Tag Archives: Marketing training

Where are You in the Evolution from Mad Men to Marketing Geeks?

It is a very exciting and challenging time to be a marketer, but it isn’t for the faint of heart or for those who refuse to learn new tricks. Evolution is not kind to the timid. Marketers today have a choice: get buried in the dust, or learn to thrive.

If you’ve been a marketer for more than 10 years you’ve seen a breath-taking amount of change. If you’ve been in the business only since about 2002, you’ve seen a lot of change too.

Consider all the new terms for marketers that have surfaced: Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Revenue Marketer, Marketing Technologist, Engagement Officer, Demand Generation Director, Social Media Specialist, Search Specialist, Digital Marketing Director and Marketing Operations Manager. I believe six of those nine titles didn’t existed 5 years ago. Two titles, Chief Revenue Marketer and Marketing Technologist, have only joined the vernacular in the past 24 months.

To appreciate just how much the marketing profession can change over time, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane. It used to be so simple.

I love the hit TV series, Mad Men. I like seeing what the advertising business was like in the 1950’s. Simple. It was the same model that I stepped into 20 years later as an eager, long-haired grad with an advertising degree. I still think a gray Hart Schaffner Marx suit with white shirt and black wingtip shoes is a great look.

Somewhere in the 1980’s direct marketing concepts started to make inroads in B2B companies. New job titles surfaced, such as, Database Marketing Manager and Direct Marketing Manager. I recall reading a book back then called, Customer Engineering. It revealed to me the modeling, measurement and predictability of direct marketing. It changed the way I viewed marketing and my role as a marketer. I began to create plans and campaigns that drove sales in a measurable way.

At about the same time I read Geoffrey Moore’s, Crossing the Chasm (yes, the book is that old). Moore’s seminal book made me view the customer and customer behavior in an entirely different light.

In the 1990’s I learned to integrate and embrace call centers for pre-qualifying prospects and providing warmer leads to the sales department. This was also the time I built a bridge between my marketing team and the sales department. It wasn’t called sales and marketing alignment back then. It was called, this is how you achieve your bonus and keep your job.

Somewhere in the tech bubble of the late 1990’s and into 2000, marketers lost their way. Looking back I recall being under tremendous pressure from VCs to build brand awareness and get “eyeballs” to the website. It was all about how big and important you could make your company appear leading up to an IPO. Forget about the customer, we were asked to help build a house of cards.

Then throughout 2001 and 2002 the house of cards collapsed. It wasn’t pretty, but coming out of that downturn revenue and the customer regained their rightful focus for investors and business management.

With revenue back on center stage the challenge to marketers was clear, “Prove that what you are doing is driving revenue.” Many marketers panicked. They couldn’t do it. They knew little more than how to build awareness and provide unqualified leads to Sales..

About 2005 marketers began to learn how to use the Web and email for cost effective lead generation and direct sales. This required learning new skills for search marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and how to write compelling email offers. Finally, marketers had some of the tools they needed to impact the purchase decision and generate performance metrics to show to top management.

Fast forward to 2011, or more accurately switch to warp speed, Scotty. What skills are required for marketers to handle their revenue responsibilities today?  A post on Software Advice gets to the heart of the matter. Here are the main areas for skill development from the post, New Skills Needed to Address Marketing Gap

  1. Analytics and metrics: Marketers must now be able to measure campaign performance; track conversions along the sales funnel and make accurate forecasts.
  2. Lead management strategy: Marketers have to work with sales to define the different stages of the buyer’s journey. Then, they must develop a process that will best lead the buyer down that path.
  3. Content marketing: Relevant content is the key to engaging the buyer and getting them interested. Marketers have to be able to build a content strategy around their buyer’s journey
  4. Social media: More buyers are getting social, providing a viable medium for engagement. Being successful with social requires thought, strategy, content and consistent execution.

The first two skills involve data analysis and the ability to identify actionable information in gigabits of data. The marketing department has to have ready access to good data and a data geek.

There is no better source for learning about the buyer’s journey and lead management strategy than MathMarketing’s Funnel Academy (advanced B2B marketing curriculum). The newly formed Marketing Automation Institute is offering training for marketers who want to take their game to the next level. Other great sources of knowledge that I depend on regularly include MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa and Marketing Experiments, to mention a few. Even conferences, such as DemandCon, can play an important role in your professional development plan.

