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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Karen Steele

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved in recent years?

Karen Steele: The biggest evolution for B2B CMOs is the role they play in the revenue process and in customer experience. Today, the CMO isn’t just accountable for demand generation and an inbound marketing motion, they are often responsible for the entirety of the go-to-market process, including outbound with sales development reps reporting to the marketing team. More and more, CX is under the umbrella of the CMO’s portfolio. This includes advocacy, advisory and adoption initiatives around the customer.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Steele: Most B2B CMOs have always been responsible for delivering a percentage of pipeline required to close business. The bigger risk issue is not being in alignmentwith sales on account-based programs. This requires CMOs to be in lock step with their sales counterparts on defining the ideal customer profile (ICP) of target accounts and the precision of execution of field-based programs.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Steele: CMOs, along with others on the management team, need to focus on the entire customer journey and how their product/solution’s unique value impacts the buyer’s journey. All exec stakeholders need to understand every customer engagement point from awareness to consideration to evaluation to purchase to renewal and upsell.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Steele: Design and architecture of a company’s global GTM strategy, the Customer Experience and Brand Strategy.

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a biggerimperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Steele: There are tons of great solutions in the sales and marketing tech space. It’s less about innovation as there are already lots of bells and whistles. The biggest issue continues to be the streamlining of data since these teams and the data remain fragmented and siloed.

DGR: Which technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?

Steele: Marketing automation will always remain the system of record for the Marketer in the same way CRM is for sales. That said, there are tons of great add-oncapabilities that enhance engagement for the buyer and customer (conversational AI, ABM tools, analytics/attribution) that must be integrated and mapped across the journey.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Corinne Sklar

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved?

Corinne Sklar: With the rise of Marketing Automation, Public Cloud CRM and all the new channels of engagement and the technologies that support them, we have seen the rise of the science lead marketer emerge over the last decade. Now, creativity and human engagement is coming to the forefront. How b2b marketers leverage emerging technologies to drive deeper personalization through true human connection and storytelling will emerge as our next evolution.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Sklar: Sales and Marketing is one funnel. If we want to be part of revenue growth, itcomes with the full funnel. However, alignment and recognition of give and get become part of that process and both teams need specific KPIs to keep each other accountable.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Sklar: The same challenges we have seen in B2B marketing for a decade still persist, but with emerging importance. CMOs still struggle with Sales & Marketing alignment and adding ABM to your mix won’t resolve those upfront. The CMO & CIO are becoming better aligned and CMOs who can dive deeper into how to harness and leverage unstructured data for personalization are winning. This means that

CMOs still need to get deeper value from their technology investment and align withIT and other departments to truly transform the prospect, employee and customer experience. Another main challenge is how to organize your teams for scale and innovation. Many teams are experimenting with Agile Marketing and aligned revenue operations to drive more execution scale. The biggest challenge is how to harness all this investment around content and programs that really engage the human experience around your solution or offering. Creativity still reigns in Marketing and will become even more important as AI and new emerging technologies drive automation.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Sklar: Creativity with automation, brand marketing, martech rationalization and hiring talent.

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a biggerimperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Sklar: At IBM iX and Bluewolf, this is a question we get every day. In my work with CMOs and CDOs, we see an emergence of ROI analysis and simplification. The valueof technology is to use it. Many marketing and IT organizations buy technology to solve human, business process or workflow challenges, but never structure the teams in a way to take full advantage of these investments. Now is the time CMO and CIOs are teaming to align technology, staffing and process for innovation at scale.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Michelle Huff

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed and evolved over the last year or two?

Michelle Huff: I have seen the role of the CMO start to take on more representation of who the buyers and the customers are — and trying to represent the customer as part of that whole brand experience. We’ve seen it not only in my role at UserTesting, but I’ve seen it just in talking to other CMOs.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Huff: I’d argue owning a number puts everyone at risk of being blamed with just the risk of owning one. But I guess how I might flip it is, if it’s really about the sales number, like a revenue goal, I think what it’s doing is having the CMO and the Head of Sales be more responsible to work on those numbers together. Once you start thinking of it as your own number, and Head of Sales thinks of it as a joint number, in many ways you start working on more things together.

