Measurement, Accountability, And Alignment: The Keys To Modern Marketing

Fred Isbell

”That which is measured, improves.”

This is commonly attributed to either Karl Pearson, a famous statistician, or Peter Drucker, a well-known management consultant. I learned about this years ago studying how Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile barrier in running, which seemed insurmountable. Likewise, accountability and alignment are key to achieving success, and became a guiding principle while coaching youth ice hockey years ago. I would show how one player skating the puck along the entire length of the ice took far longer than a succession of quick passes between players working together to move the puck up the ice. Understanding the importance of aligning efforts empowered the team to play as one unified unit with a common goal and reward. And every player knew their role and was accountable to specific roles.

The same applies to marketing and specifically business-to-business (B2B) marketing, which is composed of a marketing plan, various tactics, business goals, and measurement of sales growth within a target market. Everyone in the marketing organization must be accountable for achieving a common set of goals, results, and expected outcomes in everything they do. Plus, this performance must be measured in terms of growth and gained efficiencies. With this combination of accountability and measurement, the path to success is clear.

Alignment and accountability ignite business growth and profitability

Recently, these themes were the focus of a briefing and networking event held by SiriusDecisions down the road from my office outside of Boston. Focused on how B2B organizations need a combination of alignment and accountability, supported by data, to reach goals, the day was kicked off by Megan Heurer, vice president of research at SiriusDecisions, who expertly articulated the value of an aligned team, person, role, or organization.

Fostering a vital connection to the goals of their team, role, and company, employees can work with greater efficiency as they understand which activities are redundant and do not add value to the business and customer experience. Transparency is critical to report progress towards goals based on specific data and measurements. Plus, accountability helps employees know what they need to specifically do and how their actions advance defined goals by measuring performance, progress, outcomes.

In this case, top-line benefits of combining accountability and alignment are real and carry significant weight. Megan cited SiriusDecisions research that revealed alignment and accountability drives 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability.

All of this is made possible by advancing the organization with data to help all parties gain clarity and focus. We call this insight-driven marketing, and it’s a guiding principle of my organization’s brand of modern marketing. The availability of data and underlying insights support the ability to regularly compare key performance indicators (KPIs) and report those findings.

But for this information to be truly insightful, measurements must go beyond typical sales and marketing metrics such as counting content assets, products delivered, customer successes, channel growth, and partner engagement. Rather like my efforts to measure the playtime of the puck, the wisdom “that which is measured, improves” reminds us that investments in data and performance management will pay off with considerable benefits.

Metric Spectrum provides the structure necessary to secure success

Furthering its reputation for creating breakthrough marketing frameworks and models, SiriusDecisions featured its Metrics Spectrum, which helps organize and structure the journey to insight-driven decision making. When I first learned about this new framework, it was easy to see how relevant to optimizing team performance. Like a coach devising a game plan to help a hockey team succeed, team leaders are called to choose the right metrics to track actions, milestones, and goal attainment.

SiriusDecisions’ Metrics Spectrum consists of four primary components:

  1. Readiness – Determine how well the team is prepared to perform by analyzing data, skills, and business processes. This assessment provides a solid foundation for any strategic plan or business case.
  1. Activity – Adopt an activity-based metrics approach by counting the tactics and actions taken, from outbound calls from telemarketing and inside sales to e-mails sent.
  1. Output – Measure the direct result of business actions and activity—from responders, inquiries, and inbound requests for more information and next steps—and go beyond purely activity-based metrics.
  1. Impact – Assess how the team performed against defined goals—revenue, profitability, and ultimately, market share. Too many organizations fail to do this because they are mired in the details of activities. But when this is done (and done well), the team provides the transparency to demonstrate its value to the executive leadership who is signing paychecks.

The backdrop for a successful execution is defined by an organization’s objectives, quantifiable impact on goals, specific milestones to prove progress, and an inventory of actions and tactics. By supporting organizational alignment and accountability with increased governance and availability of external data, teams can gain a thorough understanding of its impact on the entire business, which is key to embracing modern marketing.

Bruce Brien, the chief technology officer of Sirius Decisions, showcased the SiriusDecisions Command Center a new offering announced at the SiriusDecisions 2017 Summit. As I am a lifelong fan and provider of marketing dashboards, this was music to my ears. It’s based upon the SiriusDecisions Metrics Spectrum, and organizations can leverage predefined metrics available with benchmarking against peers, etc. with a graphical view for decisions makers, a key for successful insight-driven marketing.

I hope you decide to apply the principles of “that which is measured, improves” across your accountable and aligned teams to fully realize significant benefits and payoff. Please review my trip report from this event to learn more.

Fred is the senior marketing director of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud and SAP Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP. Join Fred online:

About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell worked at SAP for nearly 19 years in senior roles in SAP Marketing. He is an experienced, results- and goal-oriented senior marketing executive with broad and extensive experience & expertise in high technology and marketing spanning nearly 30 years. He has a BA from Yale and an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.