CMO Checklist for August 2016

Because August is a pivotal month for demand generation planning, the focus is on assessing your year-to-date metrics and the current skill sets and capabilities of your resources. Here is a CMO planning checklist to help you get oriented.

CMO Planning Checklist

Many aspects of marketing, especially digital marketing, are constantly changing. What worked this year may not work as well next year unless some tweaks are made or capabilities added. The key management tasks for marketing leaders are:

  • First, measure what?s working?and not working?so far in 2016
  • Next, assess your department?s capabilities and make a list of adjustments needed

    CMO planning checklist to help you prepare for next year.

    For CMOs, planning is critical.

  • Last, firm up market strategy recommendations for 2017

This is offered as a guide to what’s most important on the CMO planning checklist this month.

Marketing Measurement and ROI

Your CEO is mostly interested in revenue metrics as they apply to marketing. Here are the key metrics, courtesy of Sales Benchmark Index:

  • CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)???All?sales and marketing costs ? the number of new customers.
  • M%-CAC (Marketing % of CAC)?? Total marketing?costs ? total sales and marketing costs.
  • LTV:CAC (Ratio of Customer Lifetime Value to CAC)?? LTV = Annual gross margin ? Annual Cancellation Rate. LTV ? CAC = LTV:CAC Ratio
  • Time To Payback CAC?? CAC ? Monthly Gross Margin (or Revenue)
  • MOC (Marketing Originated Customer)?? What percent of new customers started with a lead generated by marketing?
  • MIC (Marketing Influenced Customer)?? What percent of new customers had any interaction with a marketing?campaign?

Yes, there is a host of other metrics including bounce rates and average page views that you?ll need to know to make wise marketing investments. But when reporting to the C-Suite use the metrics noted.

Assessing Capabilities

It?s wise to do an assessment of marketing capabilities as you work on next year’s strategy and marketing plans. Start with a simple list like this one and customize as needed.

Capabilities Review Guide

Click here to view and/or download Marketing Capabilities Guide.

Market Strategy Recommendations

Market strategy is simply “which markets should we be in and why?”. Most small and mid-size B2B CEOs are careful about where to apply sales and marketing resources.

The most important considerations are:

  1. Potential demand for what we’re selling because the size of the pie is critical.
  2. Who’s already there? If two or three competitors have 75% or more of the share this will be a costly endeavor. Several players with small shares means it may be less costly to enter and compete.
  3. If the company needs to add products, sales staff or other resources everyone will appreciate seeing this thought through carefully, along with your recommendation.

Ending The War Between Sales and Marketing

We’re seeing a shift toward more cooperation between sales and marketing, driven largely by the payoffs from shorter sales cycles.

Why Do It?

CEOs want to see direct linkage between revenue and what sales and marketing are producing every day. Today there’s more than enough technology, including sales and marketing automation platforms, to help with this.

Sales and marketing fight over shorter sales cycles.

Marketing takes a swing at sales for complaining about the leads.

It’s simple. Studies prove that when sales and marketing are aligned, shorter sales cycles happen and sales costs go down. More and better qualified leads are generated and nurtured while sales cycles get shorter.

Before the dramatic increase in technology usage these two departments could have a Cold War relationship and somehow things would get done. Today’s drive for more efficiency and faster results mean sales and marketing are joined at the hip and must work well together.

How To Do It

For small and mid-size B2B companies start with where you are today.

  • Self-educate by searching for articles and papers that can help in your situation. There’s hundreds of vendors selling tools and services that can help…read their insights.
  • Do a brief internal audit that shows where your leads originate. If they’re mostly from the sales team then marketing might be missing some low-hanging fruit.
  • Sketch out the lead process from each lead source, from the point of origin through nurturing and qualification and on to the sales team.

More Reading on Achieving Shorter Sales Cycles

Here is a 12-page guide to better alignment from Pardot, a leading marketing automation platform available through This excellent paper points out that ‘businesses with the greatest degree of alignment’:

  • Grow 5.4 points faster than their less aligned competitors
  • Close 38% more proposals than non-aligned businesses
  • Lose 36% fewer customers to competitors

The paper also shows where to align the two teams for shorter sales cycles and how to do it. You should pick up some good ideas for your company or situation.

Click here to view and/or download 6 Keys To Sales and Marketing Alignment.

2016 State of B2B Digital Marketing

Sales focused B2B companies are focusing plenty of resources on digital marketing. Top demand generation tactics are email, website improvements and search engine optimization.graphic of sales and marketing automation devices

To understand where companies focus resources, B2B demand generation research firm Ascend2 fielded the 2016 State of Digital Marketing Survey. The study shows results of interviews with 275 marketing, sales and business professionals dedicated to the business-to-business channel.

While the survey results are a high level overview from a relatively small sample size, we find their results to be similar to what we see in other surveys and reports. Consequently, you can read this to help you visualize next steps.

Also, look on this site and the internet to zero in on ways to be more effective with strategy and tactics. Most of all, please remember there are lots of low-cost or no-cost tools to help you analyze your results.

Strategy & Tactics Example

A construction firm partners with a company that pre-fabricates steel construction materials. As a result they can construction flexibility to architects and designers. While their database includes some architects, they know they can reach many more.

Their strategy is to create inbound marketing programs targeted at architects. To do this, the construction company needs to optimize part of their website with new information, images and videos that interest architects.

First of all, however, the company needs to understand what related search terms architects are using. Also, they create a list of terms to use in their website content and metadata. In addition, they create step-by-step tactics for integrating SEO, email, website content and social media to help attract architects to landing pages with conversion options.

Here are the study’s lead questions and a quick summary of results.

What are the most important goals of a digital marketing strategy?

  1. Lead generation – 64%
  2. Conversion rate – 49%
  3. Data/lead quality – 42%
  4. Brand awareness – 42%
  5. Measurable ROI – 40%
  6. Website traffic – 27%
  7. Sales attribution – 16%

What are the most effective tactics used?

  1. Email – 66%
  2. Website – 62%
  3. SEO – 55%
  4. Social media – 33%
  5. Paid search – 33%
  6. Display ads – 10%
  7. Mobile – 9%

You can view the entire report presented by Marketo by clicking on the link below.

2016 State of Digital Marketing Survey from Ascend2

Click here to view and/or download this report.