Obviously, you’ll be bringing to the table a lot of experience and thought of how we should spend [budget], but you’re letting [sales] bring in their perspectives of what they’re seeing, so there’s an incentive to making sure that we’re spending the dollars and that we’re both hitting the goals.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Huff: What I’ve been seeing a lot over the years is that marketing has become much more data-driven and we’ve focused a lot on how we experiment. How do we get more data to show what’s happening within all our systems? We’re experimenting a lot and creating all these different applications. We’re starting to see this disconnect a lot of times between what we’re putting out — our messages , our content, etc. — and the buyer, because I think there’s so much more digital technology in the way. So, there’s now an empathy gap, and part of it is about connecting with our customers even though we’ve never really spoken with the buyers or seen what that experience looks like.

I’d say probably the increased pressure is that we’ve got all the data and we’re starting to see trends and patterns, and people start asking why — and we don’t have that connection all the time with the customers to explain why. I think there’s this pressure to make sure that marketing teams and the head of marketing really starts talking with and having more exposure with dealing with customers, whether from their prospects all the way through actual customers that are using your system.

DGR: In the coming years, what do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs?

 

DGR: While incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy becoming a bigger imperative for marketers, has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Huff: What’s interesting is that I’ve been in this business for more than 20 years and at the beginning I’d say that marketing didn’t have a lot of developer skill sets. When we were working, we oftentimes had to rely on IT teams, and this moment happened where there was a roadblock. So, a lot of things started happening in marketing, where we were taking a lot of the [development] on. What I’ve started to see more often nowadays is CMOs sometimes see  bigger budgets than IT does because we’re spending a lot on technology. What you don’t want to do is spend all your dollars and have overlap across all these systems. You start wanting to see some form of centralization over time because you wanted to have this great customer experience, and you don’t want all these disjointed systems. It’s all the things that in yesteryear were a little bit more of what IT focused on and you’re starting to see that a lot more in marketing teams.

DGR: What technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two? 

Huff: Account-based marketing is one for B2B that is huge. I think we’re still scratching the surface there. I’d say that a lot of the different tools, as mentioned, that help you get closer to the customer experience I think testing tools, where you can reach out and connect with different customers, and I think AI is going to be continue to be huge. I know it’s been more of a talking point, but you can start seeing some of the technologies over time add a bit more and more. I do think that that’s going to be a way for us to continue to scale.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Maria Pergolino

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved in recent years?

Maria Pergolino: Marketing has expanded from being a primarily brand focus function to owning the external voice of every part of the business including, in many cases, pipeline and customer lifecycle. I like to think of it as the sales team being responsible for the one-to-one prospect relationship, and the marketer being responsible for the one-to-many. Similarly, the customer success team is responsible for the one-to-one customer relationship, but marketing helps as the voice across all customers. This approach can be applied in other areas of the business as well, especially as the company speaks broadly to investors and candidates.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Pergolino: By definition (go ahead, look up “marketing” in Google), marketing is promotion and selling. If we think about marketing this way, sales is a part of marketing, and marketers should be responsible for hitting the number. The key to making this work, and not having to do all the work on your own, is good partnership so that marketing and sales achieve more together.

I think CMOs should focus on four metrics that covers across brand, demand, and customer lifecycle: Share of Voice, Revenue (including pipeline), Net Promoter Score and Marketing ROI.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Pergolino: The CMO role is the hardest in the C-Suite right now because of the pace of innovation and disruption impacting every industry paired with the inability for buyers to consume all the information coming at them. It takes true excellence from a brand to not only create an appealing message, but to have the message stand out enough that it can be consumed.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Pergolino: I think it all comes down to efficient differentiation. It’s a winner takes all environment, and the brand that can stand out while being efficient with resources is going to be the winner in every industry.

 

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a bigger imperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Pergolino: At the board level, IT consolidation to ensure trust and security is an ongoing, critical topic. Marketing leaders need to key off this to make sure the team is not only incorporating technology strategically, but that it is aligned to the technology approach of the rest of the organization.

DGR: Which technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?

Pergolino: Marketers need to continue to stay on the leading edge of technology, staying abreast of new channels, tools and tactics that will allow them to stand out to their audiences. I think marketers will think more about stackable and integrated technologies instead of staying on one platform. Finally, I think you will see a set of “frictionless” tools emerge that allow marketers to sign up online and start using the tool before a sales rep even knows they are a prospect.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Latane Conant

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved in recent years?

