seat at the board room table, but marketers need to act like business leaders in order to achieve this status. Marketing is increasingly directly linked to revenue generation – being responsible for over 60% of your buyer’s journey (Source: CEB). To NOT take an approach to your marketing that is inextricably linked to business strategy is asking for trouble.

5. Integration with Product Development 

Product management and sales benefit from strong inherent integration with one another. Marketing is not so lucky. “That will always be the case unless marketing is driving better integration and alignment across product management and development, marketing and sales,” Jay warned. CMOs and their teams must also build integration on another front: bridging gaps between offerings and customers.

Aligning your marketing messaging to your buyers needs is one thing, but developing your business offering to suit the buyers needs is where the real success starts. Marketing analytics provides invaluable insights into what the market responds well to. Ensuring this information is communicated to product development and sales teams is a key responsibility, as well as a sure fire way to ensure the marketing function is positioned as a leading business function. It is marketings job to step up and be the internal champion of the buyer.

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Chris Fell is the Managing Director of g2m Solutions, and an accredited Funnel Coach. To read more of his insights, go to the g2M Solutions blog.