There are four priority ways to achieve better alignment:

  1. Own the current revenue number with sales
  2. Employ account-based marketing
  3. Use customer journey data to predict near-term revenue
  4. Measure customer perception of competitive advantage to predict long-term revenue sustainability

1. Own the current revenue number with sales

Too many marketing leaders focus all of their time and energy on generating ROMI (return on marketing investment). This leads to endless debates on attribution and marketing generated leads. In today’s integrated world where the customer selects their own journey, attribution is nothing more than an optimization exercise.

Neither marketing nor sales generates leads. Each helps move the customer along at various points in the buyer journey. Even though it’s natural and common for sales leaders to claim success when revenue is good and to flag a need for more marketing support when revenue is weak, marketing needs to approach its targeting like sales does. Fully own the revenue number with sales, in good times and bad. That means that you should tie your budgets and team performance to this destiny just like sales does. Anything less relegates marketing to a back seat.

2. Employ account-based marketing

In B2B businesses most marketers exclusively engage and report at the individual level. Because individuals drive buying decisions, engaging individuals is key. But reporting to sales and executive leadership needs to be done at an account level. That’s what sales does. Accounts are billed. Not individuals. This change alone provides a more clear line of sight to the direct impact of marketing on overall accounts. Marketing should therefore track at both the individual and account levels, reporting the latter to other teams and using the former for their own optimization efforts.

3. Use customer journey data to predict near-term revenue

As much as it is critical for marketing to be part of account reporting, its ability to provide insight into the journey of key individuals in the buying journey can provide powerful insight. The problem is that too many marketers use this information to track past activity, which isn’t of interest to leadership teams. Such information becomes one of the most valuable assets in the company however, if it is used predictively. More marketers are getting serious about this predictive role, taking a data-driven approach and using big data and machine learning.

4. Measure customer perception of competitive advantage to predict long-term revenue sustainability

In estimating future revenue, companies often have little more to go on than unreliable pipeline estimates from the sales organization. Warren Buffet has said that the most important determinant of future revenue is competitive advantage, and marketers can play a leadership role in measuring competitive advantage from the buyer’s perspective, through the Net EDGE Score (NES). The NES measures your potential buyer’s bottom line judgement on how much better you are—value relative to cost—than the next best alternative. It quantifies your value proposition, as the answer your customers and prospects give to the following single, fundamental question:

On a scale from 0 to 10, to what extent do you feel that ABC Co. provides better value for cost than the next best alternative?

Implications

By focusing on these four elements marketing teams can maximize alignment with sales teams and their strategic impact at the executive table.

For more information on the Net EDGE Score visit www.NetEDGEScore.com.

To share your thoughts on competitive advantage visitwww.CompetitiveEDGEStrategy.com or www.andrewarthurhorton.com.