Latane Conant: The CMO’s role is broadening to include customer experience, innovation, digital transformation and even culture. This not only requires significantly more overall business acumen, but we’re also seeing CMO roles filled by people with a wider range of backgrounds and experiences beyond the traditional functional understanding of marketing.

Today’s CMOs need to be masters of understanding customer insights and putting them to use. In the B2B world, the idea of creating a marketing campaign, putting it out there, measuring results and then adjusting is really not working any longer. Modern CMOs need to be great storytellers, creating emotional connections to the brand across multiple personas, industries, buying stages and channels — all simultaneously.

Data quality and the ability to tease out those critical insights remain our biggest challenge, but recent advancements in marketing technology is allowing CMOs to tap into customer insights like never before and put themselves in the center of revenue planning, business strategy and partnering across the executive team to drive business success.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Conant: As the saying goes, success has many fathers and failure is an orphan! The key to not becoming a scapegoat is to make sure you hit your numbers! Joking aside, I’ve found the best success when using a high-touch selling model where marketing partners with sales and together they jointly owns pipeline and prospecting.

In this model, three things are critical:

  1. A business development or sales development team — This function is where the rubber meets the road between sales and marketing, and ultimately where pipeline converts. Often, we don’t do enough to enable and invest in this team which is critical to revenue, but also our represents our future sales and marketing leaders.
  2. Alignment on your ICP, but more importantly your IICP — IICP stands for “In-Market Ideal Customer Profile.” Traditionally, we haven’t been able to distinguish between all the accounts that are a fit for our solution, and those that are actively looking to buy from us right now. By de-anonymizing all the research activity from across the web and applying AI, we’re now able to not only identify which accounts are doing all that research, but actually determine which accounts are “in market.” Understanding your IICP allows you to focus on the real commercial opportunities you have right now. Sales and marketing don’t ever argue of those leads.
  3. Create a prospecting culture with transparency — Nobody gets to sandbag. As CMO, you must have visible metrics, dashboard, prioritized activities and ensure you’re providing dedicated time to supporting prospecting activities. If you’re willing to work a booth, write ghost notes, host power hours, be active on social and prove “selling is a team sport,” there won’t be any finger pointing and there won’t be any scapegoating.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Conant: There is more noise now than ever before. We’ve been taught content and commercial insights are king, so we’ve all gone out and created content machines. Content machines attached to automation solutions allow us to carpet bomb prospects day in and day out. Buyers are confused and overwhelmed.

So, we must evolve. And we can evolve by using the power of AI to really know the B2B buyer like never before and to answer critical questions about who the buyer is, what attracts them, what they really care about and what and engages them — this is the new recipe for success.

Marketers who can get out of the old habit of relying on bogus form fills, or sending out mountains of spam or wasting our BDR’s time with fruitless cold calls that nobody wants to answer will reap the benefits of delighting prospects vs sending them on a one way trip to unsubscribe island.

This is a challenge, but also a huge opportunity as it allows me to take the guesswork out of where we focus our time, effort and budget. Using AI-based predictive insights we know exactly not only which accounts are “in market” for our solution, but what messages will resonate, who on the buying team is engaged, and most importantly when it’s the right time to reach out. It’s a total game changer.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Conant: Optimizing the martech legacy tech stack to go from leads to account based, but at scale. CMOs not only have to create a whole new playbook, we need to completely reinvent the game.

I think one of the mistakes CMOs often make is saying they don’t want or don’t need to get into the weeds. I fell into that trap in the past myself. Now, as things change, I have to re-learn, re-trench and get deep in the weeds in order to adopt new ideas like account-based measurement, audience-first content development, micro-segmentation, and “always-on” dynamic campaigns. You must be an old dog willing to learn new tricks.

Most importantly, brand is the new black. I believe one of the top priorities for any CMO should be to make the shift to the right technology platform (think AI to take care of the heavy lifting), and finally do away with the 37 tools in their stack. Why? Because CMOs need to prioritize spending their time on creating amazing prospect and customer experiences, making emotional connections with customers and building lasting brands.

