Revenue Planning for an Uncertain Future – 13 Years to Live or Die. Excited about my next speech on Nov 28-Austin. http://ow.ly/X656306aFGw
Marketing is evolving and so must the marketer and the marketing agency. Company management and marketers alike have to acknowledge that the skills, processes, technologies and channels necessary for effectiveness are very different from the past (even 5 years ago).
This doesn’t come as a surprise to companies with a level of marketing sophistication who have marketers that invest in “staying current”. It can be quite a shock for companies who have a 1990’s mind-set about marketing.
I’ve written on this topic before. Where are You in the Evolution from Mad Men to Marketing Geek?
Marketo, one of the leading marketing automation vendors, has published an excellent (if self-serving) Infographic about the marketing agency of the future. Caution: objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. While the Infographic proclaims theses characteristics as required for “the future”; I suggest the future is now.
Buyers buy differently today and if your funnel doesn’t reflect how buyers buy, you’re probably falling behind your competitors. Indeed, the funnel management of many companies only covers about half of the actual stages through which a typical B2B buyer progresses. If you’re not properly managing the entire funnel a high percentage of potential deals are going to your competitors without your company even getting a chance at bat.
I recently recorded a webinar that is well-suited for Marketing and Sales managers. Click on the link at the end of this post to view the webinar. It covers these topics:
- Why it matters that you align your strategy, processes, and funnel stages to the Buyer’s Journey
- The critical stages that are frequently overlooked
- Funnel examples that align Sales & Marketing to the Buyer
- Rebuilding your funnel model to learn the necessary funnel velocity
The adoption of a marketing automation platform (MAP) is a serious commitment for any company. How does the head of marketing know for sure that the time is right, and more importantly what disciplines and processes need to be in place well before one even starts shopping for a MAP. This recorded webinar gives good advice and it’s vendor neutral.
- How to know you’re ready
- How to know you’re not ready
- The processes that have to be in-place
- Be sure you have enough fuel – contacts and content
- Creating the blueprint for marketing automation
- Using your blueprint to compare vendors
“You want the truth; you can’t handle the truth!” This was a line in Jack Nicholson’s famous court room rant in A Few Good Men (1992). Today for many companies the quote might be, “You want marketing automation; you can’t handle marketing automation!”
A Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) does for marketing departments what Customer Relationship Management (CRM) does for sales organizations. If you’re unfamiliar with the term or technology check out Wikipedia or Marketing Automation Times.
There is a lot of buzz surrounding MAP. Some is hype. Much is factual. Marketers and their bosses are inspired by the encouraging results many companies are experiencing with the platform. However, most companies who have adopted a MAP struggle to use more than 25% of the application’s functionality, even after a year or so.
So, are you ready for marketing automation? It’s an important question because, frankly, a lot of companies don’t have “their act together” sufficiently enough to utilize MAP. I asked Joseph Zuccaro and Steve Gershik, two savvy B2B marketers each with long pedigrees in marketing automation, to suggest how a company can tell if it’s ready for a MAP, or not.
You’re ready for marketing automation if most of these situations exist in your company.
- When Sales and Marketing have agreed upon what constitutes a “qualified lead” and when marketing should relinquish it to sales for opportunity follow up.
- Your company has a repeatable process of creating and managing leads that can be automated.
- When the organization understands that “throwing another salesperson” in the mix won’t move the revenue needle enough.
- When the C-Suite understands that this is a platform implementation critical to success.
- You have senior management buy in with the understanding that marketing automation is a practice, not a one-off initiative.
- You have enough content produced for each of the segments you want to reach that automation can be an efficient way to publish and measure.
You’re not ready for marketing automation if any of these situations exist and cannot be changed before the MAP is licensed:
- A majority of the marketing staff is dominated by creative/event planning/social media types.
- Marketing is viewed in a silo rather than integrated with sales.
- The IT department is very protective of its fiefdom and not forward thinking.
- You have no idea who your customer is, and your database proves it.
- There’s little ability or willingness to establish a process for managing the life cycle of a lead.
- Your company has a culture that prefers flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants rather than measuring what’s working and increasing the budget for those programs.
If you want more tips on the topic, check out my newest webinar, “Preparing for Marketing Automation: Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse,” on BrightTalk.
There is a growing ecosystem of marketing automation consultants and service providers that can help companies assess their MAP-readiness, and if ready, take the plunge. Many interim marketing executives have the background necessary to set up the processes and best practices, which form a solid foundation for a MAP implementation.
Will your next revenue plan clearly show how marketing and sales will work together to implement the company strategy? Will it convincingly and mathematically model how the two organizations will apply tactics that advance enough buyers through the pipeline/funnel to achieve the revenue objectives? If your budget is cut by 20% before approval, can you quickly show the impact of that cut on demand generation and revenue generation?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions I urge you register for my October 3 workshop at DemandCon in Boston. Fittingly enough, the workshop is entitled, “Creating a Funnel-Driven Marketing Plan Your CEO will Love.” This is a certified workshop for sales and marketing professionals that reveals advanced techniques and best practices for increasing revenue volume and velocity by using integrated and aligned funnel planning. It’s not just a planning process, it’s a an amazingly effective way to align sales and marketing for utmost effectiveness.
Here’s some sound advice for deciding which metrics should be in your management dashboard. Having some guidance is helpful because let’s face it, there are a million thingswe as marketers could measure, somewhat less than a million things that we can measure, and really only a handful that are most meaningful to top management.
Jon Miller of Marketo discusses three categories of metrics in this interview video on CRM Software.TV (4 minutes).
- Lead quantity and quality
- Improving sales effectiveness
- Optimizing the marketing investment portfolio