How to become a revenue focused marketer

Aligning sales and marketing with a joint focus on revenue and the shared goal of achieving growth is the holy grail of business development a panel heard this week

Somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent of revenue is spent on sales and marketing in an organisation, but a significant part is just wasted, Adobe principal solution consultant, Kieran Franklin, said at this week’s Adobe Experience Makers Live virtual event.

“It's wasted due to an ongoing misalignment between sales and marketing in organisations,” he stated. “Now, why is that? Well, sales and marketing are two very different departments, unique entities, and from this oftentimes comes unique friction in two basic ways. The first is misunderstood roles, and the second is different goals."

Marketing goals tend to be long term and include setting a foundation and strong brand, and generating qualified leads. “Marketers are often looking at that upper funnel metrics, and their campaigns tend to focus on increasing brand or maybe scoring and nurturing leads over the long term,” Franklin said.

On the other hand, sales move at a fast pace, and tend to have monthly or quarterly targets and quotas to hit. Salespeople are also looking for opportunities to help solve problems for a prospect or maybe be that personal point of contact that someone's looking for.

"They want to know how marketing can help them now and what they can do today to make that sale happen,” Franklin continued. “So we understand that these two engines of the organisation can’t continue to fall in the opposite directions.”

Franklin said sales and marketing alignment is possible, but it takes common objectives through agreement on definitions and processes, insightful measurement and technology enablement. This lies in contrast to the conventional process, which has had marketing focus on volume of leads and leave it to sales to assess their value.

However, increasingly, organisations are focusing on the generation of lead value, and with this comes a new focus on lead prioritisation and lead qualification.

“We have to make sure marketing is measured on its impact on both opportunity creation and, most importantly, its impact on real revenue generated within the organisation,” Franklin said.

“We understand and recognise alignment between marketing and sales continues to be the greatest opportunity for an organisation in improving business performance. When they unite around a single revenue cycle they're able to achieve and dramatically improve marketing ROI. They're able to increase sales, productivity and, most importantly, able to contribute to top-line growth."

How a SaaS startup targeted growth
 

Speaking on his experience of shaping a revenue mindset within the global cybersecurity company, Secure Code Warrior CMO, Nick Flude, said from the outset the focus was on marketing being the engine for qualified pipeline growth.

“It's talking about pipeline growth from day-one, talking about winning, retaining and growing customers within that kind of mission,” Flude said.

While each department might go about the objective in their own way, the common goal is pipeline and ultimately top-line growth of the business. Looking at metrics and purely at volume and number of leads, the question that should be asked is: “Are we delivering to the organisation if we're only looking at leads created?”

“Well, not really, because the business wants us to look at leads converted,” Flude said. “I encourage my team to approach it with a view of what the business needs, and the business needs converted leads, but they need that in quality and volume. That's really the focus for marketing as a group, because that's what we need to be delivering to the business.

“Our aspirational goal is to give sales a volume of leads, but the quality of the leads that is then going to give the business the ability to go away and close those opportunities. That's a real shift.”

Flude noted he’s not seeing this approach across many marketing professionals. But he urged marketers to start talking about opportunities, revenue and revenue being a driver. He noted at Secure Code Warrior, sales and marketing, along with customer success, have an equal share on retaining and expanding the customer and owning revenue growth.

When it comes to technology, the company's marketing platform is bolted into the sales platform that activities revolve around, Flude said. The pipeline at Secure Code Warrior starts with a moment of interest, then identification on a persona level, then moving prospects into the marketing qualifying lead stage. 

“It's a journey. We're qualifying leads using the smarts of the platform, but also the content. We're then using lead scoring and moving them into sales and through the qualifying process,” Flude explained.

Another key ingredient is aligning to strategy. Flude said when strategy and technology come together, marketing can contribute a significant share to generating pipeline “and a quality percentage of those are moving into the sales generation stage”.

“If a marketer can’t talk through the logical steps of a lead, moving towards an opportunity, being accepted by sales and then working with sales to move that opportunity to a close a deal, you're missing out on so much,” he said.

“The other key thing is to define what a lead is between sales to marketing. It is the agreed definition of a lead. When should that lead be passed to sales? Also understand that and have a process that recycles leads back into the marketing automation platform.

“Ultimately, if you understand the business and you understand the challenges of the business, you can then start to kind of ask critical questions, such as: ‘Why did this happen?’ ‘Why didn't it happen?’ Then you're using your automation platform and reporting engines to help you become a better business person who happens to be a marketer by choice.”

Read more: 3 brands using marketing automation for more than just email

How Flight Centre’s B2B teams harnessed marketing automation

How HBF rolled out marketing automation in eight months

In summing up, Franklin said aligning sales and marketing is the largest opportunity for business and growth. To get there, he advised pivoting the focus from lead volume to lead value and focusing on nurturing, renewal and expansion.

“In doing so, we continue to reinforce the alignment between marketing and sales at every stage of the funnel,” he added.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia


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