World class B2B marketing organizations actively engage in Quarterly Business Review (QBR) meetings.  For many marketing leaders the sales team’s QBR is an afterthought. 

 

Tenured B2B Marketing CMO’s look forward to the mid-year QBR like one desires a root canal.  This is because marketing is ‘pulled’ into QBRs.  Marketing typically provides updates to the sales team with a rear-view mirror approach.  The event is often reactive.  

 

This is in sharp contrast to World Class B2B Marketing engagement.   World Class CMO’s pursue involvement in sales QBRs. The CMO should pursue the QBR with the spirit of a warrior.

 

Sparta Warrior Marketing B2B CMO

 

Download the World-Class Marketing QBR Engagement Checklist.     

 

In some cases the sales team uses the QBR as an open forum to ambush marketing.  Marketing becomes the human piñata for all sales complaints. 

 

Don’t be a Sheep – Marketing’s Approach to QBR Engagement

 

B2B Average Marketing

 

Sheep get shaved often and mindlessly walk off cliffs.  World Class CMO’s dive into sales QBRs with enthusiasm and active engagement. 

 

If marketing is going to be ambushed by sales, then dive into the fray.  Stand up and battle constructively with an eye toward solving problems.    

 

The culture of corporate America today is often focused on getting along to get along.  The desire to avoid conflict at all costs results in mediocrity.  Recently I was filling out a survey for Consulting Magazine.  The survey was seeking nominations for the ‘Best’ consulting firm.  The survey asked more questions about the culture of inclusion than it did questions about client results.  I wanted to barf. 

 

The best sales and marketing leaders don’t let things fester.  They go head to head and work through disagreements.  The end result is a healthy working relationship based on performance and trust. 

 

World Class Marketing CMO

 

Walk into the next QBR with a great attitude yet with the spirit of a Sparta warrior.  It’s better to be respected than liked.  Sales leaders love engagement from the marketing leader.  Dive into areas of frustration.  Admit any short comings.  Offer solutions.  Come out of the QBR with an action plan for sales and marketing to conquer the competition.   

 

World Class B2B Marketing Organizations

World Class sales organizations operate their QBR’s in a strategic manner.  The biggest difference between world class and average companies is the practice of benchmarking quarterly.  The QBR is the ideal forum to perform quarterly benchmarking.  Marketing can lead the way with benchmarking of marketing effectiveness.  It’s all about an agile approach with rapid iteration. 

 

  • Is Lead Generation performing, can it be refocused to support ramping reps?
  • How does the qualification of leads need to be tweaked?
  • What new objections is sales hearing about the latest product?
  • Is sales enabled to launch next quarter’s new product?

 

World Class sales leaders perform the forecast review, yet validate whether their assumptions were on target.  They drive a strategic discussion.  CMO’s must evolve quickly to engaged in the QBR discussion with insight contribution. 

 

3 Keys to World-Class QBR Marketing Engagement

 

1. Deliver a Quick Win, Always 

Sheep sit around and graze until they become mutton.  Take the fight to the enemy with quick wins. 

 

Sparta warriors conquered by not fighting alone.  They stood shield to shield protecting each other while devastating their enemy.  Join the shield wall with sales by providing them high impact marketing tools.     

 

The lowest hanging fruit today is Social Prospecting Tools. 

 

Edelman Study resized 600

 

In today’s buying process, prospects are highly influenced by peer referrals.  Social media is now the top producer of referrals.  World class sales organizations find a direct correlation between social selling and top box quota attainment.  Marketing can provide social selling guidelines and tools. 

 

  • Guideline Toolkit: Training and steps on how to leverage LinkedIn.
    • World Class profile set-up
    • Steps to grow referral network
    • Process to generate social debt and referrals
  •  

  • Social Prospecting Tools: Leverage existing content and marketing expertise
    • Increase sales prospecting effectiveness
    • Enable continuity of brand messaging

 

2. Contribute Buyer Process Map Insights 

The QBR will involve deep discussion of the sales forecast.  Marketing is in a unique position to inform sales leaders with insights into the prospect’s process to buy. Imagine a discussion of a crucial deal that is stuck.  Now imagine the scenario of marketing providing insights into the key micro decisions occuring at that stage in the buying process.  Huge value contribution.

 

World Class marketing teams develop Buying Process Maps (BPM’s).  This tool maps the decision-making process used to purchase a product, a service, or a solution.  Marketing is able to provide insights to the discussion by informing the team of key buyer actions. 

 

The dialogue goes both ways as the marketing leader also gains insights from sales to update the BPM.    

 

3. Integration of Marketing into Full QBR Agenda

Marketing’s positive impact to a QBR is reflected in the structure of the agenda.  With increased engagement the role of marketing will no longer be a ‘slot’ update in the sales agenda.  Instead there will be a convergence of marketing’s contribution into the sales-oriented QBR discussion topics. 

 

 

Summary

Active marketing engagement at the Quarterly Business Review is a short-cut to world class effectiveness.  CMO’s who engage directly with sales leadership are on a path to constructive actions.  These actions are strategic in nature.  They impact the very heart of the sales field’s ability to Make the Number. 

 

Download the World-Class Marketing QBR Engagement Checklist.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vince Koehler

Brings deep marketing expertise to help clients make brands successful and drive strong marketing return on investment.
Learn more about Vince Koehler >

Prior to SBI, Vince served as the VP of Marketing for Integer and led e-commerce Agency of Record account teams at VML, a full service digital marketing agency. During his tenure, VML became a market leader, growing from 72 to more than 700 employees. Prior to VML, Vince was the President of Propeller Interactive, a digital marketing agency with clients such as Koch & Sprint.

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