Marketing Leadership: Connect the Dots Between Marketing and Revenue


Marketing has always been responsible for driving revenue; improving the revenue stream is the core reason marketing exists. Today more than ever, marketing leaders are responsible for proving how marketing efforts benefit the bottom line. However, establishing that proof is among the top marketing challenges—not because marketing doesn’t produce results but because its not always easy to enable your executives to make the connection.

Demonstrating the value of your programs is not optional. But when you are able to make a clear ROI connection, the benefits are literally exponential.

Strong, meaningful results reporting can fundamentally change your conversations. You can get better buy-in and support from your internal stakeholders, more control over your budget, and leverage for requesting more budget for promising initiatives.

You Know Marketing Drives Revenue, but Can You Prove It?

Those kinds of organizational changes sound great—but most marketers face real-world challenges in making them happen.

Setting expectations about marketing costs

It can be exhausting to constantly have to justify spending on marketing programs; most people who have never worked in marketing don’t understand the costs associated with executing effective programs and integrating them across channels. Marketing sounds like a giant expense to them. When you try to simply explain how you spent that money (We did PPC and SEO and sponsored content and paid search!), they glaze over. Those terms mean very little to them; instead, they want to know what you got for the investment and effort.

Getting a realistic budget

Because marketing is often highly effective even when budget is limited, the impulse for some companies may be to downsize the budget even further. Marketing doesn’t need endless budget, but you do need to be realistic about what you can and can’t get done. However, it can be difficult to help executive stakeholders understand the reasoning behind not choosing the cheapest option for a strategic initiative or the choice to leverage outside partners to get extended capacity and keep projects on track.

Demonstrating what marketing’s results actually do for the company

Marketing has become a more technically sophisticated discipline. With myriad tech tools and channels available for supporting communications and campaigns, company executives may have high expectations about the kinds of results your team can deliver.
However, executives may not understand results the same way you do. You may be ecstatic because you got a million impressions on your latest ad campaign, but your CEO doesn’t care. They want to know what it means to the company to have those people viewing that ad.

Drawing a direct line from marketing programs to revenue

A metrics-driven approach requires clear traceability between leads and sales. Creating that verified connection requires a dedication to setting up tagging on campaigns, maintaining detailed reporting, and making sure sales follows through on the leads they get from you. It also requires constant communication with sales to ensure the programs you build are serving their needs—and they are able to use what you give them.

Advice from Experience: Steps for Proving ROMI

In our extended conversations with the marketing professionals on our peer perspectives website Modern Marketing Leader, we heard over and over that proving ROI is not for the faint of heart. But we also learned that these marketing leaders don’t dwell on the difficulty of a challenge. Instead, they tackle it with enthusiasm and energy.

The Modern Marketing Leader pros offer a range of practical advice that you can adopt as you put in place your plan for demonstrating marketing value in your own organization.

Be proactive and transparent

Larry Goldman, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Spinnaker Support, suggests opening up the lines of communication to get buy-in and support from internal stakeholders. In particular, meet with sales regularly and provide them with what they need to follow through with a consistent message.

Measure the metrics that matter

Heidi Budreau, Director of Marketing and Communications for Trizetto Provider Solutions, confirms that proof is all about the numbers. Getting the right tagging, collecting relevant data, and creating tailored reports will help you be ready at any time to communicate relatable information to executives.

Track the connection

Bud Vos, President & CEO of Enbala Power Networks, explains that lead tracking is something everyone has to be committed to. Involve sale directly so they know the impact you’re having is what will make them successful.

Translate your results into relevant language

Claudia Randall, Executive Director of the Obesity Medicine Association, notes that talking with your executives is a lot like talking to your customers. Avoid marketing jargon and explanations of the tactics and techniques you used. Instead, show them what matters to them; they want to know not just the results you got, but also what those results ultimately mean to them and the company.

Change the Perception of Marketing

Successful marketing leaders develop programs that are designed from the ground up to demonstrate the connection between marketing and real revenue. For some marketers, this level of foresight might mean rethinking the setup of a program, or revisiting foundational elements of the customer journey map, or honing the targeting of an account-based marketing (ABM) program. For others, it might mean taking a step back and critically evaluating the strategic approach you’re taking in all your efforts.

To establish a process that guides every effort—and ensure that your executive team understands how you will be leading that process—it can be helpful to engage with an experienced outside partner that can help you overcome roadblocks.

An engaged agency partner can provide guidance to help you establish your strategy and air cover to keep your efforts on track. Whether you need help with messaging, integrating a system, or providing an outside perspective to your executives, it helps to have a partner who understands your vision.

Ready to showcase marketing as a revenue driver?

Your best partners are those who help you see opportunities, activate programs, and grow your career as a marketing leader. The experts at Refactored have the rich experience, marketing knowledge, and technical know-how to support you every step of the way. Contact us and let’s talk about your vision.

Please also visit Modern Marketing Leader and connect with our partners, who contributed their time and resources to make the site happen.

The Marketing Alliance
AMA Colorado
Progress Software