2021 Marketing Operations Report: How MOPS builds alignment and marketing's credibility

July 14, 2021 Chuck Leddy

Marketing Operations (MOPS) helps deliver cross-functional alignment, an essential element of success for any organization. B2B marketers can’t drive revenues and optimize performance in a silo: instead, they need to closely align with, and coordinate with, the sales function and every other function that impacts the customer experience. 

The full funnel from lead to revenue is a long one with multiple touch points in between. Among the most critical roles of MOPS is enabling marketing and sales alignment through the sharing of relevant, high quality data that’s at the heart of cross-functional conversations and activities. This post will explore in detail the foundational role of MOPS in supporting alignment.

MOPS: Quality data comes first

If consistently high quality data is unavailable to share, then there’s little of value for marketing and sales to talk about and very little chance for alignment. Instead of having ongoing, evidence-based conversations about how to optimize the customer experience, you get the “blame game” where sales blames marketing for sending bad leads and marketing blames sales for fumbling the “great” leads marketing has sent over to sales. Who’s right here? Nobody -- both sides lose the blame game.

MOPS doesn’t just help integrate the technology that hosts your prospect and customer data sets - in taking a step back, we see that MOPS helps integrate and align marketing and sales teams by literally providing the high quality data, PLUS common metrics and language to support productive conversations. Does technology need to be aligned to achieve high quality data? Yes! But we believe that it's more about the people and processes working cross-functionally with that technology to deliver the high quality data. 

Factors driving alignment: Common metrics and language

According to our 2021 Marketing Operations Reporta stunning 97% of companies with a named MOPs function say their marketing is aligned to key business outcomes. MOPS also facilitates the flow of high quality data that informs all activities from lead generation to closed revenues, involving marketing, sales, customer success, and beyond. The Report results are clear: “With reliable data and reporting comes an improved ability to communicate and align.”

MOPS also lays the foundation for a single source of truth (i.e., shared data) and a common language (i.e., agreed-upon metrics). MOPS helps structure formal and informal conversations across the business supported by the same playbook for everyone. Our 2021 Marketing Operations Report notes that “82% of companies with an operations function say that it ‘gets everyone on the same page’ and working better together.”  

As Dan Vawter, managing partner of Sojourn Solutions, explains it: “An organization with a strong MOPS function will be in a constant, ongoing conversation, one informed by quality data and common metrics, with sales and other areas of the business that impact pipeline and revenues.” For example, MOPS is going to know the number of leads delivered to Sales, how many leads were rejected, how many were accepted (and why). MOPS enables marketing, sales, and other functions close aligned around goals, on who is doing what and when. When something goes wrong, data supports deeper analysis and collaborative problem-solving, not finger pointing that leads to nowhere.

MOPS gives marketing more credibility

With stronger data and insight capabilities provided by a defined MOPS unit, marketers working “were 33% more likely to have had an expanded role in setting corporate strategy than their peers at other organizations (without MOPS),” according to our Report. 

Marketers benefit tremendously from the MOPS function because it enables them to connect their marketing activities to revenues. They can go to the CFO and make a clear, evidence-based case for more budget. They can answer the one question all CFOs want answered: “If we invest X dollars in marketing, what will be our return on investment?”

As Vawter puts it, “with a strong MOPS function, you're going to be able to present to leadership a set of defined, accurate results. In companies without MOPS maturity, marketers will present their metrics and the rest of the organization sees them as unrelated to the overall business.” MOPS thus becomes a keystone for marketing’s enhanced credibility and ability to gain more budget.

Connecting alignment and marketing’s enhanced credibility

Alignment is far better than toxic, cross-departmental finger pointing. The ongoing, data-informed conversations that MOPS fuels place the optimization of customer experience at the center, exactly where it belongs. If the funnel is leaking, marketing and sales can find out exactly where it’s happening and then set about plugging the gaps.

Rebecca Le Grange, managing partner at Sojourn Solutions, sees a direct connection between the cross-functional alignment MOPS enables and the enhanced credibility of marketing: “MOPS can bridge the gap between marketing and other departments, and that creates credibility,” says Le Grange. “It all comes down to how MOPS professionals bring more of an analytical, scientific approach to conversations and processes. You develop a hypothesis about what's going to work, then make experiments, and tweak things as you go based on what the incoming data says. That evidence-based approach offers marketers real credibility with the senior leadership team.”

To learn even more about how MOPS helps drive alignment and enhances the credibility of marketing, read the full report - 2021 Marketing Operations Report: MOPS Increases the Impact of Marketing

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