SiriusDecisions recently published the “Top Five Things CMOs Must Have on Their Radar for 2019 Planning”. Self-described as a “Doppler radar” list for CMOs, the blog includes five areas that marketing leaders should have top of mind going into 2019.
The list includes tried and true advice on annual reviews and AI, but what stood out among the noise was tactical advice around field marketing:
Redefine field marketing. Despite being one of the oldest teams within marketing, field marketing has largely remained a generalist role loosely defined as supporting sales efforts to meet local growth objectives. While b-to-b marketing leaders have evolved, many of the teams and roles in their organizations creating areas of specialization and centers of excellence for areas such as content, portfolio marketing and communications have overlooked field marketing. As local strategies expand, field marketing is expected to support multiple go-to-market approaches (e.g. direct, indirect, ABM, post-sale customer engagement). The time has come for marketing leaders to redefine field marketing by identifying areas of specialization with roles that align with and provide dedicated support to the go-to-market strategies that are key to achieving local growth objectives.
It may be a surprise that Field Marketing is called out as a key 2019 initiative. After all, in B2B, Field Marketing is often the mostly closely aligned with sales. But, in many organizations, that may not be saying much. The reality is field marketing has become a nebulous function that every company deems essential but has ambiguous goals and responsibilities.
To some companies, field marketers are exclusively responsible for conferences; to others, they manage the Sales relationships and enablement. This alignment with sales obscures the fact that it is often one of the most tactical and reactive teams in the marketing organization and is in desperate need of a strategic overhaul.
At Demandbase, field marketing plays a critical part of our account-based marketing strategy with a clearly articulated role:
I’ll start by saying we’re in a privileged position because our entire company is bought in on ABM. Demand Generation uses ABM for advertising, email marketing, and direct mail. Field Marketing uses ABM for roadshows, events, and 1:1 marketing initiatives.
Executing this without stepping on toes can be challenging. Which is why we divided our segments. Demand Generation focuses their efforts on our DB4K – 4,000 target accounts identified to be our most likely potential buyers. Field Marketing focuses on the AE Top 30 – the top 15% of our DB4K. Field Marketing also focuses on accounts in pipe and current customers.
From an execution perspective, this ensures that target accounts are not bombarded by multiple marketing campaigns. But it also ensures the Marketing team is aligned with Sales.
Drive Pipeline Acceleration:
At Demandbase, Field Marketing manages pipeline acceleration on a 1:1 basis. If an opportunity is above a set threshold of expected revenue, Field Marketing will coordinate a private event, workshop, or ABM Certification. If the opportunity falls below that threshold, Field Marketing manages 1:1 direct mail and strategy meetings. These efforts rise and fall in conjunction with the cadence of the quarter. For example, the last two weeks of each quarter are typically reserved for these 1:1 pipeline acceleration efforts, rather than regional roadshows or events.
Strengthen Sales & Marketing Alignment:
A by-product of being so focused on individual companies and pipeline is a very tight alignment with individual Sales teams. Field Marketing has personal relationships with Sales at all levels and is able to get regular and honest feedback about how messaging and programs are being received. This helps create a feedback loop which is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship between the teams. Field Marketing can help uncover trends and opportunities seen during the sales cycle or they can pressure test new marketing ideas with the reps. The ability to have one team responsible for formalizing the relationship and creating alignment processes saves both Sales and Marketing time and builds trust.
If redefining what is Field Marketing is on your to-do list for 2020, you can learn more about how to build an all star Field Marketing team and how to align with Sales in 3 easy steps. Happy FY20 planning!