SiriusDecisions spends considerable time working with great marketers who are creating tremendous value for their companies. These marketers are consistently doing things that were once unheard of, including:
- Measuring, reporting and becoming predictive about marketing’s contribution to sales pipeline and revenue
- Establishing rigorous processes, and benchmarking their own performance on many fronts to drive continuous improvement
- Making fact-based decisions about the roles marketing should play based on demand type, sales structure, sales cycle lengths and other key factors
- Measuring the impact their work has on sales efficiency and pipeline dynamics
In the majority of organizations that are smart or lucky enough to have these skilled marketers, the most significant challenge that marketers face is changing perceptions by business leaders and salespeople about marketing’s role. The problem is that most senior leaders and sales reps have spent most of their careers experiencing marketing contributions, especially in the area of lead generation, that have been questionable at best. However, in the past five to 10 years marketing technology, analytics and approaches have evolved significantly, and the function is more accountable and measurable than ever before.
With increasing frequency, sales leaders are finding that their marketing counterparts are able to report on the quality and volume of leads being delivered to sales, the propensity of those leads to get to sales pipeline and closure (when acted upon by sales), the real cost of creating each and every lead, and of course, exactly how many (and too often, few) of these leads are being acted upon by sales.
Note to sales leaders: If your counterparts in marketing are talking about contribution to pipeline and revenue, service-level agreements, end-to-end lead management and sales-accepted lead rates, it’s probably time to start thinking about marketing differently.
Note to marketing leaders: If you are still measuring marketing contribution based only on clicks, visits and views, and are sending sales every contact that completes a form, drops a business card in a fishbowl at an event, or registers for a webinar and calling it a lead, then it’s you who needs to catch up because you’re doing your fellow marketers a disservice.