How marketing operations support the middle of the funnel

Marketing operations or MOPS, is increasingly the engine room of large-scale demand generation or account-based marketing (ABM). Once seen as something opaque and hard to identify, MOPS is having something of a purple patch. The increasing reliance on martech and CRM automation alongside the standardisation of ABM means that MOPS is now a crucial role in B2B marketing. Read on to find out more on marketing operations and how it supports the middle of the funnel.

Not so hidden anymore

It wasn’t so long ago that MOPS didn’t even have a proper name. You could Google it and not find a lot of information at all. Now however, most small to medium b2b businesses have at least a MOPS role, if not a team. So, how has this transformation come about?

In essence, its all about data and effectiveness. Where the typical marketing skillset is seen in the creative or digital realm, MOPS is rooted in CRM systems, sales funnel analysis, sales and marketing processes and automation. Hidden? No, quite the opposite. Sometimes the MOPS role is the key interface between sales and marketing below the c-suite.

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it

Perhaps once seen as a less attractive role in marketing or even sitting outside the function in an IT department where the database experts typically reside, MOPS is the foundation of a b2b marketing department.

According to Gartner, “Marketing operations is the function of overseeing an organisation's marketing programme, campaign planning and annual strategic planning activities. Other responsibilities include technology and performance measurement and reporting and data analytics.”

If your business is owned by private equity or your finance function has a significant degree of pull, they are looking for data and numbers to demonstrate ROI. MOPS is the answer. Not only that, but the drive for greater effectiveness needs good data and reporting to find those savings and leakages.

As master of the marketing view of CRM, funnel metrics and crucially, attribution, MOPS is a key defence for the CMO as well as a vital lever to better sales and marketing performance.

The middle of the funnel all MOPped up

You have a steady stream of inquiries coming into the top of the funnel. Check. You know that some of them will convert eventually. But, how do you qualify the leads? How do increase pipeline velocity? Where is the leakage in the funnel that never make it to closed won? What was attributed to marketing and what was attributed to sales? Do you understand why leads got stuck, didn’t get followed up or how long each one took to get to the bottom of the funnel?

Much of this requires a fully-fledged attribution model, coupled with accurate and regularly updated CRM data and effective and aligned sales and marketing processes. With input to the strategic marketing plan and the right campaign planning, MOPS can orchestrate as well as drive towards efficiency.

Sales blame marketing for poor quality leads that don’t convert? Nope, MOPS can show how they were qualified and moved down the funnel. Marketing blamed for an elongated time to value? Nope, MOPS can show how deal size has increased and cross-sell and upsell opportunities are coming down the funnel from ABM campaigns. Nobody knows which campaigns were effective and who followed up? That’ll be MOPS who support campaign planning and provide insight into the life cycle of the lead.

Time to take MOPs to your funnel

While its true that an effective marketing operations function requires support in terms of CRM and reporting tools, buy-in from the CMO to involve them in strategic planning and a good relationship with their sales counterparts, there is unquestionably a need for MOPS in b2b marketing. MOPS helps marketing operate on scale, efficiently and with consistency.

In conclusion, from a role without a definition to the core of an efficient and effective marketing demand generation engine, marketing operations has come a long way. Perhaps it took so long to define simply because the role doesn’t fit the cookie cutter for a typical marketing role. For those that are technologically savvy, love data and process and relish structure, its seventh heaven. For the b2b marketing CMOs who get it and have defined it in their organisation, the gateway to reward is open.

Need a little more funnel help? Why not check out this article on middle of the funnel hacks

Propolis: Marketing operations

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