The Next-Generation CMO’s Revenue-Driven Approach to Marketing

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Buyer visibility impacts every aspect of marketing and sales. Without insight into who your buyer is, what their needs are and what their journey looks like, marketing and sales must expend far more resources to get meaningful results. As the CMO of Box, one of my key responsibilities is to drive continuous improvement across my organization and I knew part of my strategy had to include refining our ability to intelligently target and engage with our customers.

Box is a broad-appeal organization, meaning that our product can be relevant to practically anyone –from the grandmother who needs to store her photos all the way up to the high-end enterprise – we have a massive addressable market at any point in time. This means there are countless potential prospects that require a unique and varied approach to engagement, and each one is at a different stage of their journey. While this is a great problem to have, it’s one that we need to address to truly be efficient in how we market – marketing dollars are not infinite, and we can’t be boiling the ocean. 

I’ve said this before, but I truly do believe that as a CMO, I am a business leader who affects the business’ performance through marketing, rather than being a marketer first. Meaningful engagements, solid market identity, compelling content and operationalized processes are all critical aspects of marketing, but creating pipeline and converting that pipeline to revenue to impact the bottom line should always be the overarching goal within marketing.  

Flexing Marketing’s Business Muscles

When I joined Box, one of my top initiatives was to build out a marketing tech stack that would not only improve personalization and lead management, but also help us predict and engage the right prospects at the right time. From marketing automation to planning tools to predictive intelligence, we began to adopt bleeding-edge technology to become a more effective, efficient and intelligent marketing organization.

We’ve focused on two key areas to develop our martech stack – the first being to refine our foundational technologies and become experts with our core platforms like Marketo, our CMS, and our core reporting systems. Fortunately, we’re already pretty good with our content management system…The other area we’ve focused on is refining and enhancing our ‘complementary stack,’ the technologies that make our foundational stack more effective and our marketing operations more efficient. This includes technologies like Conversica’s AI-powered sales assistant, Allocadia’s resource planning tools and 6sense’s intent-based predictive platform.

We chose 6sense as our predictive partner for a couple of different reasons: I had previously leveraged them at Dell and witnessed the successes that team was able to achieve; and additionally, they place their focus on intent and timing of the buyer. Because of its ability to feed into every aspect of our marketing strategies – from lead generation, to prioritization, to all things ABM – predictive intelligence has become one of the more exciting avenues that we’ve ventured down. It really does enable us to be more intelligent about everything we do based on an understanding of which customers are in-market and where they are in their journey.

Insights to Guide How We Intelligently Target and Spend

As opposed to telling us who we should target based off of who “looks like” someone we’ve sold to in the past, 6sense actually generates predictions based off of a prospect’s buying intent illustrated by their digital footprint.

By analyzing our potential buyers as they’re doing research – on us, their pain points, our competitors –we can listen to that trace and know who has a need now and turn those signals into demand. 6sense has the ability to leverage the rich trails that our prospects are leaving behind and supply it as a feeder for our marketing systems. 

Integrating that into our own database and pairing it with our own data, our marketers are armed with a new level of understanding of the customer. We are working to use these insights to guide how we target and engage with our customers across all channels – in our outbound campaigns, our media target lists, our ABM plays and our events. We’re also able to leverage intent data to refine the message we deliver to customers based on their buyer’s journey stage and are able to maximize ROI by deploying our resources more intelligently to customers that are more likely to convert.

Powerful Predictions Don’t Substitute Good Marketing

While the technology, data and tactics are all components of a successful strategy, I can’t emphasize the need to have the right people and team structure in place to support it all. It takes the human insights gleaned from technology to succeed along with the right content and the right strategy to bring it all together.

In my years as a leader, I’ve learned that it’s all about building a team of the right people and then giving them the tools they need to be successful. The truly successful next-generation CMOs will not only be revenue driven, data driven and business driven, but will always also be people driven.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how Box’s marketing strategies are prioritizing buyer visibility, scaling marketing and sales efforts and ultimately impacting the bottom line, join my session at SiriusDecisions Summit today, May 16 at 2:45 pm.

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