The Best B2B Marketers Hold Themselves Accountable to Revenue: Here’s How You Can Too
By Jason Widup, VP of Marketing at Metadata.io
Today, the best B2B marketers are held accountable for revenue. But being accountable for revenue doesn’t mean you’re good at performance marketing. It doesn’t mean you crack the attribution nut. It’s not one thing. It’s broader than that.
Being accountable to revenue means that you really understand the role of marketing in a company.
It isn’t just building pretty websites and coming up with clever words. It means you’re thinking about the ultimate impact on revenue in all of the work you’re doing. And applying the resources you have across the wide range of marketing disciplines in order to maximize revenue impact.
And you don’t get there by capturing leads on a content piece and throwing it over the fence to Sales. Marketing and Sales need to have a shared goal to work towards. And when Marketing and Sales share a common goal, that goal gets met more consistently.
The theme of DEMAND 2021 was “Get Closer to Revenue.” But getting “closer to revenue” doesn’t mean you immediately change your goals. It’s about progression deeper into the funnel.
If your goals are focused on leads, move to MQLs and then Opps. If your goals are focused on the number of Opps, step that down to Pipeline. Progress your goals down the funnel until you’re at actual closed/won revenue sourced from Marketing.
Marketing Technology News: The Basics of Partnership Marketing and How Businesses Can Use It to Drive Growth
Here’s why this is all so important…
Revenue is the ultimate outcome metric for a growing business.
And if Marketing exists to source new opportunities and assist them down the path to revenue, then isn’t that how we should be measured? If we stop at leads or MQLs, then we’re short-changing the impact we have on the company. And we aren’t aligned with the ultimate goal of the company, which is growth.
The best B2B marketers hold themselves accountable to revenue.
And ever-increasingly, being held accountable to revenue will be a requirement for some of the best marketing jobs out there. So you want to set yourself up to be prepared for those kinds of roles.
When Marketing & Sales have a shared goal, both sides end up working better together to meet that challenge. They stop wasting time arguing over how many leads are needed from Marketing or why Sales’ conversion rates are so low. They’re required to plan and work together or the goal doesn’t get met.
As a marketer, holding yourself accountable to revenue builds trust and helps you earn a seat at the table. It’s the difference between walking into a leadership meeting and saying “I’m going to deliver $57m of pipeline next year” vs. “I’m going to throw 1000 leads over the fence to you, good luck”.
There’s a major difference there.
So then why aren’t more of us held accountable to revenue today?
1. It can be scary
What if all these leads we’re bringing in don’t actually convert, and all the real revenue is driven from outbound? Or, you already know that a lot of the marketing you’re doing doesn’t impact the bottom line, but you’re not sure what else to do. There’s going to be the fear of the unknown.
2. We’re not sure how to measure it
What about attribution? Will Marketing actually get the right amount of credit. What about these difficult-to-measure cases where word of mouth, social proof and organic social posts are what drives interest. How will I know that what we’re doing results in revenue?
3. Revenue isn’t an immediate result (like leads)
I’m willing to wager that none of us here today has a single-day sales cycle in marketing. How do I think about and learn from all of the things that I did 6 months ago to today that resulted in a closed deal? So it takes longer to prove out. And you’re under the gun for delivering immediate results and proving your value. And leads are just so easy to measure and represent an interesting handoff point to Sales where determining why leads don’t progress can be argued about – is it lead quality or sales capability?
4. It requires trust
and willingness to sometimes short-change near-term performance for longer-term upside. And oftentimes, Marketing doesn’t have that trust because of this exact situation of tossing high-funnel leads over the fence. They haven’t proven they can deliver revenue, so the trust isn’t there yet.
5. It’s not how we’ve always done it
Companies get stuck doing things the same ways they always have and it becomes a rut that’s hard to get out of. They get really good and efficient at delivering top-of-funnel leads that they’ve often lost the creativity and ability to break free from that and try new things. And often, this behavior is driven by fear in leadership. It’s much safer to try and get mediocre improvements from things we know how to do. And it feels a lot riskier to try to get a breakout performance from something we’ve never done before.
Marketing Technology News: Smart Marketers Are Taking These Three Steps to Adapt and Succeed in 2022
Three steps you can take to get closer to revenue
The good news is that every session from DEMAND was created with the goal of getting you closer to revenue. Here are a few ways to get started:
1. Get leadership champions.
Your Sales and Marketing leaders need to be fully supportive of these changes, and how you’re going to get there. You’ll need them both in your corner when lead volume drops. They need to be patient while new programs turn leads into opps and ultimately revenue.
And it’s your job to get leadership on board and turn them into champions.
They’ll need to buy into a plan that lays out the promised land and addresses the risks. Without this plan, leadership may gravitate back to the old ways of doing things. This step is critical and while I can’t guarantee a positive outcome, it definitely won’t happen without champions.
2. Be prepared to experiment
And to have some failures along the way. If you’re trying a bunch of new things, and they all “work”, are you really pushing it enough? The tactics you used to generate leads will probably not be the same you use to generate revenue. The opportunity from experimentation is huge. We’re not talking experiments to get slightly better performance from existing activities. We’re talking moonshot experiments with new channels, completely new tactics, new audiences. I think this group knows what I’m talking about – I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t willing to take some risks and learn new things.
3. Keep measurement simple.
Don’t overcomplicate it by trying to understand how every discrete experience leads to revenue. Start with a broader focus on – “does the sum of everything we’re doing result in a general increase in marketing, direct, and organic-sourced opportunities?” Once you figure that out, then start looking at the individual channels and tactics that are contributing.
Demand Generation is about so much more than performance marketing, processes, and operations. It’s really about creating and capturing desire for your products and services. And there are an infinite number of ways to get there. You need the right balance of art and science. A brand-focused demand strategy still needs analytics and operations to realize its fullest potential. And a performance-marketing-focused strategy will fall flat without the right creative messaging and visuals behind it.
Marketing Technology News: Product Should be at the Heart of Your Marketing Strategy