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a bigger imperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Conant: Previously I mentioned the shadow IT shop. In the past, CMOs had to cobble it all together because there really weren’t great platforms, and most legacy applications kept data siloed. Today, we have a real opportunity to operate at a completely new level. Just like Workday changed the HR tech landscape and Salesforce forever changed the CRM, marketing is ripe for disruption. With the right platform we can get back to marketing. All we have to do is define our business objective, content and budget, then define the experience we want our customers to have and today’s ABM platforms do work, from account selection, to delivering insights, to orchestrated engagement, to updating/alerting sales and measuring what matters.

DGR: Which technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?

Conant: I think we’re beginning to see the consolidation of the marketing tech stack around a single platform that can both deliver deep customer insights and orchestrate highly personalized, multi-channel, multi-touch campaigns based on those insights. This clearly puts things like AI and the B2B CDP at the center of those platforms — not something most CMOs fully understand how to exploit. I would say to make it a top priority to understand the true power of these emerging technologies for B2B, or risk being left behind. Beyond that, I think we’ll see emerging marketplaces — like what we’ve seen in the Salesforce ecosystem, where execution applications will plug into the platform, allowing you to cost-effectively enable functionality you need.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Joe Chernov

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved in recent years?

Joe Chernov: The role has broadened, considerably. It used to be the title given to the top marketer. Now it’s a blend of marketing, customer success, sales — in SaaS anyway — with a bit of CEO-whisperer thrown in for good measure. It’s still about helping generate revenue, but now it’s also about how that revenue is generated. The CMO plays a role in pipeline management and in customer retention. Historically the CMO role hasn’t been much of a steppingstone to a CEO post. But if this trend toward a broader function continues, that’ll change.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Chernov: It’s much more than that. As the surface area of the role expands, the potential to be held accountable for a shortfall in pipeline, bookings and retention increases.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Chernov: These challenges aren’t new. Hiring, balancing and alignment have always been needs. What’s different now is that CMOs need to hire for roles they’ve never hired for before, like developers or customer advocacy specialists. They’re working with data sources they’ve never worked with before, like product usage data. So, it’s all those things you said, but no longer restricted to go-to-market.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Chernov: I think the biggest challenge will be the need to not only help source more business for the company, but source business from customers with a high propensity to renew. It won’t be enough to drive revenue. CMOs will be expected to drive the right revenue from the right buyers.

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a bigger imperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Chernov: If the CMO role plays out the way I imagine it will, I suspect we’ll see CMOs distance themselves from tech, relying on members of their team to be the technical experts. Software already enters the enterprise at a user level. The CMO will need to trust their team much more when it comes to tech selection.

DGR: Which technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?

Chernov: It will come down to whichever technology can provide the CMO with reliable, differentiated data upon which to make decisions. This is one of the reasons why I joined Pendo. CMOs aren’t taking advantage of arguably the cleanest, most reliable data in their organization: how customers are using their products, which are thriving or struggling and what usage patterns say about successful customers and those likely to churn. To me, this is what’s going to matter in the next couple of years.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Jen Spencer

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved in recent years?

Jen Spencer: We’ve all seen how the role of a B2B CMO has evolved from being brand-centric to demand generation-centric when we look back over the last ten to fifteen years. More recently, the responsibilities and pressures that B2B CMOs face now includes technology assessment (i.e.., do we really need this?) and adoption (sometimes company-wide).

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Spencer: Today’s B2B CMO is already at risk of becoming the scapegoat for an organization failing to hit sales milestones and that’s why true collaboration between sales and marketing leadership is so important. Sales and marketing need to work together as a revenue team — this includes winning together and being challenged together.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Spencer: CMOs are not only responsible for driving revenue and showing marketing ROI, but also recruiting talent — not just for marketing. While the marketing department doesn’t own talent acquisition overall, it’s undeniable that a company’s brand, voice and vision are instrumental in today’s highly competitive talent game. Every leader I meet — whether marketing, sales, customer success, engineering — names talent acquisition as a primary challenge. Marketing plays a significant role in the talent acquisition story and I wouldn’t be surprised if high growth organizations start developing marketing KPIs around this aspect of the business. I know I’m regularly looking at our conversion rates of qualified applicants for roles at SmartBug.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Spencer: While CMOs will always be focused on customer acquisition, in the coming years, CMO priorities will expand to include more customer evangelism. Customer marketing has always been important, but in the past, we didn’t have the data to support “delight” initiatives. They sounded like a “nice to have.” Today, we can see how much revenue existing customers are driving both from upsells and cross-sells, as well as referrals. We are much more attuned to how much churn is impacting our businesses and we have a better sense of how much it costs us to acquire, onboard, activate and retain customers.

