A long-time client (and friend) mentioned that I had told her something some time ago that has helped her several times over the ensuing years. My advice was to stop focusing on what she didn’t want for her business and instead focus on exactly what she did want. In other words, start with the outcome in mind, and then work backwards to figure out the strategy, tactics, and so forth.
The big-picture outcome is the strategic guidepost for the company – what it will be in one, five and ten years. The first step is to understand and communicate exactly how your department, marketing, is an enabler and accelerator for achieving your organization’s BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals).
However, it is not enough to theorize about your role in achieving your company’s objectives. Unless you can explain concisely how your department measures and reports on work output, you will not be recognized as a good marketer, let alone be viewed as indispensable in a tough economic climate. Start the evaluation process by asking yourself the following six questions. Note that some of these are soft/qualitative measurements while others are hard/quantitative measurements. Both are important.
- Do you have a well-defined value proposition that is communicated in all your marketing messages and promotions? Can your entire team express this message in a concise and compelling elevator pitch?
- Are you targeting the right individuals at the right companies? Do you know who these people are and have you captured them in a system (CRM or database) that allows for ongoing targeted communications?
- Is your brand/image being accepted by the marketplace? Are you viewed by your prospects and customers in a way that is consistent with the way you see yourself?
- Does every part of your end-to-end marketing and sales model work? Are you both effective and efficient at every phase of the process or are there gaps that keep you from achieving your goals? If so, do you have a plan for addressing these gaps?
- Do you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the sales department that specifies the quantity and quality of leads you will be delivering? Is this a sufficient quantity for the company to achieve its revenue objectives? If you need more information on how to determine lead requirements, read my article: How Many Sales Leads Do You Need?
- Are a reasonable percentage of the leads that you deliver to sales truly qualified? Do they meet the agreed-to criteria and have the potential of actually buying something from your company?
In a later post, I will dive into the specifics of the quantifiable metrics that comprise a solid B2B marketing dashboard. But this will give you a good foundation for becoming a successful outcome-based marketer.