Marketing's Role in Revenue Generation: An Interview with John Arnold
February 14, 2019
If you missed the BMA Colorado's recent Evening Brew, WTF is Marketing's Role in Revenue Generation, then you don't want to miss John Arnold's take on the topic.
John Arnold, VP of Marketing, Sales and Business Development at Intelligent Demand, is a B2B revenue executive and change agent with experience aligning marketing, sales and business development initiatives for high-growth startups and as a trusted advisor to some of the world's largest B2B brands. Here he explains the value of connecting marketing to revenue generation.
What is marketing’s role in revenue generation? Has marketing’s purpose changed when adopting a revenue generation model?
Marketing, Sales, Product, Customer Success, Business Intelligence and the C-Suite are all responsible for different components of revenue growth in modern B2B companies. In this new context, the marketing function doesn't only need to align with sales, it also needs to figure out its highest and best use in alignment with multiple teams and customer touch points.
Why is there a shift to a revenue generation model?
Every business function essentially competes internally for resources on the basis of contribution to revenue. Marketing activities are historically difficult to attribute directly to revenue, but that construct has changed significantly.
Digital interactions and the associated analytics shine a light on buyer behavior and collective interactions with marketing campaigns. Since the resources that can attribute their activities to revenue get prioritized, Marketing teams have shifted their focus to revenue attribution, and that has shifted marketing's mindset toward revenue generation.
What are the pros and cons of structuring marketing as a revenue generator?
You have to be courageous to step into a revenue leadership role because it's somewhat uncharted territory. But instead of pros and cons, I tend to think of it as a balance of risks and rewards.
The risks are based on the marketing team's ability to prove out new, revenue-focused approaches. Since B2B sales cycles are long, marketing teams risk not being able to show marketing influence until an actual sales opportunity is created. The reward, of course, is that demonstrating influence on revenue and the scale or leverage that is possible when marketing activities are working results in more resources and continued growth for the company and the marketing team.
How do you address channels that are harder to track revenue back to, for example, PR?
A channel-based approach to revenue attribution is problematic in all channels. The new ways to track revenue influence involve changes in audience behavior resulting from an entire marketing mix, not first-touch, last-touch, or even multi-touch attribution from an individual channel or campaign.
Does it ever make sense for revenue generation to not be a responsibility of marketing?
Is it easier to adopt a revenue generation model when sales and marketing are a combined department?
Combining departments by putting people with different roles on the same team and giving them the same goals isn't enough. If your company has a CMO and a CRO and they both report to the CEO, that's not much different than having a CRO with a VP of Marketing and a VP of Sales reporting in.
If you really want an integrated approach, it ultimately boils down to the customer experience. For example, Marketing used to be the only function that would automate communications with prospects and customers. Today, Sales and business development reps are setting up nurture programs using platforms such as Outreach, SalesLoft and Yesware, and customer success managers are setting up automated emails and triggered outreach campaigns using platforms like Gainsight. It’s important for revenue leaders to have an integration mindset so that the customer journey isn’t fragmented or damaged across teams and touch points.