A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of presenting at Marketing Loves Sales in Portland, hosted by Obility. It was truly one of the best B2B marketing conferences in the Pacific Northwest. This is the write-up for my presentation for those who couldn’t make it.
In the latest State of Pipeline Marketing, we learned that the perception and reality of Marketing is, uh, not good. A quarter of marketing orgs are misaligned with Sales. Half of companies see Marketing as a cost center. And two-thirds of companies are not confident in hitting revenue plans.
This is not good. I’d classify the state of the relationship between Marketing and Sales as awkward. If Marketing really loved Sales, we wouldn’t be seeing numbers like this.
But, with those stats, there’s an opportunity. And that opportunity is aligning marketing to revenue.
The opinions on marketing orgs we uncovered in the State of Pipeline Marketing likely originate from Marketing focusing on activities, rather than the outcome of the effort.
Every function in the business optimizes for revenue. The CEO. Finance. Sales. Even Success which is traditionally a support-based function optimizes for revenue. It’s time Marketing steps up.
Luckily, we know revenue is the answer. In looking at the raw State of Pipeline Marketing data, I found that marketing teams who align to revenue are: 2x more likely to be aligned with sales, 2x more likely to be seen as revenue center, 2x more confident in hitting goals, and 5x more likely to report 2x or higher ROI.
There are very few things in marketing you can do in one meeting that has this kind of impact.
It’s also something that has defined levels too. You don’t need to be the most advanced company in the world to get some benefit. Luckily we have a handy maturity curve for attribution. My recommendation is to work towards the next level and don’t try to skip over any. This might mean it takes longer to reach Stage 4, but you’ll have put down a strong foundation.
No matter where you are on your attribution maturity journey, there are three items to keep in mind and improve:
First, make sure you track all marketing interactions from first touch all the way to close. For us this includes tracking web visits, outbound calling, email replies, and more. In other words, it goes well beyond the form fill.
Why? If we just tracked form fills, we’d be vastly under-tracking the funnel. The average number of form fills for a Bizible purchase path is 22. If you look at the average number of marketing touchpoints, it's 167.
Second, separate out goals from indicators. The goal of marketing is revenue as we’ve already realized. It’s what our function serves to drive. Leads, MQLs, pipeline, etc are great metrics to track and understand, but are ultimately leading indicators. They are like your minutes per mile pace when running a marathon. That’s a great to way know if you are on track to hit your race time, but it’s just an indicator.
Lastly, you need to make sure the team is actually using the data and insights. The best data is meaningless if you don’t take action on it, which is why it's so important to distribute reporting across every function and every level employee on the marketing team. They must understand the performance of their channels, campaigns, and content.
These aren’t just good ideas. They can generate meaningful business impact. Tina Moffet of Forrester recently wrote, “B2B companies are seeing an average of 15 to 18 percent lift in revenue as a result of implementing a closed-loop attribution system and then optimizing Marketing programs based on the more sophisticated analysis.”
So what are you waiting for?