After a successful first half of her day and a good break, Janet is ready to tackle the tasks ahead of her.  At 1 pm, Janet reviews the latest campaign metrics.  She notices that one of her campaigns is not getting good response rates.  She calls the campaign manager into her office to brainstorm getting this campaign back on track.  It is determined that the messaging and offers should be tweaked.  The campaign manager goes off to make the changes and they agree to discuss the results in a few days.

Next she takes a look at the lead scoring results.  She notices many leads in “hot” status.  A quick look in the CRM shows that many of these leads have not been followed-up on by the lead qualification team.  She heads over to talk to the lead of that team.  The conversation is easy because the teams are in close alignment on strategy and incentives.  Everyone is working towards the same goals.  She determines that the issue is around having too many leads in hot status, but when the lead qual team follows up, not many are converting.  She discusses with her Marketing Automation administrator some changes she wants to make to the lead scoring criteria.  The changes will be made by the end of the day and they can review the results in a few days again to see if it helps.

At 3 pm, Janet interviews a couple of candidates for her team.  She is looking for a business analyst who can help with reporting and data quality.  This will be a key role to keep her team supplied with the right information and prospect data to be effective in their campaign efforts.  She is looking for someone who can not only crunch the numbers but also analyze the results and bring suggestions to the table.  She also wants someone who is familiar with data best practices that can keep their database clean and complete.

At the end of the day, Janet looks back at her dashboard to find some campaigns that are working well.  She shoots off some meeting invitations to business leaders to discuss how she might be able to replicate these campaigns with their content.  She updates the campaign calendar based on her earlier strategy discussions and shuts down her computer for the night.  She’s now off to watch her son’s soccer game secure in the knowledge that her marketing department is an effective and efficient piece of the company’s revenue engine.

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Janet gets to the office around 7 am because she likes to work early to avoid interruptions and be done with work at a reasonable time so she can spend more time with her family.  However, her CFO feels the same way, so this morning she is accosted with questions as soon as she walks in about the effectiveness of her marketing spend.  Fortunately, Janet has this information readily on hand because she has a marketing dashboard that gives her real-time information about closed-loop marketing ROI.  She can tell the CFO exactly how much she has spent and what she has in both closed won and anticipated revenue for the month, quarter and year.

At 9 am, Janet has a meeting scheduled with her CMO to talk about the marketing strategy for the next quarter.  She walks in with information about what has been working for them and what hasn’t.  She also has some ideas about what they could try because she has been quietly testing out new strategies for the past few months and has information about what might work.  The meeting concludes promptly at 9:30 with a clear vision of the strategy for the next quarter and buy-in from the CMO.

At 10 am, Janet chairs a staff meeting where the Revenue Marketing team reports out on the status of current campaign projects.  With simple workflow tools and project dashboards, Janet can clearly see where everything stands and get tasks at risk of slipping back on track.  Everyone on her team has clear roles and understands how they are evaluating campaigns against revenue.

At 11 am, Janet sits down to review the latest content pieces the team has developed.  She has clearly defined personas and buy cycles for her prospects, so she knows what content will be effective in each stage of the decision process for each type of prospect.  That makes her job in editing the content easy.

At noon, she finally gets a break before gearing up for the second half of her day…

I was reading a debate on LinkedIn this morning over the “Tiger Mom” article and whether people with and without children are equally busy and have equal amounts of stuff to juggle in their work-life balance (which stemmed from a Forbes blog called Tiger Yes, Mom No, if you are wondering where the connection is).  It occurred to me that your life fits exactly what is in it.  I am the mother of a 15 month old.  My life was busy before she was born and my life is busy now.  Time is finite – there are only so many hours in the day.  Having children just makes you change how you spend those hours.

That started me thinking about the struggle that marketers face when trying to become effective revenue marketers.  I often hear that they just can’t get to the critical things they want to do because they are stuck doing other traditional marketing activities.  It is kind of the same argument – time is finite and you just have to choose how you spend it.  Money is also finite and again it comes down to choices on how you spend it.  So you only have so much time and money for your marketing programs – time for some choices.

