By Debbie Qaqish

Beginning Your Revenue Marketing Journey

When I ask a room full of B2B marketers how many are responsible for revenue generation in their organizations, typically 30-40% raise their hands. Another 25-30% admit that though they haven’t been asked yet, they believe they will have revenue accountability in the near future.

Make no mistake: the time for the Revenue Marketer has arrived. Sales continues to demand better qualified leads, heads of sales are asking for help to manage the top of the funnel, and CXOs are looking for new ways to create revenue. If your CEO hasn’t already come into your office and asked what you plan to do about revenue, get ready – it’s coming.

Where are you in your revenue marketing journey? Whether you are just beginning to think about revenue marketing or are already deep into the transformation, we will show you what it takes to progress from traditional marketing to higher levels, eventually reaching revenue marketing where marketers are delivering measurable contribution to top-line growth.

On a recent 14-city revenue marketing road show across North America, I had the chance to test a four-step model of how to move from a traditional marketing organization to a revenue marketing organization. The response to these four simple steps was overwhelming. Almost immediately, I saw something “click” in our audience of marketers. They got it. Not only were they able to assess where they were in their own marketing journey, but they had a clear understanding of what they needed to do to achieve true Revenue Marketer status.

Step #1: Traditional Marketing

Most marketers don’t need much explanation of what traditional marketing entails because chances are, they live it every day. If they aren’t in a traditional marketing organization today, they almost assuredly have been in one in the past.

Traditional marketing is characterized by the Four P’s: Product, Promotion, Placement and Price. This is the “marketing” you learned in both under-gradate and/or graduate school and is still being taught there today. Traditional marketers are focused on creating and implementing marketing tactics and campaigns without good insight into the impact of those initiatives.

What we’re talking about is moving away from these traditional marketing activities to a more relevant and effective way of marketing. These next three phases each include defining characteristics, as well as specific metrics because understanding what you are measuring gives you better insight into what your business is really all about.

Step #2: Lead Generation

The first big step towards revenue marketing is making the transition from traditional marketing to lead generation marketing. Lead generation marketing is primarily characterized by one goal: providing leads to sales.

It is marketing’s responsibility to pass on as many leads as possible to sales and to make sure that these are quality leads. Many organizations have had a lead generation strategy for years, but the leads they turn over to sales are not fully developed. They are nothing more than a name on a business card, a suit with a pulse.

These leads typically come from tradeshows, website visits, or general forms and are passed on to sales for follow-up. Most companies at this stage have an e-mail system in place, but their lead generation practice is very uni-dimensional and there are many manual processes.

Metrics tracked at this stage generally include number of e-mails sent, open rate, click-through rate, number of forms submitted, percentage of forms completed, and number of leads sent to sales.

Step #3: Demand Generation

The move from lead generation to demand generation is a gigantic leap for most organizations. Demand generation is defined as the combined set of activities across both sales and marketing that 1) puts high quality leads into the top of the funnel, and 2) accelerates opportunities through the sales pipeline.

Companies moving into this stage have typically invested in a marketing automation system that is integrated with their CRM system. For many organizations, this move from efficiency to really being able to pinpoint revenue is a major change. While many great things occur in the demand generation phase, revenue produced here is still unpredictable from the top of the lead funnel all the way to close.

The metrics tracked in this phase are also significantly different as you move from lead generation to demand generation. Key metrics at this stage include the number of scored leads (Marketing Qualified Leads) sent to sales; percentage of MQLs sent to sales that actually convert to opportunities; what percentage of those opportunities convert to close; marketing’s contribution to the overall pipeline; and the average number of days to close.

Step #4: Revenue Marketing

The revenue marketing stage includes everything in the demand generation stage but – and this is a big “but” – the revenue generated and attributed to marketing is now repeatable, predictable and sustainable.

Revenue marketers use marketing automation technology integrated with CRM to determine how many scored or MQLs are sent to sales and a forecast of their overall conversion rate. Just like a VP of sales, revenue marketers can come into the CEO’s office with a forecast that aligns tightly with sales all the way through the lead funnel from beginning to close.

The Word from Sales

So far, we have addressed how marketers make the transition from “head in the sand” to Revenue Marketer, but when it comes to leads, what does sales think?

According to a study published by CSO Insights in January 2011, only 29.3% of all sales leads are generated by marketing. As a result, in many sales organizations today, the sales team itself is still generating some 50% of the leads that they work! Ideally, marketing should be responsible for filling the top of the funnel, leaving the sales team to work qualified opportunities that are more likely to result in closed business.

In the same study, when VPs of sales were asked what they most wanted to improve in sales effectiveness during 2011, the number one response (48.9%) was “revising and enhancing lead generation programs.” The second most cited initiative was “more closely aligning sales and marketing” (39.6%).

Clearly, there is a need. Sales is asking marketing for help, VPs of sales have named it their number one initiative, and CXOs are turning to marketers for help with revenue. Now it is up to marketers to respond! The time is now, the technology is available, and the need is apparent – the time for the Revenue Marketer is here and now. But what exactly does it mean to be a Revenue Marketer?

The Face of the Revenue Marketer

The Revenue Marketer is a specific type of marketer who has revenue or revenue-related accountability through the kinds of campaigns, communications and digital interactions they set up. Similar to marketing communications and product marketing, there is now a classification called revenue marketing.

Revenue marketers are responsible for the top of the sales funnel and interacting with and nurturing leads until they are sales ready, then helping them to accelerate opportunity velocity.

All revenue marketers use some type of marketing automation platform integrated with CRM to power their revenue marketing practice so that they can achieve repeatable, predictable and sustainable revenue results. Whether you are just beginning or are at the top end of your revenue marketing journey, using these tools day in and day out will make a huge impact on your organization.

So, what are you going to do about revenue? If you haven’t yet been asked this question, you will be soon. And if you haven’t yet begun your revenue marketing journey, ask yourself, why not?

Debbie Qaqish is the chief revenue marketing officer and principal partner at The Pedowitz Group, the world’s largest and most experienced demand generation agency. Debbie is a recognized thought leader in the demand generation space and a nationally sought after public speaker regarding demand and revenue generation topics.