Time and resources are always lacking for big initiatives. Yet, this is common reality for B2B marketing leaders. What’s not lacking is data. But marketing organizations struggle with understanding how to use that data to make decisions.
In this post we cover 7 ways marketing leaders can make better use of the teams and resources around them to grow the business.
These B2B marketing principles are inspired by the Marketo Summit 2017 case study session presented by the marketing leadership team at TIBCO.
TIBCO Software takes businesses to their digital destinations by interconnecting everything in real time and providing augmented intelligence for everyone, from business users to data scientists.
TIBCO is located in Palo Alto, with 3,500+ employees and over 10,000 customers.
Principle 1: Generate Usable Data
Generating data is not the same as understanding data.
Marketing directors and executives who step into a new organization, or who are tasked with building a demand generation engine, grapple with the problem of data usefulness.
In other words, marketers uncover a major problem: the marketing systems in place generate data but the data is not usable or insightful.
As a result, marketing leaders can’t measure the impact they have on revenue. This is a challenging proposition when building a demand generation engine because there is no clear way to measure success when reporting to the board or CEO.
Principle 2: Measure Marketing’s Impact In A Consistent Way
Using multiple marketing automation systems and CRM instances is a major issue for mid to large size companies. For example, the sales team, enterprise marketing team, product team or regional teams may all use separate systems.
Different teams report differently and this creates inconsistencies. For example, some teams track certain metrics while others don’t. Or metrics are defined and measured differently depending on the system creating the report.
This is a major challenge for showing marketing’s influence on the entire lifecycle, or justifying an investment in a new channel. Reporting takes too much time and measurement is unreliable.
These are challenges that marketing operations must address and marketing leaders should pay attention to.
There should always be a clear story for marketing's influence on revenue when justifying a shift in spending or a new channel investment.
In order to do all of this, marketing operations must be able to measure all of marketing’s influence and impact in a consistent way.
Principle 3: Distribute High Quality Data Throughout The Organization
When marketing leaders can show with data their impact on revenue and logos they create additional opportunities. The data generated can be used to help other parts of the organization learn..
The ability to understand impact and make use of the massive amounts of data available is a benefit that can be extended to other business units/teams.
Delivering forecasts and assessments on impact catapults marketing beyond profit-center status. Not only can they deliver profit, they can deliver information that drives competitive advantage.
For example, TIBCO marketing leaders turned their data capabilities into a service for sales teams. Sales can now understand what themes and content their prospects are interested in and at what part of the lifecycle.
It starts with building dashboards. But not just any dashboards. Deciding on the type of information in these dashboards is an important decision and should cover how marketing influences opportunities, e.g. opportunities generated, deal velocity, and last touch for opportunities.
It should also cover anonymous first touch (a.k.a original lead source attribution) and cross-channel interaction.
In order for marketing leaders to play a bigger role in the business they need to deliver customer information to different levels of the organization.
Principle 4: Reduce the Time and Effort Needed To Answer Important Questions
No one has an infinite amount of time and there’s always a need for reporting on marketing’s influence on the bottom line.
There’s upfront cost and effort to implementing end-to-end tracking for every contact and account in the pipeline.
But the economics of not implementing consistent end-to-end tracking means in the long run too much time is wasted reconciling reporting across siloed systems.
This time could be better spent looking forward instead of backwards. It's a lot like the economics of purchasing higher quality goods: you spend less money in the long run on maintenance/replacement costs had you bought cheaper, low quality goods to begin with.
Principle 5: Do Less Of What You Can’t Measure
With measurement comes the ability to improve execution and optimize. But if a campaign is not measurable then there’s no way to get revenue credit and optimize.
Marketing leaders should focus on creating marketing campaigns and actions that prove how impactful they are. There are additional benefits as well.
End-to-end tracking is important for aligning with sales. Having end-to-end tracking addresses situations when the sales team is unclear on whether marketing is engaging and influencing key accounts.
With the right tracking in place marketing can begin to provide a service to sales teams. Marketing can enable sales to understand what products and content accounts are interested in. Marketing can also educate sales on the channels prospects prefer to engage with.
As a result, sales has the information needed to sell more effectively.
Doing less of what you can’t measure leads to insights and opportunities to grow the impact on marketing across the business.
Principle 6: Stop Executing Based On Assumptions
Marketing leaders think several quarters or years ahead and create a plan to get there. Unfortunately plans rely heavily on assumptions. In turn, the plan is simply a list of targets above an execution plan that doesn’t instill confidence.
During each quarter CMO’s must cross their fingers, unsure whether the team will reach target target. Or worse, check in too often to ask the question: how are we tracking?
To address this issue marketers need to focus on planning and execution. Specifically, the reduction of assumptions built into the plan.
In place of these assumptions are careful calculations that take into account past performance at a highly granular level. This contrasts with simple Excel methods involving the use of averages aggregated across all channels.
Instead of conversion rates based on lumping together channel conversion rates, plans should be built on conversion data from every lead through the entire sales cycle.
Principle 7: Create Best Practices Based On Analytics, Not Assumptions
Best practices are safe. They are default actions that are trusted when there’s a lack of clarity.
Best practices are the answer when marketers can’t see the future and need to make a bet in the present.
An example is deciding how to reach quarterly goals or what to do when you are off track from your goals mid-way through the quarter.
Often times changes need to be made in order to hit a target. In these situations, best practices or someone else’s agenda is the reason for why a spending change is made.
But there are alternatives. TIBCO is test driving a new way to plan and execute marketing based on the granular attribution data generated by Bizible.
Using Revenue Planner TIBCO can rely on data from every lead and opportunity to generate an accurate plan, run “what if” analyses to help them decide where to move budget in order to hit a target or maximize their ROI whenever needed.
It’s being proactive in the planning process. It’s also creating best practices based on data and not assumptions.
It’s often difficult to both fix a car problem and drive the car at the same time. But this is often what marketing leaders are tasked with. This can be done by sticking to several principles or “north stars,” which are:
Generate usable data
Measure marketing’s impact in a consistent way
Distribute high quality data throughout the organization
Reduce the time and effort needed to answer important questions
Do less of what you can’t measure
Stop executing based on assumptions
Create best practices based on analytics, not assumptions
With these priorities in mind B2B marketing leaders will put themselves in positions to grow the business and excel in their careers.