I’m going to introduce you to the concept of the Revenue Marketing System. And I’m going to use food do it. For those of us who grew up in Canada, the four food groups is a concept that most of us learned in school. Since its introduction in 1977, the Canada Food Guide has advocated that Canadians should enjoy a balanced diet involving meat, grains, fruits and vegetables, and milk. Like many things from the 70s (I’m looking at you bell bottoms and 8 track tapes), the four food group concept is now a little dated and has been replaced.
Like the Canada Food Guide, we at Demand Spring recently updated our Revenue Marketing System to include a fifth critical pillar of success for organizations to optimize when it comes to driving growth.
If you are not yet familiar with the Revenue Marketing System (RMS), we developed it to help marketing leaders take a holistic approach to driving pipeline and revenue (much like a well-balanced diet is part of a foundation for wellness). Today you and your marketing teams are under significant pressure to deliver short-term pipeline and revenue support. You often don’t have time to operate within or question the absence of strategic context.
The New Fifth Pillar of the Revenue Marketing System: Talent Optimization
When we initially developed RMS two years ago we identified (from our work across many diverse B2B marketing organizations) four critical habits of Revenue Marketing leaders:
- They deeply understand their buyer personas and their buyer journey
- They align critical processes and people within their organization to drive top-line growth
- They engage their buyers in a deeply personal and relevant manner
- They automate their business processes to deliver personalization at scale and have the analytics infrastructure in place to measure and manage marketing performance.
What became clear to us in the last couple of years is that many organizations have focused on making tremendous progress in some or all of these areas, yet they haven’t spent as much time optimizing the critical drivers of each of these processes — their people!
To that end, we are now recognizing talent optimization as the critical fifth element in RMS. We believe that for organizations to truly optimize marketing’s ability to drive growth, they need to place a greater degree of emphasis on hiring and developing their talent. Activities such as executive coaching, talent audits aligned to modern marketing skills, talent development plans aligned to these skills are examples of processes that need to be put in place to optimize marketing talent.
The Revenue Marketing System
You spend most of your time on the practices found on the left side of the graphic: Automate and Engage. You are so busy executing tactics (enter monthly target number here) that the critical practices of truly understanding your buyers and aligning within marketing and with sales is given limited attention. (You’ll be given time to do that next month.) The irony is that you would produce better results if you Understood and Aligned better THIS month. According to Infor, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual growth rate. Companies with poor sales and marketing alignment have a 4% revenue decline.
And according to our recent Revenue Marketing research, after resources, the biggest barriers to driving pipeline and revenue are (1) buyer persona insights and (2) alignment of marketing and sales.
Applying The Revenue Marketing System
The good news is that RMS optimization can happen iteratively. Clearly you don’t have the luxury of stopping your short-term initiatives, and you don’t need to do so.
You can optimize any of the five pillars of RMS in a non-linear manner and build strategic context as you have budget and time:
- Conduct primary research (qualitative and quantitative) with target personas to understand what they are thinking, feeling, and doing in each stage of the client lifecycle.
- Engage in an alignment workshop with your sales executive peers to further shape and agree on lead management processes, lead taxonomy, and how you will better collaborate together.
- Conduct a talent audit to identify skills gaps and undertake executive coaching to better equip marketing leaders to drive the type of head-spinning transformation marketing is going through today.
- Build an engagement marketing plan and content strategy that aligns with the learnings from your buyer persona research.
- Incrementally mature your use of marketing technology to drive hyper-targeted personalization and automation.
Improvements in any of these areas will produce positive benefits in how you engage clients and to your contribution to revenue. No matter where you start make sure to map your findings through to a conversion metric. Building a roadmap for strengthening all five areas in an iterative manner will yield results and enable you to stand taller empowering a more strategic, long-term posture within your organization. Apparently you can have your cake and eat it too. (But maybe, no icing?)