Revenue Performance Management (RPM—yes, there's another acronym) is not just a buzz word, nor is it just another tool to tack onto your marketing automation and CRM platform. As Bob Thompson said in his excellent review, "RPM is a technology-enabled strategy to increase total revenue productivity. Period." RPM is a solution to one of the most deep-seated problems in marketing—how to report marketing results in a way that makes sense to the C-Suite and show the value of marketing in real dollars and cents. When you think about it, this is a simple formula. Marketing attracts leads, helps to qualify them and hands them off to sales. Sales closes the deals and reports the revenues each month. All we have to do is connect sales and marketing in several important ways.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Sales and marketing alignment is best done in a locked room with all of the stakeholders. Your goal is to gain agreement on methods, qualification criteria, handoff process and outcomes. In other words, you want to develop a sales and marketing plan, not a sales plan and a marketing plan. These two departments seldom work well as siloes, with a lot of finger pointing when things don't go well. Marketing accuses sales of ignoring valuable leads. Sales retorts that marketing is delivering crappy leads. As Thompson puts it, "Despite massive investments in CRM, marketing and sales automation technologies, most companies don't really manage the end-to-end process for revenue production. Marketing has one set of goals, metrics and tools. Sales has another." Among other things, you want your sales and markering teams to hash out and reach agreement on:
- Target markets and personas
- Messaging and likely channels
- Sales cycle and customer "journey"
- Content mapping and prior experience
- Qualification criteria—what constitutes a "warm lead"?
- Lead segmentation and scoring criteria
- Lead lifecycle status criteria
- Handoff to sales criteria and timing
- Tools and methods for evaluating leads and updating status
As discussed in my KPIs and Analytics post, there are many possible metrics to track in Enterprise Inbound Marketing. The ones that appeal most strongly to the C-Suite have to do with revenue and marketing impact on sales pipeline, for example:
- Total number of leads generated
- Number of leads at identified buy-cycle (lead lifecycle) stages
- Conversion rates between buy-cycle stages (for example MQL -> SQL)
- Velocity (speed at which leads travel through the sales funnel)
- Loss rates (how many leads are lost or move backward)
- Sales qualified leads vs sales accepted leads (ratio)
- Number of opportunities from digital marketing
- Total contributions to pipeline from digital marketing (revenue)
- Total cost per lead from digital marketing
- Customer acquisition cost (including digital marketing)
- Customer lifetime value and churn rates
As Steve Woods discusses in his groundbreaking post, there are two important ways of viewing RPM metrics:
- Dashboarding - where you view metrics as a continuing process, analyzing the trends, making adjustments and continuously improving results
- Benchmarking - where you evaluate performance relative to goals set for discrete periods of time, for example, our monthly scorecards for KPIs
Ideally, your marketing automation system will include built-in, customizable reports that enable both project managers and the C-Suite to monitor and evaluate results every month and on-the-fly. The marketing automation platforms I mentioned in my previous post are at different stages of implementing RPM, some of them more mature than others, but the solutions that are currently most popular with enterprise-level companies are leading the way. Implementation requires tight integration with your CRM and, ideally, with ERP and other business systems that can provide the feedback on revenue performance. The playing field is changing rapidly these days, so please do your due diligence to find who's doing what with RPM. A good place to start is the Marketing Automation Times.
We talked about sales and marketing alignment, but it's equally important to establish alignment between end users and the C-Suite. There's no point in presenting data that means nothing to the decision makers. With a carefully planned RPM strategy, process and technology in place, your sales and marketing team finally can become the well-oiled machine you had in mind when you started your company, and it pays for itself in spades.
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.