3 ways to become the CEO's essential revenue growth partner
CMOs are under pressure to increase organic revenue growth, says Mark Lethbridge. He presents three ways marketing leaders can meet expectations
Driving profitable organic revenue growth is a challenge that has increasingly fallen on the shoulders of the CMO. They have been under pressure to automate lead generation through complex martech stacks, overhaul their team skill sets, and prove their line-of-sight contribution to revenue.
Many struggle to meet the rising expectations of impatient CEOs and sales leaders. Lofty lead pipeline goals increase the pressure on marketing teams as CEOs turn to mergers and acquisitions to ‘buy growth’.
Is this approach sustainable? Is it the best path forward for delivering sustainable organic revenue growth? Or is there a better way?
What can B2B CMOs do to build CEO trust and increase revenue?
Sustainable, long-term financial gains are not found in clever advertising slogans but in creating and sustaining a brand that offers the three things buyers want: trusted advice; experiences; and an emotional connection with the vendor. This requires B2B companies and their CMOs to rethink their antiquated view of brand strategy and customer engagement.
We recommend that CMOs consider the following ways they can become an essential revenue growth partner with the CEO.
1. Establish a connection between the brand and business value
Changing a CEO’s entrenched prejudice about branding is difficult. What the CEO will listen to is data, and where growth is going to come from. The brand must be framed in terms of what the market values (not what the vendor thinks is valuable). This requires buyer research to understand what they define as ‘value’.
The old maxim “data rich, information poor” still holds true. To bridge the divide between brand strategy and business value, there are quantitative market insight tools available to B2B brands.
Businesses can now monitor brand and product sentiment down to city level, define where the opportunity and threats within customer sets exist and provide a thorough analysis of the customer journey from initial contact, retargeting, and a direct link between marketing and sales.
2. Shift your message to become relevant to buyers
Buyer dynamics have changed, but the sales and marketing tactics employed by many B2B companies have not. Too many only talk about ‘product’, and sales reps push an agenda instead of helping their customers solve a problem. B2B CMOs need to shift the focus of their message strategy to the business outcomes that buyers seek. Brands need to start with the end goal in mind and work backwards.
3. Go beyond products, sell experiences
In B2B, buyers are looking for experiences, not transactions. Customer experience is critical, not just in determining the long-term value of a customer, but also of their willingness to recommend your company (up to 92% of purchasing decisions are influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations). This reality has left many B2B brands ill-prepared and struggling to remain relevant.
This gap between ‘selling products’ and ‘delivering experiences’ is being accelerated by the expectations of millennials. Companies that purposefully adapt their marketing and sales strategies to better mesh with the millennial mindset will outperform the competition.
This year's league table features a record-breaking 95 agencies, and is chock-full of analysis, commentary and interview with the agencies themselves and on the state of the market.