Are businesses missing the value in marketing ops? Here’s what the LinkedIn data shows
Our Infographic of the Week shows who’s investing in business, sales and marketing operations – and it raises some questions
August 4, 2017
Business operations are the secret weapon of many businesses. They leverage a company’s assets to deliver recurring revenues. They turn streams of data into clear action plans for growth. They co-ordinate complex sales and marketing strategies – and they help to reveal the value of those strategies to the bottom line. And yet, despite its growing importance, operations remains a much-misunderstood function. Not everyone is clear about what it involves. Different companies have different interpretations of the roles – and I suspect that many are missing out on the growth opportunities that they represent.
Our infographic of the week sheds some light on the state of business, sales and marketing operations and the different ways that companies prioritise these areas. Joe Chernov and his colleagues at the sales performance and analytics company InsightSquared put this view of business operations together using LinkedIn data. It’s an unfiltered, no-holds-barred view of what business operations, sales operations and marketing operations mean today. And it suggests that these functions still aren’t getting the attention that they deserve from many businesses.
For me, two main themes stand out from the data. The first is the fact that fewer than 1% of business operations and sales operations professionals, and only just over 1% of marketing operations professionals, display any professional certifications on their LinkedIn profiles. I worry that this is partly because these are still seen as low-skilled, backroom jobs. If you’re a B2B marketer who regularly sits down with marketing operations colleagues to talk data and strategy throughout the funnel, then you know how wide of the mark such a view is.
The second key theme is the way operations roles are concentrated amongst very big, enterprise-level businesses in very particular categories. More than half of all business operations professionals work in companies of 10,000 employees or more, and the vast majority work in software companies. Businesses with more than 5,000 employees dominate when it comes to marketing operations roles.
The missing opportunity in marketing operations
As a B2B marketer I can’t help feeling that this shows a lack of appreciation of what marketing operations can do. It’s seen as a necessity that results from growth rather than an asset that can help to drive growth. Businesses invest in these roles when their marketing departments reach a certain size and require more investment in administration and co-ordination. But that’s just a fraction of the value that marketing operations can bring to the table.
It’s increasingly important for businesses of any size to be able to use technology platforms effectively and efficiently, to co-ordinate different types of marketing activity throughout the funnel, and to establish marketing as a revenue driver rather than simply a cost. They need marketing analytics and data management skills. They need market intelligence and the ability to respond to it nimbly. They get at least as much value from these things when they are smaller and rapidly growing as when they are large and established. That’s why marketing operations deserves to be more of a priority for many more businesses. Those growing businesses that are already investing in these areas are likely to see this LinkedIn data as an opportunity. It’s evidence of the competitive advantage they’re likely to have.