article | June 1, 2016
Field Marketing: The Last Mile Connecting Sales and Marketing
Marketing plans need field level execution to maximize lead flow. A lot of work goes into generating interest from buyers, but this does not mean they are ready for sales. Instead, what is your plan to connect sales and marketing? Targeted communication through field marketing can open a two-way dialogue in order to introduce sales at the right time. It’s a key piece to your marketing strategy that should not be ignored.
SBI recently spoke with Kim Salem-Jackson, the senior vice president of worldwide field marketing at Informatica about this topic. Informatica is the world’s number one provider of data integration software, and Kim has over 15 years’ experience in the discipline of field marketing. She spoke with SBI about field marketing’s role, and how they make the sales team more successful at Informatica.
“I think of field marketing as a strategic bridge between corporate marketing and field sales, the forcing function behind the alignment,” explains Kim. They have a great partnership at Informatica – corporate marketing is 100% aligned with the field’s needs. Essentially, if what they’re doing isn’t supporting field marketing and sales, they stop doing it. At her organization, field marketing sits in between the two groups, and is the connective tissue that ensures alignment. And this strategic alignment is critical to the bottom line, which is revenue growth.
According to Kim, the field marketing objectives are simple. Drive pipeline and accelerate revenue growth for sales. “Working at a data company, obviously I think of my team as data-driven marketers,” she explains. “We really focus on return on investment; I think of my team as portfolio managers.” For every dollar spent, Kim believes it’s her job to deliver a return in the pipeline for sales. This requires her to look at several factors and build a successful roadmap for her team.
How does Kim determine what should drive the initiatives for her team? It starts with data. First she looks at the market level. What is the total adjustable market? What is the opportunity? She also looks to past success. Historically, where have they been successful before, and where have they had challenges? She then looks at growth rates, and ROI to understand where she’s developed the best yield on spend.
Finally, she takes all of those data points and builds a go-to-market model. This model must be 100% aligned with corporate and sales objectives. What is the result? A clear line of sight for her field marketing team to hit their revenue and pipeline targets.
We next spoke about the relationship between sales and marketing through field marketing. “I think of use as business partners to sales,” said Kim. At Informatica, sales has a seat at the table for decision making. It’s the field marketer’s job to watch the health of the overall business and ensure marketing delivers their piece of it. At Kim’s organization, this means 40% of the pipeline. “Our job is to partner, measure performance, and to be accountable working with the sales organization,” she explained. So much so at Informatica, that the field marketing organization now sits inside the sales organization. They made this move in order to continue the tight alignment between field sales. It made sense and felt like a perfect fit, considering how closely the two teams worked together. It also forced even closer alignment with corporate marketing. “When you’re within the same organization, you almost take it for granted that you’re aligned. Now we have more forcing functions and meetings to ensure that alignment between field sales and corporate marketing,” says Kim.
Large organizations, such as Informatica, need great field marketing programs as part of their marketing strategies. Even with all of the technology available today, people buy from people. And there is no substitute for face time. You can and should increase this face time through field marketing. Be sure to properly fund, and run, the field marketing organization, just as Kim has at Informatica.
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