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Aligning with the business can save your marketing job (and a lot of headaches)

About 10 years ago, I was working for a firm that was going through massive CRM upgrades. They were getting rid of hundreds of individual CRM systems (including the ever-popular rolodex) and standardizing on one cloud-based CRM. At the same time, I was just learning about marketing automation and wanted to implement that on top of the CRM project. I was completely convinced that this was the right thing to do. I fought hard, got support and was able to get the budget and implement the tool. I spent the next few years building a team, running campaigns, tracking results, and ultimately was able to show that we could influence about 10% of the business unit’s revenue with our marketing efforts.

The result? I lost my job.

It was a hard lesson to learn. What I had failed to do was understand what the business wanted. Ultimately generating more leads and tracking more revenue influenced by marketing, as important as that may have seemed to me, was not the direction the business was going. I was pretty far down the hierarchy in a very large company, so it was hard for me to understand the complete strategic direction. But looking back, it seems a lot more obvious. I’ve seen this in other companies I have worked with over the last several years. Lots of marketers beat their heads against the wall trying to change the course of their business when that’s not the direction the business is going.

Ultimately, the business has to set the strategic direction whether that means the CEO, the partners, the board of directors or some other group of people. And the marketing team needs to make sure they clearly understand what that direction is before they start creating their own strategy. We spend so much time worrying about marketing and sales alignment that we forget that we also ultimately have to align with whatever the business objectives are, for better or for worse. It may not be what you think is the right thing to do. But, before you start putting in new systems, processes, teams and training, make sure that you are doing these to support the business objectives. It could save your job.

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About Angela Sanders
Angela Sanders is the Vice President of Client Management and Consulting Operations at the Pedowitz Group. She has over 15 years of experience in helping marketing organizations grow from traditional marketing to robust Revenue Marketing. Prior to joining TPG, she worked for Aon Risk Services where she tracked over $25M annually to marketing efforts. She has worked with companies of all sizes across various industries.

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  • Posted by Angela Sanders
  • On 07/06/2015
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Tags: marketing operations, marketing strategy, marketing and business alignment

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