Revenue Marketing Is Looking for a Few Good Leaders

Revenue hunting is genetic. Not everybody has the need to bag big game by day’s end. All successful salespeople have it. Not all marketers have it–but the ones who do may well be joining the vanguard of revenue marketers who are transforming the customer acquisition process at B2B companies. One of the prophets of the growing movement is Debbie Qaqish, who bought an automation program from Eloqua in 2005 and wound up joining with the company’s former support chief Jeff Pedowitz to spread the gospel through The Pedowitz Group. We asked Qaqish, whose new book, Rise of the Revenue Marketer, was released last month to indoctrinate us.

The revenue marketing movement has taken wing in only the past five years. But sales and marketing organizations have been butting heads for decades. Can so much change so fast?

It’s not going to change that fast. What’s changing fast is corporate readiness for revenue marketing in organizations where there is a climate for recognizing revenue generation. Very often, that’s a company where there’s been a major disruption in the business—a loss of key people or key accounts. I spoke about revenue marketing at one company where sales was meeting and exceeding its number and the VP of sales was not going to go for it. He was making his numbers. Then I sat down with him and learned that half of his reps weren’t hitting their numbers and they had high turnover. He could really have benefited from a shorter sales cycle and a higher average deal, which is what revenue marketing could do for him.

How do you know when you’re a revenue marketer?

It’s funny you ask that question, because I’m distant relation to Jeff Foxworthy and I do a little routine called, “You know you’re a revenue marketer when…”

Give us a sample.

You know you’re a revenue marketer when you walk into a meeting and not only share revenue booked in the last quarter but give a forecast for the next quarter. You know you’re a revenue marketer when you walk into a bar and ask the girl at the end for an opportunity for advanced communications.

How many B2B marketers are ready to become revenue producers? What’s the biggest change to their mind-sets they need to make?

I did a lot of reflecting on this in the interviews with marketers I did for the book. One of the most consistent things I heard from them was that it’s not about buying a piece of technology, it’s about having to be a leader of change. I presented to a big retailer once and the boss told me afterward that I spent too much time talking about change management. A year later, after she was a year into the process, I met with her and she said, “You know, you guys should have spent more time talking about change management.”

Is the group of potential change agents a small one?

If we’re talking about the CMO level, yes. They’re digging in for dear life and trying to hold onto the world they know until it’s time to retire. It’s the VPs below them driving the change. The VP marketing level is where it’s happening. You’ve got to be a certain age and a certain background. It requires new skills, with a big focus on technology.

So while revenue marketing’s about more than buying a piece of technology, it’s also about buying a piece of technology.

You can’t do it without [technology]. You have to have marketing automation integrated with CRM, integrated with the Web. If you don’t, it’s going to be like running through peanut butter.

Three words: Repeatable, predictable, scalable.

It’s the definition of revenue marketing. You know what your results were last quarter and you can forecast what you’re going to do next quarter. You can’t do that unless you are processing what’s going through the funnel. Then you have a marketing machine. When you have it humming and know about how much sales is going to convert, then you’re running a funnel the way sales runs a funnel. If you talk to a revenue marketer, you think you’re talking to a VP of sales.

It pushes marketers off the ivory tower?

There’s a woman I write about in the book. She walks into a job interview and says, “I’d like to own some revenue, please.” I know two people who got their jobs this way.

Which marketers should be scared about this development and which should be happy?

With some marketers, financial responsibility is not in their nature. Then there are those who always intuitively felt that marketing should be playing a role in revenue. But there are still many, many marketers who don’t get it. I walked into two companies last year where the VPs of marketing had stars in their eyes, but they were not remotely ready, not remotely interested in doing what had to be done. This is still the early days of revenue marketing.

When sales and marketing finally become happy partners, won’t there be something left for them to find intolerable about each other?

Oh, baby, there will always be something! They’ll always find something!

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