Sharing how I think about this as an industry marketer. My first step would be to huddle with my sales and product leaders and align common goals (where possible). If you are working within a larger organization, perhaps start by collaborating with your sales strategy, sales programs and sales enablement teams, then up the chain to sales/product leadership.
In addition to business outcomes (ARR, etc.) you'll want to leverage the collaboration with these teams to determine the enablement program strategy and design. What knowledge do we want each seller to have based on role? How do we want to measure knowledge retention? What channels do we want to use to teach (live webinars, LMS courses, in person hands-on training, recordings, or train-the-trainer)?
Having data is critical for measuring success so the design of your CRM greatly impacts your ability to measure and improve outcomes.
Another element is the design, roles and coverage model of your sales organization. Do you have geographically-aligned selling teams (vs. vertically-aligned) where each account executive’s focus is split across accounts in multiple industries. Knowing up-front how much mindshare you will have from each seller is important to set your baseline for focus industry success.
Here are a few tips on measuring enablement success by role.
For junior sales representative fielding inbound responses, the measure you may wish to track is qualified leads. If you are able to capture interactions (chat, email responses, etc.) you can analyze the records of those interactions to help train and improve how the junior rep responds effectively.
For an inside sales team making outbound calls, you may want to track conversions to meetings, and observe their calls to understand common objections and help the BDRs develop messaging scripts that improve their success rate flipping meetings to AEs.
For account executives, you may want to track contact engagement within the target set of accounts, and the creation of new sales opportunities a period of time after specific enablement training is given and selling motions commence.
For sellers that are product / solution specialists, you'll want deeper enablement materials and track knowledge retention through an LMS or 'stand and deliver' or vision demo build competitions.
To scale globally, you’ll likely need to rely upon a train-the-trainer model that can jump the geographical and language barriers. Measuring LMS course completions, downloads, shares, and attendance of regional enablement events are several ways to measure success abroad.
At Salesforce I’ve worked for 7 different executives in just over 6 years. Each of these leaders had a different mixture of leadership characteristics, and what I try to always look for is their ‘killer app’ - the leadership behaviors, and skills that they brought with them that were differentiated. New tools I could add to my personal leadership “tool box”.
Here are a few that I strive to master:
As industry marketers, our hope is to get a message that we author deeply embedded into the minds of as many target buyers across as many accounts as possible. Some measurements of this ‘influence’ are quantifiable (measurable) and some are not.
When we are trying to reach a new audience of target buyers, we may look at our investments on channels where those audiences congregate and ask questions about our content’s reach (SEO, how many unique page views, impressions?). We may want to measure how engaging the content is through scroll depth, time on page, duration, social shares, comments, etc., and we may want to measure if that prospect or existing customer is moving onto the next step with us via click-throughs, MQLs, subscribers, survey completions, LMS training badges. From leads (MQLs) we want to measure our conversion to sales opportunities.
Often my partners in our industry demand generation team will want to measure how many contacts at an account are listed on a sales opportunity and how an integrated marketing journey (campaign) is “touching” those contacts to mature an opportunity through its stages.
However, there are many activities that my industry marketing teams perform that are very difficult to measure. If for example, my banking marketing team publishes an internal sales enablement video and a presentation about a solution which is consumed by hundreds of sellers around the world, those sellers may use that knowledge to engage their accounts and drive revenue. I may be able to see how many times that video is watched and how many times the presentation is accessed or copied, but the impact that it has had on revenue is difficult to measure. We've tried the honor system of tagging sales plays to sales opportunities, but it is difficult to mandate. It does takes a bit of trust that investing in that scalable activity will result in impact.
At the end of the day, the one metric that does not lie is revenue, and so we look closely at revenue throughout the quarter to understand its velocity, the big deals and to do the best we can to forecast revenue attainment.
Every company is a bit different, so the structure of roles and responsibilities are specific to the situation (size of the marketing org, product portfolio mix, selling team structure, target markets), but here are a few areas of responsibility that I feel should be in on the charter of every industry marketing team.
First, an industry marketing team should know their target industry buyers better than anyone. They should lead the development and evolution of the internal buyer personas, the internal positioning documents informed by those buyers’ urgent and pervasive needs, and the messaging hierarchies that are informed by the positioning and competitive landscape. They should be the subject matter experts that test that messaging to continuously improve its impact, and they should be the orchestrators and teachers of the professional community within a company (sales, product, marketing, customer success) that is serving their focus industry.
Depending on the scale of your company and whether or not a center of excellence exists for a specific function, you'll want to grow coverage for 1.) buyer-relevant content marketing, 2.) primary research into an industry’s end consumers, 3.) internal and external influencer marketing programs, 4.) point of view thought leadership which is used to influence vertical analysts, media, and the industry’s professional community. There should also be 5.) industry-specific demand generation programs that invest in media buys, and 3rd party events with relevant industry trade associations and publications, and 6.) an industry-relevant customer marketing program that demonstrates the success (business outcomes) your solutions deliver to influence a successful customer’s peer group. 7.) a industry-focused PR team that you can partner with to amplify innovation announcements / launches.
