The 3 Ways B2B Marketers Can Earn A Seat At The Board TableMar 07, 2022
Despite the impact and role of marketing in business growth, less than 3% of board members have marketing experience
The issue of whether marketers should be on the company's board has been around since the start of the 21st century. One reason for having marketers on the board is the impact they have on the business growth and revenue.
Marketing is important in today's B2B environment as consumers are exposed to more options and can afford to be picky. Consumers are also looking for additional features from the brand they engage with, resulting in the growing demand for marketing campaigns that target these evolving needs.
Yet, despite the impact and role of marketing in business growth, only 2.6% of board members have marketing experience. So, how can you as a marketer secure your role as a board member and help your organization grow by engaging with the changing customer expectations?
Earn the Trust of the CEO and Other Board Members
A study by the Fournaise Group showed that 80% of CEOs do not trust marketers. They believe that marketers lack credibility and fail to generate value for businesses. According to the study, the reasons CEO do not trust marketing include:
- Marketers use parameters such as brand equity that cannot link back to results such as revenue, sales, and market valuation.
- Marketers are quick to jump on new marketing trends, yet they cannot prove how these trends will generate more revenue for businesses
- Marketers ask for additional revenue without demonstrating how much business they will generate
- They present complex data that board members and key decision-makers cannot relate to or understand
This mistrust between CEOs and marketing teams arises due to a disconnect in communication. Both marketers and management teams speak a different language, creating misunderstandings between them.
As a marketer who wants a seat at the table, your goal is to communicate in the same language as the management team and board members.
Once you are on the same page with the CEO, they recognize your impact on the business and involve your expertise as a board member.
So, how do you get on the same page with your company’s CEO? Here are a few tips:
Create a quantifiable marketing strategy
Likes and shares are great, but what your CEO cares about is the revenue your company generates and the growth the company achieves. Without these metrics, your CEO does not see how 100,000 likes translate to revenue for your business.
Instead of focusing your strategy on vanity metrics, focus instead on the actions generated by the engagement.
This means putting in place a strategy that tracks customers throughout their buying journey.
This way, you can directly point to engagement on social media and how that translated to sales for your business.
Kudoz is a reliable tool to combine with Salesforce to understand where your opportunities come from so that you can justify your marketing spend on various marketing initiatives and generate the results your CEO understands.
Track metrics that you can fully take responsibility for
Another reason CEOs distrust marketing is that marketers are too focused on the creative aspects and less on business strategies and ROI. To move away from this image, marketers should combine their creative genius with business strategy.
What this means is that you should identify the metrics that matter to your business and keep track of how your initiatives are connected to these meeting ROI and market share.
Demonstrate Your Marketing Skills and Knowledge
While customers are demanding a better marketing experience, board members may not be aware of this due to the lack of marketing representation in boardrooms. For a marketer to gain a place on the board, you need to speak the right language that matches that of the CEO and board members.
We already discussed that in the first point. Another way to earn your place on the board is by demonstrating your marketing skills and knowledge.
The board thrives on combining knowledge and skills from its various members to drive business growth initiatives.
Some of the skills you will need to earn your seat on the board include:
One of the reasons few marketers are in the boardroom is the disconnect in communication between marketing teams and c-level executives.
Marketers must learn how to speak in a language that resonates with board members.
They have to identify what matters the most to the board and communicate how their activities relate to the company's growth and milestones. They must also maintain their creative genius to enable them to communicate with the customer and deliver the experience customers expect.
Kudoz supports your communication with board members by simplifying reporting so you can prove the impact of your marketing initiatives in terms board members understand.
Technology is blurring the boundaries that once separated sales and marketing. Today, marketers are not relied upon to create creative messages only. They are also responsible for dealing with data and solutions that measure the impact of their creative messages.
Therefore, marketers should work on their data management skills or identify the tools that allow them to quantify their activities.
Since most marketing teams already use customer relationship management (CRM) tools, marketers can identify additional tools that help them make sense of their data. For example, on Salesforce, marketers can integrate Kudoz to help with their data cleaning and reporting activities.
The tool supports your marketing initiatives from the moment you collect data by alerting you when you have missing lead sources or contacts to your data.
As a marketer, if you can demonstrate your skill in managing and deriving insights from data, you become a valuable addition to the company’s board of directors.
Prove that You Help the Company Achieve its Goals
This loss of revenue is directly linked to wasted marketing spend, wasted resources, and lost staff productivity.
When following the wrong data, marketers will make the wrong financial and marketing decisions, which doesn’t help the fact that the CEO and board view marketers as unreliable. Marketers have to prove their impact on the business to earn a seat at the board table.
Here are the steps marketers can follow to prove that their activities help the company achieve its goals:
Focus on the business value
Before you demonstrate how effective your marketing is, you should understand what business value they provide and how it relates to each business function. For example, the sales team measures impact based on revenue while finance might measure cost savings. Marketers must be in a position to demonstrate how their activities impact each business function.
Embrace the uncertainties of the marketing environment
What makes marketing efforts harder to measure is that results may occur over a longer period. For example, a B2B prospect might learn about your company through a social media ad. However, they spend the next few weeks or months interacting with your content through your website or email. Before their purchase, the prospect engages with the sales team and buys the product.
In most cases, this sale might be attributed to the sales team, as they were actively engaged with the customer. As a marketer, you should be able to explain the complexities of the buying journey and the role marketing teams play in generating customer awareness, engagement, and conversion.
Work with the Data
While marketing does have uncertainties, it also has solid metrics that can be measured and managed. Board members and company leadership teams rely on numbers to make decisions.
Therefore, marketers should be ready to assess and report the impact of their activities using numbers. For example, if they want to prove that a certain marketing trend works, they can do A/B testing and collect results from both campaigns to measure their results.
CRM tools like Salesforce are your friend when it comes to reducing the uncertainty of marketing through measurable metrics.
You can track your lead sources, engagement, conversion, etc. using the platform.
You can also clean the data on your CRM with Salesforce native tools like Kudoz that keep you on top of your data by alerting you of missing lead sources and contacts. Finally, you can report your data with Kudoz reporting features to get the board members to see, in numbers, what your impact on the business is.
Demonstrate the impact of your marketing spend
Marketers often have to prove their B2B marketing budget as executives do not believe that marketers administer their budgets on the right priorities.
One part of earning a seat at the board table is proving that your marketing team optimizes its marketing spend on initiatives that drive the business closer to its goals.
Revenue Marketers can justify their impact on the Sales & Marketing pipeline. With Kudoz, you can improve accuracy and accelerate your month-end reporting.
Despite the strategic importance of marketing in businesses, B2B marketers are yet to be adequately represented on company boards. The main reason for this is the disconnect between marketing activities and business goals – marketers still have a hard time proving that their activities contribute to business growth and ROI.
But, marketers can still earn their place at the board table and contribute to key decisions that support a company’s growth through sound marketing decisions. They can do this by speaking a language that board members understand – numbers. Kudoz helps you turn your marketing data into demonstrable and actionable insights for your company.
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