14 Articles Every CMO Should Read

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post “The Myth that Marketing Automation Reveals Buyers’ Journeys” that explained there was increasing consensus among analysts, academics and consultants about changes in the buyer’s journey and the mandate for vendors to adapt to those changes in order to grow. Consolidating the research in one place demonstrates the flood of voices urging vendors to align with the customer, break down silos and bridge marketing and sales departments. Below is a collection of reading materials every marketing executive should sift through. Customer Centricity • A study by Booz & Company found that companies that offered valuable customization in a cost-effective way outperformed their peers in revenue growth two-to-one and had profit margins 5 to 10 percent higher than competitors. • A Forrester report on content marketing emphasized that the right content “requires a deep understanding of the buyers, their information needs, and their content sourcing preferences.” • An article in the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management recommends an approach where “all business processes and all individuals are focused on identifying and meeting the needs of the customer.“ • Forrester has published a wealth of research aligned with the recommendations we give at New Business Strategies, including reports like “Transform To An Experience-Driven Organization” and “Become Customer-Centric, Service-Focused, And Automated.” • Forrester analyst Ronald Rogowski wrote a post urging readers to improve the digital customer experience. Forrester has also written reports about webinars, social media and other aspects of marketing and how to align them with the buyer’s journey. Marketing & sales alignmentHubSpot wrote a good post about overcoming the blame game between marketing and sales with open communication and more accountability. • One of my own blogs last year offers three metrics to measure the degree of sales and marketing alignment within your organization. • A report by Oracle says the friction between marketing and sales has gotten “cliché” and found that a lack of communication was at its heart. • Research by CSO Insights and IDC have identified four problems with a lack of marketing and sales alignment: longer sales cycles, missed quotas, lower productivity and less sales efficiency. (source) • A study by The Red Herring found that sales and marketing alignment was ranked a nine or ten on an importance scale of 10. (source) Breaking down silos • According to an article in HBR, executives identify silos as the top inhibitor of innovation, but silos can only be overcome if executives can embrace change. • Businessweek provided an overview of silos and some common approaches to overcoming them. • Forrester’s 2012 Tech Marketing Planning Guidance noted that marketing hasn’t made the drastic changes that are needed, because each year’s plan is based on last year’s marketing strategy. • IBM’s 2012 State of Marketing Survey called upon marketers to expand our role in the customer experience and break down silos.

Buyer 3.0 (a.k.a. What Social Tells You About Buyers)

The klaxons are ringing in corporate halls. To use an old praise, someone “moved the cheese”.  Marketing programs are struggling to consistently produce qualified leads that convert; prospect conversations are more challenging; customer co-creation expectations are wreaking havoc on product roadmaps; and customer service has lost control as customers turn to social media and peer-groups for help.   What’s happening?  The adoption of social technologies moved the “cheese” and heralded in the arrival of Buyer 3.0.  

How CMOs can use Social Tactics to Outsell Sales

I'm presenting a session about embracing Buyers’ Journey during DemandCon, taking place in San Francisco during March 5-7, 2012. Click through to see more details...  

Big Thinkers, Wine, Lithium and the Perils of Social Change

The catalyst was a book launch of Lithium's  chief scientist Dr. Michael Wu.   The location was the Prospect Restaurant in San Francisco's trendy south of Market.  Invited was a veritable 'whos who' of social media bloggers and big thinkers. Walking to dinner after flying in from Austin, TX and being up since 2am, I thought this could be a great experience or one very long night if the room was full of people talking about social marketing tactics. I was hoping for the former as I wanted to share my experiences around the Buyers' Journey with others.  

Speaking about Buyers Journey at NAWBO Silicon Valley

Come join me on November 15th for dinner and a talk at 6pm to the NAWBO Expo about the Buyers Journey. Location is at the Biltmore Hotel & Suites, 2151 Laurelwood Road, Santa Clara, CA 95054. Growth in this economic rebound has a different set of rules: Markets are transparent, buying is social, products and services must be sticky, buyers place more importance on the lifetime experience than on the purchase, and they expect to realize value long before they purchase your solution. To grow in this new economy demands that companies adjust not only how they market and sell but drive faster revenue cycles.  

How to Start Your Own “Arab Spring” ;)

The need for change is in the air; it comes up in every conversation.  Marc Benioff, Salesforce’sChairman and CEO passionately espoused change at Dreamforce.  His call to the world was that companies need to change or be left behind.   He went one step further and gave a dire warning to CEOs – change thyself or fall from grace. His rallying cry was for enterprises to start their own business “Arab Spring”.  

The ROI of Booth Babes?

Last week’s Dreamforce conference was one of those ‘must be there’ events.  Boasting a recording breaking audience, it was a who’s who of speakers, celebrities, attendees, and exhibitors.  The thrill of seeing MC Hammer and Will.i.am up close and personal was only trumpeted by Neil Young's live interview about how his new company is using Saleforce.com’s software to bring innovative new music products to market. The Cloud Expo exhibit floor housed over 375 exhibitors ranging from innovative start-ups like Optify to behemoths like Accenture and IBM.   With an attendee to exhibitor ratio of 120 to 1, exhibitors varied in their creativity to get you to stop and hear their pitch.  IBM offered sparkly balls and nifty Watson t-shirts, someone was giving out lighted red-rimmed “sunglasses”, chocolate (my primary food group) abounded, and enough pens where handed out to ensure there will be no shortage of writing instruments for the next millennium.  All was for the taking if you agreed to have your badge scanned.  Based on the constant crowd in the exhibit hall, the takers abound.  

Salesforce.com CEO Calls for a Business ‘Arab Spring’

Salesforce.com’s DreamForce conference lived up to its reputation. It was bigger, better, and the place to be this week. This wasn’t a conference, it was a cult convention. The atmosphere in the convention center before each morning’s keynote reminds me of the energy you feel before a rock concert or a San Francisco Giants game. Pre-show entertainment included roving interviews with customers like Autodesk, Nissan, NBC Universal, and celebrities like Neil Young against a backdrop of heavy bass music from a DJ mix. You know the music; the kind you hear at a baseball or football game. Folks lined up hours early to get a seat in front to be that much closer to Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s CEO and Chairman. The pre-game tailgate party was donuts and coffee in the brisk fog of San Francisco. The energy was palpable. Bloggers in the ‘Pound’ flexed their fingers warming up in order to tweet and blog as fast as they could in order to be the first one with the quote, announcement or insight.  

On a Quest at DreamForce 2011

Salesforce's DreamForce event is being held in San Francisco this week and I'm going.  Equipped with a much sought after Press Pass, I'm attending, for the first time, as a blogger for Forbes.  I'm on a Quest. The Quest is to understand how IT vendors help companies discover and align to their Buyers Journey. Do vendors understand this transformation and what products support sales and marketing in understanding their target markets' Buyers Journeys?  

Join me for a Free Webinar on Alignment

BrightTalk has invited me to shared best practices, real life case examples and a road map for how to align Sales and Marketing.  This free webinar will be held on October 19th at 10:00am pacific time.  From the prospect to up-sell stages, organizations have a great opportunity to accelerate their revenue cycles by enabling marketing and sales to function as a unified team.  Aligned Sales and Marketing teams are more efficient, close more sales and have happier customers. Attend this webinar to find out the seven steps you can take to accomplish this, complete with supporting case studies.