If you want to transform the way you’re driving demand, you also have to transform the way your internal teams are organized – from being based on a functional, task-oriented approach to being formulated around a process and outcome approach. In other words, you’ll need to build or re-build the organization to maximize the results of your Digital Demand Transformation. Starting to think about this sooner rather than later will allow you to take a more thoughtful approach as well as staff the organization with the right resources.
Technology advances and the resulting proliferation of data has changed the marketing landscape dramatically over the past few decades. Yet the one thing that has not changed is how marketing and sales organizations are structured. We simply have not evolved from being oriented around functions such as writing, designing, programming, hosting events, etc. This worked perfectly fine in the past for several reasons:
First, marketing wasn’t expected to drive financial results. Instead, marketing was focused on the brand – building beautiful ads and hosting events with very little, if any, accountability, largely due to the fact that tracking results was next to impossible.
Second, marketing didn’t need to be aligned to sales. With no expectations around “marketing contribution to revenue” it wasn’t necessary for anyone to agree on the definition of a qualified lead, for example.
Lastly, IT wasn’t part of the picture as it is today. Marketing efforts were periodic, interruptive and manually executed.
Why does this approach no longer work?
Marketing isn’t just about brand anymore. Branding is certainly still an important element, but it’s only part of a bigger picture. Today, marketing is completely intertwined into the interactions between a buyer and a company – so much so that buyers can’t differentiate where various parts of a company start and end.
But as marketing becomes more intertwined into the lives of customers, it also becomes more accountable to meeting the needs of those customers. In the past, tactical, campaign-based activities were the only way companies could try to target buyers. Marketing teams would build episodic campaigns that guessed at a prospect’s place in the buying journey with little to no evidence that the prospect even participated in the chosen campaign channel. It was an expensive, wasteful cycle of guessing.
Now, by moving to a Strategic Demand state, organizations can build demand marketing programs that are always-on, repeatable, buyer-led, and inbound oriented. Not only does this mean that marketers can integrate people, process, content, and technology against the buyer – it means that they can achieve visibility throughout the entire purchase path, from first touch to closed-won. Because of this new capability, the expectations business leaders have for marketing teams has shifted…and not every marketing department can deliver.
The new world of marketing
Today marketing is held accountable to driving end-to-end results. The organization is expected to know exactly what outcomes can be realized from every dollar spent, despite the difficulties most organizations face in providing that level of analytical detail. This begs the question….who is responsible for end-to-end buyer stewardship and experience? If buyers can’t (and shouldn’t) differentiate where various parts of a company start and end, then who within the organization is ultimately responsible for their buying experience ? Perhaps this is why we’re seeing the CMO role shift into that of a CGO (Chief Growth Officer). The reality is that teams must work together in tight alignment to own the entire buying experience. That should look something like this:
- With Sales – The Chief Growth Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Sales Officer should be jointly setting revenue goals, agreeing on lead qualification and management processes, building a feedback loop, tracking results and optimizing against them
- With IT – The Chief Growth Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Technology Officer should be jointly deciding on what technology tools are needed, how they should be integrated and how data should be managed/shared
- With Web – The Chief Growth Officer, the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Digital Offer should be agreeing on what the buyer experience should be, what/when/how data should be captured, and how to personalize the experience based on data from Marketing and Sales
With all of these functions aligned it becomes easier to get buy-in throughout the organization as well as remove barriers. Once that’s accomplished, you can start to reposition existing resources in more productive ways.
What used to be manual processes are now automated and digitized, allowing the organization to shift to more value-added roles. Gone are the days of “hands on keyboards” necessary to execute upon one-off outbound email campaigns. Such a manual, periodic approach assumes your buyers are at a certain stage in their buying process and misses the target more often than not. As we shift to a Strategic Demand state this allows resources to focus on optimizing the program – built to target all buyers across all stages at all times and across all engagement channels. Constantly reviewing the demand engine results and tweaking for maximum results is a vastly different skillset and one that requires more strategic thinking.
Moving forward, we can’t operate in marketing/sales/IT silos if we’re to deliver a cohesive user experience and, more importantly, drive growth.
What’s the solution?
We must organize around outcomes. Instead of organizing around traditional skillsets, ask yourself, what are the outcomes you want? To move to a Strategic Demand state, you should be focused on three main outcomes:
- Engagement: Engagement is all about finding net new prospects and enticing them to interact with your brand. As such, there’s a heavy emphasis on branding as well as engagement channels. Think of this as “top of the funnel” activities and outcomes.
- Nurturing: After initial engagement, what do you want the buyer experience to be? The emphasis here will be on automating as much as possible for these “mid-funnel” prospects. How and who should be responsible for warming these prospects and getting them to a sales-ready state?
- Conversion: This is where the rubber meets the road. How will you drive lead-to-revenue results? This outcome requires tremendous alignment across Marketing and Sales.
As you begin to formulate ideas around this organizational new world order, keep in mind that although the brand is called out within the engagement effort, it’s important across the entire funnel in order to maintain consistency of message, voice, tone, etc. You’ll find that several functions are necessary across more than one outcome orientation making some dotted-line reporting necessary.
Ultimately, the goal of these outcomes is to drive growth. As such, the overarching leader of this new world order should be someone capable of driving alignment across all outcome-oriented areas and functions.
In order to maximize achievements of strategic demand, we suggest structuring your teams in the way outlined below.
First, think of how functions align to the top (Engage), middle (Nurture), and bottom (Convert) stages of the demand funnel.
Second, think of how these functions group together into teams like Demand Marketing, Product Marketing, Sales and Business Development, and Commercial Operations and Technology.
For the Demand Marketing team, the outcome they’re focused on is driving demand/growth across the top and middle of the demand funnel. Specific functions would include:
- Early and mid-stage funnel content creators
- Demand-focused engagement channel managers
- Field marketing managers responsible for lead generation events
Resources on the Product Marketing team would be focused on lower funnel content and efforts specifically oriented around products and solutions as well as sales enablement content. The outcome intended here is closed won deals. Additionally, the SDR team should be focused completely on the Convert stage (i.e. closing deals).
The Operations and Technology team is a perfect example of driving alignment across sales and marketing. This should be one, cohesive group oriented around the stages of the demand funnel and managing the technology that enables those stages. By the end of this reorganization, you’ll have a chart that looks something like this:
Odds are this structure is very different from what you’re currently operating against. We’ve been grouping people by their skillset for decades, but by re-positioning people around the outcomes they’re driving as opposed to the tasks they’re doing, we can break though functional silos and start to deliver real growth.
Change is never easy, but organizational change can be especially challenging. In some cases, the qualifications of people you hire and retain will shift. Some will be on board with the changes, but inevitably there will be some who are hesitant. Making sure that the changes to be made are communicated in a thoughtful way – with the “why” behind them shared – is a critical step in the process. Let your teams know that you see beyond the tasks they complete – you see the value they provide, and you’re making changes so that the business can harness that value in an impactful way. At the end of the day, your business is made up of people, so why not empower them on the road to strategic demand? If this sounds like a daunting task then let’s connect and work together to achieve your strategic demand state.
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