How Marketing Can Contribute to Revenue

How Marketing Can Contribute to Revenue 640 427 C-Suite Network

by Sherry Lamoreaux


In a recent Act-On Conversation, Charles Besondy and Leo Merle chatted about the steps a company can take to make marketing more accountable and a more forceful contributor to the success of the sales team.

  • Charles Besondy is the president of Besondy Consulting and Interim Management, and also a certified Funnel Coach for MathMarketing, an international consultancy. He works with company owners and CEOs to resolve two burning questions. Why isn’t the marketing function contributing more to the company’s growth? And: What changes can you make to see that happen?
  • Leo Merle is the marketing programs manager for Act-On.

LEO: Charles, marketing has started to shift from a soft creative discipline to a data-driven and scientific discipline. What impact does this have on the creation of a company’s marketing strategy?

CHARLES: Technically speaking, a company’s marketing strategy really isn’t affected by this trend. But what has changed is the role that marketing can and should
play in producing revenue opportunities for the company. Permit me to explain that. Now I’m a simple guy, and I take a simple view of what a go-to-market strategy should be. The purpose of a go-to-market strategy is:

  • to describe the customer problem we’re electing to solve,
  • describe the solution to that problem we’re going to sell,
  • identify to whom we sell it,
  • explain through whom we will sell it,
  • and against whom we will sell it.

The answers to these questions comprise our go-to-market strategy, no matter what role the marketing department is going to play. In other words, we could have a marketing strategy and not even have a marketing department.

So let’s get back to your question. Yes, there is much more focus today on the metrics and the data side of marketing. This certainly doesn’t mean that creativity doesn’t have value anymore — It’s as important as ever. It simply means that we want to measure what is done so we can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, which is hardly radical thinking.

Because of the advances in technology today, we’re able to track and measure the impact of marketing tactics like never before. If we can test and measure something, we can improve it. And that’s what we try to do every day as modern marketers.

Now, I’ll make a final point about data-driven marketing, if I may. Technology has made it much easier for marketers to identify promising market segments and target those segments with highly relevant content at the right time. We still need to be creative with our content development. But the nuts-and-bolts of delivering the content is much easier today. And in short, the technology has enabled even small companies to adopt pretty sophisticated strategies and marketing tactics, and be successful with it — if it’s in the right hands of skilled marketing strategists, tacticians and technologists.

LEO: What are some key areas that presidents and CEOs should focus on with their marketing teams? In particular, what about how marketing can contribute to revenue?

CHARLES: There are five things that I think are really, really important for a company owner or a CEO to have in mind.

First, when they’re talking with their marketing team, there needs to be a very clear understanding of the role that marketing must play in the business in order for the business to achieve its goals. The conversation can’t stop at “Just give me leads and I’ll be happy.” It’s much more complex than that.

This can be a very difficult conversation for a company manager or a CEO to have because many CEOs don’t have marketing experience. They’re more likely to come from operations or something like that. So, they don’t necessarily know what marketing should do. If there is not a senior level marketer on staff that the CEO can go to, then it helps to have someone from the outside come in and say, “Based on where you want to go with the business, here’s a roadmap for what marketing can do for you.” And then that consultant puts the pieces together.

Once the CEO has decided the role that marketing is going to play in the business, then you have to ask whether marketing has the requisite skills. Do they have the right technology and the resources to play that role? And hopefully it’s a big role.

The third thing is, does the revenue generation in the company consist of a single integrated process? Now, some of your listeners may be saying, wait a minute, I thought we’re talking about marketing. Why are we talking about revenue generation all of a sudden? Well, it’s really important that marketing and sales share a common process, a common funnel model, a common view of the customer. In other words, sales and marketing need to be aligned. And this doesn’t mean is marketing aligned to sales. It doesn’t mean is sales aligned to marketing. It means are sales and marketing both aligned to the buyer’s journey. Are both departments equally focused on the customer, or on some internal procedures?

Let me share something with you: In well-aligned companies, marketing generated leads have a67 percent higher probability of closing, 108 percent fewer leaks from the funnel, and 209 percent stronger contribution to revenue.

These are pretty eye-opening numbers. They come from a recent survey of 500 businesses around the world, conducted by my friends and colleagues at MathMarketing.

Now, the other conversation that the president and the marketing folks want to have is, “Is marketing contributing to revenue opportunities?” Or, at least, are there goals in place for making that happen? Because frankly, in many companies that aren’t very sophisticated with marketing yet, they don’t see marketing as contributing to revenue, but they want to make that happen.

It won’t happen overnight, but you can at least put the goals in place and start to put things in order so that marketing can be generating revenue opportunities on an ongoing basis. Now, averages can be dangerous, but I’m getting reports and surveys that show that in high-performance companies, well north of 20 percent of the revenue is generated by marketing-generated leads.

The last point I want to make is that the CEO should be looking at the marketing plans and how the budget is allocated to that plan, and asking whether the marketing resources are correctly allocated to tactics that influence the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel.

In other words, how is marketing assisting with the progression of buyers through that funnel — right to the point, and maybe even after the point, that they hand off that lead to sales? Though sales is in charge of the lead at some point, they need materials and resources to help them close the deal. So, are the budget and the resources of marketing being adequately allocated to the right places throughout the funnel, not all at the top, not all at the bottom, but throughout?


Sherry Lamoreaux s the editor of Act-On’s Marketing Action blog. She also writes and edits eBooks, white papers, case studies, and miscellanea. She is an award-winning creative writer. Find her on Google+