Digital Transformation

Dreamforce: Move Marketing from a Cost Center to a Profit Center

Well Dreamforce 13 was a whirlwind and I’m glad to be home.  The final session I attended was delivered by Sungard’s VP of Marketing, Christine Nurnberger.  While the title of the session  said something about Marketing Metrics and ROI, it really was about how Ms Nurnberger transformed Sungard’s marketing efforts over the last 18 months.  While I was hoping to learn what metrics she used and how she calculated their ROI, I took away more important information than that.

My first takeaway was the need to change marketing from a cost center to a profit center.  At many companies where marketing is viewed as a cost center, the marketing department is usually under budgetary pressures and sometimes their efforts don’t show clear business value.

At Sungard, they decided to transform marketing by making marketing own a portion of the overall sales or revenue quota.  Individual marketers then had a stake in the sales process because they had compensation tied to those revenue quotas.  With this change to more of a profit center, marketers became much more involved in making sure their efforts had a direct impact on sales.

Because of the new emphasis on revenue, the marketing team developed new performance indicators to measure their impact on revenue and service level agreements with sales to ensure the two groups were in sync.

My second takeaway was the process she outlined for the transformation from a less effective, cost center based department to a higher performing, profit center focus:

  • Dig in and fully assess the current processes and be honest with the evaluation
  • Own up to what’s wrong, not only internally in marketing, but to the other stakeholders in the organization
  • Clearly communicate what will be fixed
  • Bring on qualified partners to provided needed expertise both in technology and content creation
  • Effectively monitor and report on results

The results: pipeline increased 132%, marketing revenue up 30%, and they saw a 30% increase in deal size.   I’d say those are impressive numbers.

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Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

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