Are you driving revenue or draining it? That, as Shakespeare would say, is the question. Traditional marketing drains revenue (of course in hopes of more than offsetting that drainage through sales). Revenue marketing, in contrast, takes a more strategic approach, designed to drive revenue rather than waiting for it to happen. Traditional marketing usually begins with campaigns designed for lead generation. The campaigns are typically engineered to counter claims by competitors, attracting new sales through discounting or other special offers. Sales campaigns may go full-bore, yet fail to meet sales and marketing alignment challenges. And without that magical, just-right alignment, traditional marketing too often fails to boost sales effectiveness and falls short of achieving predictable growth. The stars are aligned for revenue marketing. At this point in the economy with markets reopening and growth curtailed by the pandemic now beginning to surge, it’s absolutely critical for your organization to get the formula right. In fact, mastering revenue marketing poses a primary challenge for every marketing department of every organization out there. Revenue marketing, we predict, will play a key role in the 2021- 2022 business playbook as we move into the future. Driving revenue? Predicting growth? Marketing is meant to be creative, not cut and dried or hard edged. Everything shouldn’t be about the bottom line, traditional marketers protest. Sales should stay in their own silo – we’re the creative ones! Yes, marketing campaigns should be creative, offering colorful, funny, emotional, personal, and memorable servings of words and images. But what revenue marketing isn’t (and what effective marketing should never be) is:
- artsy without strategic coherence
- overly brand-focused
What revenue marketing must be, on the other hand, is:
- tied directly to sales growth
- multi-tiered through social marketing funnels
While all marketing initiatives must be built on a foundation of best practices, all marketing must lead to income generation. And, in today’s fast-paced, demand generation environment (consumers want what they want when they want it), the one “silo” that matters is the one with a revenue “elevator”. Why is revenue marketing so relevant, especially this year? After more than a year marked by fear, sales slowdowns, market uncertainty, and business shuttering, it will be the savviest and most focused marketers that get the ROI cheese. To be in that number, you will need be self-directed and tactically focused on your bottom line. When sales and marketing departments work in sync, there are 3 key benefits:
- Your sales team knows which prospects are ready to buy and knows the context needed for closing the deals. The marketing team listens to this critical information, using it to creatively strategize.
- Your marketing department knows which channels and messages are most likely to deliver the sales — in addition to clicks or leads — so they can optimize ROI. Sales, tuned into the same critical social media channels, are now prepared to answer questions and act on leads.
- The customer is last to receive the most relevant and vital communication that has grown out of the joining of forces between marketing and sales. Both sales and marketing will have worked to clearly understand customer needs, so that sales numbers can move faster through the funnel. Because the two teams are in sync, they can turn on a dime, if needed, abandoning a nonproductive strategy and regrouping to move in a different direction.
4 tough steps towards success in revenue marketing If you were hoping to gain an obstacle-free ride to a sweet bottom line, sorry, but revenue marketing isn’t a quick fix. However, here are some revenue marketing rules of thumb that can help you succeed in achieving your overarching objective – increased business through increased sales: Step 1: Understand your buyer: Think you already know who your buyers are? You probably don’t, because your (pre-COVID) buyers are simply not the same people as the ones you’re facing in 2021. Some of the rules have changed, and, to a significant extent, there are new types of people coming to the table. Each dollar spent is more meaningful for them – and for you. Own the new order. Do your due diligence. As the very first part of your revenue marketing strategy, develop a deep understanding of your new buyers. How?
- Invest in marketing research. Ask questions. Create detailed buyer personas to map the needs of your customers.
- Understand the specifics of ACD (the way your customer goes through the 3 key stages of buying:
- Awareness: customers realize the problem
- Consideration: customers look at their options
- Deciding: customers purchase a solution
- Evaluate customers’ buying cycle, adjusting your marketing and sales efforts to support that thought process timeline.
Step 2: Scrap the silos. Align marketing and sales Sales and marketing have often worked like peas in separate pods, believing they have very different goals, certainly very different methodologies. So how do you get the departments to work in sync?
- Get your sales and marketing teams together to talk about goals. Everyone understands that the business climate has become more challenging because of the pandemic and that things are undeniably different. Take the time to discuss the ramifications and to regroup, getting everyone heading together in the same direction. Chances are good that everyone on each tem already knows the “secret” – working together is the best way to maximize revenue.
- A shared playbook will be based on Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. KPIs are simply quantifiable measures of performance over time towards a specific objective. Salespeople are already masters at keeping score; for marketing team members, an attitude adjustment may be needed. Most important, KPIs provide a shared target for both teams, milestones for gauging progress, and insights that help people across the organization make better decisions together.
- Is there a continuous feedback loop of information in the way data flows between the sales and marketing teams? A dedicated system for information exchange can avoid road bumps. If there are still hurdles to communication, take the time to develop the necessary processes, data definitions, and systems.
- Execute collateral and campaigns
Step by step, you’ve mastered the silo-merging process and are prepared to begin the creation of new-think marketing campaigns. Again, not easy. You’re ready, now, to develop campaigns specific to every stage of the buyer journey, combining B2B marketing strategies that include a mix of automated email marketing, PPC, blogging, mailings, and more.
- Analyze and improve
Even the best strategized, most data-intense marketing program can fail due to unforeseen circumstances. Analysis tells you what works and what doesn’t. Refining, based on new data – every step of the way – is the key to success.
There are two primary types of marketing metrics you should track: – Strategic analysis. This is your “big picture” report card, including metrics to document your contributions to revenue quarter by quarter, while analyzing overarching profit and growth. –Tactical analysis is also vital. Think of tactical analysis as your day-to-day program metrics, zeroing in on the impact your campaigns have on sales-marketing alignment. Tactical analysis can be done by marketing type, judging the results of each category, including email campaigns, individual social media funnels, media and print advertising.
Ready to put revenue marketing to work? Start by clarifying where your company is right now. Where would you like to be in the next quarter and beyond? Your revenue marketing playbook will involve both tactics and strategy. With newly united and better-aligned sales and marketing teams, you will be well on your way to repeatable, predictable, and, most important, sustainable revenue growth.