I recently came across a great blog post by G. David Dodd, Why Marketers Need a Revenue Growth Theory, where he quotes a couple studies done by companies like ITSMA, VisionEdge Making Your Marketing Numbers MatterMarketing, Forrester, and the Fournaise Marketing Group essentially saying that for the most part CEOs, CFOs, and other executives do not use marketing data when making decisions or even trust the marketing data put in front of them. The crux of this article is that the reason a lot of marketing data is taken with a grain of salt is that it rarely directly connects with important business outcomes that the executive team is looking for. Getting your marketing numbers in line with not just what your executive team is looking for, but also what makes sense for the Sales team is critical to ensuring Marketing is taken seriously and its metrics are considered in company-wide decisions.
Here are a few steps you can take as a marketer to make you numbers more relevant to your executive team and more important to the company’s decision making:
1. As the aforementioned article states, get a revenue growth theory (read the article for more details about what this means exactly). Once this is in place you will have a much better idea how your marketing programs fit into the larger corporate goals and business outcomes that are desired.
2. Once your theory is in place sit down with your executive and Sales teams to learn what metrics they feel are relevant to measuring the desired business outcomes. This could be something like conversion rates from leads generated by marketing campaigns to Sales opportunities, how every marketing campaign influences overall revenue, or even something simple like tracking the ROI of your programs in terms of dollars generated vs. dollars spent.
3. This may be the most important step in the whole process – find a platform for tracking and measuring the results of your marketing programs that the executive and Sales teams actually buy into. In my experience a CRM solution like salesforce.com is the best way to do this. Very few sales reps or executives will go into any marketing applications to look at your marketing numbers. Your whole company’s database is stored in your CRM solution, the Sales team sells out of it, and that is also where the executive team looks at most of you company’s key metrics. By tracking and measuring marketing metrics in a CRM solution as opposed to somewhere else, you will build a higher level of trust with the key stakeholders because of the high level of visibility into your metrics in a place they are already familiar with.
4. Once your revenue growth theory and measurement systems are in place make sure that you continue to meet with the key stakeholders (Sales, executive team, etc.) to keep everyone in alignment. Just getting your metrics in place one time is not enough, business evolve, processes change, and people move around. By regularly talking and keeping everyone on the same page you will ensure that you don’t have to go through this whole process from scratch again!
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