Today’s B2B tech marketers aren’t short of metrics to track. Being able to do this has enabled marketers to improve the effectiveness of the marketing they do, and ultimately the impact they have within their companies.
But sometimes marketers can focus too much on the pipeline. Classic lead generation has always been centred around marketing qualified leads (MQLs) which in many cases will never turn into revenue.
So what’s a better approach?
I’m joined by Kristina to discuss this very topic. And while Kristina isn’t suggesting the MQL is dead, she does talk about a proven approach to help marketers and companies increase their revenue.
Who they are: Kristina Jaramillo – President at Personal ABM
A bit of background: Kristina has spent the last 12 years building Personal ABM, an agency that helps B2B SaaS and tech firms with revenue generation through strategies like account-based marketing.
Where you can find Kristina:
Here you’ll find some of the best advice from the podcast that you can easily digest and learn from.
Marketers in the B2B tech space often focus on the pipeline metric. It’s an important metric to track because pipeline gives you a sense of where your prospects are in the sales process, as well as how healthy your sales process is overall.It isn’t just one metric either, in fact you can track a number of pipeline metrics.
But there are limitations with focussing on pipeline metrics, as Kristina explains:
“When you focus on the pipeline, you focus only on one part of the journey, only seeing a small part of what your customer or your prospects are doing. And it has both sales and marketing teams playing a numbers game.”
Often, marketing will focus on top of the funnel pipeline metrics like MQLs, whereas sales will be focussing more on revenue. In many cases, there’s very little focus on what they’re doing as a team together.
Kristina expands on this:
“I think it’s the old cliche of marketing handing off the baton to sales as opposed to being a handshake where both teams work together from beginning to end.We’re not just sales, we’re not just marketing, we’re a whole team. How are we going to help that account progress and how are we going to eventually close that deal together, not just sales doing it alone?”
The first thing that sales and marketing teams can do to accelerate revenue is to align around a revenue metric.
By doing that, your sales and marketing teams can start to focus on some of the core issues preventing higher revenue growth, like:
But who should get involved in this? Kristina says:
“It needs to be led by marketing but it needs to also be an internal thing. This needs to be embedded in the culture of the organisation. So senior leadership should be involved in this, led by marketing, and then coming together with sales to discuss how we’re going to work as a group.”
One strategy that aligns well with this approach is account-based marketing (ABM). And it’s something that Kristina has implemented with her clients with great success.
A lot’s been written about ABM but it’s worth remembering that ABM is a strategy and not a tactic.
We’ve been hiring for a few clients this year who have marketing roles that encompass both demand generation and ABM. It’s a set up can lead to some complications. More often than not, those marketers end up running a demand gen play to a set number of accounts, rather than executing a full ABM strategy.
“When you put ABM and demand gen in the same bucket, you’re basically doing a more targeted version of demand gen . So you’re doing account-based advertising or account-based gifting or account-based lead gen or we might create a landing page for a specific set of accounts, so that’s account-based marketing. And that’s really only scratching the surface of what account-based marketing or account-based approaches and strategies should really be.”
In an ideal situation you’ll have a demand generation team, or person, focussed on top of the funnel activities to either create or capture existing demand. Alongside that you’ll have ABM specialists who can focus on a set list of accounts.
Kristina has another suggestion:
“I like to think of a single group within the organisation or, better yet, the strategy and the approach embedded in the organisation. This is something that I spoke about to Leslie Alore, who’s VP of Marketing at Ivanti. They don’t have a demand gen team, they don’t have an ABM team, but what they’re doing across sales and marketing teams is to work together to close enterprise accounts.”
In order to get the most from an ABM approach, it’s important to hire people with the right skills.
Kristina gives her thoughts on this:
“If I was hiring an ABM-er for a huge marketing team, I want someone who’s going to look across the business to identify business revenue issues and not someone who says that they are only focused on pipeline.
“I want to look for someone who has a different mindset than traditional marketing. I want someone who’s going to influence revenue and drive changes within the marketing department and hopefully within the organisation so that we’re hitting revenue numbers. I can get anyone for marketing that’s focused on pipeline and I’d probably rather put them in a demand gen role.”
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