article | August 7, 2017
How Top B2B Marketing Leaders Engage at QBRs
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. To prepare, review the marketing strategy introduction of the How to Make Your Number in 2018 . Pay close attention to the questions on page 238 to evaluate whether your marketing strategy is a problem, or leverage the assessment tool. Consider asking your peer in sales to evaluate marketing and together compare your results.
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.
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
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 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.
Walk into the next QBR with a great attitude yet with a strong point of view. It’s better to be respected than liked. Sales leaders love hands-on engagement from the marketing leader. Dive into areas of frustration rather than avoid those painful topics. 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 marketing effectiveness. It’s all about an agile approach with rapid iteration.
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
Identify a simple deliverable that represents a visible action to build trust with sales. In today’s buying process, prospects are highly influenced by industry-specific case studies. Marketing can make an impact by developing an action plan to produce and deliver those case studies in the first 30-days.
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 occurring 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.
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.
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