How can Marketers Show They’re Having an Impact on Sales?

Marketers – have you ever heard a sales rep ask, “What does Marketing do all day?”

If that’s not a sign of misalignment, I don’t know what is.

Yet, unfortunately, this happens a lot. If you want a well-oiled revenue machine, this must change.

Let’s take a look at why this happens so we can get a better idea of how to fix it. I sat down with Jon Miller, cofounder and CEO of Engagio, and we did exactly that. We discussed what marketers can do to show sales that they’re having an impact.


(Watch on YouTube)


Brandon: Hey, marketers out there. When is the last time you have heard a sales rep go, “What does marketing do all day?” Probably pretty frequently, right?

Jon: Pretty common question.

Brandon: Pretty common question. So, I’m here with Jon Miller, CEO and founder of Engagio, to help answer that question. So, Jon, for those marketers out there, how can they really show that they are making an impact, and how can they really prove themselves out there?

Jon: Yeah. First of all, if I have to say, I wish we lived in a world where marketing didn’t have to prove themselves.

Brandon: Right.

Jon: To anybody. Nobody goes to the CFO and asks the CFO to prove that their accounting is right.

We want to move to a world where it’s not about proving your marketing. It’s about improving your marketing, and I’ll talk about that in a second. But, we don’t live in that world quite yet, and we do have sales people who are kind of like, “Hey, what’s going on with marketing.”

I think the number one most important thing is visibility. The reality is, as we always talk about in ABM, sales people don’t focus on leads. They focus on accounts. So, when they’re in Salesforce, they’re logging in, and they’re looking on the account page, they’re looking at the opportunity page, and not looking over on that lead page. And the problem is, most the stuff marketing is historically doing, they’re doing to people.

Brandon: Right.

Jon: It’s on the leads and it’s on the contacts.

And so, there is a disconnect here, where by default, sales isn’t going to see all the stuff that’s happening in marketing just because of the way the data’s tracked and exposed to them at the top level.

So, I think a big part of this is just, can you find a way that sales can see all the things that marketing is doing that’s influencing the accounts they care about? Now, I’ve seen lots of marketers do this after the deal is closed. The deals closed, and they go retroactively put together the deal journey.

And they show, “Look, there are all these marketing touches along the way that kind of led to this, you know, big win.” and everybody’s excited. That’s a useful thing to do, but I think it’s also useful to make sure the reps are seeing all that information on the account, on the opportunity, as the deal’s going on.

Brandon: In real-time, as it’s happening. Yeah.

Jon: You know, so I think that’s a really important part of helping to just have sales understand what marketing is doing. Taking a step up from there, you also ask about all right, what do you actually do to measure impact? And if you’re going to get into the world of improving marketing, you want to be looking at the right metrics to kind of guide your improvements. And, I think there’s really three categories of questions that marketers should be looking at.

The first, broadly speaking, which is the earliest indicator, is engagement, which is, frankly, our accounts that we care about, or the people that we care about and the accounts we care about, spending time with us. And that’s looking at things like engagement over time. That’s looking at things like heat maps, so can you look at the account and you can see where is it lighting up and where is it not lighting up? And should we be focusing more energy on certain personas, and that kind of thing. So, engagement is important.

I think that number two is looking at funnels or account journeys. And obviously, ever since SiriusDecisions introduced their waterfall, marketers have been looking at MQL, and SQLs, and SALs, and all of that kind of stuff, which is fine and it’s useful, but I think one of the realizations of last 10 years, is that we should be looking at these not as leads flowing through a process, but as accounts.

And what is the journey an account takes towards becoming aware of you, meeting with you for the first time, becoming an opportunity and so on. And tracking how accounts move, how different kinds of accounts move, and how different marketing touches help increase or decrease that movement, is a really important thing for marketers to look at.

Brandon: Yeah.

Jon: And then last but not least, is just the ROI of your marketing programs and using things like multi-touch attribution. Can you answer, I ran that webinar. I did that trade show, I spent this much money, and we created this much pipeline as a result. Again, it’s not about proving that, “Am I good at trade shows?”

It’s about knowing, does this trade show work better than that trade show? Does this channel work better that that channel? And I guess the reason why that’s important is because with multi-touch attribution or any ROI methodology, you’re making assumptions.

Brandon: Yeah.

Jon: You are like, “I’m going to put this much here, and this much here, and this much here.” And if you try to approach it like I’m proving, then people can get into debates around “Well, is your allocation strategy exactly right?” and that kind of thing. But, if it’s just about improving, then it’s really just about the relative results. This one looks a little better than that one so I should do more of that instead of this, and so on And it really simplifies the whole thing.

So, to sum here, I think marketing can help earn the respect of sales by making sure sales sees all the things they’re doing. Having a good single view of the account really helps with that. And then, you can use that same single view of the account to deliver the metrics that matter, whether it’s engagement, or account journeys, or program ROI.

Brandon: Perfect, all right, love it. Thanks, John.

Jon: Thank you. Bye.

Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger is the Head of Growth at Engagio, the Account-Based Marketing and Sales platform that enables teams to measure account engagement and orchestrate human connections at scale. He is passionate about the intersection between tech and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. You can follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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