Tagged: Leverage data

What Separates ‘A’ Marketers From the Rest of the Pack? [Infographic]

by Julie Schwartz, ITSMA and Laura Patterson, VEM 

Marketing Performance Management Study 2014Despite advances in data, analytics, and technology, only 26% of marketers are capable of determining their impact on their business, according to the latest joint ITSMA and VisionEdge Marketing (VEM) Marketing Performance Management (MPM) Survey.

The Annual MPM Survey captured input from 380 respondents. The research findings provide insights on Marketing’s performance measurement and management challenges and best-practices.

Making the Grade

A key component of the annual study is the number of marketers earning an “A” grade from the C-suite for their ability to measure and report marketers’ value to the business. What separates “A” marketers from the rest of the pack? In particular, “A” marketers…

  • Make performance management a priority
  • Have a well-defined and documented road map for continuous performance improvement
  • Select metrics that measure business outcomes rather than effort and activity
  • Build dashboards that effectively communicate business outcomes and marketing results

Value Creators vs. Program Producers

Marketers who earn an “A” have aligned their marketing objectives with business priorities, enabling them to select the right metrics. These best-in-class marketers are leaders who make the market and offering decisions that create value both for customers and shareholders.

Marketers in the middle of the pack—those who earn a “B”—tend to focus exclusively on enabling sales. The “B” marketers emphasize mapping the buyer journey and producing a steady stream of leads. Although that’s important, there is more to marketing than feeding the sales pipeline.

The laggards, marketers who receive lower grades, are more likely to be perceived to be good at producing marketing campaigns rather than producing business results.

Outperforming Peers

Companies with “A” marketers outperform their peers.

Specifically, 63% of companies with “A” marketers reported increased customer share of wallet, compared with 48% of marketers in the middle of the pack and 38% of laggard marketers.

As for new business growth, 54% of the companies with “A” marketers confirmed improvements in their win rates, compared with 39% and 25% of companies with “B” and laggard marketers, respectively.

For more from the ITSMA and VEM Marketing Performance Management Survey, see the following infographic:

marketing performance what separates A marketers from the rest

Julie Schwartz is senior vice-president of ITSMA, a research-based membership organization that helps B2B companies market and sell services and solutions more effectively. Julie writes at the B2B Services Marketing blog. Reach her via jschwartz@itsma.com. Twitter: @JulieITSMA

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing OrganizationTwitter: @LauraVEM


3 Reasons Why Marketers Must Also be Researchers

When I started my career in B2B technology and professional services market research 20+ years ago, few companies were doing any meaningful research beyond customer satisfaction and competitive intelligence. Here we are 20+ years later, and still few companies are doing any meaningful research. Not much has changed. What would be unheard of in a consumer products company, is par for the course in B2B.

B2B marketers, it seems, are more time and resource constrained than their counterparts in B2C. Really?

Research is the foundation for marketing excellence

I have had the privilege of judging ITSMA’s Marketing Excellence Awards (MEA) since their inception in 1999. If there is one comment element across all winning entries, it is the quality of the approach taken to research the problem/opportunity and understand the target market.

Why you must do research

Here are three reasons why marketers must do research:

1.  It is the only way to be truly customer driven. This reason should be so obvious that it should be a given—only it’s not. How many times have I heard, “We don’t need to do voice of the customer research. We talk to our customers every day. Our sales people have their fingers on the pulse of what customers want and need.”—only they don’t. People have a tendency to hear what they want to hear and report what they want to report. It is only through an objective, structured research process that you can get closer to the truth.

Case in point: The salespeople at one ITSMA member were convinced that what was most important to their clients and set them apart from the competition was their ability to solve complex problems. The company adopted this positioning as their core value proposition. However, an ITSMA 360o research program revealed that the “ability to solve complex problems” was not a top priority for clients, nor did clients see this as one of the company’s key strengths. Rather, clients prized services providers that delivered reliably and collaboratively. So while everyone in the industry zigged (promoted their complex problem solving ability), this ITSMA member zagged (promoted the reliability of their solutions and the difference their people make). Guess whose marketing resonated?

2.  It is the only way to know if what you are doing is working. ITSMA’s research shows that marketing organizations that leverage data in their strategic and tactical decision making have a business performance advantage. Data-savvy organizations were better able to “significantly or somewhat” improve their average time to revenue and their sales costs per order dollar. They are collecting and analyzing data, and using the insights gleaned from the analysis to inform decisions to improve marketing’s impact on the business.

Case in point: A software company had a pretty good lead generation process going; sales was hitting quota consistently. However, the current process was not going to come even close to supporting the CEO’s growth agenda. To do so, the company needed to dramatically improve sales productivity, increase lead closing ratio, and reduce sales costs. Rather than jump right in to fix what they thought might be the problem areas, marketing decided to take a step back and do some research. An exhaustive review of 50,000 leads over a multi-year period revealed that about half of all the leads in the system were still set at “Stage 1 = new lead” with no actual contact having been made between the prospect and salesperson. Based on this information, the marketing leader was able to sit down with the sales leader and propose a completely new approach to managing incoming leads using telemarketing to qualify leads and lead scoring. The results? In six months, the company saw a 47% increase in sales productivity.

3.  It’s a great way to find out if there might be a better way to do something. People are creatures of habit, organizations have long memories, and “not invented here” syndrome runs rampant. As a result, change is very slow despite the niggling idea that there might be a better way. Hiring from the outside may bring in fresh blood with new ideas, but the fresh blood gets tainted fairly quickly. That is why many organizations turn to benchmark research. With an ongoing benchmarking program, leaders are able to uncover and adopt the practices that will keep them on top.

Case in point: A global communications company was finding it increasingly difficult to fill the seats at its events designed to engage senior executives at its top accounts. This was a new problem. Were its industry peers having similar challenges? If not, what were they doing differently? What could they do to better engage this coveted audience? The company undertook a multi-pronged research project consisting of secondary research, voice of the customer research, and peer benchmarking. The customer research revealed that customers were no longer interested in purely social events; they wanted events with an emphasis on business content. From the peer benchmark and secondary research the company learned that their industry peers were managing their senior client engagement activities programmatically, rather than as one-off events. Changes were made and this ITSMA member got back on track.

I believe in the power of research to enable fact-based marketing decision making. I would never counsel marketers to take any action based on my opinions, despite the 20+ years I’ve had to form those opinions. But I will tell them what to do based on the research: what buyers want and what is working, either for them or others.

Now it’s your turn. Why do you think research is important? Use the comments to share your thoughts on why marketers must research…