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a bigger imperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Spencer: I’m starting to see a bit of a slowdown in “tech acquisition,” and I think that’s a good thing. For a while there, it seems CMOs got really excited about the potential of cool new tools without building out the strategy, processes or content that would be needed to fuel the tech and make it work for the business. Some of this is the result of poor budget planning where marketing teams had to so they pulled the trigger on new tech a bit too early out of fear that the budget would disappear the following quarter.

DGR: Which technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?

Spencer: The types of technology that B2B CMOs should prioritize are the ones that will help them scale an already proven (and documented) process. For example, your first step in building an ABM strategy should not be to buy ABM software. Instead, test the theory on a small scale, find the places to optimize and scale, then use your findings to identify the best-fit ABM tech that meets the needs of your strategy.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

John Steinert

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved?

John Steinert: There’s never been a better time to be a CMO in B2B because recognition of the role’s contribution has never been higher. At the same time, as expectations grow, so do challenges — the job of meeting various constituencies’ needs only gets harder. Smaller companies are driving a lot of change into the CMO position. They’re making demand gen and pipeline impact a primary focus. Interestingly, this is pulling energy away from other CMO responsibilities around awareness and corporate comms leadership on the outbound side. Conversely, the CMO as a major source of insight on markets and customers is under real pressure. In more and more companies, Solution/Product marketing and now Customer Success as well are stepping up to shoulder much of this load as peer organizations.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Steinert: I don’t really think that CMO’s are scapegoated as much as that we are exposed by the funding structures, we practice within. By their nature, departments whose budgets have a large variable expense component will always be at some risk. CMO’s who can contribute personally in a wide variety of ways — in both boom and bust periods — stand in clear contrast to the all-too-common handwringing. Most of the time, our tenure is more within our control than the headlines would lead one to believe. When we communicate clearly, execute transparently and adjust quickly, we’re only as exposed as any other leader.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Steinert: Building the right team will always be the primary challenge for a CMO who looks to be in the role for more than a couple years. It’s your team that will figure out what needs to be fixed, what needs to be amplified and how to get it done. It’s the personality of your team and your leadership that makes or breaks delivery on the alignment imperative. The CMO needs to be an empathic collaborator with all peer-level management. We need to choose like-minded leaders to carry this attitude forward across our sub-departments. Strategy is a collaboration — if the strategy is right but others are not pursuing it, the CMO must help drive that for the CEO. One of the CMO’s roles is as chief internal diplomat — both a key player in keeping the CEO’s strategy on track and one who speaks truth to power when risks are not being adequately factored in.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Steinert: Marketing requirements are dynamic. They change based on other inputs. To add value in this reality, CMO’s must continue to keep both the near term and the long view on their plate. They need to have an awareness of how markets and companies evolve in order to provide the right strategy inputs at the appropriate times. More than ever, a CMO needs to take stock of what issues are impacting client businesses and how, as a company, we can better deliver against those needs. This means being part of the conversation around what is developed and what is on the M&A docket.

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a bigger imperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Steinert: As a businessperson, the CMO has to be as fiscally driven as any other leader. While the SaaS revolution made it easy to add functionality, that’s not the same as real innovation. Real innovation must deliver significantly to the bottom line. We’re looking to invest where there are out-sized returns and cut aggressively where there are not.

DGR: Which technologies do you see us the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?

Steinert: First and foremost, we see the most competitive companies really making progress on the data elements within their stacks. Then, they’re adding automated analysis to understand the data better — like deploying AI to understand what they really know about a prospect or customer. Finally, they’re deploying this out to the market through tactical models that can deliver improved CX – like conversational marketing tools to better serve the interaction expectations of their constituencies.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Jeanne Hopkins

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved in recent years?

