A CMO’s Tale

A CMO’s Tale
// Business | Business 2 Community

A CMO’s Tale image firedCEOs of today’s B2B organizations are becoming laser focused on profit, execution of strategy and top-line revenue growth and they expect every department in the organization to be aligned with these key goals. For many, the area that gives them the most heartburn – based on budget and non-goal alignment – is marketing.

For CMOs, this could mean big trouble. If your marketing organization isn’t making a measurable impact on revenue, your job could be in jeopardy.

This article presents three key questions you should ask yourself as a CMO to determine if you need to change your strategy.

Here’s your first question:

Question #1: How aligned is marketing to the organization’s overall revenue goals in a direct and measurable way and not the “fuzzy math” kind of connection?

  • If you can honestly answer that your marketing goals are directly aligned with those of the business, ask for a raise!
  • For everyone else, get in step – and fast! Executive alignment is as basic as it gets.

Easy question, right? Now let’s move on to the next question to help you determine if you are on the right track.

Question #2: When you show up to the monthly board or executive committee meeting, what kind of metrics do you present? (I know the mention of this monthly presentation probably brings on another round of heartburn, but try to focus on the question.)

Are your metrics typically activity-based?

  • # of impressions
  • # of ads
  • # of tradeshows
  • # of e-mails sent
  • % of Opens, click-thrus and conversions
  • Costs

Most CEOs call these metrics, “Who gives a flip metrics!” If you are only presenting these kinds of activity-based metrics, you need to change your approach and change it now! This is old school for a B2B organization given the new technologies available today that allow marketing to make a direct contribution to top-line revenue growth and to do it in a repeatable, predictable and scalable fashion.

Or, are your metrics revenue-focused?

  • # of Sales Ready Leads (SRL) sent to sales
  • % Conversion of SRL to opportunity
  • % Conversion to close
  • % Contribution to pipeline from marketing
  • # Days to close
  • ROI

If you are already reporting revenue-focused metrics, again – ask for a raise! Chances are that you are currently being recruited because of your skill mix and experience! CMOs who are focused on revenue metrics are generally using the optimal mix of people, process and technology to grow top-line revenue.

Hopefully, you are already doing these things and hitting it out of the park every month. But if you are still confused about your role, consider this final scenario:

Question #3: You are putting together your 2015 strategic plan. As CMO, which of the following are the top strategic initiatives you will present to the executive team?

  • Improve use of search.
  • Improve conversions.
  • Improve use of social media.
  • Create new website/messaging/colors.
  • Grow number of leads sent to sales.
  • Improve number of impressions from ad spend.

While these are all valid concerns for any marketing department, compare it to the next set of answers. The above initiatives should only be part of the plan – especially if your company has big revenue growth plans in 2015. If your answer stops here, you won’t have job security for long! Consider these strategic initiatives instead:

  • Execute a revenue marketing strategy in which marketing will grow its contribution to the sales pipeline by 200% through marketing sourced, highly qualified leads; improve opportunity velocity by 20%; and impact overall deal size by 11%.
  • Create a marketing funnel and process with standard conversion rates from inquiry to close so marketing can begin forecasting revenue impact – not just reporting on past history.
  • Conduct a skills gap analysis on my current team around this journey to revenue marketing. What skills do you need to add, replace or train?
  • Re-organize the marketing organization around the revenue marketing competency.
  • Develop the key processes and tools across sales and marketing to help us drive a repeatable, predictable and scalable revenue impact on top-line growth.
  • Select and implement or improve the use of your revenue marketing solution. NOTE: There is an entire new generation of technologies out there called marketing automation, demand generation, revenue performance management and Revenue Marketing (a term coined by The Pedowitz Group) to help marketing directly contribute to revenue growth. This is NOT simply CRM or fancy e-mail systems.

So, how did you do? For the B2B enterprise organization, marketing’s role should now be to fully participate in the revenue discussion. Today’s B2B CMO should sound like a VP of Sales – not the head of a creative agency. If you are not stepping up to this new reality, your job may be at risk. Are you ready?

Given the current round of CMO’s movement, I thought I would check in and find out what you are seeing in the market?

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