Do your CEO and CFO still think of your marketing department as a cost center? In many companies, this is still the case, but it doesn’t have to be. Being perceived as a cost center means that the CFO will be determined to cut marketing costs as much as possible, even when marketing shows high performance and delivers great results. So our goal as marketers is to transform the marketing function from a perceived cost center to a vital revenue-generating engine for the enterprise.
The secret to making this happen? When you present your case to the CFO, whether asking for a bigger budget or for new software, always connect your marketing results to the company’s business metrics. Instead of talking about how you improved lead quality, or how you were able to cut costs per lead, talk about how your lead generation campaigns have increased revenue. Always focus on revenue, and on how your marketing activities drive growth and improve the company’s bottom line.
Of course, showing a direct link between marketing activities and revenue growth is notoriously difficult to do. This is where marketing automation can be extremely helpful.
Marketing automation improves marketing performance. It helps marketers create better, tighter campaigns; align marketing with sales and present sales reps with better leads; and make the most of each marketing dollar. But just as important, marketing automation enables marketers to prove their campaigns’ usefulness to the organization. It enables marketers to align marketing investment with enterprise objectives, and to clearly demonstrate its contribution to the organization’s success through clearly defined metrics and key performance indicators.
Today’s B2B marketers are rethinking the relationship between marketing and the rest of the organization. Their goal is to transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue center and to make their contribution to the organization visible and measurable. Marketing automation will not magically make this transformation happen, but once you have the right processes in place, it will enable you to measure, monitor and refine your marketing campaigns, to better judge the impact of your initiatives on revenue, and to clearly demonstrate that impact to the CFO.
While the current pressure on marketing to connect marketing activities to business results can be stressful, and the task of transforming marketing means a lot of hard work, you should view this as a great opportunity to prove that what you do can have a real impact on revenue and that, rather than consume the company’s resources, you play a critical part in the business’ overall success.Google+