December 21, 2014

“Revenue and The CMO” Provides Case Study Worth Reading

Content
Usefulness
Freshness

Summary


A concise aid for on-the-go marketers, sales teams, and managers.

Revenue and the CMOEdit1

Selecting a unique business book is difficult sometimes. Some topics require a lengthy treatment that may not fit into a busy schedule. Others are given too few pages to offer much insight on a topic.

But some authors hit that perfect balance, short enough for the busy small business person and yet the perfect length to deal with the subject matter effectively. That’s the case with “Revenue and The CMO: How Marketing Will Impact Revenue Through Big Data and Social Selling…and How To Get Started“.

The author Glenn Gow (@CrimsonCEO) addresses big data needs from the perspective of a company’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Gow is more than a business expert. He is also CEO of Crimson Marketing, a fast-growing Inc. 500 technology marketing firm. My review e-copy arrived courtesy of the Crimson team.

A Case Study and Lessons Learned

This book is a short read – 90 pages – with half of that dedicated to a case study and half made up of lessons learned. The case study is a story about a CMO, Mary, who is frustrated with being under-appreciated. A conversation with the VP of Sales, Sal, leads to an examination of how to fix a three quarter sales decline at the company. They rely on developing a pilot for a social selling program meant to improve the sales team’s engagement with customers in the sales cycle.

At first blush, I’ll admit I felt some uncertainty about the content’s value relative to today’s technological landscape. Most discussions about big data these days are a bit more technical and difficult to handle adequately in such a short treatment. For a while, part of me wished Gow had chosen a more pressing big data issue. Examples might include the problems posed by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement or the challenge of integrating a new database into a legacy database structure.

But ultimately I got what Gow was attempting to do with this book. The text speaks to sales teams that are impacted by customer response to multichannel marketing. Thus Gow’s approach differs from the detailed strategy provided in books like “Islands of Profit In a Sea of Red Ink.” It simplifies just enough to recommend steps regardless of technological specifics. For example, read how Gow views the role of the marketer in almost any organization:

“Marketers are in a unique position to bridge the gap for your company’s sales force. You have the power to enable your sales reps to be trusted advisors to your buyers.”

Customers are receiving information through numerous sources. This impacts the sales funnels, and forces sales reps to adjust their tactics around three customer actions – trigger, research, and purchase. That impact may be driven by social media and big data. But working out the organizational details to handle it can best be done by leveraging your people. Make sure they’re on board with the changes that need to be made. That will make your tech decisions a bit easier to address.

This approach works particularly well for workplaces resistant to change. As an example, Gow notes steps for a social selling pilot that addresses said resistance. Look at this tip regarding setting up responsibility for the pilot.

“Since marketing already owns the information flow and infrastructure required for the social selling pilot, and since marketing will be doing the bulk of process development and training, it makes sense for marketing to run the PMO. However, we recommend that the V.P. of Sales be the executive sponsor of the pilot. This lets the sales team know this isn’t just some side effort – their V.P. is sponsoring, so it’s important.”

If your sales team is really stuck – or seeing declining sales as described in the case study – you’ll find the latter half of the book particularly worthwhile. The tips focus more on organizational hazards that occur way before the any discussion of changing the way your company’s data is shared or any other technical consideration. And Gow does note the value of optimizing a sales force. Indeed the opening pages note a statistic about how sales intelligence increases revenue.

Bottom line: you’ll likely find this book a helpful aid for on-the-go marketers, sales teams, and managers. The book’s short and concise approach makes it  a good supplement for slightly more detailed sales books such as “How To Sell When No One is Buying” or a book on teamwork such as “Shortcut.” Use “Revenue and The CMO” as a way to open a dialogue about the changes that need to be made in your data management strategy.

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Pierre DeBois - Associate Book Editor


Pierre DeBois Pierre Debois is Associate Book Editor for Small Business Trends. He is the Founder of Zimana, a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and medium sized businesses that rely on web analytics data. A Gary, Indiana native, Pierre is currently based in Brooklyn. He blogs about marketing, finance, social media, and analytics at Zimana blog.

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