3 Ways CMOs Can Smartly Navigate a Recession

5 minutes
Aug 01, 2022
Account-Based ExperienceDigital Marketing

CMOs are probably concerned about how the current recession is affecting their current marketing efforts, and how it will affect them going forward. If you’re a CMO feeling a bit...

CMOs are probably concerned about how the current recession is affecting their current marketing efforts, and how it will affect them going forward. If you’re a CMO feeling a bit uncertain, we’re here to reassure you — you’ve got this. 

There are things you can start doing today that will help you proceed with confidence by:

  • Strengthening your marketing strategies to make them recession-resistant in the months ahead, and
  • Setting you up for even greater success when the economy recovers

Let’s take a closer look.

Eliminate Silos Within Your Revenue Team

Sales and marketing teams work best when they’re in lockstep. 

When they aren’t aligned, destructive silos emerge. Marketing insights don’t make it to the sales team and vice versa, leading to knowledge gaps and an inability to connect marketing activities to sales outcomes. 

In contrast, aligned revenue teams:

  • Use the same source of data
  • Focus on the same priorities and goals, and
  • Have insight into what each department is doing day-to-day

With teamwide alignment, marketing efforts become more persuasive and impactful, and sales has an easier time finding more opportunities and closing deals. 

One Way to Achieve Teamwide Alignment

You can knock down these silos by using a solution like 6sense, which:

  • Helps identify which target accounts are ready to buy
  • Makes it easy to target in-market accounts with campaigns 
  • Gathers insights about the keywords and topics driving their research
  • Helps you deliver personalized marketing and direct outreach
  • Spots when multiple buying team members are engaged — which is a huge signal of lead quality
  • Helps you understand which marketing and sales activities are driving target accounts deeper in your pipeline and ultimately generating sales 

6sense also uses an embedded CDP to capture data from the marketing and sales tools you already use, cleans and consolidates that data into a unified customer record, then pushes data back out to your team and your tech tools — giving everyone a full picture of the opportunities in your pipeline.  

Artificial Intelligence also analyzes customer data to spot trends and signals that can help your team prioritize accounts.  

Put the Employee Experience First

During economic headwinds, companies commonly freeze hiring or even downsize. But letting talented team members go is a difficult decision to make, especially when marketing teams tend to already run on the lean side. It can also do more harm than good:

  • Brain Drain: Reducing headcount results in lost organizational knowledge and expertise. This leaves remaining colleagues scrambling to fill gaps. Multitasking and inefficient processes ultimately lead to lost productivity and revenue. 
  • Burnout: Remaining employees face increased pressure. They may stick around during the worst of the recession, but once the job market improves, they may be attracted to positions elsewhere.
  • Lost Opportunity: When the economy recovers, lean teams often lack the robust revenue engine needed to take advantage of new opportunities. The potential revenue lost could be much greater than the amount saved by layoffs.

Even if layoffs and hiring freezes are unavoidable, you can keep remaining employees from getting too overworked and overwhelmed by bringing in technology that helps improve productivity and efficiency with automation and streamlined processes. 

One Way Revenue Technology Can Help

For example, 6sense comes with tools that help revenue teams with:

  • Account identification
  • Data enrichment and management
  • Orchestration
  • Audience building
  • Engagement personalization
  • Programmatic display advertising

The right tools — such as 6sense — can help your remaining employees stay focused on the most important revenue-generating activities and keep hitting goals in spite of challenges. This is good for the health of the company, as well as employee morale.

And automation, enhanced sales intelligence, and stronger processes will help you onboard new team members and accelerate growth once the economy improves.

Find What Works, and Double Down

CMOs are often pressured to prove their team’s value, even when the economy is doing well. Many marketing metrics don’t translate easily into the language of the board room, and that’s part of the reason why CMOs have the shortest tenure among the C-Suite

But tools do exist that make it simple for CMOs to quantify the impact marketing has on the bottom line. 

The early stages of the buying journey take place as B2B buyers anonymously research solutions online. Most of this activity is invisible and takes place on third-party websites, which makes it difficult to directly correlate your top-of-funnel marketing efforts with eventual deals. 

It’s only when leads or accounts identify themselves that they enter the known funnel, and marketing’s efforts can be measured. But even then it’s hard to get full credit for your hard work since only 13% of MQLs are even considered real opportunities by sales, according to Salesforce. 

This doesn’t have to be the case. There are revenue platforms that use intent data and AI to shine a light on the unknown stages of the buying journey, identifying valuable accounts and uncovering deep insights into the earliest stages of buyer activity. 

For example, 6sense lets you clearly see how your digital ads are influencing your target audience before they even fill out a webform — in some cases, before they even reach your website. That’s thanks to third-party intent data that helps you understand what accounts are researching, and how their research may have shifted after seeing your ads. 

By spotting account engagement during the Awareness and Consideration stages, you can:

  • Gain insight into what your customers care most about
  • Run effective campaigns with relevant, timely messaging 
  • Set up sales for productive conversations
  • Get marketers the credit they deserve
  • Measure which efforts are influencing pipeline progression

That last point is critical. When you find out what’s not moving the needle, you can quickly rework efforts or shift resources to tactics that are driving pipeline value. 

This will help you manage your budget more effectively while the belt is tightened — and will help demonstrate the pipeline value that is being generated. 

Conclusion

Economic forecasts are full of doom and gloom, but you can proceed with confidence. Plenty of organizations will still be making B2B purchases in the months ahead. It might just be a little tougher to find them … unless you’re leveraging modern marketing tools that uses intent data and AI. 

Fortunately — unlike past recessions — these tools now exist, and can help you confidently navigate the changing marketplace. 

Learn more about how 6sense can help you recession-proof your revenue team today.