One of the consistent themes I heard from the 22 executives I interviewed for Rise of the Revenue Marketer was the idea of marketing and organizational readiness for revenue marketing, meaning that not every company is ready to begin this journey. At first blush, the idea of Revenue Marketing makes sense for a lot of marketing executives. Given the continuous pressure to show ROI and to demonstrate revenue accountability, I find that most marketing leaders range from “interested” to “let’s get this party started” when I talk about Revenue Marketing. At the same time, I also see too many situations where a senior manager or the VP of marketing buys marketing automation and then runs into the “no change here” buzz saw of the organization. In this case, taking the Revenue Marketing Journey is like swimming through peanut butter.

So, I’ve been thinking – what are the organizational predictors of success for revenue marketing? What are the organizational conditions that can help predict if the journey will take place and, if so, how fast and how successfully? How can we identify these conditions and how can we change these conditions?

My first answer came as part of a research project I was doing in my PhD program. My dissertation topic is the influence of marketing automation systems on ROI and the role of the CMO in B2B companies. A piece of research from Trainor, Rapp, Beitelspacher, and Schillewaert (2008) researched the drivers and outcomes of an e-Marketing capability. In this case, e-Marketing was defined as the “integration of complementary technology, business and human resources that when combined, positively impact firm performance” (p. 1). The researchers constructed a model with two capabilities that indicate readiness to begin and be successful at e-Marketing and one major moderating influence. Let’s look at this model and we’ll adapt it to create a revenue marketing readiness model.

Capability #1: The company has a market orientation.

Market orientation refers to a firm’s capability to sense and respond to customer requirements. Successful firms have the ability to diagnose current capabilities, anticipate new capabilities, and redesign processes to support new ones. In this model, resources are continuously reconfigured and bundled together to create new capabilities.

Implications for Revenue Marketing Readiness

Revenue Marketing requires new capabilities and new process design. Here is an example of one such new capability required in Revenue Marketing and key outcomes:

  • Lead Management Capability is the ability of marketing and sales to jointly engage and interact with a lead at all stages of the marketing and sales funnel, with the focus on nudging that lead along the Buyer’s Journey to closed/won. Customers are 60-70% through the Buyer’s Journey before sales is involved. It is up to marketing to digitally engage this customer and this is core to a Lead Management capability.
    • Outcome we see: Marketing provides leads to sales that are marketing-qualified and at least 70% of these leads convert to opportunities in the sales pipeline.
    • Outcome we see: Marketing nurtures leads that turn into MQLs and these leads have a higher average deal size than leads from other sources.

Other new capabilities for Revenue Marketers are measurement and analysis, business modeling and planning, funnel management, change management, content marketing, campaign ROI, technology management, and sales enablement.

Capability #2: The company has a technology orientation.

A technology orientation represents a firm’s ability in recognizing and adapting to emerging technologies. Companies with a technology orientation foster commitment to the application of new technology to help solve business problems.

Implications for Revenue Marketing Readiness

Revenue Marketing is only a category of marketing because of technology and how it has changed how buyers buy and how companies respond. We live and work in a digital age and Revenue Marketing is about that digital dialogue that builds value for the customer and for the company. The use of technology is core to Revenue Marketing success. I can walk into a company and look at how they are currently using technology and can pretty much predict how this company’s Revenue Marketing Journey will go. For example, if I walk into a company that does not have CRM or uses CRM at a minimal level, these are conditions that predict a long and slow Revenue Marketing Journey. If I walk into a company that is optimizing use of CRM and other systems as well, these are conditions for success, as this is a company that understands the role of technology in improving its business.

The Moderating Influence: Competitive Landscape

A firm’s ability to adapt to the competitive environment depends on the deployment of resources and capabilities and, depending on the market, can be something that is always in a state of flux. Companies with a successful e-Marketing orientation are very, very good at adapting to the competitive environment.

Implications for Revenue Marketing Readiness

As little as two years ago, having a marketing automation system and engaging in Revenue Marketing by digitally interacting with prospects and sending these highly qualified leads to sales would have given a company a real competitive advantage. We have even worked with companies who asked us not to work with their competitors for six months so they could gain a market advantage. That day is gone. Now, having a Revenue Marketing practice is table stakes because all of your competitors have jumped into the game and are doing the same thing. This is especially true in business services, technology, and financial services, and is fast becoming the norm in healthcare and manufacturing.

While this was a pretty long post I hope it provided some insights to help you assess if your company is really ready for Revenue Marketing. Not all firms are, and in this case, it can be a long, hard battle for the CMO.


Trainor, K., Rapp, A., Beitlspacher, L., & Schillewaert (2008). Integrating information technology and marketing: An examination of the drivers and outcomes of e-Marketing capability. Industrial Marketing Management, 40, pp. 162-174.