I’ve been following with interest developments in Revenue Performance Management (RPM), pushed as both a strategy and new industry category by B2B marketing automation vendors Eloqua and Marketo.
Let me state right up front that I think RPM is a great idea because it’s attached to a real business strategy — driving revenue — instead of just automating.
RPM is defined by Eloqua this way:
“Revenue Performance Management is a systematic approach to identifying the drivers and impediments to revenue, rigorously measuring them, and then pulling the economic levers that will optimize top line growth.”
And according to Marketo:
“Revenue Performance Management (RPM) is a strategy to optimize interactions with buyers across the revenue cycle to accelerate predictable revenue growth.”
By contrast, CRM and its offspring sales automation, marketing automation and service automation are mainly about, well, automation. Clearly automation requires technology which is why CRM is such a big industry category. So big that calling something a “CRM” solution (or “Social CRM” for that matter) does little to describe what the solution does. That’s why in recent years I rarely hear vendors describe themselves as CRM solution providers unless they a) mainly sell SFA like Salesforce.com or b) sell an integrated suite like SAP or Oracle.
RPM is the first new TLA I could really get excited about because it’s focused on a critical business goal and could lead to a more useful segmentation of the CRM space. I say “could” because currently, that’s not happening.
So far as I can tell (and please correct me in the comments if you feel otherwise), RPM is what marketing vendors help you do. Huh? OK, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to relabel MA solutions RPM and give them a higher purpose. But it would be so much better to use this new term/category to help pull the B2B marketing and sales disciplines together, along with the solutions they need.
When I’ve researched key issues in B2B marketing and sales, it’s clear that technology is only part of the equation. “Sales 2.0” is the banner that many vendors have been flying recently. Works OK as a marketing term (perhaps less so for, um, marketing vendors) but not exactly an industry category.
But the real issue I hear over and over again, especially in B2B circles, is marketing/sales organization alignment. If you want good teamwork, you need some shared goals (e.g. revenue) and a common definition of a sales-ready lead.
That’s where I feel RPM is falling way short of its full potential. As a strategy, it should include a focus on marketing/sales alignment. As a technology category, it should include ALL of the tools required to support that alignment. Marketing tools, for sure, but RPM should also be the home for:
- good old SFA from Salesforce.com, Microsoft, …
- sales enablement tools from Qvidian, SAVO, …
- sales analytics tools from Birst, Cloud9, …
Then RPM would have some heft — a new term focused on a big business problem and supported by an impressive array of technology. As it stands, I don’t think RPM will get very far if promoted as just marketing’s answer to how to drive revenue. The sales industry needs to join the fun too!