What Will It Take for Marketing Enablement?

As the year draws to a close, I am looking back at content that has helped to make me a better marketer in 2014. I love a good list (how to anything or five ways to better… get me every time), relevant eBooks, webinars, videos and helpful blog posts keep me current and always learning new things. However, these are often things I seek out on my own. We know there is a marketing skills gap, so why isn’t there more of an organized, internal focus to provide marketers with better skills? Where’s the marketing enablement kit for marketers?

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A few weeks ago, we published the post, “A Call for Marketing Enablement” to bring this issue to light based on some shockingly bad statistics from the ANNUITAS B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Study. According to the study, only 2.8% of enterprise marketers rate themselves as effective in achieving goals of Demand Generation Programs/Campaigns. Additionally, only 7.5% of respondents said the skill set of their Demand Generation team was highly effective, with 55.7% reporting they were unskilled and only 36.8% as somewhat skilled. How can this be?

It seems there is no shortage of great content to help increase marketing effectiveness. However, if there isn’t a focus on marketing skills or ongoing training from an organizational prospective for our marketing teams, these numbers sadly, make sense.

According to the recent Gartner report, CMO Spend 2015 –  Eye on the Buyer, marketing controls a fair amount of budget, approximately 10.2% of revenue in 2014 with half of organizations planning an increase in marketing budgets for 2015. Marketing will have increased responsibilities and objectives to accompany their increased budgets…but what about their ability to achieve those objectives?

Without the right skill set, how will marketing achieve their goals? Isn’t marketing responsible for executing the strategy to drive demand to build pipeline? If marketers are only 2.8% effective in achieving goals of demand generation, aren’t we wasting a lot of time and resources? An increase of even a few percentage points should drive more revenue for our organizations, shouldn’t it?

In 2015 we need to focus on marketing enablement for our teams. Don’t rely solely on your team to seek out and obtain their training or skills development. Instead, help them obtain new skills and optimize their existing talents. Look to enable at least one yearly training session or course for each member of your team. Focus on something for individuals based on their unique needs or organize it for the team as you would for sales training. Here are a few idea:

  • Bring in a professional content marketer or writer to help develop deeper skills in content marketing
  • Organize a marketing automation workshop to increase proficiency
  • Encourage attendance (not to staff a booth) at key industry events like Content Marketing World, MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Content2Conversion, MarTech, Inbound, The Marketing Nation Summit or Modern Marketing Experience to name a few
  • Make metrics matter with a live class or online course on marketing analytics that tie into your KPIs
  • Purchase relevant books on business topics or new skills that interest your team including a few I love (Everybody Writes, Growing Up Fast, Epic Content Marketing, Agile Selling, Inbound Marketing or Buyer Legends).

Marketing enablement is not something most organizations focus on, but perhaps they should. Having a marketing team that is highly trained will not only make for a more productive marketer, it raises the bar for your whole team, your organization and will surely help to drive better results from your marketing. For 2015 – look to increase the skills of your marketing team just as you would ring in the New Year with a focus on educating your sales team. It’s time for marketing enablement. We can do much better than 2.8% effectiveness in demand generation.

Author: Erika Goldwater, CIPP/US @erikawg is VP, Marketing for ANNUITAS

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