Dori Raveh is marketing operations manager at Stratasys, a 3D printer maker. Dori’s DNA is digital marketing, with vast experience running multi-regional online programs to drive tangible business. In this 1-on-1 video session (sign-in required), we discuss his definition of the role of marketing operations in the modern organization, his targets and challenges for 2017, and his power tips for B2B marketers looking to improve their marketing ops game. Later in this post, below the video, I have included a summary of the main points Dori made during the interview.
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Marketing operations: the right hand of the CMO
This is how Dori sees the various functions of the marketing operations lead in the organization:
Data and reports – establishing the foundations for data collection and analysis to drive even the most complex reporting requirements.
Building Martech foundations – inject smart marketing technologies to the organization and build out the marketing tech stack.
Sales enablement through procedures – this is about creating workflows between marketing groups, corporate departments, sales etc, especially in global corporates such as Stratasys.
Forecasting – working closely with finance and marketing intelligence to develop revenue insights.
Commentary: The latter function should be of special interest. In a previous interview with Idan Hershkovich from Cato Networks, Idan mentioned that part of his role is providing the necessary funnel data to allow for short and mid term predictions with regards to his company’s more advanced funnel stages. The clear implication of what Dori and Idan have noted is that marketing is required – and stepping up to the task – to elevate its game well beyond operational enabler and upwards to the business domain. Expect to hear of more and more marketing collaborating with the CFO to provide predictive data to the org.
Putting the foundations in place
Dori outlined his priorities for the year. Naturally they align with his view of the role of marketing operations, where data, technology and processes are the foundational elements to any business strategy and CMO initiative. These include:
- Develop “one source of truth” for the marketing organization. For example, a 2017 milestone for an organization would be to develop a single data warehouse that will enable its marketing and sales teams to report in a global, effective way with clear KPI’s of what works.
- Lead-to-Revenue business processes. Dori’s approach is to execute a pilot for specific regions of a full lead-to-revenue initiative in order to prove the quick win and show sales or even the CEO the value of the strategy.
- Lead-to-Revenue KPI to bring into the pipeline better leads. To filter out leads that are not ripe, and then to have a clear barrier as to what is a ready lead. Sounds easy but! – it gets complicated when you sell different kind of audience and so have different kinds of messages and lead types (same product different use in different industries) raising the need for different process and messages for different industries / clients
Commentary: it’s easy to see how these three are connected. Data, combined with process, allow for measurements and therefore are the keys to optimizations. You can’t optimize what you don’t know.
Success factors: focus always wins
Late in the discussion I asked Dori to summarize his experience with regards to the necessary success factors to enable his marketing operations strategy to succeed. Here are his main points:
- Key to success is to have realistic goals and a focused marketing plan for those goals. To prove success and get buy-in from executive levels to expand the marketing operation system throughout the entire organization.
- Agile marketing approach – just like programmers do: work in sprints!
- Map out the lead qualification spectrum (inquiry, need and timeframe qualification, verified intent buy, etc.)
- In each lead stage, have clear triggers for the stage
- Make sure your Marketing Automation is well calibrated: among its other functions, to check scores, track metrics and KPIs, manage marketing-sales handoff and timeframes (SLA)
- Work closely with sales to set expectations and learn their actual needs
- Challenges and solutions:
- Buy-in from CEO and executive level – depends on the ‘ripeness’ of the organization
- Initial buy-in from sales people – don’t expect them to like or get excited about technology. Sales have their own priorities. Ultimately, the organization doesn’t need its sales people to be on the system, but on the field, talking to prospects!
- Use data to neutralize objections
- Marketing need to take responsibility for the whole process
- Facts are the solution to overcoming differences between marketing and sales
Commentary: listening to Dori, there are recurring themes that should become part of your marketing operations playbook, even if you’re not a global corporate. Single Source of Truth; agreed business processes; a realistic view of what technologies can achieve. I would summarize them all as aspects of marketing-sales-org alignment.