Marketing is like soccer – it takes every player on the team working together to win. No single player alone can win a championship.
In marketing, to drive optimal business outcomes (ex: new business, renewals, up-sell/cross-sell, or advocacy) it takes collaboration and communication with cross-functional teams. We call this marketing orchestration, an ongoing and coordinated process throughout the entire customer journey. All customer facing teams have account-level insight and participate in activities to drive the right business outcomes. Marketing orchestration is beneficial because no one loses account visibility and insights are leveraged across teams to create the best experience for the buyer.
Unfortunately, many revenue teams don’t work this way. They often operate in silos that have a point-in-time handoff. For example, many marketing organizations generate MQLs, MQAs, or in some case meetings, then they pass them over to Sales. Marketers feel their job is done and they are onto the next initiative — until they see MQAs were not followed up on, or an account received a poorly written email from an SDR, or they can’t articulate if a field dinner was worth doing to their CEO. The handoff approach is antiquated and unrealistic when you consider the complexity of selling into an organization you are aiming to delight. It is also an easy way to waste your valuable marketing dollars. You want the buyer’s experience to be positive and you want your marketing efforts to work. The only real way to ensure that is through marketing orchestration.
Costly and common mistakes teams make using the handoff approach
Here are two common scenarios that highlight the handoff problem.
You are currently running account-based marketing initiatives. There has been some success but not as much as you’d like. Your team did all the right things, presented in front of the sales team on strategy, and even got input on target accounts from the sales team – yet progress seems slow. Why are these ABM campaigns stalling?
Let’s analyze the field marketing aspect of this campaign. For this event to be successful, it requires heavy sales involvement. They need to buy-off on the concept, send invites to the right people from key accounts in a timely manner, and attend the event. Here’s where we get into some trouble. Did sales send the invites on time? If they sent an email, was it a good email? How did the event really go? Marketing needs sales to take action, but it becomes a manual task to ensure key activities happen. If you’re lucky, your company has a star field marketer that personally follows up with sales to check on progress, but that approach won’t scale long-term. You need buy-in from sales at ALL critical stages including less sexy stuff like sending invites. To get that buy-in, marketers need to make it easy for sales – and without orchestration that is often not the case.
Here’s another marketing scenario: your team has aggressive goals around creating pipeline. They run effective programs that generate MQLs or MQAs, and those engaged people or accounts are passed to Sales Development Reps (SDRs) (or, as we like to call them, Account Development Reps / ADRs). Do you know what happens next? How are these hot leads and accounts followed up on? Do you have visibility? How are you helping ADRs send the right follow-up? Most marketers don’t, and that’s a problem. Let’s say you ran a great webinar, you have 20 solid MQLs, and your SDR team needs to follow-up. They may not act promptly, or they may send too many emails out that aren’t relevant and targeted (think batch and blast). Either scenario is bad, and as a result you won’t get the return you should out of this webinar program.
How to work with sales the right way
Enter Marketing Orchestration. Marketing orchestration does not mean ‘I looped in Sales on this campaign’, or my ADR team has an email template that Marty the marketing manager created. Marketing orchestration is about providing a holistic view of each account, coordinating interactions across departments for every stage of the customer experience, and measuring results with an account-centric lens. It’s about marketing owning the customer experience and working with every customer-facing employee to ensure the company acts in a harmonious way to drive results. And it’s about supporting sales in a streamlined way so they can be successful and use their time effectively. They can easily send invitations to target accounts,access communication history, or act on a marketing activity without ever leaving LinkedIn or Gmail.
In a world where buyers are getting bombarded by emails, offers, and social chatter, it has never been more important to rethink HOW you, as a marketer, are working with your customer-facing counterparts and coordinating your outbound efforts. In the scenarios above, if I were using an orchestration platform I would know if my reps invited people to the field event or followed up on the webinar, and I could have created personal ‘Plays’ for them at scale. A Play is a series of steps that orchestrates interactions across departments and channels to achieve a business purpose for one or more buying centers at target accounts. Plays are a great way to effectively ensure that everyone in the company consistently follows best practices throughout their account work.
So, whether you’re using an ABM strategy, an inbound model, or some combination of both, for a positive business outcome you need marketing orchestration, not an isolated hand-off or worse, marketing working in a silo. To quote Peter Herbert, VP of Marketing at VersionOne, “It is easier to work in silos. You just don’t make as much money.” So it’s up to you. As marketers, we need to evolve our thinking to an orchestration mindset, which helps all customer facing teams have one source of truth around account activity, coordination of campaigns, and insight into campaign effectiveness. Marketing is a team sport and to be successful we need to operate that way.