The topic of discussion was integrating the marketing strategy with the corporate, product and sales strategies. This is no easy task, and one Robin was charged with at her company. Specifically she was brought on to assist during the transformation of her company. How did each functional strategy impact her strategic decisions?
We began the discussion with corporate strategy.
Brainshark has a clearly defined corporate strategy, which as CMO, Robin has to be able to articulate. Their focus is around helping companies. They enable organizations to harness the power of their content to drive sales productivity. The company competes on a combination of product and service. This directly drives her marketing strategy.
To help develop your marketing strategy, Robin suggests determining the problems your products solve. “It’s always better to think about the customer’s point of view,” she says. In Brainshark’s case, there are too many companies missing their numbers. The next step is for them to determine the why. Why are reps missing their quotas? Once they have this answer, they strive to solve the problem. These product decisions directly impact how Robin develops her marketing strategy.
As mentioned earlier, Robin was brought in to help the company go through a transformation. To do this, she created a 4-part marketing strategy that aligned to their sales process:
- Step #1: Branding – revitalizing and strengthening the corporate brand.
- Step #2: Prospects – driving prospects into the funnel using integrated campaigns. The campaigns are themed around solving the business problems of their customers.
- Step #3: Content – developing rich solution and product marketing content.
- Step #4: Sales Enablement – enabling the sales organization across the buyer’s journey.
Brainshark’s sales organization has recently gone through a transformation as well. They have moved from a transaction approach to an enterprise solution. Because of this, the sales reps and the sales process both needed to change. To do this, they have a sales methodology in place. Again, this influenced how she created her marketing strategy. It needed to align with the new methodology.
In the end, Robin took a series of steps to successfully develop a marketing strategy. She started with inputs from the corporate strategy. Who are their targets? Who are they selling to?
Then she looked to the product vision. What is the product roadmap? Why are products created? Essentially, what business problem is Brainshark trying to solve?
From the sales strategy, she looked to the personas and sales methodology to develop her marketing strategy. She asked for the overall sales goals, and the expectations for marketing’s contribution. “What’s really important to marketing is the service level agreements between marketing and sales, to make sure leads aren’t falling out of the waterfall,” explained Robin.
If you’re a newly hired marketing leader tasked with developing a strategy, what is Robin’s overall advice? First, listen. Figure out what’s working, what’s not? Understand the priorities, ask questions, and really listen the answers. Second, understand the key inputs – understand things like targets, personas, the data available, etc. And finally, get feedback from other key members of the organization.
Too often the marketing strategy is created in a silo. This misalignment causes too many companies to miss their number. Robin is a great example of someone who has overcome this challenge. If you want help avoiding this scenario, sign up for our workshop here. We can help you develop a proper, documented market strategy. And even more importantly, we’ll teach you how to sell it internally.