If your organization struggles to demonstrate marketing ROI, part of the challenge may be a deficiency in marketing operations capability.

Marketing leaders can’t rely on intuition and experience if they want to quantify marketing ROI that is meaningful to financial management including CFOs. Case in point, a recent B2B Content Marketing Trends-North American Content Marketing Institute survey of CMOs and Senior Marketing Executives confirm that on tracking marketing ROI, only 5% of CMOs feel they are “very successful” and another 16% feel they are “somewhat successful.”

Marketing operations should oversee end-to-end marketing activities and performance, yet it is a relatively new discipline. Many of the skills needed for the function may reside in sales operations, and they need to be combined with tenured campaign management, marketing automation, and lead management expertise.

Marketing operation skills are entirely different from “traditional” marketing skills such as strategic and creative thinking, and yet they are critical as marketing becomes more operational, metrics oriented and tied to revenue.

If you are interested or considering establishing a marketing operations function, we suggest integrating the sales and marketing operations under one leader based on the following:

  • Ensures that interests are aligned. Marketing teams naturally will strive to take credit for every sales opportunity, while sales teams pride themselves on generating their own sales opportunities to prove their value. Positioning under one sales leader harmonizes potential friction and provides a more objective view of marketing ROI.
  • Marketing and sales operations rely on strong CRM use, adoption, data quality and reliable processes to succeed. It’s typical for marketing to want salespeople to do “X” in the CRM to help with marketing ROI. An integrated sales and marketing operation function can help embed in the sales organization why “X” is in the mutual interest of sales and marketing.
  • Funnel attribution (opportunities generated, proposed and won/lost) is difficult. You need strong relationships with sales leaders and a keen understanding of sales process, to establish or maintain credibility with the sales organization.

If your organization does not have a formal marketing operations function, it’s likely you are struggling to prove marketing ROI. If you have a marketing operations function and are still struggling with marketing ROI, you may not have the right skill sets within the team, or you may lack alignment with sales operations.

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