How to Optimize ROI From Revenue Marketing in 5 Steps

25 Aug 20

A CMO who can’t demonstrate marketing’s impact does not have a seat at the table. Read the 5 steps you need to take to turn marketing into a revenue generator and earn the respect of your peers.

Let’s face it – Don Draper and the Mad Men era didn’t do marketing many favors. Don Draper was a terrible boss and would have made a horrendous CMO. Even if you could get past his heavy drinking, the long and unexplained absences, the likely harassment suits that would have been filed against him, he would not be the leader marketing needs today. Don Draper had vision – he had a way with words. And that’s why he was an ad man, not a CMO.

A truly successful CMO needs more than brilliant advertising, PR, and brand awareness to survive the B2B marketing jungle. Marketing needs more than the ability to communicate to consumers in ways that intrigue them, influence them, excite them. Because you can’t measure intrigue, influence, or excitement – not in a tangible way that helps forecast sales more accurately or saves Marketing from budget cuts. Your CFO doesn’t care that you raised brand awareness because that doesn’t translate to the bottom line. In fact, that brand awareness came at a price – a price that can’t justify itself because you can’t account for its impact.

This is not to say that marketers are playing an entirely new game and should forget about brand strategy, corporate comms, public relations, or anything else that shapes how consumers and the public view your company and solutions. But the rules of the game are evolving, and even though the game has become more complex, it actually evens the playing field for marketers. Now you can translate your activities to the bottom line. Now you can defend your department from budget cuts. Now you can get a seat at the table – with revenue marketing.

Download the Revenue Marketing CMO checklist to see how far you’ve come (or have yet to go) to become a true revenue marketer.

What Is Revenue Marketing?

Let’s start by determining what revenue marketing isn’t. Revenue marketing is not:

  • Brand strategy
  • Campaign planning
  • Lead generation

Ok, so what is it exactly if it isn’t about growing awareness with ideal buyers and creating content to serve them at the right time and through the right channel so that they become sales leads?

Revenue marketing is a repeatable marketing process that can not only account for but also predict marketing’s contribution to the pipeline and to revenue. It aligns marketing with other customer-facing resources within the company to target the most profitable opportunities.

When done correctly, marketing knows when and where to invest resources that align with the company’s goals. It provides actionable guidance on campaigns, people, budget, priorities, and content to align them to sales outcomes. And once these resources are aligned to sales outcomes, marketing is aligned to revenue and can provide that ever-elusive ROI figure that your CFO actually wants.

So what do you need to turn yourself from a lead generator to a revenue marketer?

Step 1: Align Your Strategy

If your marketing strategy is not aligned to the business goals, you can execute every other step in this process and still not be a revenue generator. Make sure that your resources are aligned against the guidance and numbers articulated in the annual revenue plan to hit goals such as:

  • New logo growth
  • Cross-sell and upsell opportunities
  • Key account retention and growth
  • New markets

Step 2: Evaluate Your Technology (and Data) Quality

One of the most significant components to being an effective revenue marketer is being able to evaluate and measure the impact of your strategies. Without the right technology stack and proper data hygiene, that’s impossible. As you evolve your martech strategy, make sure that you are reducing manual processes and reporting, eliminating siloed data, and aligning on key definitions and processes across all go-to-market functions.

Step 3: Align Your Processes

As mentioned above, data quality is imperative to understanding the impact of your strategies. But if the sales process is not well defined and adhered to at each stage of the buyer journey, your data will be meaningless. Check out Jenny Sung’s recent article on The 4 Pillars of Flawless Marketing and Sales Alignment to learn how you can align with Sales and hold each other accountable as one team. Clean processes translate into clean data, and clean data provides actionable insights.

Step 4: Define Your Content Strategy

With the right strategy, technology, and processes in place, you need the content strategy to support the buyer through each stage of the journey. The key will be to make sure that your content strategy aligns with your revenue goals outlined in Step 1. As you plan the types of content, campaigns, and channels to serve your customers throughout the journey, make sure that you have implemented as much tracking capabilities as possible to measure the impact of any changes you make. This will be the true test of how well your content strategy performs.

Step 5: Measure, Refine, Repeat

The final step to becoming a true revenue marketer is to set goals that:

  • Are measurable
  • Adhere to your processes
  • Align to your strategy

Make sure that your goals are both macro and micro – from stage conversion rates to overall contribution to revenue – and that they are agreed upon by all the go-to-market teams. This will ensure accountability and better cross-functional alignment. And don’t forget – a true revenue marketing engine is not a set it and forget machine, but one that should be fine-tuned as your company and your buyers evolve. These goals should help you fine-tune your content strategy to feed the overarching strategy and vision of your company.

Turning your marketing team from lead generators to revenue generators is not just worth the investment – it’s critical to the future success and survival of your marketing org. With today’s technology, marketers have the capability to align their gift of vision with the revenue goals of their company. And CMO’s can finally prove the value of their vision by transforming themselves from brand strategists to revenue marketers.

How far along are you on the journey to becoming a world-class revenue marketer? Download the Revenue Marketing CMO checklist to find out.


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