The evolution of sales and marketing ops has made these traditionally tactical roles much more into contributors of organizational data and technology strategy that supports driving more revenue. The combination of sophisticated consumers and the ability to tap into technology to better track causes and effects for sales and marketing is driving businesses to pay greater attention to their marketing and sale ops. Recently, Maurizio Pittau identified three causes of the current focus on marketing ops.
- The marketing landscape is exploding and considerable effort is necessary for marketers to manage increasingly complex technology stacks.
- Marketers are being held accountable for bottom of funnel metrics, such as opportunities sourced or revenue generated that are harder to track than visits, impressions or leads.
- Good marketing ops can give companies a competitive advantage if they can make decisions based on accurate and clean historical data.
Just as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the strategy required involves an alignment between sales and marketing as a unified, coherent system. Ross Nibur, director of revenue operations and strategy at Toast offered his take on the revenue ops in an Insight Squared blog:
Revenue operations is about taking a more holistic, end-to-end approach to managing operations across your organization. What I’ve seen happen is a siloing in data structure and processes for marketing, customer, services, and sales teams. The problem is that you need data that will tell you the entire story in order to optimize your business. You can’t think of your operations teams as individual systems that work together — they need to work as one machine.
Of course that’s easier said than done, but this is the goal toward which marketing has advanced over the past hundred years.
A century of marketing measurement
The idea of assessing marketing impact has roots all the way to 1920, according to the chronology in Bizible with the birth of what is now referred to as “pipeline marketing.” There was significant progress on that front in the 1970s when “bingo cards’ (i.e. reader service cards) were placed in magazines to track which ad readers saw and which publication they saw it in” offered marketers a solution for tracking rather “like today’s UTM parameters.”
A precursor to the unique landing pages associated with specific ads, back in the day when phone calls were the primary means of contact, ads included numbers that would identify the specific “bingo card.” That gave the publishers proof of the link between ads and calls. However, as the Bizible article points out this was a far from perfect system, that could lead to “miscounted leads, double counting or not giving enough credit to those channels responsible for brand discovery.”
Once ‘the information age' took off in the 80s, marketers had more tools at their disposal, including barcodes. “Marketers could now segment their audiences and track sales.” That system worked for paper mailings as well as electronic contact, once email became a possibility in the last decade of the 20th century.
However, there were still problems with what was called the “executive information system.” It simply could not deliver the data thoroughly and quickly enough to help marketers make better informed decisions. “Early marketing dashboards suffered from slow refresh rates, bad data handling, incompleteness, and disconnected, spread across too many different sources.”
A significant paradigm shift occurred once the new century arrived when solutions like “the tracking pixel, which offered metrics online made it possible to connect the dots. Thanks to automated marketing data streams to customer-relationship management system, businesses can identify the links between marketing efforts and sales.
Raising the bar
Clearly marketing dashboards have advanced significantly, delivering far more comprehensive and timely marketing data than ever before. But that doesn’t mean marketers can feel complacent about what they have in place. As the world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, marketers have to keep up.
As a Visionedge Marketing blog put it, “Agile is raising the bar.” Keeping up with the demands of customers today calls for a flexible approach that entails “a different kind of Marketing Operations function.”
How can a business achieve the level of agility required for successful marketing ops? Visionedge identified six key roles in order of importances:
- Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research, and insights
- Analytics and predictive modeling
- Data management
- Campaign analysis and reporting
- Budgeting and planning; financial governance and reporting
- Organization benchmarking & assessments
Speaking the same language: Metric consistency
For that assessment to be accurate, you need to have standardized measurements that remain consistent across organizations. Accordingly, Bizible points out that it is imperative to utilize “the same metrics used by sales: opportunities and revenue” in linking the revenue to marketing efforts.
Given that it sometimes takes a series of different marketing messages to prompt movement for certain customers, Bizible adds on the need for “multi-touch modeling through advanced attribution solutions” and maintaining a focus on the KPI that will find “the channels that drive revenue, rather than vanity marketing metrics.”
Getting the same standard across the organization in place is important not just for the measurement itself but for the departments to effectively communicate with and understand each in collaborating on the common goal set by the integrated revenue operations strategy.
“Because revenue operations has stakeholders in marketing, sales, and customer success there needs to be some level of cross reporting in place with the heads of these departments,” Dheer Gupta, director of revenue operations and strategy at HappyCo, told Insight Squared. Observing on how it has worked in his business, he reported, “we’re able to have better line of sight throughout the customer lifecycle and better align the contributions of revenue adjacent teams to achieve KPIs and metrics that matter the most.”
That’s what it’s all about: getting the systems aligned for better insight and optimized results.
Ariella Brown is a Zylotech contributing writer.
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