Should Sales Take Over Marketing?


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sales marketing maturityAs a CMO you’re constantly being criticized for not measuring the return on marketing spend. The back and forth is: “I need more marketing dollars”. The response “What are we getting for what I’m spending now?” The CEO may even be considering moving marketing under sales. At least the Sales team is carrying a number. Forbes highlights the confusion among executives over what the CMO priorities should be. This confusion adds to the “disconnect” between Marketing and the business overall.

The CMO Top Ten

Heidi Goff, CMO of a Fortune 1000 company recently shared her top 10 priorities. Heidi took over CMO responsibilities less than 2 years ago. She immediately assessed the current transformational state of the organization. This included leveraging a Sales Productivity Benchmark (SPB) conducted by Sales Benchmark index.

Heidi’s assessment defined her transformational road map. Most CMO’s understand that transforming marketing isn’t typically a short term endeavor. Implementing Marketing Automation, restructuring roles, building new teams and redefining marketing takes time. The timeframe for transformation is not one the CEO or Sales leader have the patience to stomach.

The one thing Sales and Marketing can both agree on; Marketing is undergoing transformational change!

Who’s Got the Leads?

Let’s go back to when Heidi took over the marketing organization. The goals of marketing at the time did not include supplying any leads to sales. It should not shock anyone that sales leadership had no time for marketing. Why would they?

Heidi’s priority list, like many of yours, started with some core requirements. She did not have the luxury of fine tuning a well-oiled machine. The following is a partial list of her top priorities and brief explanation of each. The complete list can be downloaded here.

  1. Build an infrastructure that is flexible enough to support organizational changes as they happen. Keeping pace with the infrastructure requirements gives your team the greatest opportunity for success. Assess and audit annually and make the necessary adjustments.
  2. Assign someone to engage with sales on a daily basis. This maintains your group’s relevance to the sales needs. Alignment with sales has never been more important. Buyer Process Maps (BPM), personas, customer feedback etc. are critical cross functional tools/activities.
  3. Take an outward-in approach. Think like your customer. Leverage best practices and augment the team as necessary (thin staffs can’t do everything). Look for outside support for speed and best practices.
  4. Measuring the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) has never been more important. Put the necessary metrics and tools in place. Provide both a leading and lagging view.
  5. Collaboration across all products and disciplines is critical. Product Management, Product Marketing, Field Marketing, etc. must be aligned for proper Sales Enablement.

Make It Automated

By the way, Heidi’s initial foundation didn’t include any marketing automation. It also didn’t include any B2B demand generation campaigns. Both are tactical aspects of execution. To delivery on her strategic priorities, these two tactics were required. While Heidi’s priorities may be different from yours, the priorities will give you a framework to compare. Heidi literally started with no Lead Generation foundation at all.

Download the Top 10 Priorities of a Best-in-Class CMO. Compare your primary areas of focus with a CMO building a new marketing organization. Although your organization may be in a more mature state, you will still benefit from the list.

Does your situation sound a little like Heidi’s?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Staples
John is an industry thought leader with more than 25 years of business experience, including B-to-B field sales, sales management, and sales operations. John has delivered results for companies such as: ConocoPhillips, Ryder, Tekelec, Telcordia Technologies, United Site Services, Sparta Systems and others.


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