Back from Texas and caught up from an educational week at this year’s Sirius Decisions Summit. We had loads of great conversations, met some fantastic people, and were even able to catch some good sessions.If you weren’t able to attend this year, here are our biggest takeaways.

The Emergence of The Revenue Engine

The Revenue Engine was a large part of the Sirius Decisions Summit this year. A lot of attendees that we were speaking with kept asking about revenue acceleration & engines specifically, to quote the definition from the SD website:

We define a revenue engine as all the capabilities and functions in a b-to-b organization that influence or source leads, including marketing, direct sales, channel partners or other prospecting and outreach functions.”

  • Organizations that are aligned across their Revenue Engine achieve 19% faster growth
  • The marketing budget as a % of revenue is 8.6% for a high performing team compared to 5.5% for other organizations
  • More effort is spent at the top of the funnel so that higher quality leads are driven right off the bat

This model of connecting all automation, technology, media, organic efforts to a funnel model is one that Ledger Bennett puts in place frequently. The Revenue Engine is a good umbrella term for connecting the dots. Demand Generation, Full Funnel Strategy, whatever you want to call it, organizations need someone to take a high level view of every vendor/effort driving leads, optimize how those channels are working together to lower the CPL but also gauge how those leads are contributing revenue to your bottom line.    

High Performance Teams

This subject track had a lot of sessions with packed rooms. Users had a high interest level in how to invest in people, program and technology, what skills teams need, and what strategies and actions set apart teams and leaders who deliver more.

  • Sirius Decisions considers a high performing organization to be one that hits target revenues for 90% of their product or services
  • High Performance Teams Are:
    • 2.5x times more likely to make portfolio marketers responsible for defining target market segments
    • Consistently defined buyer personas in 86% of marketing functions, 64% of sales functions, and 61% of product functions
    • 2x times more likely to have a well-defined process for launching new offerings

We estimate a lot of companies this year are going to try to make a huge push towards hitting the numbers to become high performance teams. And why wouldn’t you? Make sure you’re setting the foundation to build, grow and scale as efficiently as possible internally.

Importance of Internal Team Communication

One of the main roadblocks preventing companies from becoming high performance internally, is alignment between teams. With the recent growth and expansion of “client success” teams, (fun fact: in the past 6 months alone “customer success” job titles have grown 36% on LinkedIn) it is vital that your organization be as synced up as possible. Survey data suggested that the Revenue Engine model alignment between departments averaged:

  • Sales / Marketing: 3.6 / 5
  • Sales / Client Service: 3.6 / 5
  • Marketing / Client Service: 3.2 / 5

The findings suggest that Marketing teams and Client service teams are the least connected across the survey group. Breaking that down even further, the survey found the main struggle is  between planning and internal process.

We also heard a lot of stories of business models having large hurdles between MQL driving efforts and the sales teams actually following up with those leads. So it sounds like internal efficiencies are a huge priority this year for many companies. One of the most productive ways Sirius Decisions suggested marketing and sales teams can sync up is by agreeing on a single high quality definition of what a good lead looks like.

Tech Needs To Assist Sales Reps

The trend is heading towards a lot more automation technology to the point where CMOs are seeing tech as the #2 leader of innovation and one of the top enablers of innovation as investments increase. The #1 leader of innovation for that same survey was a strong go-to-market strategy.

  • 60% of organizations are starting to spend more than $4k a year on platforms and tools
  • 17% or organizations spend over $10k+

Ensure your sales team is getting the support they need internally to understand the leads coming in from each channel, the messaging you’re using to engage them, and any additional information pertinent to campaigns.

We spoke to a lot of Summit attendees that were missing support on one end or the other of the MQL. Some would need support in driving the leads, engaging the user and send sales a high volume of MQLs. Others would say “we have the channels and media mix through vendors here at the Summit, we just need help analyzing quality, nurturing the leads after they go to sales, or looking full funnel and accelerating the leads down funnel.”

Half of our elevator pitch was simply saying “we connect the entire user journey”. Not a lot of agencies will set up, build, and launch channels to drive MQLs into your CRM system, send leads to Salesforce for your reps to communication with, but also hold them responsible for updating records as to how that lead is progressing. If we send a lead down funnel from paid search, my goal is to work with sales to understand which keywords, ad copy, landing pages are sending the biggest deal sizes, highest closed/won ratio, and best quality customers.

Importance of a Good Story

The final huge takeaway from the Sirius Decisions Summit was the need to tell a good story for your audience. Too often in our day-to-day marketing journeys, we are just worrying about individual ads, keywords, image creatives, gifs, etc. But do we ever stop to consider what feelings we want a user to experience, what colors affect humans in a specific way, brand voiced phrases that solidify a uniform message across the business?

We listened to Andrew Gordon (master storyteller and Pixar animator) talk extensively about his journey and the need for storytelling. One of the greatest thing he said was “give your audience 2+2, don’t give them 4” while explaining the need to lead the audience to take an action or feel an emotion.

Another session attended that dealt with high performance teams dove into the channels and asset types that have shown the best returns.

Top 3 Channels:

  • Social Media Marketing (+34%)
  • Events and Trade Shows (+23%)
  • Mobile Apps (+17%)

Most Popular Asset Types:

  • Case Studies (+24%)
  • Analyst Reports (+17%)
  • Product/Service Demo (+14%)

We were shocked that the always trustworthy white paper was 7th on the top asset types, but this list gives good direction on what audiences are valuing higher than others. Take your creative process seriously and create an experience for the end user. This will help improve your demand generation, user engagement, to increase productivity of your Revenue Engine.