With my industry product marketers, I nurture the development of a set of skills that I feel differentiate them. These are the skills I feel an industry product marketer should be exceptional at: 1.) Know your industry buyer personas. 2.) An industry product marketer should be able to speak in the native language of that industry. They should know the industry jargon, abbreviations, and the way their business functions. 3.) They should hold themselves accountable to ensuring their messaging is relevant to the industry’s specific situation and challenges, and they should always strive to position solutions in a way that shows a deep understanding of that industry’s mission-critical business processes. 4.) They should be exceptional at live demoing their product 1:1 with customers, internally in enablement programs, or publicly via event keynotes, sessions, webinars.
There are a couple dimensions to this that I find helpful to double-click into depending on your company's situation. First is creating a clear delineation between Industry Marketing and Industry Product Marketing.
To me, the initial need for Industry Marketing is driving awareness and brand relevance within a specific industry. This is done through speaking the native language of that industry with relevant content marketing, primary research into an industry’s end consumers, internal research into industry buyer personas, building up internal and external influencer marketing programs for SMEs and orchestrating their point of view thought leadership which is used to influence vertical analysts, media, and the industry’s professional community. It also means industry-specific demand generation programs that invest in media buys, and 3rd party events with relevant industry trade associations and publications, and an industry-relevant customer marketing program that demonstrates the success (business outcomes) your solutions deliver to influence a successful customer’s peer group.
For one tangible datapoint, Salesforce chose to kick-start industry marketing in 2014 with a few FTEs and I was fortunate to join the team at that time. *Note, this was 1 year before we had investment to build industry-specific products.
When the day comes that your CPO puts purpose-built industry product(s) on the roadmap, then you’ll want to staff up an Industry Product Marketing team in advance of GA (I recommend at least 9 months) to support the advanced message testing, positioning, go-to-market, launch planning, channel readiness, and post-GA evolution of those new industry product(s). The Pragmatic Institute’s annual survey collects industry benchmarks for team ratios. The most recent survey shows that for every two product managers dedicated to an industry product, you’ll need 1 dedicated industry product marketer. https://www.pragmaticinstitute.com/
Although there are so many great resources out there across every facet of technology marketing, I really haven’t found any in-depth resources that focus specifically on industry marketing strategy. [Honestly], one reason why I wanted to host this AMA was to give myself the space to reflect and write down some of the industry marketing strategies I’ve developed over the years, and provide this AMA as a resource to our community of marketers. I hope you find this AMA helpful, and if you do find something really good on industry marketing strategy that I missed, please do share it on this thread.
I’ve often found that personally delivering customer-facing presentations is a great way to test messaging and positioning and learn first-hand about a buyer and their priorities. Approach: First specialize in a relevant topic and master a customer-facing presentation that you know you can deliver impactfully. Then offer yourself as a resource to your sellers. AEs are always looking for help to drive sales pipeline, and given most sales calls are occurring virtually during the pandemic, it is easy for them to add you to a call. Once you are in front of the customers, approach the presentation as more of a dialogue so you can get their real-time feedback and double-click into their responses. Over time, your sellers will bring you into more accounts and you’ll get more flexibility to test and gather the customer insights you care about.
Another strategy is outsourcing a customer insights program. There are several agencies that specialize in recruiting customers that fit a profile (level, industry, etc) for surveys and focus groups. With a live, virtual focus group, you can scale your ability to get in front of 4-8 customers at a time. In the past, I’ve worked with FocusVision and their facilitators do a great job: https://www.focusvision.com/products/focus-group-intervu/
There is an in-depth science to this that many sales or product strategy teams leverage, so with that caveat, I'm sharing a high-level approach. My recommendation is to break down the problem piece by piece and find each variable needed to set a revenue target (and a sales pipeline target and coverage ratio based on close rates to support attainment of that revenue target).
First get a sense of the addressable market. Talk with your sales leaders (or strategy team) to determine if you have a way of reporting on all of your target accounts within a focus industry (both existing customers and prospects) and seeing which sales reps cover which accounts and where the gaps are so you know where to expand coverage over time. This is a bottoms-up approach and will take some time so you may want to break it down by territory and by industry or sub-industry to start.
Second, understand the current quotas and the strategy that your sales leadership has put in place so that you don’t drift too far from the reality of what is attainable. If your company’s selling teams are geo-focused with multiple industries to cover and multiple products “in their bag” to sell, their mindshare for selling into a specific industry will be limited.
The information you have to work with will never be perfect, so when you find a gap, make a reasonable assumption. If you know how much revenue each rep produced, broken down by account and by product, and you have a mapping of which account is in which industry, this should give you a baseline from which to set your quarterly ARR.