Becoming an expert B2B marketer doesn’t happen overnight. Marketing departments are realizing that small steps toward an ultimate goal are much easier to achieve than a complete system overhaul. These stages describe a marketing team’s progression from Traditional Marketing to Pipeline Marketing. Find yourself on this continuum, and determine the next steps your team should take on the road to marketing heroism.
It’s often been said that, “Best is the enemy of better.” Even for all of those Pipeline Marketers, feeling that sense of achievement as their cape whips and billows behind them, we know that the refinement process is never over.
Rather, there are always improvements to be made, optimizations to test, and tips to learn from our fellow marketers as we relentlessly work toward developing productive B2B marketing methods.
STAGE 1. Traditional Marketing
Customarily branded by the “Four Ps” (Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion), traditional marketing has become an approach that yields little impact on a revenue level.
Debbie Qaqish, Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group, explains the shortfalls of traditional marketing in her book, Rise of the Revenue Marketer, saying, “Traditional marketers are focused on creating and implementing marketing strategies and tactics without true insight into the impact of those initiatives.”
A traditional marketer can promote a great product in the right place for the best price, but they still can’t measure the revenue effects of that activity when they sit down in their quarterly meetings with the C-suite.
It’s time to care about tracking leads
At the core of the definition of marketing is the concept of a process -- the marketing funnel. Traditional marketing will shrug off the need to track prospects through that process, a form of negligence akin to optimizing the first stage of a product assembly line and letting the rest of the development process fall to pieces.
Tending to capitalize on website data-- like traffic, page views, visit duration, and bounce rate-- these marketers will spend a lot of time optimizing metrics that never impact the bottom line.
It’s time to use that CRM
In a traditional marketing setting, the sales team might use the CRM, but the marketing team doesn’t. But for most companies, the CRM is the lifeblood of their customer acquisition process -- if it’s not in the CRM, it never happened.
If a marketing team isn’t reporting results with lead numbers that can be validated within the company’s CRM, most executives will think of the marketing department as overhead with no direct impact on revenue.
Metrics traditional marketers measure:
STAGE 2. Lead Generation
Marketers in the lead generation stage create leads -- and lots of them. They’ve either onboarded a marketing automation software platform, or they work with sales to count lead numbers.
Rather than vague and unimportant website-based metrics, they’re now able to send a discernable volume of leads to the sales team. This is definitely progress -- but it’s still a far cry from wearing the distinguished cape of an illustrious marketing hero.
It’s time to better qualify leads
While yes, lead generators are excellent at creating leads, they’re often ineffective at qualifying them. This results in leads being sent to sales that aren’t actually the right target market, nor the correct persona for the company’s product or service.
So, while they’re able to now report metrics that matter, they often find themselves discouraged by the lack of reportable ROI resulting from their efforts.
Lead generation had it’s heyday, but the martech revolution demands we move onto a new stage. These marketers become demand generators when they begin to qualify leads well and report on tracked conversions further down the funnel.
Metrics lead generators measure:
STAGE 3. Demand Generation
Demand generation marketers can kick up their feet and watch their marketing automation system do their work for them. They’ve fully integrated their CRM with their automation platform, and their nurturing sequences are sending emails, creating contacts, and collecting data in real time.
They’ve honed in on personas and target markets and crafted their marketing strategy to bring in the most qualified leads possible. They have lead-generation reports at the click of a button, and they’ve extended their tracking and reporting procedures to include MQL, SQL, and opportunity figures by manually reconciling sales data with their marketing automation system.
It’s time to show an impact on revenue
The days of traditional marketing are far behind them, but there’s still more they can do. The next step is for these marketers to connect their marketing efforts directly to revenue -- showing dollar to dollar impact that their marketing budget is generating.
Metrics demand generators measure:
lead stage conversions (MQL, SQL, Opp)
STAGE 4. Revenue Marketing
When demand generators pair their streamlined automation with revenue reporting, they become revenue marketers. These rock-star marketers connect their marketing efforts to the bottom line on a daily basis.
Able to track leads through from the day that lead’s created in the CRM to the day they’re signed on as a paying customer, revenue marketers live to report revenue figures that prove the value of their marketing spend. ROI is no longer an elusive guestimate -- it’s derived from cold, hard data.
It’s time to onboard an attribution system
But the journey doesn’t end there. While revenue-oriented marketing is a commendable achievement, there’s yet another step toward marketing heroism -- the installation of an attribution system that will credit revenue to the marketing initiatives that were instrumental in bringing that customer down through the funnel.
Metrics revenue marketers measure:
marketing ROI in terms of revenue
STAGE 5. Pipeline Marketing
To become an official Pipeline Marketer and procure status as a marketing hero, attribution modeling is the final step. Attribution is the process of taking the revenue reports generated by revenue marketers and attributing that revenue back up the line through all of the activities involved in a lead’s journey through the marketing funnel.
For instance, say that a prospect came in through AdWords, poked around on the website, clicked a link in a social post, read a blog article, downloaded an eBook, came to your event booth, booked a demo, and eventually became a customer. An attribution model would ‘credit’ each of those ‘touchpoints’ with a given percentage of the revenue generated by that customer, depending on the attribution model used.
Each member of the marketing team knows where every piece of their marketing-generated revenue stream originated and which activities contributed to their success. Consequently, attribution enables marketers to make informed decisions based on the marketing initiatives, from the top to the bottom of the funnel, that were instrumental in motivating a purchase decision.
Metrics pipeline marketers measure:
sales by websource
opportunities by keyword
revenue by channel
Revenue marketers are able to accomplish this feat of marketing greatness to a small extent -- tracking a lead’s journey through the end of the funnel, at least as it corresponds to the activities and interactions tracked by their marketing automation program. However, wholistic tracking methods that identify and individually attribute revenue to each touchpoint are only available through an attribution platform. The marketing funnel is a conversation, and attribution is the transcript.
That’s when a Pipeline marketer is handed their cape -- and it might be considered socially acceptable for them to stand triumphantly atop their desk. Just this once.