Three Thoughts on Marketing Ops and Demand Gen Alignment


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Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been surveying a few marketing experts to gain feedback on what we’re seeing as a growing issue within marketing; namely, misalignment between demand generation and marketing operations teams. This is seemingly the result of marketing’s expansion in responsibility and size, which in turn causes intradepartmental siloes to form (in bigger companies), each with their own goals, duties, terminology, perspective, needs, etc.

This feedback we received will be used in a number or projects – an upcoming blog post dedicated to the topic of alignment as well as an ebook tentatively titled “Modern Marketing Ops: From Challenges to Opportunity.” However, I felt the insight we received from Scott Fingerhut, VP of Global Demand Generation at Elasticsearch, deserved to be highlighted in its own post. Scott has vast experience on both sides of this matter, but here he focuses more on the marketing ops perspective.

Fingerhut_quadrantWhat do you see as the main differentiating focuses/challenges between marketing operations and demand generation?

I actually have a picture I use to describe this [see above]. I think the challenge has been clarity on roles and goals. So, that’s why I put this picture together and made sure people understood it clearly.  Marketing ops should be an impartial, yet an extremely interested engine for analysis, reporting and process integration that links sales objectives with marketing planning and performance. They should be joined at the hip with sales ops and ensure that their babel fish are aligned (they speak a similar language). First, it’s having clear and consistent definitions of the stages in a funnel, how those stages progress and being able to escalate issues around any politics (they should speak in numbers).  They should identify and bring up issues they are seeing and act as a diplomat between sales and marketing.

What makes for a good working relationship between demand gen and marketing ops teams?

First, it’s being on the same page regarding the organizational goals and uniting over those goals. Mostly marketing ops, sales and demand gen are working toward pipeline, which ultimately contributes to revenue goals. The communication has to be constant, we have to minimize surprises going both ways; and ego for god’s sake…ego needs to be checked, unless you’re funny, then go narcissistic with your bad self.

What roadblocks to this relationship can arise?

Most come from various pressures. So, pipeline is sagging and a team has to really crank things up – this can create stress. It’s important for all the teams to understand the company goals and what’s behind a specific action. Personalities can get in the way; in fact, they’re pretty much the No. 1 thing that can get in the way. Usually they get in the way because of insecurity, which has its origins way before a person is working (family therapy anyone?), but get triggered on the job. Identifying the common triggers is important. I typically see these as lack of communication, not being including in meetings, gossip, etc.  I found it very helpful to have weekly meetings where, if nothing else, you connect to the team. Building a good rapport is critical – you avoid so much stuff when people care about each other, and most people have that ability.

If you’d like to read more about what Scott has to say, here are some of his recent blog posts:

OMAHA!! Data-Driven Marketing and the Audible

How to Avoid Bad Sales Outcomes from Good Marketing Programs

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Crane
David Crane is Strategic Development Manager at Integrate and an ardent student of marketing technology that borders on nerdy obsession. Fortunately, he uses this psychological abnormality to support the development and communication of solutions to customer-specific marketing-process inefficiencies.


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