Jeanne Hopkins: In gigs as CMO, it has always been my goal to attach to revenue in some capacity. Having a sense of which marketing programs are contributing to revenue is critical as is the ability to align with product and sales channels to maximize growth no matter the stage of the company — early, mid, late or mature.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Hopkins: Great question and the unfortunate answer is, “it depends.” Failing to hit sales milestones — revenue, customers acquired, NPS — are all areas that the company needs to look at holistically. What marketing team is going to put their head on the block without having some management capability of the sales organization? Of course, this is all dependent upon the executive team seeing alignment between sales, product and marketing in order to drive growth. Typically, the “silo-fication” of these responsibilities in a company allow decisions to be made separately and not cohesively. By leveraging customers as a basis for alignment and figuring out why your product was bought or not bought via the consistent cadence of a Voice of the Customer meeting is a good way to eliminate silos and gain a unified focus on what matters.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Hopkins: Strategy is always an issue and should be combined with go-to-market planning. Ultimately, the biggest challenge CMOs face is execution. Without the right team or strategies, being able to execute against a plan becomes almost impossible. Ultimately, the prioritization of your year, quarter and month all comes down to what can be accomplished against what needs to be done.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Hopkins: Building teams that can continue moving forward without day-to-day management. Having a team that you can delegate to, rather than them delegating up to you, is critical. Being able to step back and see the forest for the trees is challenging and why B2B CMOs need to attend conferences to learn from their peers and to teach or mentor others. Ultimately, without continuous learning, your efforts will not result in the numbers you need.

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a bigger imperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Hopkins: There are technologies that every CMO should test — if they have the right team in place that can handle disruption and experimentation. Looking at tech is critical to staying in sync with your market and investment in standardized tools is important. A balance between what is available and leveraging your existing tech stack is challenging in the best of times. As CMO, your role on regular cadence should be to look at your tech stack, review with your team, determine if the tech is viable (or not) and move forward. Having a team member or two regularly getting demos from vendors is important just to have something that may make a difference in revenue velocity.

DGR: Which technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?

Hopkins: Helping sales team members to create their own nurture streams — ones that work for them in their own words — is very important as is almost all things around sales enablement as well as competitive analysis. Customer success stories, reviews, testimonials and referrals are all critical in the B2B space. Watching and learning from what competitors are saying about your product offering is valuable for sales.

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The B2B CMO Balancing Act (092019)

Elle Woulfe

Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved in recent years?

Elle Woulfe: The B2B CMO needs to be a much more balanced marketer than ever before. The expectation for today’s B2B CMO is that they are equally right and left brained and possess a strong business acumen. It’s not enough to just be analytically minded or to just be creative — you need to really be the whole package as B2B companies wake up to the fact that brand is just as important as demand.

DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?

Woulfe: Yes, and it should. If CMOs aren’t held to the same standards of revenue creation as sales leaders, there will always be an imbalance and antagonism between the two disciplines. Sales and marketing should both be on the hook for growth and therefore need to be incredibly synchronistic with shared goals and accountability.

DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?

Woulfe: There’s a lot of great marketing talent out there, but right now, the market is incredibly competitive, so attracting the best talent and building performance-oriented teams can be difficult. CMOs are also faced with an increasing amount of priorities they need to balance. There are so many examples out there of great branding at B2B companies that is helping shift the focus from math and science marketing that’s been popular the last several years to more traditional elements of messaging and brand building, leaving CMOs with more to juggle.

DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?

Woulfe: With unemployment at all-time lows, CMOs will need to focus more on talent retention and be smart about how they structure their teams for efficiency, productivity and employee engagement. I also think there is a shift happening in terms of the marketing tech stack to a “less is more approach,” and CMOs will need to be more informed than ever about their technology investments and what they really need to achieve the desired outcomes.

DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a biggerimperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?

Woulfe: Yes, absolutely. I think the party is over when it comes to massive marketing infrastructure budgets. CMOs are under a bit of a microscope when it comes to how they’re investing in technology and how much of their tech stacks they are actually using. The knee jerk reaction to buy a tool to solve a problem is giving way to a more thoughtful and creative approach to achieving results without a million pieces of tech.

DGR: Which technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?

Woulfe: Some of the tech that blurs the line between marketing and sales will be a strategic imperative. Tools that make marketing outputs actionable for sales and really help the sales team be more efficient and productive will become of greater importance to marketers.