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Drive More Profitable Customer Relationships
Six tips for transforming your marketing group from a cost center to a revenue center.
Posted Apr 20, 2012
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The big change sweeping marketing organizations is the emphasis on ROI. IBM recently interviewed 1,700 CMOs, who project that the number-one measure of success for the CMO in the next five years will be his department's ability to generate revenue. And guess what? You can't get to an ROI without impacting the "R"—or revenue.

A parallel trend to this research is how marketing groups are connecting to revenue as part of their business model and are actually transforming their marketing organizations from cost centers to revenue centers. We call this revenue marketing transformation.

Regardless of where you are on your journey to revenue marketing, it's imperative to get and keep a sharp customer focus. Having worked with more than 900 marketing automation clients, we have identified six key controls, or the Revenue Marketing 6 (RM6), that every organization needs to make this journey to revenue marketing transformation. The RM6 are strategy, people, process, technology, content, and results.

With this framework in mind, let's use the RM6 to sharpen your focus on the customer. As I walk you through each element, I'll also share the percentage of B2B marketers I see engaging in these best practices. Warning: It's NOT pretty!

Strategy

Client focus in this element is about the brand-new client versus the repeat buyer. Based on your overall sales plan, does marketing need to focus more effort on gaining new customers or cross-selling and upselling to existing customers? Get clear on this point and the associated revenue number needed to move forward. Sounds simple, yet I'll bet that 80 percent of the people who read this article will not be able to accomplish this simple task.

People

Once you have defined your focus, whether it's on new or existing customers, ask yourself, "What do I really know about these customers beyond demographics? Who are they? What titles do they have? How long have they been in their jobs?" These are questions to which you probably have answers. The challenging part of identifying people is to develop a full digital profile that includes a 360-degree understanding of their digital behavior. Your customers are online, and you need to set up interactions with them online that invite them to take an action so you can see a behavior and respond the right way. I estimate that 85 percent of all marketers do not understand the full digital profiles of their customers—especially on the digital behavior side.

Process

To become a revenue marketer, you need to make "process" your mantra. First, you need to map your customers' buying cycle. My bet here is that 70 percent of you have not done this. Once that buy cycle is mapped out, you will overlay the unique digital profiles. (More on this in the content section.) Another key process that parallels the buy process is mapping the life of a lead. From your organization's perspective, how does a lead move from being a cold name to a closed piece of business? This process will help you understand where, when, and how you need to engage your customers to add value to their experience. If you haven't taken the time to map these processes, you will struggle to show the value of your decisions. My guess is that 80 percent of the people reading this article do not understand the life of a lead in their company.

Technology

Technology is how you use systems like marketing automation integrated with CRM to have that digital dialogue with your customers. Without these two integrated systems, you really can't proactively establish smart and helpful digital relationships. With only about 6,000 companies using marketing automation and CRM, this category has a long way to grow. The good news is that this category is one of the fastest-growing areas in B2B marketing.

Content

Content is the fuel for the revenue marketing journey and the way you customize your dialogue to add value to your digital relationship with your client. Providing the right content, at the right time, to the right digital persona and being able to read responses and then respond appropriately is how to have a meaningful digital dialogue. You will need to map content to the customer buy cycle, to each digital persona, and to each channel. My bet would be that 75 percent of those reading this article have not yet done this.

Results

Profitable long-term customers are your company's lifeblood. They happen when you consistently deliver value in exchange for revenue. I've seen many companies go out of business because they were great with customers but could not make the financial model work. Make no mistake: The role of marketing today is to deliver profitable, long-term customer relationships. If this is not in your mission statement, you are really missing the mark. I predict that over 90 percent of you can't show ROI from a customer relationship. Don't know where to begin? Start by taking the RM6 Assessment. Once you have a clear picture of where you are today, the next steps in your journey to becoming a customer-focused revenue marketer will be obvious.


Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and chief revenue marketing officer for The Pedowitz Group, a demand generation agency. Qaqish has over 30 years of experience helping organizations connect marketing to revenue.


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