Mark Nardone, EVP at PAN Communications, speaks with Scott Vaughan, CMO at Integrate. Vaughan specializes in data-driven marketing for the marketing automation company. He’s known throughout the industry for being highly skilled and passionate about unlocking the potential of marketing, media, data and technology to drive business and customer value.
Watch the clip, read the transcript below or listen to the full podcast to learn about how the customer experience is changing, how marketing and sales are aligning measurement and attribution, and how KPIs are being defined.
Nardone: Customer experience has put an enormous amount of pressure and expectations on marketers. I’ve heard you talk a lot about agile marketing and what that all means and how it continues to evolve. Can you get into this a little bit with us?
Vaughan: Sure. The whole idea of agile is that businesses, markets, customers are those pesky things that you’re constantly changing. The pace of change is unbelievable today, and you have to have a strong will, but you also have to be listening and open minded all the time. We’ve taken a lot of cues from the software world and using that agile word. It’s a fancy word for being able to be listening and being able to adjust and adapt. That’s so important in this world because that’s actually where the wins are made. It’s agile enough to be opportunistic about market shifts and trends. It’s being savvy enough to be able to optimize what you’re doing and learn from that and change strategies. You certainly don’t want to flip flop and be all over the place, but you do want to be able to read both the analytics that you have at your fingertips, and you want to be able to help lead sales and lead the company into the opportunities. And that’s what agility is really helping us do. But agility is not a concept – it’s a construct. The construct needs some discipline and a model to work with – including those checkpoints that you have to make adjustments as you go. And maybe on the fly all the time, although that can come down to individual roles. But you should be able to make adjustments as a marketing team with the business.
Nardone: That’s probably where the integration of the two functions of sales and marketing need to be more tightly woven than ever before, where sales are marketers and marketers are sales. It’s just not good enough to do the checkbox of “I’ve delivered 10-15 MQLs to you this month, it’s up to SQLs to take over now and bring it to fruition.” It’s more about staying in tune to the behaviors, learning from the lessons and the failures within the pipeline, and how to better put that to use for future marketing initiatives. What’s your viewpoint on that? How do KPIs become more aligned together? How are they in sync and not pointing fingers? I think pointing fingers is pretty much going away, would you agree?
Vaughan: I don’t know if it’s going away – it’s Venus and Mars. Marketing and Sales are different types of people. I have had the pleasure and experience to do both. I was a sales person and sales manager for 10 years, but the greater part of my background is in marketing. I would say if you’re trying to align sales and marketing, it’s a never-ending win. You’re not going to get there. Trying to integrate key functions and capabilities with common goals and common KPIs is a process that allows the two to communicate around numbers and not around the motion. The best phrase I have heard and have adopted is, “We’re not in the sales management business.” That means we don’t manage what the sales people do like every other person in the company does. You’re in the sales development business. You’re listening for opportunities to develop new opportunities, to develop renewal opportunities, and things you can do to help drive revenue and value to the customer. That’s where the wins are. That’s where sales and marketing are going to become more integrated.
Nardone: Does it then challenge you to think differently about attribution and justification? That whole model that has been a very traditional approach to measuring the impact across the board?
Vaughan: Yes, there’s no doubt that attribution is important, and understanding what’s working and what you need to do more or less of is, too. But anybody who’s been in a marketing chair or any business chair knows that there’s a lot of diminishing returns. You may have some that’s working today and you’re pushing the “Easy button” all day. Facebook’s a great example; you’re going to ride that horse until it runs out of steam. So, attributions are important, and it’s critical. You have to be able to justify what you’re doing – that’s the reality. You have to be able to measure, but if you rely on attribution, it becomes a credit game. That further severs that integration between sales and marketing that we talked about. It’s a losing game to overplay the attribution game. You definitely need to understand what’s working and what’s not working. Keep your marketing dashboard in check so that you’re constantly moving that needle around.
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What are your views on the customer experience? Let’s continue the conversation @markcnardone.