Organizational structure is one of the biggest issues for B2B CMOs right now, driven by a whole slew of changes that are affecting the marketing landscape.
As a result, for the upcoming year CMOs should focus on creating new roles, as well as sharpening the roles and responsibilities of those already in place, says Tony Jaros, SVP/research at Wilton, Conn.-based B2B consultancy SiriusDecisions. The idea is to foster cooperation, not competition, he says.
In this exclusive interview with CMO.com, Jaros pinpoints four characteristics today's B2B CMO must possess, his hopes for account-based marketing, and trends that will impact marketing operations.
CMO.com: Can you give me a brief overview of SiriusDecisions?
Jaros: SiriusDecisions is a research and advisory firm focused on delivering operational intelligence to sales, marketing, and product leaders in the B2B space. These leaders are able to make more informed–and aligned–business decisions through access to our industry analysts, proprietary research, benchmark data, peer network, events, and e-learning courses.
CMO.com: What are B2B marketers' biggest challenges, including those B2C marketers don't face?
Jaros: In the B2C world, marketing is a dominant function, with huge budgets and significant credibility. In B2B, marketing is outspent by its sales counterparts somewhere between five and 10 to one, and often struggles to prove its value to the business. For an organization to grow revenues in a predictable, accelerating fashion, sales and marketing must be bound to one another very closely, working in a true partnership.
CMO.com: What keeps B2B CMOs up at night?
Jaros: Measurability. If a CMO can’t prove the contribution of the function to the organization, his or her budget is sure to be in jeopardy the next time funding discussions are held. Today’s B2B CMO has to be highly analytical, process-oriented, technologically savvy, and able to work with sales leadership in order to succeed.
CMO.com: What trends will impact marketing operations in 2014?
Jaros: In many organizations, marketing operations is a relatively new function; as such, its charter is still in flux. We believe operations should serve as the “chief of staff” for the CMO, handling everything from the marketing database to reporting/dashboarding, analytics, process building, technology/infrastructure selection, and the upskilling of marketers. All of these areas will be key to operations in 2014 and beyond.
CMO.com: What should CMOs focus on in the year to come to drive organizational change?
Jaros: Organizational structure is one of the biggest issues we are working with CMOs on these days. If you think about all of the changes to affect marketing in the last five years–multitouch demand creation, solution marketing, the true rise of inbound marketing, huge content creation needs, sales enablement, and many more–it stands to reason that we can’t organize like we used to and hope to get different results. In the year to come, CMOs will have to explore creating new roles, such as content operations, campaign operation, lead nurturing specialist, and others. In addition, they will have to sharpen the roles and responsibilities of functions, such as field marketing and the demand center, to ensure they are working in harmony, rather than competing against one another.
CMO.com: What's your forecast for account-based marketing in 2014?
Jarso: For starters, I’m hopeful we can determine a consistent definition for what account-based marketing is. We see it actually taking many forms, including large account marketing–one-to-a-few execution; current account marketing–one-to-many execution; and loyalty/retention marketing. To truly be effective with any form of account-based marketing, marketing must dedicate resources and people to it, and work closely with sales teams to ensure any tactics that are chosen hit the mark.
CMO.com: You recently recognized a number of companies for having best-in-class channel programs. (Disclosure: Adobe, CMO.com's parent company, was among them.) What's your definition of a channel program?
Jaros: A channel program revolves around an organization’s decision to go to market using any number of third-party relationships (SI, VAR, broker/agent). An organization’s channel program must include strategies and processes to select, onboard, train, enable, and create demand for, and with, partners.
CMO.com: How did you go about selecting the companies that are "best in class?"
Jaros: Our channel-specific analysts work with hundreds of companies each year; as you can imagine, we see a lot of best–and worst–practices. For example, Adobe was selected for its ability to enable what we call “partner-led” marketing, [where partners create demand on their own] through an effort called “Define & Assign.” In it, Adobe mined its own data to help partners determine which segments would have the highest propensity to buy certain products, and which customers would be most likely to upgrade given a number of factors.