• One of the biggest challenges CMOs face is understanding the needs of new buyer personas and buying centers
  • Organizations reach inflection points when product-centric go-to-market strategies no longer capture buyers’ attention
  • Summit 2017 introduced key frameworks to help CMOs accelerate transformation initiatives

CMOs are championing a range of transformation initiatives designed to support their organizations’ strategies. Various examples of transformation that are top of mind for B2B marketing leaders were highlighted at SiriusDecisions 2017 Summit’s B2B Alignment Executive Conversations Panel earlier this year. Summit also offered frameworks designed to acknowledge and support our clients’ need to drive and at times accelerate transformation. While the first in this blog series focused on concrete examples of transformation, this post highlights how marketing leaders can apply some key frameworks also presented at Summit to their marketing transformation strategies.

Group of leaders

While CMOs may be dealing with several prominent organizational transformations, one initiative in particular continues to be top of mind for CMOs: the shift from product- to audience-centricity. The live audience poll during the Summit keynote “Product to Audience Transformation: Making it Happen” revealed that more than 60 percent of the audience members plan to attract new buyers as part of their growth strategy. Our findings from our 2017 Global CMO Study reinforce that and show that growth through new buyers is the most important strategy to organizations over the next two years. While targeting new buyers does not directly equal a shift from product- to audience-centricity, our study also showed that the biggest challenge CMOs were dealing with surrounding that growth strategy is understanding the needs of the new buyer personas or buying centers. According to keynote presenters Marisa Kopec and Ross Graber successful organizations reach inflection points when product-centric go-to-market strategies no longer capture buyers’ attention and therefore no longer drive growth. Therefore, understanding the buyer’s needs becomes more and more critical to the organization’s success.

The new go-to-market execution model introduced during this keynote is a cross-functional workflow process that brings existing offerings to market to reach new markets or buyers, or to resonate with established buyers. SiriusDecisions research has identified six critical process elements within the model that must change to enable product-to-audience transformation: audience framework, buyer needs, audience-centric go-to-market approach, messaging, campaign hierarchy and measurement. Before clarifying the needs of the buyer personas and buying centers – which is the biggest challenge noted by CMOs – CMOs must begin with a data process aligned to audience architecture. This must focus not only on the sizing and segmentation of the industry and geography of the buyer, but also on the buying center and persona level. After gaining clarity on the audience definition and framework, the CMO should define the various levels of buyer needs: organizational, functional and individual. Only then will subsequent elements (the go-to-market approach, messaging and campaigns) be applicable and effective. This may seem self-explanatory, but despite the desire to become more audience-centric, B2B organizations are engineered to build and sell products, therefore they must evolve. This is easier said than done.

And that is where alignment and accountability kick in. Leaders often struggle to drive focus across teams and maintain visibility into progress toward goals during transformational changes. Transformation of any kind requires alignment and accountability in order to be achieved. Here are some reasons for that:

  • Alignment drives growth. According to the Summit keynote “Building the Aligned, Accountable B2B Organization,” alignment across sales, marketing and product functions helps to drive growth and results in 19 percent faster revenue growth and 15 percent higher profitability. SiriusDecisions defines alignment as “interlock without redundant efforts.”
  • Accountability drives results. Accountability is when people know what they need to do as well as how their activity, performance and output will be measured – also defined as “commitment without confusion.”
  • To bring accountability to alignment, you need structure and perspective. Structure uses the SiriusDecisions Metrics Spectrum to put metrics into various buckets (impact, output, activity and readiness). Perspective includes goals, milestones and external data. External data is used to provide reference points to validate the goals and milestones and give context to improve performance.

With the help of the Aligned Accountability Framework and the SiriusDecisions Command Center®, leaders can identify organizational goals and ensure that all functional and team plans are linked to them – helping to become more data-driven and to drive and accelerate transformation.

SiriusDecisions Marketing Executive Services help CMOs to forge tighter bonds between marketing and business strategy, improve marketing’s link to company performance, gauge whether marketing structural changes are needed, and boost their teams’ talent and productivity. Learn more about our services here.