“Revenue marketing is the strategy that transforms marketing from a cost center to a revenue center.”
This line begins Debbie Qaqish’s latest work, Rise of the Revenue Marketer, a fully developed view of the revenue marketing theme that has exploded in the past five years. Debbie has been one of the key proponents of the idea that marketers can and should own more of the sales funnel, including bringing revenue – real dollars – to the table. Other proponents include Jon Miller at Marketo and the team at Eloqua. In her book, Debbie Qaqish, integrates this concept as a strategic imperative and overall system, which goes beyond marketing automation.
Many of us know Debbie from her numerous presentations at Marketo events and her thought leadership as Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group, where she coined the term “revenue marketer” in 2010. Since then, this concept has permeated every aspect of B2B marketing, leading to terms like “revenue performance management” and others.
To paraphrase Jeff Pedowitz, marketing automation providers can only do so much to help marketers. For instance, when I setup Marketo at several firms, it was one thing to implement the software, but it was another to look at the entire revenue process beyond the systems. Fortunately, my team was forward thinking and we had been moving our process to be revenue funnel focused. Still, we lacked some of the key functions and had to rely on the most technical marketer for things that would ideally be done by a marketing operations specialist and a reporting analyst.
In her new book, which launches today, she combines her years of experience in turning B2B marketing teams from the old interruption “cost” methods toward permission based content marketing methods. Methods that tie activity directly to revenue.
If you have been in marketing for a few years, this idea is not new.
What is new?
Strategy. One of my recent worries is ensuring marketing is working on strategic tasks and not just tactical activities. Rise of the Revenue Marketer offers advice on just how to do this as a marketing leader by pulling together teams, processes, change, and executive buy in.
The key question Debbie asks is one she was faced with in 2005, before she went on her own revenue journey:
“What are you going to do about revenue?”
This is a thought-provoking question that I have found myself faced with since joining the world of marketing from a successful sales career. “Revenue? That’s what I worry about in sales!” It took a couple of years to understand what a revenue marketer might be like, and I enjoy taking firms on that journey.
First, you have to understand Debbie’s definition of Revenue Marketing:
- Sales ready leads for top of the funnel
- Accelerate opportunities
- Measures for Repeatable, Predictable, and Scalable revenue in the pipeline and marketing ROMI.
- Revenue – marketing is becomes a generator, not a cost center.
Getting to this definition within your organization is a goal. The journey is longer. Debbie shows us this journey from
- Traditional Marketing, which includes the 4Ps: product, promotion, placement, and price. Debbie notes that B2B marketers here have little clout and report on activities and cost metrics.
- Lead Generation: this is where I started in my first marketing role. This is a series of tactical activities and metrics, but focused on moving leads to Sales.
- Demand Generation is where “closed loop” systems and marketing automation transform the lead gen process. Marketing becomes responsible for nurturing and lower funnel activities. Revenue metrics begin to appear, including MQLs, SALs, and pipeline contribution.
- Revenue Marketing: this is where you have a “machine that is repeatable, predictable, and scalable (RPS).” Now marketing is responsible for revenue and rewarded for it.
A different view is in this table I created:
Revenue Marketing Stage
|Traditional||Low||MarCom||Branding||Impressions, Costs, Activities||None||Salary|
|Lead Gen||Low||Disconnected systems||Events, tactical emails||Costs, Leads, Activities||Maybe||Salary|
|Demand Gen||Medium||Marketing automation and funnel||Nurturing||Costs, MQLs, SALs, Opps, Revenue||Full||Salary|
|Revenue Marketing||High||Revenue funnel||ROI, Forecasting Revenue||Synergy||Salary+Bonus for Quota|
Developing your marketing organization into a revenue marketing team and making sure the rest of the firm is on board is a long process. Debbie makes no qualms about that. In fact, many of the case study interviewees describe just how long it can take and what that means. Typically this meant a 12-36 month process within marketing, with Sales, and with fellow executives. She describes how to go about achieving buy-in to move from Traditional marketing to Revenue Marketing. It is reassuring to know it takes more than a 90-day plan to transform both marketing and how it works with Sales.
Debbie refers to this process as the RM6 Model. One of the aspects I consider to be critical is People. Having the right combination of skills on the revenue marketing team will ensure success.