The pace of change for marketers will only accelerate if history is any indication. To thrive in this exciting new world, be very intentional, and schedule serious training for yourself and your team at least twice a year.

Do Marketers Have the Right Stuff to be Revenue Marketers?

In the past few months a cool new term has appeared on my radar. That term is, “revenue marketer”. Wish I had thought of it first. It defines a new level of marketing professional. While I’m energized by the term, sadly, I’m concerned that too many B2B marketers don’t have the right perspective and skills to play in this new league.

My latest exposure to the term was at an event in Austin hosted by Marketo, a marketing automation platform vendor. Speaking at the event was Debbie Qaqish , Chief Revenue Marketing Officer of  The Pedowitz Group, a demand generation agency based in Atlanta area.  Debbie has a Revenue Marketer blog, a Revenue Marketer internet radio show and is writing a book on the subject.  I’d say that qualifies her as a thought leader on the subject.  I think the Pedowitz Group has trademarked the term, as well.

In brief here is what Debbie defines as the characteristics of a revenue marketer and the role they play in their companies.

A revenue marketer is different from a demand generation marketer primarily in that the former is able to plan and execute predictable and repeatable campaigns. Other attributes:

  • Is obsessed about the impact that Marketing must have on revenue. Shares a business vernacular with the Sales VP.
  • Is a master of lead funnel management.
  • Possesses a deep understanding  of the market, of buyers,  and the buying process.
  • Is responsible for lead generation campaigns that can be tracked through the funnel and on to revenue impact.

With this check list in mind I did a quick mental exercise to see how many marketers that I know in B2B companies who have attributes of a revenue marketer. My unscientific survey had these results:

  • 20% are in the pro league; they have the skills, experience and the tools, such as marketing automation, and funnel modeling, to be a revenue marketer.
  • 20% are in the demand generation league, the farm league for revenue marketers. They are skilled at lead generation, but they are focused on lead counts, not on quality and not on revenue. The funnel may or may not be part of their world. They most likely have an email marketing platform, but don’t have a marketing automation system in place.
  • 60% are in the marketing awareness and branding league. Their focus begins and stops at ‘getting the product known’; having an attractive logo and website; and being mentioned in social media. They confuse gathering names with generating leads.

If you surveyed your marketing community what would the profile look like? I’d also like to hear from my friends in academia about what colleges are doing today to better prepare marketers for taking on the responsibilities of a revenue marketer.

Why Are Sales and Marketing Usually Unaligned?

(I originally wrote this post for Lead Views, Leadformix’s blog. I’m re-posting it here.)

At two different speaking engagements this month I asked the audiences of marketers if they thought the lack of sales and marketing alignment was the biggest obstacle in their company to achieving significant revenue growth.  At both events (one a marketing conference, the other a webinar) the results were similar. Over 60% agreed that the leading nemesis to greater revenue performance was the lack of alignment between their department and Sales. The other 30% to 40% believed another factor was primarily to blame such as market/economic factors, resource restraints, skill gaps, relationship gaps, or process / tool gaps.

Let me cut to the chase on the topic of sales and marketing alignment. There are three reasons why mis-alignment is present.

1.       Top management doesn’t understand the full contribution that Marketing can make and should make to the business.

2.       Marketers are not adequately trained to be true partners with Sales in the revenue generation process.

3.       There isn’t an integrated planning process to enable (or force) Marketing and Sales to craft unified strategies and tactics.

The CEO. The buck stops at the top. So I’m placing some of the blame at the feet of the CEO because of their misunderstanding or ignorance of the significant role that Marketing can play in their organization. If they don’t really understand the power of Marketing, they won’t hire the right skills, insist on the right processes, or insist that Marketing and Sales work as a tight team 24/7.  The CEO doesn’t have to know how to align he just needs to create the environment where alignment will occur. Without a really capable Marketing function a company is going into battle without all its weapons.

The Marketer. Sorry to admit that one of the biggest reasons for lack of alignment in B2B companies is that the folks in marketing just don’t have the necessary skills and perspective. Too many bright marketers haven’t learned how to be of greater value to the organization. Marketing in a B2B company is so much more involved than “branding”. We must see how to contribute closer to the “point of revenue” than our programs are impacting today. We must connect and measure our ability to impact company goals. This takes advanced B2B training, coaching, or years of painful experience. Without requisite skills the Marketer can’t earn the respect of Sales and the CEO.

