CMOs and their organizations continue to fall short in optimizing alignment with their sales organization, and the field marketing function offers significant opportunity to improve the linkage with sales. Based on the results of a study I completed as part of IDC's CMO Advisory Practice of the field marketing function and related processes, I'd like to offer the following key insights and guidance:
- Conduct a comprehensive audit of your field marketing practices, and apply a consistent definition of roles and responsibilities across the organization. This should include rules of engagement for these teams to interact within marketing and with sales. Best practice leaders achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness through global consistency: common language, sales communication and enablement, and more rapid sharing of best practices.
- Achieve a greater balance of centralization versus decentralization from a staffing as well as a program investment perspective. Regional marketing execution must leverage corporate strategy and global best practices, yet still maintain the autonomy to meet local needs and respond to business opportunities and competitive threats. IDC recommends that 60–70% of field marketing's execution and assets should originate from corporate, with the remainder driven regionally or locally by field marketing.
- Leverage field marketing to improve marketing's performance as well as the perception of marketing's contribution to the organization. More specifically, field marketing needs to act as the "center of gravity" for development and execution of the local sales and marketing strategy in collaboration with sales. This includes field marketing helping to drive local sales strategies. (e.g., market sizing, identifying and helping to prioritize targets) As once participant put it, “I don’t think I ever want them totally aligned. . . I want to create tension in a positive way."
Source: CMO Advisory Best Practice Series: Field Marketing. . the Last Mile to the Customer, IDC #207984, August 2007.