Are Skyrocketing CMO Budgets Helping Sales?
“Any business enterprise has two - and only two - basic functions: marketing and innovation.” - Peter Drucker
Recently, the B2B space has exploded with technology offerings giving marketers the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their customers and ultimately sell more. The majority of these technology offerings focus on ways to reach customers hoping that each touch point hits a home run for moving the sales lead further down the funnel.
For companies that rely on new and continued sales efforts to drive revenue, the ability to differentiate and provide value has become increasingly more complex. In selling, gone are the days where decisions were made by middle management or key stakeholders that relied solely on their industry expertise to guide the next partnerships agreement. Today sales cycles are becoming longer as purchase decisions are made by consensus and catering to groups of stakeholders who represent a variety of business units and are all charged with protecting the interests of their departments. The ability to identify and connect with all these individuals or gatekeepers has become sales and marketing's next big assignment. Additionally, most industries are in a constant state of flux and the conventional sales cycle maps are off kilter because the customer buying journey is constantly taking a very different route.
Complicating matters, these gatekeepers are researching their sales decisions online through social and search, becoming informed about products or services prior to engaging with brands. Skilled marketers are influencing buying behavior through non-disruptive approaches whereby, over time, they become familiar with an offering through various types of persona-tailored content. The earlier you can connect and provide value to each gatekeeper, the more chance you have of them becoming advocates of your brand and doing the selling for you.
Brand is how you provide value but selling starts with the customers needs.
In the technology space, Chief Marketing Officers (CMO’s) are now being tasked with innovating within the business by creating product offerings that speak directly to the customers needs. As budgets get diverted from other business functions, marketing departments are rapidly growing and taking over the typical roles agencies once demonstrated value in. One of the most pressing questions facing them is where to allocate this new influx of funds — reinforce the in house marketing toolset to guarantee a full sales funnel or take these additional resources and risk trying their hand at innovating and testing new product lines?
Making things more complicated for agencies, various marketing softwares now provide clients with client-focused, customer support teams that reinforce the value of their offering, creating gaps in agency offerings. While these investments deliver tangible value upfront, the weight of full lead generation ownership now puts tremendous pressure on internal marketing's ability to both innovate and sell to the customer via way of early stage engagement right through to product user adoption.
With internal marketing groups expanding and the future of agencies now under the microscope, who plays the role of the agency to ensure the latest thinking is ever present? How will organizations innovate if they’re building marketing departments based on internal decisions?
It certainly is an interesting time to be in marketing but don’t assume that taking on extra roles will solve any problems. If internal marketing teams are to be truly successful, they should focus on what their existing customers are telling them about their own brand in order to measure performance. If not, it’s an iceberg waiting to happen and one that will come with a price if not structured correctly.
The big takeaway here? The new CMO certainly has a lot on their plate and their role is not one for the faint of heart.