Author: Stacey Thornberry
We all make mistakes. Really. Even perfectionists (aka the personality type that’s typically drawn to the field marketing profession). But my motto is, “it’s not a mistake unless you DON’T learn from it” (and then do it again…). So, you’re welcome in advance. I’m going to help you learn from others’ mistakes so you don’t have to make your own.
Here are three of the biggest mistakes that field marketers make—taken from my own experience and friends/colleagues who have been honest enough to share:
1. Being Misunderstood (or, perhaps even, misunderstanding your own role)
A common misperception of field marketing is thinking that it’s all about events. Yes, field events are a piece of the field marketing success matrix, but your value is SO much more to your company. You should see yourself, and attain visibility for yourself, as a true partner of your sales organization.
Here at Marketo, our field marketing is responsible for the creation and development of demand through a combination of business processes, integrated marketing campaigns, and sales tools/programs. We execute on that by aligning and supporting the field to promote Marketo offerings, and ultimately add new customers and increase the share of wallet. We also help the field focus on targeted, higher value/strategic deals. Our mantra is ‘quality over quantity’.
See? Field marketing is much more than just field events…not to deny the importance and value of actual field events.
2. Neglecting to Speak “Sales”
Jargon is hard to learn in any industry and role. But, learning the terms that your sales partners use is extremely important. You cannot convey your value or your desire to collaborate unless you reach them at their level.
Ensure you know and understand some key sales terms in order to speak their language and show that you truly understand their perspective. In a meeting and don’t know an acronym that comes up? Find an opportunity to sneak onto the web to search for it, or bravely admit that you’re learning and ask for clarification. True partners will value your desire to learn!
As a bonus, here are a few important sales terms to get you started:
- ARR: Annual Recurring Revenue – a subscription economy metric showing the $$$ that comes in each year for the life of a contract.
- BANT Criteria: Lead qualification guidelines of Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline. BANT criteria helps the sales team determine if the lead has the propensity to buy.
- Forecasting: Estimating future sales performance for a certain time period (typically based on past data) – helps with goal setting and strategy.
- QBR: Quarterly Business Review – quarterly meeting for sales teams to review deal cycles, what went well, how they can improve, etc., plus forecasting for the upcoming months/quarters.
- And a fun one: ABC – “Always Be Closing”—from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, that basically indicates that sales should always be working towards the goal of closing the deal! One of our account executives here at Marketo loves this so much he even made the main character his profile picture on Slack!
3. Ignoring Your Data
If you’re doing marketing right, then you’re tracking the performance of your programs. If this raises an alarm bell for you, it’s time to start evaluating some marketing technology to help you out.
For the sake of argument, ,let’s assume you have the right technology to help you understand the value of your programs. Don’t make the error of just uploading your leads and then letting it go. Make sure you’re entering everyone into your system AND managing for accurate attribution. In the end, you want to be able to report out on your programs regarding:
- First-touch and multi-touch pipeline
- Including the ratio of cost to pipeline
- Opportunities influenced and/or created
- Closed/Won revenue
Set standards for yourself of what a successful program is for your company. Is it a cost-to-pipeline ratio of 5x? Is it 2 net new opportunities resulting from your program? Is it 15% new names into your system? Figure out the right fit for your business, and remember: it could be multiple goals.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? Well, if you don’t, you could make one of the biggest mistakes—re-running poorly performing programs. Review your data regularly, interpret what it’s telling you, and create repeatable, revenue-driving programs instead of executing on ideas that “sound good.” Move away from the fluffy feel-good sales programs and invest in those that will drive your business forward!
If you thought these mistakes to avoid were helpful, this is just the start. Join me for a deeper dive of these mistakes plus five more in my webinar, The 8 Biggest Mistakes Field Marketers Make (and How to Avoid Them)—Monday, May 22 at 10AM PT/1PM ET.
Better to learn from others’ mistakes than to make your own. Any other field marketers over there have some hot-ticket mistakes they’re willing to share?