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Why Are We Reinventing Our Marketing Function?

Our customers’ expectations and buying behaviors are changing, and more brands compete for their attention. We either need to reinvent our approach to marketing or risk losing business to our competitors.

The big change in buying behavior is that most of us now research a product online before we ever meet with a salesperson. This is true whether we’re looking to buy a washing machine or IT infrastructure.
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Smarketing: A Sales & Marketing Love Story

Once upon a time, sales and marketing were in love

True, Marketing wanted a long-term relationship and Sales only wanted a one-night stand, but it was clear where everyone stood.

Then, the relationship began to change

With the advent of digital and social tools, buyers – not sellers – stepped into the driver’s seat.  They began using online means to conduct ROI analyses before making final purchasing decisions.  Today, according to Sirius Decisions, buyers are more informed than ever because they’ve got access to online content as well as an extensive online peer network.  And, according to a recent DemandGen Buyer Behaviour report, almost half of buyers create a short-list of potential vendors and one- third conduct initial research on solution options before the first communication with a sales rep.

Marketing started to use tactics that buyers, not Sales, preferred

Marketing started to change too.  As Cisco’s CMO Karen Walker has said, “Marketing was the last function to be industrialised and the first function to be digitised.” With the buyer in control, Marketers started moving away from outbound tactics like tradeshows, live events, and email campaigns that Sales was used to.  We started using digital tactics that matched the buyers’ desire to look for information online using search engines, vendor websites, and social media sites. But neither Sales nor Marketing was happy.  Things got so bad that Hubspot reported:  “87% of the terms sales and marketing teams use to describe each other are negative.”

Enter Revenue Marketing

Like a good marriage counsellor, Revenue Marketing helped Sales and Marketing rekindle their relationship.  In a nutshell, Revenue Marketing ensures that Marketing strategies and campaigns align with Sales and business objectives to generate a measurable ROI to the bottom line.  Using Revenue Marketing principles, Marketing started to transform from a cost centre to a revenue centre. Marketing and Sales began to work in partnership again. And they began speaking the same language – using terms of endearment like planning, forecasts, pipeline, bookings, and revenue.

Back on track:  Smarketing

Today, the romance between Sales and Marketing is back on.  And, like all happy couples, they’re using a pet name:  Smarketing.  Hubspot defines the term Smarketing as “the alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication.” We’ve embraced the term and the concept here at Cisco, and here are four lessons learned to strengthen the relationship between sales and marketing.

4 Tips For Smarketing bliss

 1. Speak a common language

It’s important to be on the same page. For example, here at Cisco, Sales and Marketing both know exactly what we mean by terms such as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), Sales Accepted Leads (SAL), and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

2. Gaze in the same direction

Marketing and Sales must also share revenue goals and strategies.  We have defined how much Marketing will contribute to Sales  – both to the pipeline and to bookings.  We have also articulated what each team will do to support the others’ efforts.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Once you’re on the same page, tune your operational systems to give visibility into results – and refine your processes continually.  At Cisco, Sales and Marketing use common reporting dashboards and hold each other accountable.  Both teams listen and respond to feedback.

 4. Celebrate success hand-in-hand

Now that Marketing can concretely prove its value, both teams can celebrate together. This builds strong team morale.

Smarketing may be a cute term but it has very real ramifications.  In fact, according to a study done by the Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment can get 20% annual revenue growth.  Now that’s worth celebrating.

So please raise a glass and join me in congratulating the happy couple.  To….Smarketing!

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Cloud 101 – Demystifying the Cloud

It’s not really a secret – video is hot and trending, both as a marketing tool and new, modern communication medium. Just check out the facts:

  • 93% of marketers use video for marketing activities
  • Video is the top 3 most effective social media tactic
  • Using “video” in your email subject line will increase open rates by 19% and click throughs by 65%

That’s pretty compelling right?

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Summary: #DigitalTransformation Fueling the Need for Workforce Transformation

In case you missed it, here a summary of Karen Walker’s latest blog on the IoE Blog site that reaches out to all those in the Oil and Gas Industry:

“…we recently published a new report that shows a global oil and gas (O&G) industry awash with disruption, and primed for digital transformation. Low oil prices have upended the sector, spurring an urgent rethinking of strategy by oil and gas executives—and accelerating the adoption of IoE.”

kwalkerKaren Walker, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Cisco and interim CMO, highlights some of the key findings from the report:

“To become agile enough to compete in the IoE Era, the oil and gas workforce must possess a mix of technical skills, industry knowledge, and business acumen. With talent shortages due to massive numbers of professionals retiring over the next few years—and a lack of necessary digital skills among those who remain— O&G firms need to make bold moves to transform their workforce strategy:

  • Extend the reach of existing expertise –Video-based collaboration can help bridge the expected talent gap by making the most of professional expertise that is spread too thin, as well as providing ongoing training throughout the organization.
  • Attract digitally-savvy talent – As up to 50 percent of oil and gas workers prepare for retirement in the next five to 10 years, who will be the next generation of workers that replaces them? An earlier Cisco report showed the next wave of digital transformation will be all about capturing timely, actionable insights from the deluge of data being generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), a key enabler of IoE.
  • Bridge the silos – In addition to analytics expertise, O&G companies will need employees who can see and work across the boundaries between IT and operational technology (OT).
  • Create a culture of innovation – O&G companies don’t compete just with each other for top talent, they compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The best and brightest data scientists and software engineers want to be on the leading edge of innovation, not mired in “the way we’ve always done it”.”

Read the full blog to find out further insights here:

#DigitalTransformation Fueling the Need for Workforce Transformation

…and, as always, let us know what you think!

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#DigitalTransformation Fueling the Need for Workforce Transformation

Digital disruption is transforming virtually every role in every industry. Every day I see how the proliferation of online, mobile, and social interactions has created the need for completely new marketing strategies—and completely new skillsets for marketing professionals. We can see this same disruption across industries, as the Internet of Everything (IoE) creates fundamental transformation through the networked connection of people, process, data, and things.

For example, we recently published a new report that shows a global oil and gas (O&G) industry awash with disruption, and primed for digital transformation. Low oil prices have upended the sector, spurring an urgent rethinking of strategy by oil and gas executives—and accelerating the adoption of IoE.

This disruption is one of many factors impacting the oil and gas workforce today—from field workers all the way to the executive suite. Not only will new skills be required in an industry transformed by IoE, but new digital processes will also be needed to transfer knowledge, collaborate to solve problems in real time, and capture insights from a torrent of digital data.

To become agile enough to compete in the IoE Era, the oil and gas workforce must possess a mix of technical skills, industry knowledge, and business acumen. With talent shortages due to massive numbers of professionals retiring over the next few years—and a lack of necessary digital skills among those who remain— O&G firms need to make bold moves to transform their workforce strategy.

  1. Extend the reach of existing expertise –Video-based collaboration can help bridge the expected talent gap by making the most of professional expertise that is spread too thin, as well as providing ongoing training throughout the organization. Video and web collaboration can effectively bring remote experts to any location, without the need for travel. For example, Saipem, an Italian oilfield services company, has employed high-definition video conferencing to cut travel costs, boost productivity, and provide subject-matter expertise throughout the company and with partners.

Real-time collaboration tools are increasingly important for far-flung oil and gas organizations.

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