Building a successful marketing team is more critical than ever for B2B CMOs
Let’s face it. The uncertain economic conditions we find ourselves in will put great pressure on CMOs and their teams to deliver results in less than ideal situations. To do this, CMOs must create and lead a high-performing organization. While not a new challenge, urgency is growing in many businesses. Fortunately, new research from Forrester can help marketers take steps that can improve their function’s contributions.
According to the study’s author, Jennifer Ross, senior research director for CMO strategies at Forrester, “In successful B2B marketing organizations, the marketing ecosystem revolves around a uniform organizational understanding of the target audiences of the company. In the Age of the Customer, Forrester believes that B2B organizations will only outperform their competitors when the customer is at the center of the entire business operating model and all functions consistently deliver superior customer experiences. Businesses that are customer-centric typically have four defining characteristics: customer-driven, information-driven, fast, and connected. These characteristics are evident at all levels of the organization – from the C-suite to the individual. Every process design, technology built or purchased, interaction, and employee contributes to a marketing organization’s ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Once the customer-centric strategy is in place, attention can turn to designing the marketing organization that will support the strategy. To do this, Ross advised, “leaders must begin by defining the capabilities needed to achieve the desired results.” This list is not short – increase customer insights, improve brand relevance, generate demand, generate leads, improve conversions, create better customer experiences, launch new products, energize marketing partners. distribution, activate sellers, optimize media spend, engage employees, open new markets and host successful events, all while developing engaging content and leveraging the martech stack. In defining skills, Ross said, “You can more easily think of a natural grouping of these skills that start to form what might look like teams in your organizational structure.”
She continued, “You can’t stop there. To really optimize performance, you then need to think about orchestration—both the processes that get the job done and the operating patterns that facilitate the right kind of engagement. Silos, fiefdoms and territorialism can kill organizational performance resulting from disconnected activities and inconsistent customer experiences.
Ross clarified, “It doesn’t matter how good you think your structure is. If you don’t have the right infrastructure. If you don’t facilitate or foster the right kind of culture, and you don’t have governance and accountability around all the things you put in place, you’re going to disrupt your ecosystem.
Allison Dew, CMO of Dell Technologies, echoed the importance of customer centricity. She said: “The hardest part is in the ‘how’. How exactly do you make customer centricity work and how do you go beyond platitudes? What did Dell do to answer the “how”? Dew shared, “The most important thing we’ve done is focus on our own customer data, drive our own programs, and create a thoughtful, integrated approach to our martech stack. I see too many companies locking themselves into a single vendor approach. This integrated approach allows us to continue to build on the vision of personalization with privacy in mind. She added that the company was able to put this philosophy to good use at the start of the pandemic. “Our original plan for this spring was to celebrate small business success. With the world changing so drastically, this message would have been tone-deaf and potentially offensive at best. Still, there was demand in unexpected places, and our ability to see that in our data and refocus on urgent work-from-home needs helped us respond more effectively to our customers.
Managing cross-functional orchestration and individual accountability is a challenge for many B2B marketing leaders. Qualcomm chief marketing officer Don McGuire has taken steps over the past year to address this challenge. He explained, “Creating an environment where my team feels a sense of personal passion and team success is an important part of my leadership role. We redesigned our office and created a collaborative, open workspace where people have greater interaction within their teams and across functions. We hold regular company-wide performance reviews where individuals are assessed on their personal performance and progress and encouraged to set professional development goals. In addition to this, I host bi-weekly leadership forums, extended staff meetings, quarterly business reviews, semi-annual offsite team development events, semi-annual planning sessions, and regular “One Marketing” sharing. of the progress of the project and the campaign. And to keep us moving forward, a dedicated role has been created to continuously seek out new ways of doing things to ensure innovation within marketing never stops and opportunities for individuals and our team continue to evolve.
Carrie Palin, CMO of Cisco, agreed with Forrester’s view on the importance of culture. She shared, “Culture is such an important aspect of building a successful organization. One year after joining Cisco, I can honestly say that our corporate culture is one of the best I’ve experienced in my career. From top to bottom, we live and breathe a culture of transparency, inclusiveness, accountability, innovation and compassion – all linked to our goal of propelling an inclusive future for ALL. It’s not just words on the wall – we actually take action. It’s a huge differentiator in helping Cisco attract and retain talent as well as customers and partners. »
Chandar Pattabhiram, CMO of Coupa, reiterated the importance of accountability and culture in building a successful marketing team. He clarified, “Accountability is best achieved through a culture of psychological safety. We all make mistakes. I make mistakes. CEOs make mistakes. Everyone at every level of any business makes mistakes. What is important is that we learn from our mistakes. At Coupa, we work hard to foster a collaborative work environment where professionalism, integrity and passion come together to ensure this foundation. Pattabhiram continued: “More tactically, the objectives have to be explicitly clear. Teams need granular goals to know what they are being measured on and accountable for. Without a destination, there is no road. At Coupa, every initiative has a measurable result. We work backwards to identify and align with the milestones we need to get there. We decide which activities to perform. And we track the status along the way. We also believe in rewarding success. We regularly recognize and reward outstanding team members. This helps increase collaboration and engagement, and empowers team members to take action and drive change. »