Insight/ General Management

3 Secrets Of Data-Driven CMOs


by Lou Guercia
President & CEO
Scribe Software

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Article Highlights:

  • CMOs need to have the data to assess their lead-generation and customer-retention efforts.
  • Close alignment between sales and marketing is critical.
  • CMOs must measure the overlap between sales and marketing qualified leads to continue increasing it.

As the business world has grown more competitive year over year, we’ve all learned one lesson loud and clear: Nothing’s guaranteed. For chief marketing officers, their directive is clear–drive revenue or else.

The CMO Council released research that surveyed more than 750 marketers; the key management mandate shared is the need to drive top-line growth and market share while better defining the brand and value proposition. To drive more sales for the business faster, CMOs need to have the data to assess their lead-generation and customer-retention efforts and invest in initiatives that directly contribute to the bottom line of the enterprise. This requires a combination of strategy to drive incremental sales, close alignment between sales and marketing, and reliable measurement to assess and drive performance.

Successful CMOs Have And Use Their Data
Some CMOs do it better than others, per the Lenskold Report, 2012 Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study. Although all CMOs are seeking ways to drive repeatable, predictable, and scalable revenue, there is a small subsegment–11 percent–who are highly effective and efficient marketers outgrowing competition, adopting integrated marketing automation solutions, and using ROI metrics to measure their performance.

For CMOs to be among the highly effective 11 percent, the first order of business is to integrate data among all systems: sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer relationship management (CRM). Data about customers and prospects is coming from more sources and channels than ever before. It’s imperative to integrate that data into one system of record. For many companies, this system of record is the CRM, even as other departments and systems are concurrently collecting valuable customer and prospect information.

To effectively market, CMOs need all customer data easily accessible in one central location. Savvy CMOs use this data to inform all marketing initiatives, creating a vibrant integrated marketing program--one that impacts all above- and below-the-line programs.

Effective CMOs Use Their Data for Sales And Marketing Alignment
For CMOs, close alignment between sales and marketing is critical. CMOs are looking to break down the data silos to inform all of their business decisions, from more effective customer segmentation to faster product and service development, which can only occur when marketing collaborates closely with sales (and, increasingly, IT and CIOs). In fact, one study from Gartner finds that the CMO will outspend the CIO on IT by 2017.

In order to scale revenue, a business requires close alignment between marketing and sales so both departments can understand the buyer’s pain points and help the buyer through the new, increasingly complex path to purchase. Marketo refers to this collaboration as Revenue Performance Management (RPM)–“a strategy to optimize interactions with buyers across the revenue cycle to accelerate predictable revenue growth.” The goal of RPM is to merge discrete units of sales and marketing into a single revenue-generating machine by instituting processes that optimize interactions with buyers across the revenue cycle and accelerate predictable revenue growth.

Alignment And The New Buyer Journey

The buyer’s journey is much more complex than it once was. Whereas buyers used to have a finite amount of resources with which to gather data, today there are more and more avenues to collect information. Buyers hold the power: Prospects and current customers are able to seek information about your company in the form of peer reviews, forums, searches, analyst reports, and influencer recommendations–often without even visiting your Web site.

In fact, organizations report that the buying process is longer, but the sales cycle is shorter. According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth Macro Study, consumers consulted an average of 10.4 new media or traditional sources before purchasing in 2011, doubling the sources consulted in 2010. Plus, research shared by the Marketing Leadership Council, The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing, shows a customer’s first engagement with a company representative usually occurs when the customer is 57 percent of the way through the purchasing process.

Savvy CMOs Measure Sales And Marketing Alignment
In the new world of real-time marketing, where the customer is in the driver's seat, it has never been more important to have alignment on customer segments, pain points, and ways to support the customer on their buying journey. This is where the best CMOs measure close alignment between marketing and sales:

1. Qualified lead confirmation: Sales and marketing, having shared data among the departments, should each have a strong understanding of the customers’ pain points. As such, there should be agreement on prioritization of leads and those ripe for repeat purchases, plus agreement on what is necessary to pique their interest. CMOs must measure the overlap between sales and marketing qualified leads to continue increasing it.

2. Lead-to-sales conversion: If marketing recognizes the priority contacts and what it takes to successfully nurture them, then it makes sense for the team to co-own the effectiveness of converting leads into sales. This means CMOs not only are accountable for revenue along with sales, but they also compensate their marketing teams on sales performance.

3. Sales growth: Building on the first and second new measures, effective CMOs measure sales growth. If sales and marketing work closely together, then they will be able to drive more incremental revenue from every dollar put into the marketing.

As businesses come increasingly under scrutiny to deliver results today, so, too, will CMOs, who are under more pressure than ever to show organizational value creation. CMOs know that the battle in the next year, and years to come, is in the data–knowing your customers, understanding their buyer’s journey, and being able to support it on the customers’ terms.

About Lou Guercia

An experienced entrepreneur, Lou Guercia has helped build several startups into successful brands and companies. He joined Scribe from Lotus Software, where he served as director of operations and strategy for online collaboration services. He is a member of the SIIA Software Board of Directors and the MassTLC Cloud cluster.