As the old business adage goes “perception is everything”, and to be frank, the way marketing is perceived in many organizations is a legitimate problem. Rather than concentrating on how to generate impact, the focus for many teams is to use analytics to look back and see how they did, when they should be using those insights to calculate a plan and look ahead of them and say “Here’s how we did, and here’s what we’re going to do next to be better.” Leading marketing teams are doing just this, and because they’re managing their metrics to the company goal, they are better perceived than their counterparts who are still just looking at data from the past without using it to influence the future. This is easier said than done, but not to worry! We’ve worked alongside the Forrester team to determine 7 steps to transform marketing into a trusted & efficient revenue engine; to shift your team from simply measuring data to using it to managing performance and planning.
1) Embrace all past insights – The good, the bad and everything in between
The best way to know where you’re going is to look back at where you’ve been. You can’t shy away from your mistakes if marketing is to be as efficient as possible, lest you fall into the same patterns down the road. Learn from the things that didn’t work and truly internalize why it didn’t. This isn’t exclusive to metrics either. Along your path, you may encounter detractors who will be critical of your insights. Again, don’t shy away from the confrontation. An open dialogue about their feedback can transform them into allies who will help propel your team forward.
2) Do not forget the importance of data
Data and data management has risen to the forefront as the most common problem area for B2B marketers. There’s an overwhelming plethora of information that marketers can pull today. This can make data and its measurement seem like a behemoth of an undertaking which causes marketers to shy away from it entirely. It is imperative that your team escalates and understands how crucial a data management plan is. Be warned though, this is no easy task as it will surely prompt a cultural change. Your team will have to grow into meticulous stewards of data. Analysis and measurement depends on the accuracy and completeness of the information your team tracks.
3) Apply your analytics across your team’s buyer’s journey
No two organizations are the same – every business’ goals are unique and specific to their market, regions, product lines, etc. When you start to measure your metrics stringently, you’ll be able to make revenue optimized actions against any part of your customer’s life cycle. The more specific and well thought out your metrics are, the more you will be able to guarantee its impact. You’ll be able to match the most effective assets to the right people wherever they are in your buyer’s journey.
4) Focus on metrics that matter
This isn’t just about taxonomy, although that is important. Your team needs to come to a consensus on what your priorities are and how you should be tracking against them. This will take some negotiation and discussion but at the end of it, you’ll be more aligned than ever and focused on the same goals. Another important aspect to keep in mind is to continually link your metrics back to driving business impact. By doing so, you’re creating an explicit path to revenue – A specific plan of how the team intends to make money and help serve as an organizational north star for strategic conversations around metrics.
5) Assemble the right team for what your business needs
Marketing teams need to be agile so they can adapt alongside an organization’s shifting priorities. If you remain static, you run the risk of asking your marketers to contort and stretch beyond their natural talents. Reorganizing your talent can be hard, but it needs to be done. It will link back to your overall strategy because if you didn’t have the right team in place, you’ll begin to question your metrics and its validity. When assessing a team’s capabilities, marketing leaders should consider data and analytics competency, deep domain knowledge and storytelling as invaluable skills.
6) Build an internal network to support marketing’s functions
You need to establish partners with influence whose support will go a long way. This will be a crucial factor to recognize when constructing a marketing performance management plan. Marketers should align to their goals so you can be as transparent and as supportive in your actions as possible. This symbiotic relationship will only help emphasize the significance of marketing’s contribution to the business because of its ability to support the goals of other stakeholders.
7) Celebrate every win, big or small to demonstrate the art of the possible
A big part of creating a plan that emphasizes managing performance over measurements is having the credibility and influence established across your organization. This transition is no simple task but will prove large dividends. Marketers need to empower a buy-in across your organization that your insights are being tracked in such a way that will drive impact. Give your team the validity that their work is recognized and essential to everyone’s success as a trusted and efficient marketing revenue engine.