4 Budget Hacks Sales CMOs Should Implement in 2017

November 1, 2016

Sales CMOs are driven by revenue. They focus on generating more and bigger deals for the business — not cramming more leads into the funnel. So, how do you drive more revenue in 2017? How can you prioritize next year’s spend to optimize for revenue?

You’ve likely kicked off next year’s budgeting. What are key approaches you can take to drive more revenue — and not more vanity metrics like clicks, likes, and shares? Let’s take a look at 4 tactics that keep the money on the right focus.

Follow the Customer’s Path

The traditional notion of the funnel is gone. Not just because of ABM-led funnel flipping, but also because B2B buyers flow in and out of the funnel due to internal inertia, shifting priorities, and market confusion. Linear progression to closed won is no longer the norm.

Instead, map out the most common paths your customers take to close. Interview customers and your sales colleagues. And revert to your data to identify customer flows. Look for shared points of friction: steps in the journey where deals stall or are ejected.

Then invest in tools, processes, and people that can eliminate these frictions. That not only benefits new ARR, but it also makes for a better buying experience — which translates into higher renewal and upsell rates.

Invest in Sales Enablement

The line between sales and marketing has nearly vanished. Sales CMOs aren’t satisfied for leads to get thrown over the wall and hope for the best. They are invested in (and compensated for) the results of each deal.

At the same time sales teams’ effectiveness is heavily influenced by marketing’s actions. They include:

  • Sales assets from content teams;
  • Messaging, scripts, templates, and positioning from product marketing;
  • Product training and competitive analysis from technical marketing; and
  • Events and programs from the field marketing team.

The list of deliverables from marketing that impact sales goes on and on.

Sales people know the value of these resources. They demand them. Yet, if sales can’t access these resources in their workflow, they’ll find a way to fill the void. Don’t waste your team’s efforts or the chance to significantly boost sales effectiveness. Look to how you can support sales’ use of resources you’re already producing.

Spend on Revenue Attribution

You have a range of programs and tools in place to automate the marketing process. If you base effectiveness solely on obtuse metrics like shares or visits, you can’t make good decisions. Impact on revenue should be the ultimate metric for evaluating budget decisions.

Sure there are priorities that are difficult to tie to revenue. Brand awareness and analyst relations come to mind. But a new generation of analytics vendors can justifiably dispute even that.

Filtering your priorities by revenue impact not only helps clarify where you should focus. It also helps within a budget cycle. Clear revenue impact data on a newly discovered initiative (say, a just-announced event that you’d like to sponsor), based on data about similar activities, helps you justify extra budget.

Or at a more strategic level, when you see your market starting to boil and you have a clear view on how much revenue an enlarged marketing budget will yield, then you have a real case to take to the board for stepping on the gas.

Invest in Your People in the Right Way

The best tools and processes are only as good as the marketers that run them. So, invest in your people to make everyone a Sales CMO. That means linking at least part of their variable compensation to revenue itself. Their own daily priorities, ideas, and focus will shift to the overarching goal.

Beyond money, look to encourage professional development in revenue-focused areas. From attending sales conferences to being part of sales calls — including travel. The cross-fertilization lift that comes from this is exceptional.

B2B marketing is the engine of revenue growth. So, your budget should reflect that fact. Identify and invest in initiatives that tie closely to sales results. And critically, once invested ensure that your initiatives are well implemented and monitored for their true revenue impact.

VP Marketing

Peter Mollins heads marketing at martech vendor <a href="KnowledgeTree Inc.">Knowledge Tree</a>. Peter has held senior marketing roles with Borland, Micro Focus, Relativity, and started off as a Netscape intern. He holds a Masters of International Management from Thunderbird and has been known to voice-over a (home) movie or two.