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How Marketing Can Earn a Seat at the Revenue Table

by Phil Fernandez  |  
November 27, 2007

Who is in charge of revenue at your company? In most B2B companies, the sales department owns the revenue pipeline. As a result, Sales holds the most political power of any function.

In contrast, Marketing too often gets left out of the revenue process. There are companies where Sales holds weekly revenue calls, and nobody from marketing is on the call. The executive leaders of these companies think of Marketing as a cost center, not a strategic asset that drives growth.

As one marketer lamented in a recent CMO Council report, "My group is perceived by upper management as the people who do color brochures."

Marketing is suffering from a crisis of credibility. So what can marketers do so they are seen as part of a machine that drives revenue and profits, not just the people who throw parties and buy swag?

1. Forecast results, not spending

Marketers must forecast and predict leads, pipeline, and revenue with confidence. Sales and Marketing must sit together at the revenue table to contribute to next quarter's and next year's forecast.

Marketing's role is to predict how many new qualified leads will enter the marketing funnel, how those leads will move through the funnel, and how many of them will become "sales-ready" in any given quarter.

2. Make hard business cases for spending

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Phil Fernandez is president and chief executive officer of Marketo, a global leader in revenue performance management solutions, recently named one of "America's Most Promising Companies" by Forbes. He is also the author of REVENUE DISRUPTION: Game-Changing Sales and Marketing Strategies to Accelerate Growth.

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