Salesforce Research approached their 2016 State of Marketing Report to discover insights on the strategies and tactics of high-performing marketing teams that are proving to be most successful.

5 Key Practices of High-Performing Marketing Teams

The results from this survey cover data from nearly 4,000 B2B and B2C marketing leaders across the world. The report findings also reveal how primary digital marketing channels are being used and how teams from a variety of industries are approaching customer experience.

The Performance Level of a Marketing Team

Salesforce used three different categories to indicate the performance level of the marketing teams. These performance levels were determined by the respondents’ level of satisfaction with the outcomes that are a direct result of their company’s marketing efforts.

  • 18% | High Performers: “extremely satisfied”
  • 68% | Moderate Performers: “very or moderately satisfied”
  • 14% | Underperformers: “slightly or not at all satisfied”

Here are five key practices that stand out from high-performers.

1. A broader customer-facing role proves successful

One trend that is evident among the high-performing marketing teams in 2016 is that they are taking on a much larger customer-facing role by assuming the responsibility to manage customer experience (CX) overall. According to the report, top marketers are 16.4 times more likely to excel at creating a single customer view. Establishing a single customer view allows your company to have a shared understanding of your customers across the multiple business units in your organization.

“High-performing marketing teams are 7.7 times more likely than underperformers to strongly agree they’re leading customer experience initiatives across the business ­– bridging the gap between marketing, sales, and service.”

Additionally, by leading customer experience initiatives, marketers can deliver a unified experience across a variety of customer touch points whether they are interacting with the customer service or sales department. With effective CRM software in place, each department in your company has access to accurate and up-to-date information about the customer when it’s relevant for them.

2. The key to customer experience is collaboration

Many of the high-performing teams are investing in tools and technology that give their marketing efforts the structure they need to make the biggest impact in a landscape that is always changing and polluted with noise. A unified understanding of the customer allows for collaboration to be the key that cuts through all of the noise.

“The high-performing marketing teams are over 17 times more likely than underperformers to be excellent at working with other business units.”

Almost two-thirds of the top performers strongly agree that implementing digital transformations across their companies leads to more effective communication.

In addition to paving the path for better communications externally, high-performing teams are ultimately investing in the tools and technology that encourage efficient internal communications so that different departments in their organization can collaborate in order to reach goals that they couldn’t before.

3. Adopting a customer journey strategy drives results

Marketing and sales teams need to collaborate in order to optimize conversions throughout the customer journey so they can strategically help each other reach their goals. Focusing on creating customer relationships that are personalized establishes a unified customer experience across multiple touch points with a brand. 88% of the high-performing teams state that a customer journey strategy is critical to the success of their overall marketing.

“The high-performing marketing leaders make the customer journey a priority.”

This means that teams need to collaborate and actively map out their brand touch points with respect to digital platforms and marketing campaigns. This helps brands put a strategy in place for a how customer may encounter and interact with their brand. This year’s Salesforce Research indicates that over two-thirds of the teams who have adopted a customer journey strategy agree that it has positively impacted revenue growth in addition to the overall customer segment. Crafting a cohesive customer experience requires marketers to make sure that each department in their organization has the right information about the customer at the right time.

4. Social grows significantly and generates ROI

Social media continues to offer opportunities for marketers to connect with their audiences online. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are providing the resources for you to track your social media activity to see how your efforts are paying off. The effectiveness of social media marketing has grown substantially over the years for marketers throughout a variety of industries. In 2015, only 9% of marketers stated that social media marketing generated a significant amount of ROI while in 2016 that number is 39%. This year, 75% of the respondents indicated that social media is currently generating ROI.

Salesforce Research 2016 Social Media Marketing

High-performing marketing teams are 11 times more likely to respond to social interactions in a timely manner. These teams leverage a variety of tools that not only help them to publish content on different channels, but also use social listening tools to better understand their audiences.

5. Content marketing is a primary business tool

Over three-quarters of the respondents agreed that content marketing is core to their business. Creating content that engages their audience requires a lot of time, planning, and research which presents many challenges for a marketing team that does not coordinate their efforts. For the teams that view content marketing as a core part of their business and can coordinate the production of unique content, almost half of them see their efforts as a direct link to primary revenue.

80% of high performers publish content at least two to three times per week, compared to 16% of underperformers.

Producing unique content and a message that resonates with an audience is a top challenge for many marketers. It’s a craft that requires a deep understanding of your audience and the ability to frequently plan and produce content that is relevant to them. High-performing marketing teams make it a priority to publish content on a regular basis. This allows them to invest in their audience and leverage multiple marketing channels to reach them.

The role of marketing is evolving

Recent industry trends indicate that the roles of both B2B and B2C marketing are changing. One thing is for sure; customers expect consistency and want a connected experience across multiple channels with a brand. Marketers need to leverage the tools and technology that is available in the market so that they are able to demonstrate their knowledge of the customer and deliver a personalized experience. The top marketing teams know that they need to collaborate with other business units to formulate a customer journey strategy. They understand that the overall experience customers have is often determined by micro interactions that occur frequently at each and every brand touch point.

Download the full 2016 State of Marketing report from Salesforce Research