Exiting stealth with $6M in funding, Mperativ, the first-ever revenue marketing platform has three goals they’re aiming for: to align marketing with sales, accelerate customer success, and finance teams on the cause and effect relationships between marketing activities and revenue outcomes.
With over twenty-five years of experience as a marketing and business executive for start-up, mid-sized, and high-profile companies, Jim is an experienced industry leader innovating the revenue marketing landscape and helping organizations draw in customers and profit.
M.R. Rangaswami: What drove you to create Mperativ and why now?
Jim McHugh: In my career I’ve led both marketing departments and general business areas, most recently as GM of AI Systems at NVIDIA and VP of Marketing for Cisco. Over time I’ve become increasingly aware of a pattern in the operational challenges facing marketing departments, having experienced it myself from multiple angles. The process of assembling marketing insights is inefficient and costly, and communicating the effectiveness of marketing initiatives is too difficult within a lead-based or account-based marketing model. The lead-based model is too granular with its focus on an individual, and the account-based model is too broad and misses the benefits of focusing on the opportunities and buying groups that drive revenue.
I was frustrated with how hard it is to justify marketing metrics, especially after so much time spent manually preparing data. I’ve seen many of my peers in the industry also struggling to prove the value of their marketing initiatives, analyze the entire customer journey, predict business outcomes, and fully unite lead-centric marketing with revenue-centric sales.
My co-founder, Daniel Raskin, has also faced many of these challenges during his career as a CMO and marketing leader. He’s seen first-hand how the inability to connect data across the customer journey is a nightmare for marketing, sales and customer success teams. Paul Bryan, the third member of our founding team, worked through many of the same barriers on the technical side during his time as a software architect at Salesforce, attempting to bridge the operational gaps between marketing and sales.
We’re doing this now because marketing teams are becoming aware of the gaps in the lead-based and account-based marketing models, and they’re seeing revenue marketing as the next evolution in response. But the technology to implement a revenue-based approach has been fragmented and asks marketing teams to build custom infrastructure, a full-time job unto itself. We’re allowing customers to eliminate all the complexities of building an in-house solution, so they can simply consume the value of their operational data.
Additionally, the pandemic made it more apparent that marketing teams need a better way to draw connections between their efforts and the bottom line. Huge cutbacks in marketing budgets during the pandemic mean that when large expenditures like events resume, marketers will face an increased need to justify investments that previously may have been taken for granted.
Daniel, Paul, and I are excited to be working with an awesome team at Mperativ to eliminate these barriers to marketing success and solve these real pain points that we’ve been living with for far too long.
M.R.: What is the marketing credibility gap and how does Mperativ solve for it?
Jim: Marketing teams have traditionally functioned under a lead-centric operating model, attaching their tools, terms, and success metrics to generating and converting individual leads. This model makes it difficult to convey the value of marketing activities and disconnects marketing systems from other business departments, most of which center their operations on revenue-centric metrics.
The disparity between marketers’ focus on leads and individuals and the rest of the business’ focus on opportunities and revenue fuels a credibility gap between marketing and the rest of the business. This barrier makes it difficult for marketing teams to explain exactly how they’ve influenced revenue generation. In fact, our recent research found that 85% of executives can’t clearly map marketing spend to revenue.
When marketing teams are disconnected from other departments, it is difficult for the organization to analyze the entire customer journey and marketing teams are often expected to assemble their own lead-centric analytics, creating silos between interdepartmental operating models.
Mperativ creates a path beyond lead-based and account-based models by shifting the focus to revenue marketing. A revenue-centric marketing language resonates with executives across departments allowing the entire organization to build a common understanding of the most effective methods to generate revenue. Our new RevOps data model is consistent across marketing, sales, customer success, and finance, making it possible to uncover data narratives across the entire customer journey, from initial engagement to close. The result is organizational alignment on how marketing initiatives drive revenue outcomes, helping marketing leaders to become rockstars within their business.
M.R.: What are the benefits of applying a revenue-based approach to marketing rather than a lead-based or account-based approach?
Jim: Lead-based marketing came about as the result of marketing automation technologies, which allowed marketers to become very effective at capturing individual contact data and targeting campaigns at these individuals. This also allowed marketing leaders to become more metric-driven and scientific in their approach. Yet focusing on individual leads is completely disconnected from how the rest of the business measures growth.
Account-based marketing came along as a way to spin the lead-centric approach into a broader view, but it’s still built on an underlying lead-centric demand engine and uses many of the same fundamental metrics. And both approaches make faulty assumptions about how B2B buying decisions are actually made. Groups of people make B2B buying decisions, not individuals or accounts.
Revenue marketing acts as a ‘middle way’ between leads and accounts, using opportunities to accurately represent the B2B buying decision from even before the initial engagement with a prospective customer. This has several important benefits. It allows for marketing to unify their processes with sales processes that are already focused around opportunities, and achieve a single view of the customer journey. This creates a more holistic understanding of the customer, builds consensus on what initiatives best drive growth, and allows for common success metrics for the go-to-market operation. It also allows marketing to work more deeply with finance teams on identifying key signals and trends and predicting business outcomes. And for marketing leaders, all of this combines to make marketing a credible force for orchestrating growth.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com