Marketing Accountability and the Expectations of the C-Suite

Proactively kick off a marketing transformation that will help drive revenue, improve operations and prove the value of marketing’s efforts.

Driving Marketing Accountability

Accountability is one of the biggest challenges that marketers face.  Marketing spend continues to grow as teams expand their use of martech.  As marketing’s investment in technology increases, senior leadership is asking for a reconciliation of marketing budgets with revenue, because martech makes such reporting possible.

Tactical performance indicators (e.g., click through rates, downloads, site visits) are important, but are not enough to justify expenditures.  This is driving the need for marketing accountability. Marketing needs to show the efficacy and efficiency of its spend as well as show that it is delivering financial results, which requires a move to revenue marketing.  With a shift to revenue marketing, top-line results are connected to all components of the demand gen funnel.

A Move to Revenue Marketing

While the move from traditional marketing to revenue marketing requires changes, it gives marketers a chance to dispel a common misconception of marketing as a cost center or, more disparagingly, as a black hole where money disappears.  The changes are not easy. They require significant rethinking and retooling, but they are necessary. These changes will improve the efficacy of marketing programs as well as optimize spend by attributing and tracking all influences on leads as they move through the demand gen funnel.  

The Need for Change Management, Not Just Technical Integration

Because attribution actually goes beyond marketing, it is imperative that martech, Web, CRM and other teams and systems are integrated so that every touch and interaction is captured and associated with a lead.  In addition to meeting demands for marketing accountability, this attribution and tracking provides valuable insights into the demand gen funnel. Tracking a lead from the top of the funnel through to the end shows exactly what programs, events, content, etc. contributed to the final transaction – new sale, upgrade or renewal.  It also makes it possible to report on outcomes across systems.

The implementation and integration required for cross-system tracking and reporting entails more than just technical work.  It is a marketing transformation, which is complex both in its tactical execution and in navigating the inevitable politics.  It must be approached as a change management project. Systems, processes and behavior need to be modified across disparate groups beyond marketing, including sales, IT, web teams and outside partners.  

Marketing Transformation Delivers Results

Marketing transformation is challenging and takes a commitment of time and money along with a willingness to change.  However, the results justify the effort and expense as it brings a clarity to what is working and the results being delivered.  And, ultimately, it optimizes marketing spend and drives revenue.

Return Path offers an example of the kinds of results that marketing transformation delivers.  An area of focus for Return Path was in the gap between sales and marketing, a well-known trouble spot for many organizations.  Lead scoring was one piece that yielded particularly good results. Lead scoring programs fail when the sales team is not involved in defining the MQL. Processes were set up to help marketing work with sales to define criteria for leads and their place in the funnel.  By changing how the marketing team worked with sales, they cut MQLs by two thirds, without impacting a single opportunity. Not only did cutting MQLs by 67% have no effect on sales, it actually resulted in a 487% ROI on its investment in marketing transformation.

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Lead Quality Drives Credibility with Sales and Optimizes Resources

Lead quality goes a long way to improving not just the working relationship between sales and marketing, but also marketing’s credibility.  In addition, improved lead quality allows marketing to focus its resources where they drive the best results.

Improved visibility and insights into the demand gen funnel, driven by marketing transformation, allows marketers to see not only what is performing well, but also where leads leak from funnel.  It also makes it possible to allocate budget based on performance ensuring maximum return on investment. In addition, it provides the data necessary to dial-in lead qualifications to enhance quality and reduce the number of “bad” leads.

Accountability as Opportunity for Marketers

The benefits of marketing transformation and a move to revenue marketing are tremendous, but so is the effort to make it happen.  However, when considering the upside both in driving revenue and optimizing marketing spend, the ROI is clear. And, with a strong change management program that encompasses people, processes and technology, the results are measurable.  If you’re not being asked for this already, you have an opportunity. Rather than being given a mandate, marketers can proactively kick off a marketing transformation that will help drive revenue, improve operations and provide the data needed to prove the value of their effort.


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