When Lisa Cole joined FARO Technologies in the fall of 2019 as their VP of corporate marketing, she was responsible for a global team of 55 marketers and spend of over $16 million that was often viewed as a “cost center” for the business. The only problem? Each marketer in each region had their own marketing plans, budgets, and tactics—with no centralized way to align and track the impact of marketing.
“My first day, I found out that we had 55 people around the world all operating in complete silos. They all had their own version of spreadsheets outlining the tactics they’d spend their money on. No one ever aggregated those spreadsheets,” says Lisa. “I found out they didn’t have any sort of technology to enable them to track not just the results, but the impact.”
She realized they needed to completely transform the way they approached their marketing.
Two years later, the transformation is remarkable. Not only has she aligned their marketing teams, reduced spend, and made it possible for everyone to get full visibility into the marketing plans, she’s also seen significant ROI on every key metric: brand loyalty, employee engagement, lead generation, and sales velocity.
This transformation took a combination of outstanding leadership, reorganized processes and systems, unified terminology, and a strong commitment to change.
What was the vehicle for achieving such a transformation? Uptempo’s marketing operations and resource management system, which gave them one source of truth for their marketing planning, spend, and ROI.
increase in marketing-sourced revenue, with marketing spend cut nearly in half
increase in marketing ROI
improvement in conversion rate of Automation Qualified Lead to Closed Won deals
reduction of demand velocity (the time to close a deal), from 198 to 93 days
The challenge: Emerging from the marketing fog
When Lisa started analyzing how marketing planning was being conducted across their global teams, she realized it was full-on chaos.
They were using so many different spreadsheets for planning and budgeting. There was no consistency on how each team created their plans or agreement on the most basic elements, such as what counted as a lead or conversion. This uncoordinated, siloed planning made it difficult to not only quantify the impact of marketing but also to adjust plans and pivot as needed.
“Each regional marketing director had their own way of planning and allocating their dollars, as well as their own way of tracking and managing plans and budgets,” she says. “We also couldn’t manage the size and complexity of our plans across spreadsheets.”
They were trapped in the fog of marketing, a chaotic state of operations that wasn’t helping them strategize and plan effectively.
The start of the transformation: Alignment and visibility for effective planning
Lisa started their marketing transformation by implementing a four-step process—Review, Align, Mobilize, and Propel, known as RAMP—involving a series of 10 phases to keep teams aligned and motivated.
But even after further organizing by creating Forrester’s Plans on a Page for each segment, she realized spreadsheets weren’t going to cut it anymore for managing these plans.
That’s when she started looking for a solution that could help her see and track their marketing plan all in one place, enabling them to execute the right tactics to achieve their goals and drastically improve visibility into the work marketing was doing. That led her to Uptempo’s Hive9 solution, where she’d be able to track plans, budgets, and ROI all in one place.
“Uptempo was excellent in helping us understand the difference between the theory of what might have been kept in the PowerPoint and what reality is,” says Lisa.
Now, their marketing team is organized completely differently—and operating differently. They have new integrated marketing directors (IMDs) who are in charge of building, funding, and reporting on the performance of a plan in Hive9, with one IMD per business segment. They allocate a certain number of dollars to a campaign, set the goals and objectives, determine a campaign theme, and go to the program managers to execute it.
Having one common language across all their global teams meant they could trust in the plans they were all creating, and trust in the data that was coming out of Hive9.
“Not only does this marketing structure enable you to develop your marketing plans much more quickly, but it also helps improve the efficiency of your team and maximizes the performance of your in-market efforts,” she says.
Getting out of the fog: A radical transformation with radical results
The transformation paid off—and then some. Not only did they change the way they plan and execute marketing, they also completely changed the behavior of their teams, stopping the “random acts of marketing” approach to a new operating model for marketing that closes the gap between planning, spending, and execution, and gives teams real-time insights and full visibility into what’s happening.
“I log in and see how our plans evolve month over month, quarter over quarter,” she says. “Everyone puts their plans in Uptempo, I have an aggregated plan. Right out of the gate, I was able to give access to our CEO, our head of sales, our head of product our plans, how we’re spending it, and what we’re doing by month or quarter.”
The results? In 2019, they were spending about $16 million in marketing. For every lead generated, about 1.4% resulted in a sale of any form. The time to close a sale was over six months.
At the end of 2021, even after going through a global pandemic, every metric drastically improved. Their spend is at just over $8 million. Now, for every lead generated, 9.7% results in a sale, an exceedingly high conversion rate. Their velocity is only 93 days.
For every dollar spent, they’re averaging about $13 in return.
It took hard work, dedication, and the right people and tools in place to make it happen. Now, they’ve completely changed the way marketing is perceived—they’re no longer a cost center but, instead, a strategic department generating revenue and growing the business.
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