SiriusDecisions Summit 2015: Honky-tonk, Paul Bunyan, and Magic Johnson to (Cowboy) Boot

Event Marketing


Whew! What a week for B2B marketers! Over 2,000 marketing, product, and sales leaders two-stepped their way to Honky-tonk Central, aka Nashville, TN. Why, you ask? To attend the fabulous 10th annual SiriusDecisions Summit, that’s why! This is a must-attend event for B2B marketing leaders who are eagerly awaiting the release of new frameworks, demand waterfalls, and best practices to implement in their businesses.


With the alluring image I painted above, I know you wish you could have been there, too. But, have no fear—I’ll explain everything in a way that makes you think you were. Here are my favorite highlights and take-aways from this whirlwind event:

1. The Chainsaw vs. Paul Bunyan: The Growth of the Marketing Technology 

The invention of the chainsaw crushed Paul Bunyan’s tree chopping game. Similarly, the growth of marketing technologies has completely changed how organizations can efficiently deliver engagement marketing to prospects and customers. Marketing technology investments have nearly doubled in the past four years, and CMOs, CPOs, and CSOs who are not tech-savvy will have trouble finding (and keeping) a job in the next 10 years. The call to arms has been issued: instead of hiring more sales reps, make the existing reps more productive using technology.

2. Business Lessons from Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

“Show up every day as if it’s your first day; bring that same passion and energy!” NBA legend Magic Johnson inspired the crowd and jumped on the selfie bandwagon, stopping every few feet to take a photo with an unsuspecting audience member. Magic (we’re on a first name basis now, right?) shared his maniacal focus on getting to know your own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding your audiences and customers. He admitted his own need for control, sharing with us that he’s a control freak but tries to stay in his own lane to let his people do their job. He also shared his humbling story of cold calling CEOs for advice when he first started in his business ventures. Many of them hung up! Can you imagine? Clearly, we are all lifelong learners, and Magic is the epitome of consistently striving for excellence.


3. Building the Ultimate Marketing Machine: Citrix’s Story of Transformation

85% of B2B marketers say they don’t feel like they are using their marketing automation platform to its full potential. Share the pain? Sylvia Gudat, Director of Marketing Technology and Services at Citrix Technologies, spoke about the company’s four-year long transformation journey to create its Demand Center:

citrix transformation journey

With a core marketing technology team of less than 10 folks supporting 200+ marketing managers globally, the Demand Center now contributes 25% of Citrix sales pipeline! As Citrix has unlocked more of its marketing automation platform, it’s achieved tangible business results that have earned marketing a seat at the revenue table:

  • Demand Center – 40% increase in services/campaigns with existing capacity
  • Sales Enablement – 4x in additional qualified pipeline
  • Event Management – 1600% increase in lead velocity and 15% reduction in set-up and execution costs
  • Account and Predictive Scoring – 25% improvement in lead-to-opportunity conversion
  • Predictive Targeting – 50% increase in webinar attendance

4. 2015 Is the Year of Sales and Marketing Alignment

I was shocked to learn that only 1% of a company’s success is about vision; 99% is about alignment. Marketing, sales, and product alignment is driven by a set of common incentives: fixed, variable, and shadow. Incentives have to be a part of the planning process as closer alignment between these functions can drive up to 36% revenue growth and 15% higher profitability. Focus on the organizational ecosystem instead of the org chart and drive alignment using the four phases of cross function workflow: strategy, build, execute, and measure. After all, companies that have aligned sales and marketing deliver 19% more growth – all the more reason to jump on board the alignment train!


5. Four KPIs to Benchmark Your Marketing Results

Marketers continue to struggle with the ‘right’ metrics to measure. To make our lives easier (isn’t that nice!), here are four metrics that SiriusDecisions recommends for B2B marketers:

    • Marketing Sourced Pipeline: Percentage of pipeline created from marketing activities: aim for 10%-50%
    • Marketing Influenced Pipeline: Percentage of sales pipeline touched by marketing: aim for 30%-82%
    • Investment to Pipeline: Average cost of demand creation of overall sales pipeline: aim for 1%-4%
    • Investment to Revenue: Average revenue generation from $1 invested in demand generation: aim for $5-$20

6. Empowering Your Own Talent

The single most interesting tidbit I took away is that even though it’s clear that the demand for digital marketing skillsets is exploding, organizations only spend about $900 per year on upskilling their marketing talent. Marketers have to take learning new skills into their own hands to keep up with market demand. Courses like the Marketo University and Certification process help to build the necessary skillsets that are driving the transformation in marketing.

We want to hear from you: What did you take away from the conference? Did you score a selfie with Magic Johnson? Leave your comments in the section below!