Jonathan Farrington interviews Debbie Qaqish, Principal Partner and Chief Strategy Officer for The Pedowitz Group, a Revenue Marketing™ agency, and author of the 2013 Top Sales Book of the Year, “Rise of the Revenue Marketer”
JF: Why did you feel the need to write a book on Revenue Marketing?
DQ: It was all about the “missing dialog.” As B2B customers embarked on digital buying journeys and marketing began to embrace new technologies like marketing automation, the role of marketing in the revenue equation began to change drastically. As I observed and participated in this market dialog, it became clear to me that it had more to do with the tactics associated with this shift and not the strategy. It became clear that the leadership element required to transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue center was being largely ignored. It was what I called the “missing dialog”
JF: What did it mean to you to win the Top Sales World Gold Award?
DQ: First, winning the award provided an incredible level of validation for the new role of Revenue Marketing. It’s real and it’s here to stay. Second, I would say that it was one, if not the top professional achievement, of my career. When you come up with an idea that you feel so strongly about. When you spend the last six years of your career growing and validating that idea. When you spend close to a year in writing a book that you think will make a difference to an emerging category of marketing. Winning this award was a BIG point of validation.
JF: How has this impacted you personally and professionally?
DQ: One of the things I have hanging in my office is something I call a Life Map. It’s a bunch of circles and lines that represent the things that are personally and professionally important to me and things I want to accomplish. Writing and publishing a book is on my Life Map. What was not on my Life Map was the amount of acclaim that book would receive. It has been a very nice and unexpected surprise.
JF: Will you write a f/up book?
DQ: Yes, but probably not soon. I’m in the last 2 years of a 4 year PhD program and it is now getting pretty intense. Interestingly, my dissertation is on the impact of marketing automation on the changing role of the CMO. So I do have congruency between education and Revenue Marketing. With that said, I do have an idea or two for a next book.
JF: I know REVTalks was an offshoot of your book – What were the high points for you?
DQ: Yes, REVTalks is our annual Revenue Marketing conference that is all about the “missing dialog.” I identified six themes from the executive interviews for the book and they became the six major tracks for REVTalks – Change Management, Sales & Marketing Alignment, ROI/Results, Strategy to Execution, Organization & Talent, and finally, Globalization.
The high point from REVTalks was additional validation on the importance of addressing the leadership issue in connecting marketing to revenue. There is such an appetite for this dialog because this is what marketing leadership is being asked to do today, and for most marketing leaders, this is a new gig.
JF:Will you do another REVTalks and when and what will you do differently?
DQ: We’ve been going through the feedback and it’s just been great. All the participants and all of our sponsors found a great deal of value in the event. So, we will be doing another REVTalks in early 2015.
JF: What were your AHA moments in Revenue Marketing from the speakers or other participants?
DQ: This is an interesting question for me because I live and breath Revenue Marketing and am in constant dialog with practitioners. I also worked with each of our 34 REVTalk presenters to help them shape their topic and delivery for REVTalks.
With that said, I recently wrote a Top Ten Things I Learned from REVTalks and it made me really reflect on this question. I think it comes down to data. Wynn White of Birst referred to himself as a “Data Artist” and I really like this idea. In many of the REVTalks, marketers discussed their relationship with data and leadership and I think it was this practical yet and strategic use of data that was an AHA moment for me.
JF: While Revenue Marketing is still in its infancy, what comes next from an evolutionary standpoint?
DQ: I think we are now at the point where marketing leadership has a lot of technology to help make this transformation. What they are now beginning to realize is to optimize that investment, to change the role of marketing in the revenue equation, and to build a more competitive company, it’s now time for strategy, process, organization and talent. Marketing needs to align strategically to revenue, marketing needs to institutionalize (with sales) key processes like the Buyer Journey, marketing needs to organize around Revenue Marketing, and finally, marketing needs the talent. This is where marketing leadership will be focused in 2014.
Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and chief strategy officer for The Pedowitz Group. Qaqish was named one of the Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management for the past three years, as well as one of the Top 20 Women to Watch. She coined the term “Revenue Marketer” in 2010, and just published Rise of the Revenue Marketer: An Executive Playbook.