Revenue-generating marketing, customer buying patterns, and social selling are a few of the topics I talked about recently with Glenn Gow of Crimson Marketing.  I’m pleased to share these excerpts from our conversation and invite you to listen to the podcast.

Glenn: Why don’t we start with this concept of revenue-generating marketing, and tell us a little bit about the journey that you’ve been going through. 

Karen:  I wanted marketing to be viewed as a revenue center versus a cost center, because then it becomes a very different discussion about the value, the role of marketing, and the investment that a company is willing to make.And frankly, in some cases, marketing should be seen as a cost-to-serve model in terms of where marketing can lead the generation of demand, particularly with customers in the mid-market and with our partners.

Glenn: Can you talk a little bit more about what revenue-generating marketing really means?

Karen:  For us it was in terms of repositioning marketing as a revenue center and being a really integral part of the go-to-market model. We put a stake in the ground and said we are going to be accountable for creating a billion dollars of sales qualified pipeline. That means the sales teams have to agree and accept that opportunity as something that’s net new to their business and their pipeline.

We chose seven countries across the world where we did deep pilots with the sales teams, and with partners that were particularly interested in working with us.  So, when I say you go where the gold is it’s not just the market segment or the portfolio.  It’s also where there is a pull – where they want to work with you.  And honestly, now success breeds success.

Glenn: I wanted to shift a little bit and talk about B2B buyers, because that’s who you’re selling to. What are you doing to help enable them to enter the sales funnel?

Karen:  There has been some good research done by IDC and HubSpot and others on this, but I truly believe that the business buyer is really starting to behave a lot more like a consumer. They’re looking into communities, to their peers – they’re looking online to see whether your product and solution is liked… They are doing a lot more of the heavy lifting themselves, which means marketing needs to play a very different role.

Glenn: So if the business buyer is gathering all this information prior to having a conversation, then we believe the marketing organization should be responsible for helping that sales rep understand exactly where the buyer is when they begin the conversation. How do you guys deal with that?

Karen:  It offers a huge potential in terms of how marketing can really accelerate the sales process and accelerate the time to revenue for your company. If you are able to see (with Big Data) exactly what your customer has already purchased from you, how they’ve traversed your social and digital communities, what they’ve looked at, then you are able to give your sales teams a really good sense about what they’re interested in, where they are on their journey, and therefore (give) something compelling for their customer to be able to take that next step.

Glenn:  Can you talk about what you’re doing as it relates to social selling?

Karen:  We have learned that our customers love to get help from each other, and they love to help each other. If you listen in and listen carefully, it’s a tremendous source of insight to provide a better experience, provide a better product, etc. 

We have a pretty sophisticated social listening platform, and we’re able to feed this content back into Cisco incredibly quickly, and then we start to engage with that customer to find out more.  So you’re getting a lot of real time feedback about your product and about your offer.  It enables you to innovate and to move much more quickly from a business standpoint. 

I think that is the primary role of marketing, is to make sure you’re listening…

Be sure to check out the podcast and join the conversation in the comments section below or by following me on Twitter: @KarMWalker.

Interested in learning more about revenue-generating marketing? Catch up on Sherri Liebo’s Revenue-Generating Marketing blog series.


Karen Walker

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer