Market technology research firm, IDC recently revealed that the average business loses 20 to 30 percent in revenue every year because of marketing process inefficiencies. Similarly, Gleanster Research found these statistics:
- 240% Slower – Production time of companies that have not invested in marketing operations optimization
- 25% — Amount of B2B marketing budget wasted on inefficient operations
In contrast, Gleanster found that companies with efficient marketing operations produced twice as many marketing pieces and enjoyed a sales cycle that is 163 percent faster than their peers. It was noted that both the efficient and inefficient (average) companies had access to and used the same resources, but efficient marketers spent less time immersed in inefficient processes. The efficient marketers were also seven times more likely to invest in technology that supports standardized tasks, streamlines workflows and promotes a centralized view. The good news is that if you are “average,” you don’t have to break a sweat to increase revenue, reduce losses and speed up your sales cycle, but you will need to take a few steps.
Step 1: Kick Bad Habits
In order to eliminate inefficiencies, you will need to take an inventory of all your marketing processes. We recommend making this an open and (dare we say it) fun exercise with team members. Perhaps you can challenge folks to go on a scavenger hunt of their daily routine and award prizes for finding and reporting the inefficiencies they encounter. If you set the tone for the inventory as a “help me, help you” endeavor, team members should be quick to share their daily paint points with you. For example, ask them to list all the steps they take when launching a marketing campaign, from developing content and going through approvals, to scrubbing the target list, sending the campaign and tracking results. Then, have them highlight areas of inefficiency on their list. Possible time-eaters include:
- Performing a ton of manual steps in order to get various martech tools to work together
- Coordinating contacts from multiple databases that are not connected
- Coordinating with leaders from other departments for content and approvals
- Struggling with issues caused by legacy systems
Once you have everyone’s list, hold a meeting with your team and brainstorm solutions. Then, prioritize which pain points you will address first. The trick to making a process inventory a successful venture is to keep an open mind, and reassure your team that you are willing to consider all possibilities when it comes to a solution. Lastly, track the success of solutions you implement and share those wins with your team. For example, if your department shaved several hours off of a process, celebrate by rewarding your team with some well-deserved time off.
Step 2: Eliminate Silos
Most companies struggle with the massive inefficiencies inherent in the silo effect, which is a lack of communication between people, departments and technology that ultimately leads to failure and missed opportunities. Companies that unwittingly foster silos, whether through office environments that hinder collaboration, technology that is not integrated, or by allowing various leaders to behave territorially with information are headed for a fall, according to Gillian Tett, author of the definitive book on business silos. In the event your company leaders need inspiration to address silos, Tett’s book will keep them up at night. The author shares numerous case studies of companies that fell prey to silos and their innovation-stifling, budget-draining inefficiencies that eventually led to epic failures.
To overcome the silo effect, you must break down all barriers to ongoing communication. Consider consulting an interior designer who specializes in creating collaborative work environments. Set up regular meetings with departmental leaders to share goals and invite their input. Typically, the more transparent and collaborative you are with leaders (and team members), the more comfortable they will feel in trusting you with their goals and in seeking your input. Last, but certainly not least, make the integration of all company technology a top priority. Tett maintains that it’s not enough for CMOs and CIOs to talk to one another, technology must share information, too. Fortunately, there are tools like Connect that make integrating everything in your stack and enterprise a simple and seamless affair.
Step 3: Set Standards
As one of the most valuable assets of a company, marketing operators have the power to bring efficiency not only to their own department, but to the goals of coworkers in sales, customer service, R&D, and throughout the rest of the company. Assuming you have taken step two and connected all of your data sources throughout the company, you can now further bring value to everyone who uses that data by standardizing and validating all entries, removing redundancies, eliminating bad data and enriching entries that are incomplete.
According to research, poor data quality is responsible for companies losing up to 20% of revenue each year and 550 hours of employee time. Bad data is an expense no one should have to afford and the solutions are fairly easy to implement. Whether you opt to outsource data management to a consultant or use an integrated data management platform, like Command, you should be able to realize savings immediately, both in time and budgets. Moreover, your efforts to equip everyone with high-quality data will enable leaders throughout your organization to make smarter decisions faster, and that’s always a win-win.