CROs Are From Mars and CMOs Are From Venus

CROs-Are-From-Mars-and-CMOs-Are-From-Venus-lgHere are some recent headlines from well-known marketing publications:

“Only 1 in 4 Marketers Can Prove Their Impact on the Business,” marketingcharts.com, June 17, 2014

“CMOs: Expect Major Change in Next 5 Years,” Direct Marketing News, June 19, 2014

According to the recent Accenture survey of 581 global marketing executives featured in that second article, “78% of them believe corporate marketing will undergo a fundamental transformation over the next five years as data analytics, digital methods, and mobile technologies ramp up to scale.”

These headlines (and hundreds of other similar articles and research papers) represent a reality that is approaching faster than marketers will admit: marketing is becoming more of a science than the art form it’s been in the past.

This shift has already happened for sales teams. Salesforce automation (SFA) has brought metrics and discipline to the sales function (management by dashboards, close probabilities, funnel management, etc.). Now, similar transformations are coming to marketing, as spend moves toward digital methods and data-driven decisions become the norm. This change will be particularly acute in B2B marketing, where the cost-per-lead metric has taken reign but with very little accountability in terms of proving that the leads are valuable to the sales team or even attributable to marketing activities.

We have now the technology to hold marketers accountable, and marketing leaders and practitioners must arm themselves with data, analyses and metrics before walking into the C-suite or into conversations with their revenue-owning counterparts. In other words, CMOs need to wake up the left side of their brains – and they need to do it quickly.

In the very near future, Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) will want to engage with their CMO counterparts based on metrics that require more rigorous data and analytics. For example, they’ll dig deeper into digital marketing effectiveness by asking questions such as, “Are we targeting the right accounts? How do we know they are engaging with our content? Why are people in Chad being served our ads?” They’ll also push for more information about how marketers determine the quality and readiness of leads and will ultimately want a formula for marketing qualified leads. And that’s just the beginning.

CMOs that can confidently handle such conversations will have the upper hand. And to do that, they’ll need to start using their left brains.