How to Start Your Own “Arab Spring” ;)

The need for change is in the air; it comes up in every conversation.  Marc Benioff, Salesforce’sChairman and CEO passionately espoused change at Dreamforce.  His call to the world was that companies need to change or be left behind.   He went one step further and gave a dire warning to CEOs – change thyself or fall from grace. His rallying cry was for enterprises to start their own business “Arab Spring”.  

DreamForce 11: Discovering Cloud Extend

Arriving at DreamForce the check-in was smooth either because most of the 42,000 attendees hadn't arrived yet or were off doing something cool. Based on the Twitter feed for #DF11, my guess is that the sessions are excellent.  I grabbed my badge and the obligatory logoed backpack (which actually is pretty cool) before racing off to meet Mark Taber, CEO of Active Endpoints. Mark and I spent a lot of time talking about the Buyers Journey. His experience in aligning to the Buyer proved that the methodology not only demonstrable accelerates revenue cycles but also reduces Cost of Sales. But that is a topic for a different post. What initially interested me in talking with Mark was their new Cloud Extend product.  

Marketing Operations’ Unlikely Owner

What isn't measured can't be managed. That is as true for marketing as it is for any operationalization of business strategy.  It's a sign of maturation in the sales/marketing alignment conversation that so much attention is being focused on the role marketing operations plays.  Marketing operations is all about measuring marketing's impact and discovering the dials to turn in order to optimize results. But who owns marketing operations? Well, marketing of course.  Not exactly. I don't support the belief that marketing should own their Ops function anymore than I believe that Sales should own their Ops function.   A core premise of sales and marketing alignment is common integrated systems, shared resources and goals.   Having separate operations groups, each doing their own analysis of performance, pipeline impact, root cause, etc. opens the door to  'my analysis is more correct than yours' debate.   Two groups battling over whose analysis is correct misses the right conversation that needs to happen - "what is happening to and in the pipeline".  Only by analyzing the pipeline of marketing leads along the same rules as one manages the sales pipeline can you get the whole picture of what's happening.  And how to improve the results along the way.  Consolidated operations groups are more effective and cheaper...or maybe I should use the new buzzword...leaner. I go a step further.  The consolidated Operations group shouldn't report to Marketing or Sales.  The group should report to an independent third party.  Who? Well, who cares as much if not more about the accuracy of pipeline and performance reporting than Sales  or Marketing?  Finance.   The CFO is responsible for understanding the business and reporting the financial results.  The only thing s/he cares about is accuracy and understanding what's happening to the business.   Having marketing and sales accountable to the CFO for how their functions are producing fosters the right conversation about the business.  Of course, that assumes your CFO is sales and marketing savvy - most actually are. Give it a try.