Too many marketing automation firms are quick to sell the goal of revenue marketing, while distracting you from the hard reality of getting there. I’ve seen enough small firms use marketing automation that just weren’t ready in terms of Team, Process, Goals, or Executive Sponsorship. Just last week I received a marketing email from a former client and discovered they had switched to HubSpot. I suspect they may switch again when they are disappointed by the results. How do I know this? Their organization was just not ready and it likely still isn’t. Remember, marketing automation is one facet of the journey from Lead Generation to Demand Generation.
How does Rise of the Revenue Marketer compare to other works?
Every single book that discusses this new world of B2B marketing where “marketing has a seat at the revenue table” also mentions how the Buyer Journey has changed. Sales people are now at the tail end of that process, responsible for the close and the people relationships that are still a necessity. Thus, you may find these books repeating themselves, especially in the first two chapters.
- Eloqua’s Digital Body Language by Steve Woods
This was the first new marketing book I read when Steve Woods sent it over to me during my first marketing automation RFP. I found it helpful in better understanding scoring and the tools available. While “digital body language” as a term never really took off, the idea that Sales can benefit from increased visibility into the buyer behavior did. Debbie Qaqish takes a more strategic approach and almost completely ignores the tactical bits of lead scoring. Thus, these two books can work together.
- Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez’s book: Revenue Disruption
To me, this book felt very much like a summary of Marketo’s marketing materials and education pieces that I could get for free. In fact, I did get this book for free at the Marketo Summit 2012 (thanks Liz!). Like Digital Body Language, the book walked through the tactical considerations that are solved by marketing automation. Phil also described the concept of Revenue Performance Management, which ties in nicely with Marketo’s RCA and MFM packages. A nice package for the mid-stage buying process.
I hate to admit this, but a lot of what I learned about B2B marketing since 2008 has come from blogs. Blogs of top marketers, blogs of marketing automation makers, blogs from marketing automation agencies. As I note below, much of the content in Rise of the Revenue Marketer is from Debbie’s previous work. Isn’t that the great thing about the internet now? A student of marketing can learn the latest techniques without an MBA or even a dozen years of experience.
What Could Be Done Better?
As I read the book, I found that it followed the standard business book format:
- Introduce the reader to the concepts.
- Walk through the author’s experience.
- Interrupt the reader with quotes and interviews from executives. I found these almost all helpful and interesting, especially when executives were candid about what it took to move from Traditional Marketing to Revenue Marketing. Several executives admitted they were still in certain stages, which I found refreshing, as most business book case studies are a bit too successful. What I continue to find in all business books is that these quotes and case studies (always in grey boxes) completely interrupt the flow of what the author is saying. I would prefer to place these case studies at the end of the chapter, which still reinforces the concepts.
- Case Studies from large organizations that the author has worked with. Honestly, I would do this too because it is far easier to ask those you know. Another small business startup book I read took a different approach by inviting people to a survey and then asking interesting respondents for a case study interview. I found that technique led to several off beat ideas.
- Chapter Endings to inspire action: these are called “Key Plays” in Rise of the Revenue Marketer. I found these to be helpful action items in developing the road map for the revenue marketing journey.
In some respects, the book is a compendium of the author’s thought leadership, papers, presentations, and blog posts over the years. So regular readers of The Pedowitz Group’s materials will be very familiar with much of the book. While you could read much of that for free, you may find it helpful to have the complete package in one place. This is especially true for aspiring marketing leaders just as it is for a busy marketing executive.
While reading the book, I felt challenged to explore new ways to handle revenue marketing at my company. Debbie does not offer a lot of advice for very small firms, or sales led organizations, or the unique challenges posed by a startup. Perhaps the unwritten assumption is that revenue marketing as a whole can only be fully realized at larger firms. Recently, I have been working to convince my peers to make the leap from Lead Generation to Demand Generation and beyond, but I am unsure how to do this given our unique constraints. Certainly no one has the precise answer, but I would love to hear how Debbie would approach the challenge, as Pedowitz works with small firms too.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Debbie describes her concepts and experiences well while offering helpful examples and frameworks along the way. Rise of the Revenue Marketer is aimed primarily at fellow marketing leaders; however, I find it could be a great read for other executives looking at the latest ways to market their services. In fact, I highly recommend having your Sales VPs and CEO read this book as you begin the socialization process so that they are as excited as you are!
Do I recommend this book for those less familiar with The Pedowitz Group and revenue marketing strategies? Yes, absolutely.
Disclosures: I received a preview copy of Rise of the Revenue Marketer. There are no affiliate links!
Stay tuned for a few new Marketo tutorials in the coming weeks.