It’s not enough to show tactical numbers; marketing executives need strategic reporting capabilities so they can demonstrate ROI, allocate spend effectively, right-size their operations — and keep their jobs. That’s why you should train well in Martech.

Gartner analyst recently noted that marketers “either don’t know the data they have or don’t know what to do with it.” That’s a huge problem for at least three reasons. First, CEOs and boards increasingly demand proof of marketing’s impact on revenue and pipeline growth in the form of strategic reporting that indicates a clear link between marketing spend and ROI.

With Full Circle Insights, my marketing playbook is complete because I can prove my strategy is effective,” said Katrina Wong, VP Marketing, Hired, Inc. “This allows me to build the team I need to generate the pipeline volume required to hit revenue targets, and it makes our relationship with the sales and revenue teams truly collaborative

Second, marketing executives need strategic metrics to allocate departmental spending effectively. They need an accurate account of which activities contributed to revenue at every stage of the buyer journey so they can invest in the programs, channels and campaigns that are producing the best results at every stage of the funnel.

The third consideration is staffing. Marketing executives need clear insight into how programs, channels, and marketing campaigns influence revenue so they can distribute staff accordingly. If field operations are generating a high return, maybe it’s time to hire more field staff, for example.

But, marketing executives can’t make fully informed decisions on staffing without strategic reporting.

Spreadsheets Aren’t Enough

Marketing departments typically have a lot of data streaming in from various marketing automation solutions. In its raw form, that data produces insights on marketing tactics, i.e., how successful campaigns are at driving downloads, clicks, email opens, etc. But, to demonstrate ROI, marketers need to put that data in a framework that is recognizable to sales and finance.

In an attempt to accomplish that, some marketers use spreadsheets to compile data from automation solutions, and that can lead to frustration as they struggle to reconcile information from different systems. What they need is accurate funnel reporting and metrics in a framework that reflects the user experience delivered by the de facto revenue system of record — the CRM system.

Beyond that, marketers need a way to attribute revenue and pipeline contributions to specific activities at every stage of the buyer journey, giving weight to separate touches within the sales cycle. Armed with strategic metrics that demonstrate that $X dollars in marketing spend resulted in closed business valued at $XX, marketers can claim their rightful place at the strategy table.

Completing the Marketing Playbook

Experienced marketing executives have a strong sense of what programs, channels and campaigns work in their industry. They understand their company’s level of maturity and brand awareness in the marketplace and know the approximate length of the sales cycle. Automation solutions provide tactical metrics that are relevant to all of these aspects of marketing within the department.

But to prove the validity of the marketing strategy outside the department, marketing executives need a martech solution that provides full-funnel visibility so they can track leads and contacts at every stage, closing the loop between sources and results. They need revenue attribution metrics that allow them to optimize the marketing mix, right-size all facets of operations and measure effectiveness across accounts.

Without a way to prove demonstrate ROI, CMOs can find themselves on thin ice. CMO tenure remains lower than that of C-suite colleagues; a SpencerStuart study pegged the median at just 31 months. An inability to demonstrate a direct link between marketing activities, pipeline growth and revenue may explain that gap. By using martech to gain insight and generate strategic reporting, CMOs can prove their ability to create value — and keep their jobs.

Originally published in MarTechSeries.

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