If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the customer has never been more in control of their own buyer journey. In 2021, that journey – now more than ever – is a digital one. Digital transformation is forcing companies to change their business models, rethink their budgets, and adapt to a customer-first market reality.
Companies are not driving this change. This is being driven by the customer.
Customers are actively engaging with digital channels to conduct research on products, to connect with each other, and to directly interact with vendors they are considering. This has changed when and where revenue teams need to show up – and above all, how they collaborate to measure their success. The new success paradigm for this customer-first world is revenue acceleration.
For marketers, this means going beyond the traditional demand generation strategies to prove the ROI of marketing programs, optimize customer experiences, earn a seat at the revenue table.
What Is Revenue Marketing?
But first – what is revenue marketing and how does it enable this customer-first digital approach?
Revenue marketing is the ecosystem of interdependent goals, processes, collaboration, and metrics that helps your company grow. Today’s most successful B2B marketing teams orient around revenue marketing as their north star to drive a measurable return on marketing investment.
Here are the five key considerations for a high-impact, revenue-focused customer strategy in 2021.
Consideration #1: Aligning Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success Around the Buyer
In 2021, revenue teams are optimizing for the long game of ever-increasing customer expectations. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 25% of organizations will amalgamate marketing, sales, and CX into a single function.
This supports our recommendation that marketing, sales, and customer success teams need to quickly evolve into a team of teams aligned around the customer. Each team may have its own specific yet interconnected set of KPI’s, but the magic will only happen when these teams are aligned.
It’s time for a single view of truth around who the customer really is, with cascading goals and objectives to deliver what the customer truly needs.
As Drift’s Molly Clarke recently explained, “The buying experience needs to be an all-encompassing, personalized journey for each buyer that starts the moment they interact with your brand for the first time and continues long after the ink on their contract is dry.”
Consideration #2: Operationalizing Revenue Marketing
In practice, revenue marketing requires driving strategy, accountability, and collaboration to generate qualified leads, nurture them with relevant content, and advance your buyers through the buying cycle.
This is about so much more than just generating top of the funnel engagement – this is about accountability for outcomes, and marketers are responsible for it now more than ever. In fact, in Demand Springs’s 2021 Revenue Marketing Benchmark report, 70% of marketers said YES, they are measuring their customer engagement success based on the pipeline they initiate.
In other words, MQLs are no longer the gold standard. In 2021, expect to see marketers focus more on metrics that can be tied directly to revenue.
Consideration #3: Meeting Customers in Real-time
The pandemic has upended how brands need to “get found” in order to survive and grow, and the most successful revenue teams are reinventing what it means to create digital customer relationships in real-time.
It’s worth restating that the customer has never been on a more self-directed journey than they are today. Additionally, they are both gathering their own information and then sharing it, too.
In fact, peer recommendations are now influencing over 90% of all B2B buying decisions, so your customers are self-selecting to be your brand advocates – if they have a good brand experience to share. In 2021, the customer experience IS your brand, so now is the time to leverage the right mix of data, technology, process, and feedback to better understand your customer and what they need today.
With better insight, you can tailor interactions to meet specific customer needs in real-time – and ultimately – build trust.
In short: data, technology, and internal alignment are helping brands become more in tune and more empathetic – because that is what modern digital customer engagement is all about.
Consideration #4: Understanding Why Go-To-Market Alignment Matters
Despite incredible advances in data management and martech, successful revenue marketing measurement is still often an elusive goal.
While most marketing organizations are indeed measured against the pipeline they initiate, too few marketing teams are successfully aligning with their revenue marketing counterparts in sales and customer success to holistically deliver a winning end-to-end customer experience.
How does it look when organizations finally achieve this level of holistic alignment, and more importantly, why does this matter? It matters because these are the kind of outcomes to expect when you get it right:
- You can connect with your target personas in a hyper-relevant manner in all of their watering holes – their inbox, your website, third-party sites, search, and social channels.
- You gain efficiency, scale, and insights into marketing performance.
- You are able to deliver the content your customers are actually looking for in real time, building loyalty, trust, and long-term relationships.
- You can create, nurture, and hand off new qualified opportunities faster than ever before.
- Leveraging revenue marketing best practices and the right talent, you can drive engagement throughout the entire customer journey.
Consideration #5: Bringing It All Together
In 2021, the most successful revenue marketing teams will learn how to truly drive collaboration, accountability, and trust across the marketing and sales landscape. They will build interconnected teams who understand how to articulate and optimize the brand story across all channels in the multichannel marketing system.
This is all part of the “well-balanced diet” of truly integrated revenue marketing best practices that map to customer growth.
Because revenue marketing wins when you break down the silos in your organizational processes, address the inefficiencies in martech stacks, and align around messaging to drive engagement and dialogue throughout the customer journey.
☝️ This is how to build the foundation of a high impact customer strategy that turns prospects into customers, and that ultimately turns customers into your very best brand champions.
As Demand Spring’s founder and President, Mark has a tremendous passion for helping marketing leaders transform their Revenue Marketing practices, enabling them to be strategic leaders in their organization.