Bridging the GAP, Changing the Game-An Injection of New CMO DNA
Thursday, February 15, 2007
You know, I never thought I’d write about this topic, but here it comes. You’ve all been beaten over the head with the concept of the marketing and sales divide: it’s creating tremendous barriers for companies because sales doesn’t have the tools and marketing is unclear of how to make an impact. The divide means that customers buy into a value proposition that’s misaligned from the actual experience or value they get from a solution or how it’s been sold; they’re bombarded with information and marketing campaigns that have nothing to do with the real issues that keep them up at night. Sales is pitching products and features while marketing is working to up-level the conversation to one that is issue-driven and audience-relevant; sales won’t adopt…
…everyone runs in place.
At its core, the problem is simple: in most organizations, what sales needed from marketing yesterday is not what it needs today. The competitive landscape is much different—product parity rules. Today, it’s all about evidence and not fancy slide-ware. The battle is not the market of many, but the market of one… one customer. And to further the confusion, sales needs marketing but is not used to engaging in the way necessary to get the greatest bang. Not to mention that the lack of a consistent nomenclature causes sales and marketing expectations to clash—loudly.
Many outsiders have claimed to know why; they’ve written hundreds of articles with trite, tactical advice on how you can fix it. Like: “Meet more often” or “Partner with sales executives.”
What I need to tell you, however, is that the problem is more fundamental than that. It’s the people you have on the bus, the skills they bring to the table, how they make decisions and how they execute that gets and keeps marketing in trouble with sales. What can you really do about it? How can you address the issue at its root so it finally—and really—gets solved? Inject yourself with some new CMO DNA—it’s going around; I’ve seen others using it. Here’s what it looks like—and how you can fake it if you don’t happen to have the right genetic code!
Here’s part 1 of the new CMO DNA…
- Do what successful companies do—build inside/outside marketing leadership. If you’ve read Blueprint to a Billion [http://www.blueprinttoabillion.com], a book written by friend and colleague Dave Thomson, you’ll recall that he talked about the seven essentials for companies to reach exponential growth and $1B. One of the essentials his research revealed is the idea of Inside-Outside Leadership: make sure there’s someone focused on leading inside the company—motivating and managing teams, partnering with stakeholders, tackling process and effectiveness—and someone leading outside-wards—constantly gathering insight, visioning and building bridges, keeping their finger on the pulse of the market. If you’re in the CMO seat, and if you happen to be the outside person, you need a trusted right hand with an operational focus; one who can drive results, measure what matters, and lock everything your team does to corporate growth. The true test is that he or she can school your CFO on customer retention and profitability, and Return on Marketing Investment! He or she owns the ‘marketing operations’—the marketing accounting as we call it internally. You’ve heard it said: creative is dying. Sexy brochures and nifty newsletters are PERISHABLE. So you can stand to be more like the new-DNA CMO: focused on the outside—how does the market, how do our customer and partners, perceive us? What’s our real reputation….not what do we pay branding firms to tell us.
- Get new skills onboard. I find in so many marketing organizations that everyone is a project manager—working with vendors and inside teams to move content, get things produced, etc. And that tells me that marketing is doing too much, managing too many priorities. The most effective marketing organizations I see are those with skill diversity, a tidbit supported by the CMO of GE, Dan Henson, at the latest Red Herring CMO Conference http://www.cmo2007.com
If you’re a senior marketer, that means people with honed market and customer segmentation skills. Powerful inbound and product strategy people and process and measurement people. Let me share a little something about two new-DNA CMOs. Google’s CMO said that the average GMAT score in his marketing department is over 700—read very bright, highly analytical folks. The head of marketing at GE has, himself, run three P&Ls and has been a business leader for over 20 years. If you don’t have a lot of time for skills mapping, walk through the halls and determine what percentage of your team understands:
- Strategy Maps—Harvard-based approach to tracking inputs to strategy and actions to outputs and results
- Porter 5-Forces—‘nuf said
- Customer and market Segmentation Analysis
- Go-to-Market methodologies
- Selling mechanics and methodologies—Target Account Selling, Solution Selling
Part 2 of the new CMO DNA is coming soon…
Promise Phelon, CEO Founder Promise.Phelon@phelongroup.com