The best part about the planning/budgeting season, in my opinion, is the opportunity–the opportunity to start fresh, the opportunity to try something new, and most importantly, the opportunity to be the hero.
Yes, the hero. I know it sounds like hyperbole but I mean it. Now more than ever, it’s time to step up and show what marketing can deliver, and no, I don’t just mean a great looking email or catchy whitepaper headline. The name of the game these days is influencing revenue.
Some marketers used to bemoan (and some used to enjoy) that it was difficult to prove their exact results, pushing the questions to Sales (“I sent you 400 hand-raises in Q2–what did you do with them?”) or inferring their programs’ successes anecdotally (“We sent 40,000 emails about the event so surely the majority of those who attended correspond to our email sends.”).
As platforms have become more sophisticated, it’s a lot easier to see, track, and analyze the effects of marketing’s efforts and marketers would be wise to use this to their advantage to step up their game. Beyond creating more in-depth reports and prolific PowerPoint reviews, I mean actually putting themselves on the hook and taking a number for the year. Yes, putting on paper the amount of pipeline and/or revenue your efforts will influence.
Chances are good that if you aren’t already being asked to prove out your influence on revenue, you will be soon. As of DemandGen Report’s August 2011 Marketing Analytics and Revenue Management Survey, only 53% of responders said their marketing departments were responsible for revenue goals, a number which will certainly be growing exponentially in the coming years. Working your budget and 2013 tactics, campaigns, and partnerships around hitting your influenced revenue number is a sure way to have your CMO singing your praises (and justify that next round of budget asks).
The idea of being responsible for what another team does with your work (i.e., how Sales follows through on the leads you send) is somewhat terrifying, but ultimately the direction more and more companies are headed. There’s more work required on marketing’s part to put mechanisms in place to ensure full visibility and measurability is possible, but it’s worth the effort to get faster feedback, agility in your marketplace, and a better connection to your Sales team.
And a cape.