Why has the average tenure of VPs of marketing and CMOs increased in the last decade? Kevin Jaskolka believes we are seeing this trend because marketing is becoming more measurable. Additionally, he believes tenures are becoming longer because CMOs are becoming better business partners.
Kevin Jaskolka believes it’s not enough for marketing executives to come in with an agenda that sits in isolation, speak a different language, or utilize metrics that aren’t aligned with the rest of the leadership team.
Marketing activity is more closely coupled with sales because marketers are filling the top of the funnel, helping convert prospects to customers and better enabling sales. Modern marketing automation platforms, combined with CRM systems and a unified sales and marketing methodology, help improve the quality, measurability and transparency of marketing efforts from first contact, to revenue realization and long-term customer retention efforts.
But, to be a truly successful business partner, marketing must contribute value beyond just aligning with sales. For example, marketing can and should provide high quality market and competitive intelligence. In our interview, Jaskolka shares with us a framework on how marketing should be interfacing with the rest of the company to maximize business value.
Tell me a little bit about this framework, where should marketing leaders start?
The first order of business is obviously tight alignment with sales leadership. Having a symbiotic relationship with sales is vital and where the rubber hits the road. That said though, there are still too many examples where both areas work in silos. The linkage point for good dialogue that moves the needle is the interface between the marketing automation platform and CRM—analyzing what marketing is offering for leads versus what sales is ultimately converting to opportunity and revenue.
Lagging organizations treat this as an “us versus them” situation, where marketing complains that sales is not going after leads aggressively enough and sales complains that the leads are not good enough. Leading organizations realize that sales and marketing are on the same team in driving the revenue funnel and work together through shared metrics to drive results. In leading organizations, you see CFOs helping foster the sales and marketing partnership. In return the CFO receives more efficiency in the marketing spend and increased quantity and quality of revenue coming out of sales. It’s easy to see the importance of aligned, cross-functional teamwork and getting out of siloed functional areas.
To make this happen, we base our marketing activities around four major themes: developing awareness, educating and nurturing, converting to marketing qualified leads (MQL), and getting MQLs sales qualified. After prospects become customers, we work with our customer success group to engage the customer and create testimonials, press releases, case studies, and other thought leadership or co-promotion opportunities.
The model is simple and as I mentioned, pretty well documented. But, to be successful, the model needs to scale and that is where marketers can run into trouble. In looking at metrics, organizations sometimes get fixated on current conversion rates and those are important, but not at the expense of growing the scale of the digital effort. In that realm, you are always focused on growing the footprint of awareness. As awareness scales, it is logical that conversions scale and the rest of the revenue model scales with it. As you grow and scale awareness, you then want to focus on increasing the efficiency of the model.
How do you gather and use market intelligence?
Competitor and market intelligence practices are going through a bit of a renaissance right now and it is a welcome change for marketing teams.
First, market research is more broad, complete and affordable than ever. It’s no surprise there are a number of firms covering different areas at different levels. As the world gets smaller, it is a lot easier to build out a view of what is going on around the globe at the macro and micro level. Really, no matter the size of your marketing team or budget, with the tools out there, you should be able to pull together an accurate and actionable worldview of the market.
Next, competitive information used to be very hard to pull together beyond a snapshot view. This was especially true for small and mid-size companies. In the small and mid-sized world, you rarely have a team of people solely dedicated to doing competitive research. At best, you might have a department or person own it in addition to everything else they need to get done. As a result, what normally happens is a competitor would swoop in and win a deal, everyone would refocus on building a competitive research practice and there would be a huge effort to research all the competitors in the space to build out a lens as to what is happening in the market. Well that is great, but after that snapshot is done, more likely than not, it never gets updated. At best, it is updated semi-annually or annually. Not useful.
Fortunately, for the small and mid-market company, there are a lot more digital competitive intelligence tools available for a reasonable investment. This automation helps get product marketing out of data collection and into data analysis to provide insights to the rest of the organization. It also takes the competitive research process from being a snapshot to a year-round practice that creates a much finer lens into what is really going on. Overlaying the digital data collection with human inputs from customers, sales, investor relations, your ecosystem and other areas helps to round out and provide additional validation to the view.
Marketing, armed with deep market and competitive research can become more of a partner to the engineering and product management team, helping them build and refine product roadmaps and delivery dates. On the sales side, these insights help marketing deliver better promotions and enablement tools.
How does marketing interface with the product team?
If sales is the most important and immediate partner, product management is a close second. Product marketing and product management both have a vested interest in working together to help sales be successful. There is also a plethora of resources available across the Web that talk about the relationship and best practices between product marketing and product management. Pragmatic Marketing is a good framework to align product management and product marketing processes.
As we keep working our way around the diagram, marketing is providing input on competitor behavior, broad market trends and market segment information. This helps inform the product roadmap and as functionality is delivered from engineering, product management owns the product and works with product marketing to deliver it to the market through established sales channels.
While product management owns the product, product marketing delivers and executes the go-to-market plan. From there, they work hand-in-hand with product management throughout the product lifecycle, including eventual end-of-life and replacement.
Tell me about internal marketing and corporate marketing
We work with our CFO, CEO, and investor relations to develop authentic messaging and to help communicate our direction to a broader audience. That also includes working with our spokespeople to become thought leaders in our given markets through customer interactions, speaker spots at industry events, webinars, blogging, and supporting trade publications with articles, perspectives, and quotes.
HR is an important customer for marketing on the internal marketing front. We partner with HR quite a bit around proliferating our corporate culture and ensuring our organizational purpose is understood by all employees. We also work closely with HR around external perception of the company as it relates to recruiting. We are starting to do more work around platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
Finally, using our marketing tools, we can help scale HR’s internal outreach and communications with things like email, social media, newsletters, company meeting/event management, print production, and digital signage.
How can marketing leaders approach cultural transformations?
Our executive team and employee led culture committees have been doing a lot of work on purpose and culture over the last few years. It is interesting to work on culture and purpose when a company has been around for a number of years, it is also very rewarding. In the case of our journey, PAR has been a leading provider of restaurant and retail technology for nearly 40 years.
We spent a good amount of time revisiting what our founders intended in creating the company, exploring our DNA and our core beliefs, and linking the past and present to our future. Along the way, we captured the pulse of our employees and their feelings—some of those employees with 10, 15, or 20 years tenure and some only with 4, 8 or 10 months.
Additionally, we wanted to make sure we had a global perspective to reflect our global nature and ensure that we had inputs from our international offices through our culture teams. Done right, it is a positive and transformational experience that will pull the organization together and serve as a compass in good times and bad.
Marketing has an important role in helping codify and communicate purpose and values throughout the organization. Words matter, emotion matters, clarity and consistency matter. Marketing is an important contributor in creating the artifacts of a strong corporate culture and purpose, both of which deliver value across the stakeholder map.