A couple weeks ago I wrote a post “The Myth that Marketing Automation Reveals Buyers’ Journeys” that explained there was increasing consensus among analysts, academics and consultants about changes in the buyer’s journey and the mandate for vendors to adapt to those changes in order to grow. Consolidating the research in one place demonstrates the flood of voices urging vendors to align with the customer, break down silos and bridge marketing and sales departments.
Below is a collection of reading materials every marketing executive should sift through.
• A study by Booz & Company found that companies that offered valuable customization in a cost-effective way outperformed their peers in revenue growth two-to-one and had profit margins 5 to 10 percent higher than competitors.
• A Forrester report on content marketing emphasized that the right content “requires a deep understanding of the buyers, their information needs, and their content sourcing preferences.”
• An article in the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management recommends an approach where “all business processes and all individuals are focused on identifying and meeting the needs of the customer.”
• Forrester has published a wealth of research aligned with the recommendations we give at New Business Strategies, including reports like “Transform To An Experience-Driven Organization” and “Become Customer-Centric, Service-Focused, And Automated.“
• Forrester analyst Ronald Rogowski wrote a post urging readers to improve the digital customer experience. Forrester has also written reports about webinars, social media and other aspects of marketing and how to align them with the buyer’s journey.
Marketing & sales alignment
• HubSpot wrote a good post about overcoming the blame game between marketing and sales with open communication and more accountability.
• One of my own blogs last year offers three metrics to measure the degree of sales and marketing alignment within your organization.
• A report by Oracle says the friction between marketing and sales has gotten “cliché” and found that a lack of communication was at its heart.
• Research by CSO Insights and IDC have identified four problems with a lack of marketing and sales alignment: longer sales cycles, missed quotas, lower productivity and less sales efficiency. (source)
• A study by The Red Herring found that sales and marketing alignment was ranked a nine or ten on an importance scale of 10. (source)
Breaking down silos
• According to an article in HBR, executives identify silos as the top inhibitor of innovation, but silos can only be overcome if executives can embrace change.
• Businessweek provided an overview of silos and some common approaches to overcoming them.
• Forrester’s 2012 Tech Marketing Planning Guidance noted that marketing hasn’t made the drastic changes that are needed, because each year’s plan is based on last year’s marketing strategy.
• IBM’s 2012 State of Marketing Survey called upon marketers to expand our role in the customer experience and break down silos.