'There is a revenue relationship between marketing and sales,' says Debbie Qaqish, Partner and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group

Media 7 | October 21, 2021

Debbie Qaqish, Partner and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group, takes us through her passion-fuelled worldview of marketing operations that are strategically aimed to drive revenue. In this interview, we had the opportunity to take a peek at her concept of "revenue marketing," strategic marketing operations, and her inspiration behind authoring several award-winning books. Read on to find out how to optimize sales and marketing collaboration tools, and how to leverage data to create powerful marketing campaigns.

Any marketer today working off their gut needs to be fired.

MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you choose this career path?
I bought my first automation system in 2004. I was working as the VP of marketing for a tech solution company after having been in sales/sales leadership my entire career. My lens for every marketing and tech solution was simple – how to drive more revenue. The first time I saw a demo of a MAP (Eloqua at the time), I was hooked. I could vividly see the vision for a new kind of marketing and sales organization. A future in which marketing could, should, and did, directly contribute to revenue. I was so passionate about this topic, I coined the term “Revenue Marketing” in 2010 and published my first book, “The Rise of the Revenue Marketer,” in 2013.

M7: You have been with The Pedowitz Group for almost 15 years now. Where was the company when you started and where is it now? What changes have you seen take place for the better?  
I am a partner at TPG and when we began, we had a very different market. The notion of marketing technology was very new and few companies thought marketing could be a revenue department. Most marketing departments were using email systems to communicate with their market. A very one-way, batch-and-blast approach to working with prospects and customers. They might have had 5 other pieces of MarTech they were using. However, we were passionate about the future of marketing automation and what it could do for marketing, sales and stakeholder value. We believed in the future.

Fast forward to today: We have close to 10,000 pieces of MarTech and many marketing departments outspend IT on technology. The majority of marketing departments have some revenue accountability. The customer now owns their journey and sales have been disintermediated from the early-mid parts of the buyer journey. Marketing growth has exploded, and with the rise of strategic marketing ops as a function, more CMOs, than ever before, are putting up big numbers. The level of strategy and sophistication in marketing is unparalleled. Based on these market changes, I published my second book with Forbes, “From Backroom to Boardroom:  Earn Your Seat with Strategic Marketing Operations.” It explores how having a strategic marketing op function finally enables marketing to be all it can be in terms of being a revenue and growth driver. It explores the complex MarTech landscape and what is needed to institute a strategic marketing ops organization.

The level of strategy and sophistication in marketing is unparalleled.

M7: What Marketing-related challenges do you meet every day? How do technology and collaboration tools encourage you to defeat these?
However, even with the growth described above, the biggest issue I see consistently is the lack of marketing and sales collaboration.  I can take PPTs that I created in 2015, about the need and the value of the marketing and sales revenue relationship, and just change the date on the slides. Marketing still struggles with understanding sales and their role in the revenue process. One of the consequences of this action is I see more and more sales enablement tools come to market and sales are taking over lead gen activities from marketing. Many of the MAPs on the market today do a lot of what some of these tools do. It has been marketing’s failure to bring sales along the digital lead generation journey with them and that is now creating a MarTech mess in many companies. This is beyond a collaboration tool issue. This issue is related to leadership and educating marketing in the world of sales.

In companies where there is a revenue relationship between marketing and sales, I see several kinds of approaches. 

  • One company I work with has a sales advocate as part of the sales team. His job is to set up and optimize collaboration tools between sales and marketing. This helps transparency and working more as a team. 
  • Use of internal messaging platforms and channels – Teams for example.
  • Access to a marketing calendar.
  • Marketers taking a tour of duty in sales.

M7: What do you see as the most noticeable change right now happening in the workforce, encouraged by the rise of digital technologies?
The rise in digital tech has spurred a war on talent.  I’ve been in the technology sector for over 30 years and I have never seen such a squeeze for talent. Part pandemic inspired – The Talent Migration – and part tech-inspired. As a result, salaries are at all-time highs and most job applicants have at least 2 other offers to consider before they make a final decision. Hiring companies today must offer a great place to work, the latest tech to play with, advancement opportunities, and training in order to attract and retain talent.

I am also seeing a bigger divide than ever before between the have and the have-nots. Access to tech careers by disadvantaged populations continues to be mostly blocked. However, I am seeing some bright spots on this horizon. My company does internships for disadvantaged folks and if they do well, we hire them. Another company, Highway Education, has taken a brilliant approach to this problem. They have 4-month marketing ops (with hands-on in the tools) program that is essentially paid for by the hiring company of the young talent.

Hiring companies today must offer a great place to work, the latest tech to play with, advancement opportunities and training in order to attract and retain talent.

M7: With so much more data available, do you think Successful marketers will rely more on data than intuition in the near future?
Yes! Any marketer today working off their gut needs to be fired. This is ridiculous in this day and age. We are drowning in data and marketing is in the best place for anyone in a company to use that data and to provide actionable data insights. A few years ago, I wrote an article called – “What Kind of Datanista Are You”.  It was about marketing’s relationship with data and how their role and value changes as that relationship matures.

M7: Your book ‘From Backroom to Boardroom’ has gathered lot of positive reviews from industry experts. What do you believe is the driving force behind your proven track records and achievements?
I am passionate, persistent and I am constantly taking the pulse of the market. I love this industry and it is a joy to come to work every day. I am driven by the challenge of understanding an ever-evolving market and understanding where that market is going next. Over the years, I have published hundreds of articles, white papers, blogs, eBooks, podcasts and other content to reflect what I am seeing. Everything I do is to help a marketer optimize their contribution. In writing “Backroom to Boardroom,” I interviewed 26 marketing leaders from companies such as SAP, Microsoft and AMEX. It’s their stories and experiences that make the book come to life.


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The Pedowitz Group

The Pedowitz Group

The Pedowitz Group wrote the book, and is the undisputed thought leader on Revenue Marketing™. As your partner, TPG helps you plan, build and optimize your revenue engine by delivering services in MarTech, demand generation and marketing operations. We believe that marketing is the driver of custome...