Tag Archives: Marketing Operations

Process Improvement: It’s Not All About You

OK, so we’ve talked about some of the hidden pitfalls of driving real process improvement in sales and marketing. When we last visited our (process) hero, we saw how stepping up and taking ownership of a process can go a long way to ensure that activities will be continuously optimized. But now you’re saying, “What do you mean it’s not all about me?”

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The Case for Marketing Enablement

B-to-b marketers are very familiar with the concept of sales enablement. As external ambassadors to prospects and customers, salespeople need to speak knowledgeably about an organization’s products to different buyers, and be able to match solutions to their needs. The benefit of a well-trained sales force is pretty obvious – it means a quicker path to closed deals and greater revenue. Because this is so important, organizations put significant time and effort into sales enablement (e.g. new hire orientation, sales methodology training, sales portals stuffed with content, annual kickoff events). But what about marketing?

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Process Improvement: If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?

In my last post on exposing the hidden hurdles to real process improvement in sales and marketing, we explored how being an efficient middle man can give a false sense of security. In this post, we’ll delve into another topic: lack of ownership. While process improvement may be urgently needed, marketing and sales leaders are often reluctant to take on yet another challenge. “Sure, I can see how messed up this process is, but it’s not up to me to fix it,” they say to themselves. “No way I’m taking on THAT political battle, and besides, I’ve already got enough on my plate. The last thing I need is some special project.”

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Are You the Efficient Middleman?

Be more efficient! Be more effective! If I had a nickel for every time I heard a sales or marketing professional pair those buzzwords in the last couple of years, I’d have, well, a whole lot of Jeffersons in my piggy bank. If everyone is so jazzed about getting better at these things, why aren’t we seeing dramatic cost reductions or huge leaps in revenue? The pitfalls are a little sneakier that you might think. In this, the first of a series of blog posts on the topic, I’ll clue you into some of the not-so-obvious gotchas that hold back real process improvement, what you can do to avoid them, and how to emerge as a process hero. Today’s lesson: The Fallacy of the Efficient Middleman.

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Heard on the Street – Trending Marketing Operations Topics for 2014

As an operations person, I’m an absolute sucker for lists. I have them for daily to-dos, vacation plans and everything in between. One thing I love about this time of year is the variety of lists that are published on a wide range of topics. I recently networked at three MOCCA events in the Bay Area and got to listen to what people are talking about. So, in the spirit of list making, I’ve rounded up the issues that are top of mind with marketing operations pros as we kick off 2014:

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SiriusView: Marketing Resource Management Vendor Evaluations

In the research brief The Sirius View: A New Way to Look at Technology Vendors, we detailed our rigorous technology vendor assessment methodology. The model scores vendors and focuses on the differentiators between them and the challenges they face. Over the last several months, my colleagues and I have interviewed and evaluated vendors offering marketing resource management (MRM) solutions. We define MRM solutions as those that include four components vital to b-to-b marketers: budgeting, project management, asset management and communications.

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Understanding Your Buyer’s Journey: The Most Important Thing You’re Not Doing

As b-to-b marketers, we’ve come a long way. We understand our role as helping buyers progress through their buying process. We know that we’re more successful when we align marketing efforts with the ways our prospects prefer to buy as opposed to the ways we want to sell. And to do this, we know we need an ever-improving understanding of our buyers. Organizations committed to understanding their buyers draw upon solid research. They build buyer personas and learn about their buyers’ preferences, including the issues that matter to buyers and their preferences for consuming information. Research may include interviews, analysis of market trends, conversations with analysts and third-party research. All these are great steps, but once marketers begin executing, too many skip a critical step – analyzing how buyers are actually behaving.

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Preparing for 2014: Is Professional Development an Impending Vulnerability?

I find it fascinating to watch babies take their first steps and reach other key development milestones: They show great curiosity in learning and determination to master new and existing skills. They relentlessly practice what they’ve learned, and they thrive when encouraged and provided with the right support to avoid mishaps. Organizations must provide similar support for their marketing talent as they master new skills. We all recognize the importance of having the right skills, but how many organizations are actually investing in the professional development of their marketing talent? Let’s lay out some staggering facts:

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The Top Five Characteristics of High-Performance Marketing

Many b-to-b CMOs find themselves in a tricky position. The evolution of the buyer’s journey means that many CMOs and their teams are taking on an expanded scope of responsibilities to reach empowered buyers who are conducting their own research before talking to sales. At the same time, marketing is still struggling to prove its value in many organizations, which typically focus on sales and product management. As Jay Gaines, vice president and group director at SiriusDecisions, explained in a recent webcast, the only solution for CMOs is to lead a high-performance marketing function. Here’s our earlier post describing Jay’s take on what high-performance marketing isn’t. Now, the top five characteristics of true high-performance marketing:

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Should Your Organization Create a Demand Center?

As the annual planning season begins, we have been conducting an increasing number of conversations on organizational design. Especially in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, where CMOs have identified growth in a tough economy as the number-one priority for their teams, the question of how to balance regional and local resources remains critical. Resource balancing often makes people feel a little uncomfortable, as the word “restructuring” immediately comes to mind. Indeed, research shows that on average, organizations restructure every 2.5 years and often achieve little gain for all the pain they go through. Maybe such restructuring efforts are suboptimal right from the start because organizations are focusing their efforts on the wrong question: centralization vs. decentralization.

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