Recently we inquired about the role big data plays in marketing. The answers were mixed. Most everyone agrees that big data can definitely impact the customer experience and customer loyalty, but not everyone understands how to make it happen. While best practices can help, like a lot of things, successfully implementing customer analytics is a leadership issue.

Customer Analytics & the CMO

Revenue and CMO.jpg

In his new book Revenue and the CMO: How Marketing Will Impact Revenue Through Big Data and Social Selling Glenn Gow says that "arm[ing] your sales force with a deep understanding of your buyers—what they know, what they care about, how they perceive your company and your products, and what they need" is the responsibility of the marketing department, specifically the Chief Marketing Officer

The first part of Gow's book reads like a novel. He sets the scene nicely, introducing us to two key rivals within an organization -- the VP of Sales and the CMO. Sound familiar? If so, you'll definitely relate to the challenges they face -- specifically how they can work together. It's a chicken and egg situation, at best. What comes first -- sales or marketing data? The two are mutually exclusive, because without accurate information about the buyer's journey, sales teams don't know who to target and what messages to use. But if you're waiting for your sales teams to acknowledge what they don't know  -- think again. Conversely, marketing teams can collect all the data they want, but if it's not getting shared with the right people, their efforts are worthless. 

The scenario that Gow sets up in the first part is effective in outlining the issues and the path forward, which are explained in the second part of the book. 

Action Analytics Requires a Strong Partnership

Though putting analytics into action requires understanding the role of social in the buyer's journey, not to mention the types of information you'll need to collect and research, a big part is working together. Gow writes: 

By joining forces, providing the data sales teams need to truly understand your buyers, and guiding them to use social selling effectively, you can make the difference that brings in more sales.

If it seems obvious, just ask yourself how well your company's sales and marketings teams share information. 


What is perhaps the most effective part of the Revenue and the CMO is the six-step plan Gow outlines that shows how to pilot a social selling initiative. Everything from selecting the sales representatives who will be a part of the program to choosing the metrics are covered in a way that is straightforward and practical. 

CMOs have a big responsibility. They need to know how to collect the right information as well as how to get that information to the right people within their organization. Without it, sales teams can do their best, but may wind up spinning their wheels. CMOs are like goalies -- they only get the credit (or rather, the blame) when it doesn't work. When it does work, it's a team effort. But that's what big data is about. 

As CMOs, it's easy to get down on yourself or blame others for not working smarter. Ultimately, however, if you're not finding ways to get people from both sales and marketing to work together better, you're part of the problem, not the solution. And that's not helping to generate revenue. 

image credit: Shutterstock / Nuttapong Wongcheronkit