B2B marketers are expected to generate sales pipeline and customer revenue. Marketing teams are grinding daily to discover new ways to identify, engage, educate, win and expand customers.
Whether you’re applying lead-to-revenue, account-based marketing (ABM), product-, partner-, community-led growth strategies or a combination thereof, a practical yet overlooked step is getting the company talent and resources more involved.
Today, revenue and customer generation must be a team sport. It requires contributions and expertise from across the company. Beyond marketing, sales and customer success, your product, finance, operations and executive teams are invaluable partners.
This article tackles frequently discussed revenue strategies and what marketing leaders can do to work with colleagues to generate customer revenue more efficiently and effectively.
Not all revenue strategies and tactics work
The B2B buying and selling process is not how it used to be. Buyer self-serve preference, larger buying committees, longer cycles with more complexity and scrutiny — all this limits B2B sellers’ access to buyers. This reality hamstrings sellers’ productivity and crushes their spirits.
Throw in a volatile, uncertain macroeconomic environment and company panic sets in. This chaotic mix generates immediate reactions that, despite good intentions, are distractions, not solutions.
First, we frequently misdiagnose this challenge as a “sales and marketing alignment” problem. Marketing generates demand, and sales follow-up on leads is the typical alignment recipe. We all know how that has worked — it does not scale.
Second, we turn to the latest and greatest technology as the holy grail to making revenue flow through marketing. A few come to mind — marketing automation, intent, ABM and today, product-led growth and community-led selling.
These can be incredibly impactful strategies but won’t fully address the challenge. In addition, they don’t always align with how solutions are bought, sold and adopted by companies today.
Third, too much burden and hope rely singularly on demand and digital marketing teams to drive the customer journey and lifecycle. If we just generate enough of the right leads at the right accounts, we can make it work, right?
Yet, this pressure quickly leads to bad habits we all recognize, such as:
- Stuffing as many leads into the process as possible to feed hungry sales pros and BDRs.
- Buying leads to hit artificial top-of-funnel and sales lead quotas.
- Buying media to drive traffic to the website, hoping they will convert immediately.
- Using sales target account “wish lists” without regard to a buyer or account fit, propensity, or readiness.
Locking arms with your colleagues to better deliver customers and revenue
Our prospects and customers working at B2B organizations are fighting to stay above water in today’s market. The pace of change is relentless. The number of options is staggering. And the sheer volume of daily high-pressure decisions that need to be made is overwhelming.
Understanding this reality for B2B-considered purchases is our guiding light in changing how, as a company, we approach revenue generation. Creating customers and growing revenue is an always-on team sport. It requires company-wide, active participation from multiple functions in the organization.
Dig deeper: The state of intent data in 2023 and beyond
As marketing leaders, if we are not working with other functional leaders to define and activate this effort, we are missing a vital ingredient in revenue generation. CMOs can lead the charge, starting with building trusted relationships with functional leaders. Together, leaders can define roles and accountability working each type of account — strategic, commercial, growth or however the organization segments customers and markets.
Here is how a $1.4 billion software enterprise is identifying and integrating the functions to work with sales and marketing to identify, engage, advance, win and expand customer relationships and revenue.
Executives as sponsors and advocates for your best prospects and highest growth opportunity customers
Execs have business understanding, visibility and control of budgets, people and strategy.
These allow them to quickly activate resources where needed to increase win rates and expansion opportunities with prospect and customer engagements.
Product teams assigned to and aligned with target accounts to collaborate and co-create value and instill confidence
Product pros are now working with specific prospects and customers to co-develop and customize solutions.
This real-world research and development (R&D) is a good strategy for increasing deal size and revenue. And an additional benefit is the R&D effort is creating new, better products available to its customer base.
Ops and data teams provide account intelligence and share data proactively with prospects and customers
Thanks to the new mandate for the operations and data teams, the enterprise is finally using the treasure trove of data sitting in internal and external systems to listen, understand and provide more timely engagement and information to the front-line teams.
In addition, ops and data teams can share product and market data that customers can use to improve operational efficiency. The company is productizing and selling this valuable data, creating an additional revenue source.
Finance groups prioritize resources, structure contracts and deliver ROI metrics back to customers
Finance was labeled a risk-averse team with a “deal prevention” reputation. But now, finance is offered as a resource earlier in the selling and customer journey at key accounts.
The finance leaders have developed a “swarm team” providing a service to work with prospects and customers to co-develop ROI models from the investment in the software.
Re-thinking marketing’s role in driving revenue and relationships
As marketing leaders, we can’t always control everything that happens in other departments. However, we can define collective and individual marketing roles and the role each plays in contributing to revenue and customer creation and expansion.
What the enterprise software company highlighted above figured out was not to put all the burden on the demand and digital marketers to be the sole source of large volumes of leads to drive demand in the revenue generation process.
For example, product marketing was previously measured on metrics like the annual number of product launches and successfully completing sales training and enablement. Product marketing is now focused on and rewarded for revenue generated from product experiences, adoption and expansion of new capabilities and solutions.
Corporate marketing is now aligned with revenue metrics focused on and rewarded for not just bolstering brand awareness or increasing the number of social posts or web traffic generated from social media.
Rather, corporate marketing is aimed and bonused on achieving account revenue targets. This approach encourages creativity by corporate marketing pros proactively seeking out prospects and customers to infuse into the company communications and programs.
Revenue generation is a team sport
As we see at the enterprise software company highlighted in this article, it takes creativity and alignment with your best prospects and customers’ buying process, not just internal sales and marketing.
By integrating and involving key company roles in the revenue generation process, companies can make significant strides.
To be clear, this does not lessen the demand or the digital marketing team’s role or accountability for directly impacting revenue. It just increases the odds of the company and marketing delivering better results.
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