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How to get more marketing budget from your CEO

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Recently I spoke with Jim Hooker, president- CEO of Televerde, a b-to-b marketing and sales lead-generation agency. We discussed how to share your marketing results with your CEO in a way that can convince him or her to increase your marketing budget. As my conversation with Jim highlights, the CEO isn’t always convinced marketing is aligned with sales.

Let’s start at the top: How does the CEO view marketing in his or her organization?

Hooker: I think that most CEOs think like sales guys. There’s a little bit of myopia. They are always asking, “What have you done for me today?” When I want to know what is going on, I call my top sales people in. I don’t call in my marketing people. But marketing should have a much bigger role in the marketing/sales alignment.

Sales is more immediate, but marketing takes time. For example, we attend a lot of events and I want to know what comes out of them. Why did I spend $50,000 on this event? I don’t see a lot of immediate return even though I see value in being in the public eye.

Seems like marketing is always going to be behind the 8-ball, since a lot of what we do in marketing doesn’t surface immediately. So, what can marketing do to fill in the gap? How can marketing prove its value and obtain increased funding?

Hooker: Marketing needs to show how more money for marketing will produce more sales for the organization. In most organizations, marketing tends to focus on building awareness, yet if the CEO and sales is looking for qualified leads there’s an alignment issue. While awareness is important, it doesn’t produce immediate results. Sales operates under a whole different set of marching orders. So there needs to be more collaboration.

I want marketing to give me more specifics: Did you touch specific prospects? Did you touch them in a way that we have begun the process of engagement?

There are consequences to "non-marketing" and bad marketing that I feel like I can put my finger on, yet I don’t always know what happens as a result of good marketing, or necessarily what good marketing even is. You need to make sure you are clear about the differences and consequences when discussing marketing with your CEO.

What key actions can marketing take to enhance its visibility and relevance with the CEO?

Hooker: As CEO, I want you to talk to as many customers as possible and still be able to do your job. Your understanding of the customers is key to doing your job:

  • Show me you understand the customer.
  • Show me real results.
  • Show me you understand our business.
  • Show me you are aligned with sales.

If you can do these things, I will listen and be more engaged and aware of the value marketing is bringing to the organization.

Lisa Dreher is VP-marketing and business development with Logicalis Inc. (www.logicalis.com). She can be reached at lisa.dreher@us.logicalis.com, or via Twitter at @LisaDreher.

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