3 steps forward in your revenue marketing journey

Debbie Qaqish, chief strategy officer at The Pedowitz Group, guides us on the path to revenue marketing.

I was standing in front of 2,000 global field marketers, about to present a vision for marketing at the Microsoft Global Exchange. I was nervous, as I planned to begin the talk with my old tried-and-true Revenue Marketing Journey slide, created in 2011. Imagine my surprise when people began to take photos as my slides appeared on dual jumbo screens. Then I presented to a group of operational leaders, and the picture-snapping happened again. It happened a third time when I presented to a group of marketing leaders.

What is it about this model that is so compelling and that has stood the test of time? It takes a complex concept and provides a view of where marketing currently exists, the vision for where it could be and the stages to get to the end of the journey.

Today’s B2B marketer is drowning in change from all directions: New technologies, new customer behaviors and new expectations from CEOs about the role marketing needs to fulfill. Marketing is being asked to transform from a cost center to a revenue center. More than 70 percent of marketers now report having revenue accountability. In this landscape, it is easy to get lost. The Revenue Marketing Journey is a compass that puts you on the right path.

Marketing in the traditional stage of the journey is perceived as the make-it-pretty and pens-and-mugs department. Very much a cost center, marketers at this stage report general, activity-based metrics, such as number of ads and impressions. For many companies, this is largely a blind spend, represents a huge budget, and provides metrics that key executives don’t care about.

I refer to the Lead Generation stage as the bright-and-shiny-toy stage, because marketing implements an email system and launches ad-hoc emails. Welcome to the digital age. They pass leads to sales of which 80 percent to 90 percent are never touched. Marketing in this stage is still a cost center, with KPIs such as number of leads sent to sales and cost per lead. Key executives still don’t care.

The Demand Generation stage is where things get interesting. Marketing invests in a marketing automation system and integrates it with a customer relationship management tool to allow for closed-loop reporting. Marketing and sales begin to work together and are united by a single view of the customer and a single funnel. Marketing is now taking responsibility for contribution to pipeline and closed business. Executives are now paying attention.

The Revenue Marketing stage is the optimized stage where marketing has such a repeatable, predictable, and scalable revenue engine, they can now forecast their revenue impact. At this stage, executives invite marketing to have both a seat and a voice at the table.

So, where are you on the revenue marketing journey?  Below are three steps to propel you forward:

1. Work with your team to assess where you are on the journey

• Where do you need to be?
• How will you get there?
• What happens if you do nothing?
• Create a plan and a vision.

2. Begin the revenue marketing dialog with executives

• Provide proof points and data to build a business case to support your plan, factoring in ROI and revenue impact.
• Socialize this plan with your executive team.
• Find an executive advocate. Your CFO is always a good choice.

3. Socialize the plan with sales

• Provide proof points and data to show what this translates into from a revenue perspective. Speak the sales team's language: more revenue, meeting and exceeding quota, higher average deal size, faster sales cycles, etc.

Becoming a successful revenue marketer is not for the faint of heart. It takes clear vision, intentionality, commitment and courage. If you follow these steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way and you’ll never look back.