Marketing contribution is often overlooked when marketing is thought of as a cost center. It takes time and effort to demonstrate the real contribution to profits.
All too often in our companies the marketing department is overshadowed by a louder more prominent sales organization. Even when people state they are customer centric and promote collaboration as a value. When it comes to marketing and sales, they tend to slide back into old silo models. In these the Marketing department is looked at as a cost center, while the Sales department is thought of as a revenue generator.
So what should the CMO do to change this perception. To demonstrate that they and their team’s efforts are positively contributing to the bottom line – to profit.
Know the customer
Both listening and having the ear of the customer has power. Understanding the customer informs your work. Enabling you to be much more customer-focused in your marketing efforts. It also provides you with examples and references to support your point of view during internal discussions with other teams and the CEO.
One of the best ways to break down silos in a company is to focus everyone on the customer. How best to serve the customer is always a fantastic place to find common ground. The people who can work across the company to do that are invaluable to your team.
Look for ways to cross-pollinate
Look for opportunities to build cross-functional teams that work on projects. This will help to break down the organization’s silos. Some examples may be a way to integrate marketing and sales automation platforms, so that everyone is using the same systems. Or it might be a way to involve marketing, sales and development into a customer-focused event. To use a cliché – build a bridge, walk across it and lead them back to your side.
The Salesforce’s State of Marketing report (5th edition) provides survey results that support this as being a characteristic of high performing marketing teams. 65% of leaders of top performing Marketing teams, say that teams in their organizations share common goals and metrics for customer experience. And in 54% of companies, Marketing leads customer experience initiatives across the company.
Remember your bread and butter
Sales teams often look at the Marketing function as being just a lead generator. While that may be only one part of Marketing’s mandate, it still is an important function. Understand the expectations of the Sales department – they are one of your customers. In a world where they are being measured on “what have you done for me lately”, they will be looking to measure you the same way. Support them in their efforts, and it will go a long way to improving the relationship. Deliver and perceptions will change.
Focus on making sure you deliver on that minimally. If your mandate is much larger, then what you do additionally will be even more appreciated if you have also delivered on expectations.
Report on marketing contribution to P&L
If there isn’t already a mechanism for reporting on the big picture Profit and Loss of the organization, or business units then offer to champion creating it.
Develop a method to report on the Return-on-Investment of your marketing efforts. This sometimes isn’t easy – because it doesn’t fit nicely into quarters, as return is often down the line. The CEO and Sales teams will appreciate having the numbers available. Basically, speak to them in the language they understand.
Remember that perceptions can change. It can take time and effort, as well as consistent repetition. Perceptions can be turned around.