Grabbing and Owning a Seat at the Revenue Table
There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about the desire of marketing professionals to have a “seat” at the senior management table – where the most important decisions are made regarding the company’s strategic direction, operations, and financial activities.
It’s been my view that the most senior marketing people already occupied that seat. The question I always pose to my marketing colleagues is: “Now, what are you going to do with it?”
But, since the above described “seat” discussions seem to be continuing unabated, I would offer the following recommendation to senior marketing professionals, and those that aspire to be:
Don’t just occupy that seat at the senior management table…truly own it.
The best way to accomplish that goal is to embrace, drive, and “own” the entire revenue process. Within the corporate hierarchy, the sales team has never been shy about claiming its essential revenue turf. Revenue was (and largely still is) the province of the sales function, which is why CEOs and CFOs seemingly spend more time with their sales heads than with their Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs). Of course, without increasingly more revenue, the C-level’s growth targets don’t have a prayer of being met. That won’t sit well with the board, shareholders, and the financial community overall. Hence, the enduring importance of sales in the corporate scheme of things.
Marketing has traditionally been viewed (fairly or unfairly) as playing a supporting role to sales. The marketing team generates the leads for the sales department, while also focusing on the more creative stuff, like building brands, awareness, and preference.
This historically binary approach (think: very thick silos) to how companies create, manage, and accelerate revenue, is the very definition of a dysfunctional revenue process. And, it goes to the heart of why corporations are literally leaving trillions of dollars on the revenue table.
So, to truly own that C-level seat, marketing executives – and everyone concerned with driving increased revenues and healthier top-line growth – need to bust out of the old silos and adopt a breakthrough revenue-building process that we call Revenue Performance Management (RPM). At its core, RPM is about accelerating change between buyers and sellers. It’s also about shining a spotlight on the hidebound sales and marketing methodologies that have been sub-optimized (at best) for way too long.
The advancing RPM revolution is pushing companies to embrace marketing automation and sales effectiveness technologies like never before. They are using these advanced solutions to create better transparency, produce truly actionable insights, and drive greater velocity in delivering outsized revenue performance.
However, RPM cannot stand alone as an island within the corporation. Marketing and sales executives need to bridge these powerful solutions across the enterprise to accelerate every aspect of the revenue process. By enthusiastically and methodically adopting RPM, marketers (aided and abetted, I hope, by their sales compatriots), will create a powerful new revenue engine that demonstrably is more agile, more social, more connected, and more intelligent.
In this blog post, I will focus on the importance of being more agile in developing and executing a successful RPM system at your company. In future posts, I’ll examine “social,” “connectivity,” and “intelligence” as the other key drivers of the high performance revenue engine.
It Takes Speed, Quickness, and Finesse
Every working day marketing executives need to juggle a dizzying array of programs and activities to reach target customers across a broad range of online and offline channels. From social media and other web channels, to email, direct mail, advertising, city tours, events, trade shows, webinars, and seminars.
Figuring all of this out is a daunting task for even the most seasoned of marketers. To succeed – and win – in this highly complex and lightning-fast business environment, marketers must possess the speed of a world-class sprinter, the quickness and strength of a NFL middle linebacker, and the balance and finesse of a martial arts master. In other words, it takes a high level of agility.
Being more agile is easier said than done. As CMOs hone in on where and how to focus marketing budgets to generate maximum results, the obvious choices are not always the best. For example, last year Google published a chart that outlined its projections for 2011 marketing spending in the B2B space. In that chart, Google indicated that its search business represented 5 percent of the total B2B marketing spend in 2011. Social media made up about 3 percent of spending on the chart. Guess what stood out on the chart with a whopping 28 percent of the marketing spend? Events! Don’t think they’re just old school – properly executed, events are a powerful means of generating revenue – whether online, offline or a hybrid of the two.
A big part of the marketing department’s job is to produce great events that attract significant attendance and generate quality leads. But, in light of ongoing corporate travel cutbacks, growing competitive pressures, and the ever-expanding influence of the web on the entire buying/selling process, this is harder to achieve than ever (and it’s never been easy).
To maximize the huge amount of marketing spend that flows each year into events, marketers need to be more agile than ever. Delivering strong ROI in a corporation’s event marketing activities is a true test of the CMO’s agility as a marketer, and revenue manager.
Nothing succeeds like success. Working collaboratively with their sales team partners, marketing executives are achieving constantly expanding levels of business and professional success by using Revenue Performance Management solutions to become more agile in effectively responding to new challenges and seizing new opportunities. In the process marketers are not just grabbing a seat at the senior management table, they are really “owning it.”