Marketers: Are You Measuring the Things that Truly Matter?

Marketers: Are You Measuring the Things that Truly Matter?

A good friend of CMO Essentials, Samantha Stone just published a book entitled, Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook That Drives Sales. I asked Samantha why she wrote the book and she told me, “After running marketing teams of my own and working with a lot of different clients, I realized that I was hearing many of the same questions and seeing people struggling with the same things, especially around interactions with sales. I wanted to answer these questions and, in the process of writing them down, I found that it really crystallize my beliefs.” When I asked Samantha what these common problems were, she said that it all starts with how marketing and sales are measured. Measuring the Right Things “We measure things at the beginning of the process and at the end,” she said. “Marketing gets measured on the leads they create at the top of the funnel, and sales gets measured on deals closed at the bottom of the funnel. No one measures how buyers are moving through the funnel, however, which means that no one is held accountable for it.” “This leads to irrational results,” Samantha said, “such as getting as many people into the top of the funnel as possible, regardless of what happens with them.” To get rational results, of course, we need to measure marketing on the right things. But what are those “right things”? Interestingly, the first “right thing” that Samantha says that marketers must do is understand their customers. And this isn’t about quantifying things; it’s about conducting qualitative research. “We’ve hidden behind data for a long time now,” she said, “and foregone qualitative research. There are a lot...
Can Marketing and Sales Just Get Along?

Can Marketing and Sales Just Get Along?

You’re not imagining it. There is a big divide between sales and marketing. The 2016 B2B Sales & Marketing Collaboration Study, where 123 survey respondents gave us a glimpse into their work experiences, found some shocking proof: 66.9% of respondents report that sales teams are NOT rewarded for supporting marketing objectives, although most report marketing objectives align to the greater business goals. 57% of organizations report that fewer than 85% of leads delivered by marketing are followed up by sales (some saying that that figure is as low as 25% or less). When you consider the cost to acquire leads, this lack of follow-up not only hurts conversion rates, it also hurts in terms of cold, hard cash. For example, if your marketing team generates 5,000 leads, and sales only follows up on 85%, that leaves 750 leads going to waste. At $5, $10 or $20 per lead, that’s a lot of budget misused. The report is clear that a lot of sales tools marketing generates are not being used by sales, but what’s more surprising is how much more sales believe they use than marketing. Over 50% of sales people responded that they use “virtually 100%” of the tools created by marketing. By striking contrast, only 15% of marketers saw it that way. A Guest Post from Samantha Stone, Founder at The Marketing Advisory Network. Is this inevitable? It’s common sense that organizations that rally together around shared goals will drive more efficiency than those where different functions are at odds with one another. Yet, most sales and marketing teams struggle with achieving this ideal and in many ways we’ve come to accept the divide as inevitable....
Building a Marketing and Sales Engine: Hana Abaza of Uberflip

Building a Marketing and Sales Engine: Hana Abaza of Uberflip

Hana Abaza has a black belt in jiu jitsu I mention that to remind you not only that she might be able to defeat you in hand-to-hand combat, but that marketing leaders often have very interesting backgrounds! Oddly enough, it was her martial arts experience that got Hana into marketing in the first place; for 11 years she was in charge of marketing and operations for martial arts studios in Canada, and it was in this role that she got her first exposure to online marketing and the power of things like local search. Flashing forward to the present, Hana is now VP of Marketing at Uberflip. When she joined, Uberflip was in the process of transitioning from a company that focused on a product called Flipbook (primarily targeted at publishers) to their current state as a content experience platform. Part of this transition involved going after upper/mid-market B2B companies. The other part involved leaving behind the self-serve model they had been using and creating a marketing and sales engine to power growth into the future. Wanting to learn more about this engine, I asked Hana about marketing and sales alignment at Uberflip. It’s not just about aligning sales and marketing She told me that alignment, in her mind, had to go beyond sales and marketing. On the one hand, marketing and sales definitely need to be synched-up on demand generation. But their activities need to be aligned with the overall company strategy, and, even more importantly, aligned around the customer experience you are looking to create. This means that this alignment needs to extend to customer success. Hana mentioned that, as...
I Achieved the Holy Grail of Sales and Marketing Alignment…or So I Thought

I Achieved the Holy Grail of Sales and Marketing Alignment…or So I Thought

I head up sales for my company, ion interactive, and my husband is our CMO. There are many benefits to having sales and marketing so, ahem, close. When both are connected by wedding rings, one hand always knows what the other hand is doing; strategic and tactical initiatives are almost always decided together. And challenges are solved in unison. In other words, our company ran like our marriage, with sales and marketing truly and totally aligned. Or so I thought. Guest Post from Anna Talerico, EVP and Co-Founder of ion interactive. Imagine my surprise when our promoted-from-within director of sales sat in his first executive leadership meeting and identified sales and marketing alignment as the number one challenge he wanted to solve in the first 90 days of his new role. Yep, that really happened. Once I got past the obvious embarrassment of not being aligned with the department my husband leads, it was time to get serious. According to Aberdeen Group, companies that optimize the marketing/sales relationship grow 32% faster, while companies who fail to nurture that relationship actually see their business decline. I realized pretty quickly that strong alignment wasn’t just nice to have. Communication and support between the marketing and sales teams are critical for the success of any company. Out with the Old Before we ultimately shifted our strategy, sales and marketing alignment simply meant that both teams knew what the other was doing and were generally in agreement about the best way to move forward. The average exchange between my team and theirs sounded something like this: Marketing: “I’d like to do another email drop with Acme...
What Everyone Gets Wrong about Buyer Personas

What Everyone Gets Wrong about Buyer Personas

If there is one person associated with the concept of buyer personas, it’s Adele Revella. She is @buyerpersona on Twitter, and Fortune named her book, Buyer Personas (naturally), one of the 5 Best Business Books of 2015. Adele has been on CMO Essentials before, and readers of this blog will know that we have often advocated the creation and use of buyer personas (especially when it comes to mapping content to the buyer’s journey). That being said, I have often been a persona skeptic. Why? Because I’ve seen companies go to a lot of trouble and expense to create buyer personas only to have nothing really come of the exercise. Even worse, I’ve heard senior executives outright reject information gathered during user interviews. The classic case going something like this: Researcher: Users told us that talking about X actually makes us seem less credible. Executive: But we’ve spent millions developing X. We have to talk about it. In other words, it would seem that people know that they need buyer personas, but aren’t sure what to do with them once they have them or, as in the case above, simply reject the insights that the personas provide. I wanted to figure out what’s going wrong here, so I got in touch with Adele. I wanted to know, “What are people missing with this whole buyer persona thing?” Buyer Personas Need to be Activated Right off the bat, Adele said that personas turning into a kind of shelfware was a common problem. “Not too long ago we were looking for case studies, so we started calling clients from for whom...
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