A Renewed Perspective Setting Marketing Goals
I spent the good part of 2015 and 2016 talking to solution providers on how to “reverse engineer” their marketing and sales targets to hit their projected revenue numbers. It is a logical approach and gave engineer-minded management a guide to plug in a revenue goal and reverse engineer the amount/percentage of leads that must turn into marketing qualified leads (MQL) and number of MQL that must turn into sales-ready conversations/opportunities in order to close a certain percentage of the business.
The numbers are the numbers. Whether you measure it or not, there is a baseline for the number of leads that turn into MQL that turn into opportunities that turn into sales. Period.
I had a friend and colleague tell me this week that I was the one who gave him the idea to “math” the marketing and sales goals. And because I came up with the concept of how to math the movement of leads, he assumed that I could also “own” the number needed to hit that target.
A fair assumption, but a wrong assumption.
In fact, I had to take a step back and really think through the implications of owning the number and what that means at the marketing layer (juxtaposed to the sales layer). As a result, I had a renewed perspective that I will share with you today.
I have been a marketer before I ever knew I was a marketer. I am also a salesperson. (Yes, you can be both.) I have spent my entire life and career passionate about the things I sell, the ideas I believe in and the fact that marketing is critical to the success of the business.
I have observed many marketing managers who viewed their craft as an accent to the overall revenue generation process rather than a core function that has targets and accountability tied to the bottom line. (As a side note, the technology industry is burdened with technology marketers that know nothing about technology, are operational in nature and probably should not be in a marketing manager role. But that is a separate topic and I will stay on topic.)
Bottom line (literally): the target is the target. You should “math” the target. You must know what the percentage of change is between lead to MQL, MQL to Opportunity, Opportunity to Proposal, Proposal to Close. People perform to how they are measured and how they are paid. If you want your sales and marketing teams to perform, they have to have a common number. Both parties have to be accountable to hitting that number.
My “ah-ha” renewed perspective moment came this week when I was asked to “own” the number. As an outside consultant, can you “own” an inside (of the organization) number? Can you control the resources and talent that has been hired to do the job? Can you influence employees and hold them accountable if they are not a direct report? All these questions and more made me pause.
What are the attributes and characteristics of a marketing professional that can/should own a marketing number?
Unlike many of the marketing managers in the IT and technology marketing space, the type of marketing manager who can own a number is more sales-than-marketing in nature. This person is competitive. This person is not waiting to be told what to do; they are thinking about what to do next. This person wants to “looks good” and finds fulfillment in achieving numeric results. This person is a good communicator and will proselytize their beliefs about different methods and techniques needed to hit their marketing results. And unlike sales, they will want to follow through on the process but will be willing to get out of the box to try new and innovative marketing ideas, because after all, they have a number to hit.
More importantly, this person is not an operational marketer. They do not maintain programs; they grow programs. And therein lies the biggest difference between the marketing manager that most technology companies hire, and the type of marketer manager who will own a number. They are forward thinking and are looking for new ways to achieve results.
Where do you find this type of marketing professional? Sad to say, but not in the usual places. They probably have held a sales-like position it the past, worked in retail or sold something. If you are familiar with the DISC testing, this person has enough “D” to hold their ground on new ideas, but also has enough “S” to see the idea through to completion. Their “I” is high and that is why they like to communicate. Their “C” is mid-to-low in a range allowing them to know enough about numbers to care about results but a low enough “C” to not get lost in the weeds.
If you have had similar challenges or questions about how to find and hire marketing managers who need to be accountable and own a number, share your story. As businesses become more efficient, remote and productive, they will have to think outside the box to onboard talent that will help them reach these goals.
Ginger Clay has been a marketing professional for over 20 years and has served 12 over those 25 years dedicated to the IT space. Ginger is the co-founder behind Ignite”RM” (results marketing) and Winc Analytics focused on combining prospective and current client data, digital marketing best practices and nurture campaign strategies to transition an MSP/IT from organic, unpredictable growth to a planned growth path.