Part 2 of the new CMO DNA
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Make good use of the first 100 days. Stop falling back on brand. I sat with a CMO a year ago—new at her company, she was a traditional marketer with a heavy focus on branding and new customer acquisition, and her organization was primarily filled with communications, lead-generation and branding people. Meanwhile, the sales team was fist-fighting in the mud to retain control of key accounts; the industry pundits wouldn’t cover them and prospects winced—they said they needed to “find themselves” after five years of steady acquisitions and a pot of un-integrated offers and value propositions. So, this new CMO’s immediate focus on branding, marketing communications and signaling, and lead-capture campaigns was totally misaligned with what her company really needed. What about gathering customer insight, understanding the rate of customer defection and isolating the dials of retention and repurchase, or the implementation value for engineering? Well, that CMO is no longer there.
Be a new-DNA CMO and use those first and precious days—or put away the old and start today with a new 100 days—to build your war stories and get closer to what’s core—meet with 100 customers; be on 100 sales calls; talk to the bloggers making noise in your space; talk to your top- and bottom-earning partners. Otherwise, if you’re new, you won’t know what’s ailing the company. A new logo and a sexy Web site can always come later.
Change the brand equation. When we talk to customers on behalf of our clients, they tell us that there’s a huge disconnect between the brand promise and the realization of that promise. A company we know well has put its head of Marketing (a new-DNA CMO, by the way) over the Services and Support organization. Interesting? The greatest disconnect is when the customer is told something will work a certain way and deliver certain results—and then it works another way and delivers a different set of results. The brand equation is one the customer and the market ultimately calculate. Customer experience, reputation and innovation are truly the new variables.
- It’s all about customer experience. Know that customers are getting great service and that their experiences—at all touch points—are not only positive, but memorable and remarkable.
- Understand your reputation, really! Worry more about what you can’t control by monitoring blogs, boards, user comments, etc., and less about what you can control—image, advertising, communications.
- Master innovation and invention. When you hear these words, you might think “product innovation” but include process innovation, inventing new business models and ways to package customer solutions. The more “innovative” and relevant something is the more people talk about it, the less you need to spend promoting and hyping.
Make fact-based decisions. We have an engagement and approach we built about five years ago called voice of sales. We built it because we were asked to build and re-build customer programs that were completely out of synch with what sales demanded. The voice of sales then became our starting point—it’s a technique that has led to incredible programs like NetApp’s evidence to win. In that case, like others, we were engaged by marketers with the new DNA. The new DNA is often found in someone who has run a business or P&L, is innately entrepreneurial, and un-interested in making strategic and funding decisions based on lore about what people think the sales organization needs. Make decisions based on the facts, and keep your finger on the pulse because it changes constantly.
There are people out there forming it, getting it, doing it, excelling at it. The DNA of the New CMO is really wired to align more with sales, to focus less on brand and creative, and to be smarter and more focused on business fundamentals. Some expect that this new DNA will allow CMOs to live longer in their jobs. As we continue to descend into this New Year, I encourage you to test yourself and your organization for that DNA. If it’s not there, move slowly and steadily in that direction. And in the meantime, use what you learned here to fake it!
Promise Phelon, CEO Founder Promise.Phelon@phelongroup.com
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
Satmetix Net Promoter Conference
Thursday, February 01, 2007
David Ambler, Kathleen McBride and I just attended the Net Promoter Conference in New York. What an amazing and empowering event! As Andy Sernovitz put it in his blog post, “200+ executives are sitting in their seats -- focused, taking notes, and absorbing the presentations. What you don't see is people drifting around the halls, chatting, and making phone calls. Amazingly, I can't see anyone on their blackberry either.”
I’d like to share with you the themes that we heard emerge over the last two days:
- Segmentation. In their excitement to adopt the Net Promoter discipline, many people are forgetting about a basic business concept—customer segmentation. If you measure and react to a Net Promoter Score (NPS) without understanding your customer segments and the value you deliver to each, you will likely fail as you adopt Net Promoter. Why? Because you’ll focus on “detractors” rather than on the right detractors. The right detractors are those that fall into your most profitable segments or those segments which offer the most growth potential. Of course you must also use the segmentation filter when determining how much you focus on your promoters and passives accounts.
- Executive Sponsorship. This theme was omnipresent and is pretty simple. If you don’t have executive level sponsorship and engagement, you have zero chance of achieving success.
- It’s a Journey. Many presenters reported beginning the Net Promoter journey assuming they’d see results in a quarter or two. But that’s not what happened. It takes time to get your organization to align around the new customer focus and it therefore takes time for the results to manifest. Laura DeSoto, SVP of Innovation and Synergy at Experian reported that they saw virtually no improvement in NPS for 5 quarters. But once things took hold, they saw their NPS more than double over the next six quarters.
- It’s a Discipline, Not a Metric. There’s been a lot of criticism about Net Promoter, with cynics focusing on Net Promoter only as a metric and failing to focus on the broader aspects of what it offers. What became clear through many presentations at the conference is that while Net Promoter is brilliantly simple and easy for everyone in the organization to understand, achieving success requires a broader understanding of the concepts and a commitment to putting the customer first. Zane Safrit in his blog talks more about Fred Reichheld’s comments on this topic.
To learn more about best practices in B2B, visit Deb Eastman: Best Practices in the B2B Space blog post.
Want to learn more about what happened at the conference? Visit the conference blog hosted by Satmetrix.
Steven Nicks, VP Steven.Nicks@phelongroup.com