The Process. The annual planning process is usually done in silos. Marketing does a plan. Sales does a plan. The two seldom talk during this critical period. The right mercifully short but rigorous planning process can harness the creativity of Marketing and Sales to construct together an action plan for achieving a revenue objective. The right process will focus the two departments on the buyer’s journey and the market, rather than a sales methodology.

If my two unscientific polls are representative of all B2B companies, 60% are blocking themselves from achieving greater revenue performance because the CEO doesn’t know what to demand from Marketing, Marketers don’t have the right skills to deliver bigger results, and the companies aren’t following an integrated market-focused planning process involving Marketing and Sales.

The good news is all three of these situations can be remedied in a relatively short period of time. CEO’s can learn what to expect from the marketing function. Marketers can learn critical skills. Sales and Marketing can plan together in a way that really aligns their efforts and processes.

Are Marketers to Blame for Lack of Alignment with Sales?

Marketers are the chief cause of misalignment within the revenue-generating functions of B2B companies if results of my recent poll are representative of the business world (which it isn’t because of sample methodology and size). Even though the poll is not statistically representative (it is still open so please participate) results already point out a disturbing finding.

The poll asked the question, “What is the biggest obstacle to successfully aligning Marketing and Sales long term?” The choices given are:

  1. Culture–lack of commitment and trust
  2. Technology–lack of CRM, etc.
  3. Process–lack of a shared action plan
  4. Funnel–lack of funnel definitions, roles
  5. Skills–lack of the right skills in Marketing

Lack of the right skills within the Marketing organization has received 50% of the responses thus far. Lack of commitment and trust within Marketing and Sales is second most popular choice having been selected by 35% of the respondents. Lack of agreement to funnel stage definitions and roles is third most common obstacle to alignment with 14% of respondents.

Frankly, I was expecting culture and process to be the top two obstacles. Sure, I know that lack of B2B marketing skills is the root cause of much malaise in companies today, but I wasn’t expecting the respondents in the poll to believe overwhelmingly that marketers were the culprits in the offense of  misalignment.

What do you think? If you haven’t taken the poll yet, please do.

Do You Really Need Sales Training?

Is revenue flat or heading south? Time to invigorate the sales force with the latest sales techniques, right? New head of sales takes the reins with the job of transforming the revenue engine. Time to bring in the sales trainers, right?

Maybe yes. Maybe no.  Upon closer examination your revenue problem may not be due to a lack of sales skills.

The pros at MathMarketing (for whom I am a certified Funnel Coach in North America) can point to case study after case study of clients who approached them for sales training (they also provide Miller-Heiman training in Australia) only to see that what they really needed was something very different.

Try asking yourself three questions.

  1. “Is our revenue problem the result of Sales not being able to close opportunities effectively and efficiently?” If the answer is yes odds are good that sales training is the ticket.  But, try asking two more questions.
  2. “Is the root cause of the revenue problem related to either  lead quality or lead quantity?”  If a brutally objective evaluation of your revenue engine revealed that lead quantity and quality are not adequate, what you should consider is Marketing training,  not Sales training.  I’m not talking about the 45-minute-free-webinar-on-email-marketing type of training either.  For an example of black belt marketing training visit Funnel Academy. Now for the third question.
  3. “Is there a lack of efficient and effective progression of  names, prospects and opportunities  through the sales funnel?”  Two good indicators of this issue are an elongated sales cycle and a growing number of prospects who drop out of the funnel.

Don’t be surprised if upon closer evaluation you decide that #3 is the root cause of your problem. Many companies come to this conclusion.  What’s usually behind this performance-killer is a lack of a clear, measurable action plan that tightly aligns the tactics of Sales and Marketing throughout the funnel.

MathMarketing has a rapid methodology for guiding companies to close the gap between strategy and revenue results. It has worked wonders for companies  large and small on four continents. We call it Funnel Camp. It aligns Sales and Marketing in a way that dramatically improves revenue generation efficiency and effectiveness.

Sales training will move the needle for your organization if the root cause of your revenue generation headache is a deficiency in Sales skills. Look deeply into the cause before deciding to go down the Sales training path.