Collaborative Conversation with Leaders of the Disruptive Revenue Marketing Movement, Debbie Qaqish and Liz McClellan

On Friday, I had the opportunity to speak with Chief Strategy Officer Debbie Qaqish about her new book, Rise of the Revenue Marketer. Liz McClellan, PGi VP of Field Marketing and contributor to the book, joined us to discuss the evolution of marketing strategy, the tools needed for modern sales enablement and the game-changing strategies and results of revenue marketing.

Blakely: Congratulations to you both! The book proposes a huge change in the way modern businesses go to market. Debbie, why did you decide to write this book?

Debbie: I wrote the book for execs like Liz, for execs who were responsible for making this change. This book will help executives gain insights on how to manage that change and transform their businesses and marketing organizations. No one’s talking to execs about how lead through change. They talk about how-to measure, how-to use technology, how-to pull reporting. What they need is the strategy and the guidance to make that strategy successful.

Blakely: So, for our readers, can you tell me: What is “revenue marketing?”

Debbie:  Revenue marketing is the strategy that transforms marketing from a cost center to a revenue center. There is a new role for marketing in revenue production, driving sales-ready leads into the sales funnel to ultimately bring revenue into the business. This is a big change for marketers. It goes beyond marketing and into the business.

Liz: In years past, marketing had lots of roles, advertising, creative campaigns, and events. Some of these roles had ROI, and some didn’t. Finance never held marketing accountable for revenue. Now revenue marketers are demanding this accountability. We want say if we invest X in this campaign, I can bring you Y in sales revenue. No one expects marketers to bring money to the table, and it’s a game-changer.

Blakely: Who is a revenue marketer? What skills or key competencies does this person have?

Liz: A revenue marketer brings together both sides of the brain. I need my team to speak in terms of metrics and pipeline, win/loss analysis, so using data to drive decisions. But we also need them to be change managers. This cannot be underestimated when transitioning from traditional to revenue marketing. You go through these phases where you’re trying to disrupt and change, and then someone in sales will come and ask “Can’t you just buy a list?” You have to be passionately dedicated.

Debbie: Revenue marketers, like Liz, have to pull together teams with the right skills. The skills you have to add are technology and finance. Sales is also a great thing for them to have in the backgrounds.  We also see science, because this is about scientific approach and experimentation.

Liz: Debbie actually has a rocket scientist on her team.

Debbie: He runs our revenue marketing architecture group. He actually was part of NASA.

Blakely: What tools do new revenue marketing teams need to make it work?

Debbie: Technology is now a mainstay of marketing. The need for technology is only going to grow exponentially. At a minimum, they need world-class marketing automation and integrated CRM. The integration is incredibly important, because you can see reports and results real-time. From there, I’d add analytics.

Liz: For me, I would say design with the end in mine. Lay out all the reporting you want, all the output you need to have, and choose from there. The tools are only as good as the people using them.

Debbie:  The real question is who owns that technology within the organization. There’s a big argument going on right now and a trend toward any and all customer-facing technology being owned by marketing. Go into any larger size company, and they have an IT group called marketing operations that invests and optimizes technology so that marketing can drive business results.

Are there early indications that the transformation is working? What metrics show marketers that they’re on the track?

Debbie: Marketers create campaigns every day. But is the purpose to just get stuff out there or to drive real business results? Liz has done a phenomenal job in taking a team, changing their mindset and making them a financially-based department. Beginning with a mindset for metrics and creating an environment for success, that’s change management.

Liz: There are two indications for me, anecdotal and quantitative.  Anecdotally, I knew that we were on the right track at PGi when I came home from a trip and there were three voicemails from reps responding to these MQLs (marketing qualified leads) they got. Positive feedback that they believe in the quality you’re sending.  The other is quantitative. If we spend X, we set a goal of bringing in Y. If we reach that revenue goal, we’ve done our job.

Debbie: You talk to a VP of revenue marketing like Liz, they sound like a VP of sales. That’s how you know you’re talking to a revenue marketer.

To learn more, read Debbie’s book, Rise of the Revenue Marketer, available now on Amazon:

About Blakely T.

Blakely is a work-life juggler with three little monsters, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book-a-holic, Atlanta transplant and PR/social/content strategist (and presentations nerd) for PGi.

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