We regularly host roundtables and reach out to B2B CMOs across different industries and ask them what keeps them “up at night”.  While many still speak to the importance of maintaining the brand reputation in the marketplace, the resounding nightmare we hear is delivering qualified leads and tracking them to conversion.

CMOs need to deliver on quantifiable results.  Delivering outputs like a new site, brand position or ad campaign are good but the touchy feely “brand awareness” metrics are no longer sufficient to keep the CFO and CEO satisfied.  They are looking for output which means helping to feed a sales funnel.  They’re not much help if they can’t deliver verifiable sales leads.

CRM systems have enabled sales organizations to better track and manage pipeline and gauge performance to the individual sales rep or account level.  Pipeline reports are easily accessible.  Trouble is that CMOs and marketing organizations are given little access to CRM systems and are challenged to track what “sales opportunities” or “wins” are attributable, directly or in part, to their marketing touch efforts versus those of a sales team.  Face it, a salesperson entering in data on a new account is highly likely to attribute their personal efforts (versus another part of the organization).  If you were a salesperson, would you rather your win be labeled “Your Win” or a “Bluebird” that fell in your lap?

Couple that with I/T organizations that shift marketing requests to the bottom of their to do list and you’ve got a perfect storm:  CEO wants MQLs, sales wants all the credit, CMO can’t even access the systems. So, what happens…  The CMO continues to drive outputs she/he can control – delivers content, build out for events, creates new campaigns… but no ability to see what is in fact touching and pushing prospects through the funnel.

How do B2B CMOs sleep better….

There’s a world of digital data that can be stored and captured through the funnel to enable CMOs to support the outputs – their delivery of MQLs and to track it through their CRM systems.  The technology is there but often it’s about process and usage that limits the output.

In many cases, this is more about overcoming organizational challenges as it is systems or process challenges. CMOs need a senior, strategic partner to paint the picture that all will benefit from greater visibility across marketing and sales. That by proper tracking, we can better test and optimize marketing investments.  Is content performing?  Are we better served hosting webinars versus trade shows?

Some will continue to do what they’ve always done because sales tells them they need to.  Ambitious CMOs have the vision and push for cross organizational support and visibility.  Be ambitious.

By: Marty Avallone, CEO Digitent