SBI recently spoke with Tracy Hansen, the Chief Marketing Officer at Renaissance Learning, the world leader in cloud-based assessment, teaching and learning solutions. Tracy has deep field marketing experience and built a new team from scratch that launched this year.


Field marketing is about driving revenue growth by connecting corporate marketing with the sales field.  The outcome of that partnership is more leads closed faster with the highest customer satisfaction.


While large marketing initiatives are driven from headquarters, the field marketing team works closely with local sales.  Field marketing is focused on accelerating sales through the tight alignment with local sales strategies.  Field Marketers are focused on localized demand and lead generation campaigns as well as sales enablement programs to influence deals in pipe.


Each region is different and each message/program needs to be adjusted to the needs of the different customer types. In addition, Field Marketers develop deep knowledge of the competition and the personas the sales team is trying to reach. This is a competitive advantage where marketing messages are more relevant and targeted than a competitor’s corporate marketing approach.


A heavy emphasis of Field Marketing is to build and nurture prospect and customer relationships that go deep.  Localization isn’t just about translating content, it’s about making that material and those campaigns relevant to the audience at hand.  This is in sharp contrast to corporate marketing’s ability to build real dialogue from afar.


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How are field marketing and corporate marketing campaigns different?


Corporate marketing is driving the broad initiatives and investing in the creation of stable and scalable systems and programs to be leveraged by field marketing. Conversely, field marketing should be more agile. This includes responding to opportunities at the local level while working closely with sales rep counterparts. Field marketing should always remain in sync with what corporate is doing and with sales, while being agile enough to adjust to the needs of the local area.


Field marketing should be an integral part of the team that creates the umbrella campaigns from headquarters. Corporate marketing should engage the field when starting to plan a campaign.  The insights are too valuable to ignore.  This will result in greater buy-in and follow-through of the campaigns into the field.


Field marketing should also be looking at creating local campaigns that are adjacent to the umbrella campaigns. These campaigns should hit home on the demand drivers in the market that will help them move the needle for sales.  It’s a real blend, a partnership, where both teams are coming to the table and working together. 


How does field marketing fits into the marketing and sales organization?


There is no one size fits all perfect organizational design for field marketing. Inside each company, there will be a perfect design, but it will be unique. It truly depends on what the organization is trying to achieve, the time frame to achieve it, and the competitive environment.


Sales and marketing leadership must agree to the goals and objectives of this department and the roles. Reporting can either be into sales or into marketing, but in both cases, it will only be successful if the goals, objectives, measures, and the accountability models are agreed to.


Field marketing is one of the most challenging roles sitting between two different departments, serving two masters. Time is often the primary pressure from sales, focused on can be done fast, because they’re responding in real time to market conditions.  Corporate marketing in contrast is planning larger scale initiatives. Both sides are absolutely looking for results, but the drivers behind them are different.  The objectives to be agreed upon by both sales and marketing so that the field marketer knows how to be successful.


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John Staples

Leads teams of highly qualified experts, all relentless in their pursuit of helping you make your number.

John is the global leader of SBI’s account management business unit. As such, he and his team help clients across 19 verticals drive top line growth and operational efficiency in sales and marketing.


John’s marketing, sales and product expertise span a multichannel strategic approach. He has an unyielding focus on strategic and key account development, which enables strategic alignment between all functional team members in order to reduce acquisition cost and increase lifetime value.


His broad experience in sales, marketing, product and engineering allows him to bring a unique problem solving approach to his team and clients. As he has discovered through decades of experience, clients are often distracted by the symptoms of a larger problem and overlook the root cause of it.


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