On Tuesday, May 17, the Chief Marketing Officer Institute will reveal the winners of its "CMO of the Year" award for leadership excellence. As we did last year, CMO.com is publishing exclusive interviews with each of the nine finalists, who discussed with the CMO Journal the strategies and tactics they employed to achieve marketing success at their respective organizations.
>> Category: Large Organization
>> Company Description: Informatica Corp. is the world’s No. 1 independent provider of data integration software. Informatica helps organizations around the world gain a competitive advantage in today’s global information economy with timely, relevant, and trustworthy data for their top business imperatives. More than 4,350 enterprises worldwide rely on Informatica to access, integrate, and trust their information assets held in the traditional enterprise, off-premise, and in the cloud.
>> Highlights: As technology companies began throwing off the effects of the recession this past year, Informatica emerged with a bang. In 2010, the data integration leader recorded annual revenues of $650.1 million, up 30 percent, along with record annual GAAP earnings. Over the past 12 months, Informatica’s stock price has increased 110%. Much of this success is attributable to the sea change established by CMO Chris Boorman in how marketing is performed at Informatica.
>> The Conversation:
CMOJ: Your nomination noted that you have "successfully bound sales and marketing into a cohesive unit with phenomenal results." Can you tell us a bit more about that by describing in more detail the relationship between sales and marketing--and then tell us a bit more about how you achieved that level of teamwork?
CB: When I arrived at Informatica, they were no different from many companies: Sales sold and marketing marketed. There was little alignment in planning, poor integration of infrastructure, and no trust between the organizations. We implemented three specific changes that have had an enormous impact on this relationship.
First, we created an enablement function managed by marketing, but reporting into sales. Headcount was provided by marketing and budget was owned by sales. This function participated in both sales and marketing leadership meetings, and was instrumental in helping to provide input from sales into marketing and to ensure aligned planning of campaigns.
Second, we overhauled and upgraded our entire infrastructure to link Web, email marketing, and sales CRM into one single effective process. To manage this, we created a combined Sales & Marketing Operations team that owned the overall sales and marketing process--ensuring early delivery of leads, effective management of leads to opportunitiesto billings, and total shared visibility into the underlying process.
Third, we built trust between sales and marketing. Regional marketing not only participated in regional sales meetings, but combined leadership meetings drove trust at the leadership level that resulted in open communications and combined planning. As a result of this, measurement of performance moved from “lead generation” to “pipeline accepted by sales and closed billings sourced by marketing”--the latter having grown from less than 16% of total billings to over 27%.
CMOJ: Informatica’s “technology backbone” seems to provide a critical linkage between, sales, marketing, the Informatica Web site, your CRM system, and social media. It seems like the type of Holy Grail that would require large amounts of funding, expertise, and CEO patience to put in place. How did you make that happen?
CB: I believe that the Web is king. All B2B companies buying technology will, at some point, go online and research their options. Our job as marketers is simple--to ensure that they find us, and then ensure that details are passed to sales as quickly and effectively as possible. This means focusing on Web, search, communities, social, and building an effective infrastructure to manage the data. In other words, we set out to become a data-centric sales and marketing team.
Three years ago our systems were separate, and our corporate communication policies forbade any participation from employees in social media activities. We have implemented two significant changes that are overcoming these issues: First, we have upgraded our infrastructure from old cumbersome systems to modern, Internet-enabled applications that facilitate a seamless flow of data between marketing and sales (and back). This is essential for all modern enterprises.
Second, we introduced a new social media policy and embarked on a companywide cultural change process that we are still undergoing. For example, we encouraged product marketing to embrace social media and take the conversation to where our customers and prospects were talking. This meant engaging in external communities, such as LinkedIn, as well as augmenting traditional marketing tools, such as email, with new channels, such as videos, podcasts, and chalk-talks.
Clearly, funding of new infrastructure requires budget. However, the CEO’s “patience” has remained in-place by our commitment to increased productivity--marketing contribution has risen from 16% of total billings to over 27%, while keeping regional marketing and Web marketing resources flat for two years.
CMOJ: Having earned a doctorate in magnetism and engineering, a master's degree in cryogenics and applications, and a first-class honors bachelor's degree in physics, your background is clearly in the hard sciences--a background you have applied to your current marketing role. Yet in some organizations, marketing is still labeled as a “touchy-feely” discipline. What’s your take on that?
CB: The modern marketing organization is definitely not “touchy-feely” anymore. Today, creativity in marketing is no longer about visualization, but about how to deliver the best return on investment from the programs being executed. This means becoming far more scientific in the planning, execution, and analysis of marketing. Besides my educational background, I have also worked as a technical consultant and a sales consultant prior to my foray into marketing. My background causes me to always want to understand why we are doing something, and whether there are better ways of achieving our goals. I enjoy studying the latest developments in “B2C marketing” and looking at how we can apply them to “B2B marketing.”
CMOJ: Describe the relationship you have with your CEO, Sohaib Abbasi. What are his expectations of you and your team--and how are those expectations measured?
CB: I have an extremely good relationship with our CEO. He has a true “open door” policy in which I can discuss ideas and strategies. However, his expectation is clear--to contribute marketing sourced billings to the bottom line by efficient and best-in-class marketing execution.