Alignment is Key
Very early in my career a good friend of mine gave me what was unbeknownst to him, an incredibly valuable piece of advice, if you’re going to be in marketing align yourself as close as humanly possible to those who make the money - sales.
Even before receiving those valuable words of wisdom, I had aligned myself with sales – both channel and direct (I have a soft spot for the channel), because I thoroughly enjoy the thrill of the chase. But let’s be real, I’m in marketing for a reason. I don’t have the stomach for sales. While I grew up in Canada and played hockey as a kid, the enterprise quarterly sales cycle, often referred to as the “hockey stick effect” has always made me anxious – and not in a good way.
I remember a time when you were given a marketing budget and the only reporting required at the end of each quarter was whether you spent the money given to you. Can you account for all your programs and expenses? If the answer was yes, good, move on to the next quarter. Spray and pray. Cost per lead, cost per qualified lead, cost per click, conversion rates were not part of our vernacular. Those days are long gone. Crazy to believe they ever existed.
Having said that, I recently had lunch with a friend, who's also a former colleague, and discovered the organization she works for does absolutely no reporting. There are no lead scorecards, no quarterly lead reports. Nothing. I know, shocking. My advice? Figure out what's working and what's not, create reports, and do it fast.
I have said many times, if you work for a company that isn’t asking for regular reporting on how you spend your marketing dollars; what’s the ROI on your campaigns and programs for example, then be the person to initiate a process. To me, not being asked for regular ROI reporting says no one is minding the store, and that’s never a good thing.
So, how as a marketing professional do you align yourself with sales and add value? How do you become the marketing super hero sales comes to depend on? For me, it’s helping sales meet their strategic revenue goals; whether executing campaigns that generate qualified leads or client insight initiatives that help strengthen and improve relationships with their existing clients. Both audiences hold equal value ; in fact, some may argue, and in fact we did in last week's blog post, that increasing customer retention rate by 5% can accelerate profits by nearly 125%. So there is something to be said for placing as much emphasis, if not more, on client insight initiatives that generate actionable data.
To a large extent, it’s the nature of the beast to focus on prospects – grow revenue, be profitable and acquire new logos, and not always in that order. But focusing on your existing client base by way of implementing a client engagement solution can help marketing identify industry trends, establish benchmarks both internal and external, and help drive marketing programs such as reference programs, case studies, user conferences, just to name a few, and these are all super worthy initiatives that impact customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Admittedly, like everyone, I’ve had successes and failures. Some programs flat out didn’t work, but many have and those are the ones you replicate and make you feel like a super hero.
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