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How to tell if your organization is marketing-led: 4 key questions to ask

Before diving into this article posted by Forbes, let's first clarify this question:

Why is being a marketing-led organization is essential for success?

In today's highly competitive business landscape, being marketing-led is no longer an option - it's a necessity. Here's why:

  1. Boost Revenue: Marketing is the driving force behind sales and revenue generation. By implementing effective strategies, marketing-led organizations not only attract and convert potential customers but also retain them, resulting in increased sales and profitability.

  2. Strategic Alignment: A marketing-led organization ensures that all business functions are aligned with its market and customer-focused strategy. This alignment leads to enhanced efficiency, effectiveness, and overall business performance.

  3. Focus on Customers: Marketing-led organizations know that putting customers first is the key to success. These organizations build strong, loyal customer relationships that drive growth by understanding their needs, tailoring offerings accordingly, and providing exceptional experiences.

  4. Stay Ahead of the Market: Market trends and opportunities can shift in an instant. Marketing-led organizations are always in tune with these changes, allowing them to react quickly, gain a competitive edge, and stay ahead in their industry.

  5. Build a Powerful Brand: A strong brand is a game-changer. Marketing is essential for building and managing a brand that sets an organization apart from its competitors, creates a positive image in consumers' minds, and ultimately increases market share.

In summary, becoming a marketing-led organization is the key to staying relevant, competitive, and profitable in today's rapidly evolving marketplace. It enables businesses to deliver customer value, build strong brands, generate revenue, and achieve their strategic objectives. Don't miss out on the benefits - embrace marketing as a core driver of your success.

Below is the article from Forbes to help you determine if you are a marketing-led organization.

revenue marketing drives growth and profit - align you sales & marketing strategy

Here is what Christine Slocumb - Forbes Councils Member writes:

Since it's often said that up to 70% of the buyer journey happens before a prospect speaks with a salesperson, many organizations say they want to be marketing-led rather than sales-led. Reality tells a different story.

Many companies are marketing-led in name only, and the sales team still holds all the cards.

Not sure whether your organization is marketing-led or sales-led? Ask yourself these four questions.

1. Do you have a chief sales officer but not a chief marketing officer?

There's an organizational priority disconnect if your sales leaders have more prestigious titles and responsibilities than your marketing leaders. If you hire a chief commercial officer and a marketing manager, you immediately set up a dynamic where sales have rank and power over marketing. Why would you do this when up to 70% of the purchase could be decided before talking to a salesperson?

When companies trust and value marketing, it shows. Find a brand you love and check out the leadership page of its website. I bet the company has a chief marketing officer, a well-rounded marketing team (or stellar agency) and a public relations partner.

If you genuinely want to be a marketing-led organization rather than sales-led, my first piece of advice is to make a chief marketing officer (CMO) one of your first hires, not your last.

This person's role should strictly be marketing, not a marketing/sales hybrid. I've seen many companies hire a vice president of sales and marketing, which is a mistake. Most of the time, a VP of sales and marketing is from sales and does not understand or value the marketing function in an organization.

If you can't afford a CMO just yet, hire a fractional CMO—some take equity as part of compensation. Marketing agencies can also provide fractional leadership and solid strategic marketing plans if you cannot afford to hire in-house.

2. Does marketing have data from the entire sales cycle?

Marketing teams are set up to fail if they can’t access data insights from the entire sales cycle. To defend their budget, marketing must prove ROI, show attribution to the bottom line and know where to spend next, so making decisions based on readily available data is critical.

In sales-led organizations, marketing usually doesn’t have the insight into the analytics needed to show that their accomplishments support an organization’s goals.

Marketing-led organizations have visibility into every process step—from first-touch attribution to sales conversions and upsells. They use this information to arm themselves with hard facts, such as funnel conversion metrics or conversions where the first touch came from marketing programs, to show ROI.

3. Does marketing have a budget of less than 1% of revenue?

You are absolutely not a marketing-led organization if you are starving your marketing department.

If you are the leader of a tech company, there's a very good chance that you are not spending enough on marketing. You probably invest adequately in research, manufacturing, software development and sales. But you likely haven't calculated how many leads you need to meet growth goals, so marketing gets budget table scraps.

Intentionally or unwittingly limiting marketing spend to fund other business areas, such as sales, may initially seem like a way to invest in product development or save money. But second-class marketing kills your business.

Sales-led companies often think a bigger sales team and referrals can compensate for paltry marketing. While sales and referrals may initially bring in revenue, eventually, you will run out of "friendlies."

The relegation of marketing to the proverbial budget basement leads to disaster—you'll always play catch-up if you don't prioritize marketing from the outset. You have to be in front of buyers' faces all the time, which takes investment.

4. Is marketing's budget the first line item cut during tough times?

In a sales-led organization, uninformed boards and investors often recommend slashing marketing spend before anything else during tough times.

In over 23 years of running an agency, I've seen numerous high-performing marketing teams generate more conversions than sales and ultimately help organizations transition out of difficult situations.

Cutting the marketing budget during a time when you need sales makes even less sense when you consider that 75% of B2B buyers prefer not to interact with a representative during the sales process.

Marketing-led organizations actively track predefined marketing metrics to avoid this exact situation. Plus, they have put people in leadership roles who understand and value the power of marketing.

So, who is your party leader?

Think of your organization like a party—is the DJ rocking the house your CMO, or is it your head of sales? If marketing is hidden in the corner sipping a drink while sales dances center stage, you might be sales-led.

Check the guest list (your data insights)—is marketing invited to the whole shindig or just the after-party?

Peek into your party budget; if marketing's funds are thinner than the snack table at a budget wedding, you're not exactly marketing-led. And finally, when times get tough, do you cancel the DJ first?

To switch the vibe to a marketing-led bash, hire that rock star CMO, give them a full DJ set (i.e., complete data access), beef up the snack table (increase the marketing budget) and keep the music playing even when the party hits a lull.



If you want to:

  1. Boost Revenue

  2. Seek Strategic Alignment

  3. Focus on Customers

  4. Stay Ahead of the Market

  5. Build a Powerful Brand

becoming a marketing-led organization that seeks sales & marketing alignment is your key to success.


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