First, if you are really committed to becoming a revenue marketer, you need to realize that you can’t do everything at once.  You need to figure out what your long term goals are and work on a plan to get you there.  Don’t get me wrong – you can definitely do everything, eventually.  But even if you have an infinite amount of money to hire resources, there is a finite capacity for any given strategy and change.  It depends on your company’s appetite for change and the support you receive.  You may have to do a whole lot of convincing before you can ever start doing.

Second, you need to have a little patience.  Transitioning from a traditional marketing department into a revenue marketing machine will take a little time.  I always tell my large clients that it is at least a three year journey before you are going to really start feeling comfortable that you are doing the right activities at the right time.

And third, you need to be willing to make some tough choices and take responsibility for them.  You may need to change out resources or slash a sacred event budget.  And it may not work out for you every time or show immediate success.  But you need to be willing to be a little unpopular if you really believe in what you are doing.  The road to becoming a revenue marketer is not an easy one.

I pretty much fell into my role as a marketing operations director running a demand generation team at my last job.  I was looking into marketing automation software and trying to get some leverage internally to sell it.  So I went to a recent hire who was brought on to roll out our CRM system (SFDC) globally across the organization.  He said he would help me if I helped him with this little project rolling out the marketing functionality of the CRM system.  I said “sure!” having absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.  Within six months, I was rolling out an entire global marketing infrastructure.  It was trial by fire – fortunately I learn quick and it was the best thing that ever could have happened to my career.

If you are looking to hire a demand gen leader, it’s tough to find the right person in today’s market.  It’s a relatively new field and there just aren’t that many of us skilled in it.  You can either find someone who has done it before, which is a limited pool, or you can bring someone on your existing team up-to-speed by partnering with a consulting agency for initial expertise and learn from them.  In either case, here are a few of the essential skills to look for:

  • Analytical expertise.  Someone who is not only good with numbers, but who can also make sense of and act on those numbers.
  • Operational expertise.  Familiarity with process development and focus on continuous improvement is critical.
  • Change management expertise.  One of the biggest stumbling blocks on this journey is building an entire infrastructure only to find out no one is using it.  Look for a resource that can build consensus and align with the sales team.  Someone who has previous sales experience is ideal.
  • Business expertise.  By this I mean someone who has a good grasp of business goals and the ability to align marketing to meet those goals.  This does not need to be someone that knows the industry or your particular company well, necessarily.  But they should have the ability to understand the industry, your company, your products and your challenges fairly quickly.  Someone who can see the big picture and then align everything underneath with that big picture.
  • Leadership expertise.  Someone who can articulate the vision and value to the organization and get everyone behind it.  Don’t confuse this with a good manager – a good leader will gain followers regardless of their organizational reporting structure and has influence far outside of their own vertical in the org chart.

Marketers are often afraid to become accountable for actual revenue.  There are so many factors between a lead hand-off and a sale that are out of our control.  The salesperson could do a bad job of selling or worse, never follow-up on the lead.  The lead could have been a bad one (maybe we qualified it wrong).  Or maybe the tides just changed in that interim time period and the lead is no longer interested in our product.

To make the leap to a true revenue marketer, though, you do need to make yourself accountable for sales.  There are some advantages to this.  First, it will bring you and your sales team in alignment when you are working towards the same goals.  Secondly, when it’s successful, you get to point to actual dollars and position your team as a profit center rather than a cost center.  And finally, it positions you to have your bonuses based on hard facts rather than someone’s whim.

There are some not-so-scary ways to start becoming accountable.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • Follow-up on your leads.  Just making this a daily part of your routine to check in with sales will go a long way.  Make sure you are doing it in such a way that you aren’t nagging, but rather helping the salesperson move that lead along.
  • Set revenue goals that are in alignment with the sales goals.  A good starting goal is 5-10% of new business revenue.  You should be striving to ultimately get that up to about 30%.  Your strategy should support these goals.
  • Create reports and dashboards to monitor your progress.  Promote these reports internally to your management so they can see that you are taking responsibility for revenue success.  Even if it isn’t always a success, they will at least see that you are trying to overcome the failures and adjust your process moving forward.
  • Create a feedback loop for sales.  Let them tell you when a campaign or lead just isn’t what they are expecting.  They have a direct line to your targets and can give you some great feedback.

If you can get all of these things in place, you will be well on your way to being a successful revenue marketer!