As chief strategy officer at The Pedowitz Group, Debbie Qaqish is responsible for developing and managing the agency's client relationships. She has more than 30 years of sales and marketing experience and is a leader in helping organizations connect marketing to revenue—she even coined the term "Revenue Marketer" in 2010. She is a pioneer in marketing automation—first as a beneficiary of the technology and now as an advocate and expert.
Qaqish was named one of the Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management for the last three years, as well as one of the Top 20 Women to Watch. Her first book, "Rise of the Revenue Marketer: An Executive Playbook," was a gold medal winner in the 2013 Top Sales World Awards contest. Currently, Qaqish is working on her PhD. You can follow her on Twitter @DebbieQaqish.
What is your proudest work achievement in the past year?
Publishing my first book, and launching the event REVTalks 2014. What made the book a special achievement is that it is filled with the voices of 24 revenue marketing executives providing advice and insight on how to be a leader in today's ever-changing marketing environment. "Rise of the Revenue Marketer" brings to the forefront issues that are specific to marketing leadership as they transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue center. These voices and lessons were extended to a live event—REVTalks—which was created for and attended by marketing leaders. We used a TED Talks format so each presentation was only 15 minutes long. This allowed the speaker to focus on what was most important in sharing experiences and lessons and the audience LOVED IT—the event attracted more than 350 attendees from around the world. We sold out sponsorships and are planning a blow-out REVTalks 2015.
What do you like most about your job?
I love being a thought leader in this space. I accomplish this by working with clients and having a continual dialog with marketing leaders. I love mentoring people and watching their careers blossom as they begin to absorb and apply the principles of revenue marketing. I am also working on a PhD and my dissertation topic is around the changing role of the B2B CMO. It's wonderful that my academic and professional pursuits are so synergistic.
How can more women be successful in the B2B marketing industry?
Let me answer this question by modifying it slightly: How can more women be successful leaders in the B2B marketing industry? It begins with passion and expertise. I get up every day and I love what I do. When I talk with successful revenue marketing leaders, I see and hear that same passion. If this is not what you truly love to do, you will find it difficult to be successful. Next, you must have expertise and not all of that expertise is in the marketing silo. You must expand your horizons to think like a business person running a P&L and you must understand sales and technology. Again, when I talk to successful revenue marketing leaders they talk about running a business, not being the "make it pretty" department. They talk about contribution to pipeline and revenue and they talk about financial accountability.
In addition, another key attribute is the understanding of, attaching to, and partnering with sales. If you don't know how sales works in your organization, you will not be successful. Revenue marketers often sound like the VP of sales because they know where they are on plan and against quota. They know how sales is performing and are an integral part of the planning and execution team for achieving all revenue targets. Finally, you must embrace technology as the enabler for your business. This does not mean as the marketing leader you need to know details; but, you do need to know how to use and optimize technology to transform your business and the role of marketing in the organization.
What's your best piece of advice to women in B2B marketing?
Walk, talk and execute like a business person running a P&L. The days of marketing spending money with no financial accountability are gone. One of my favorite quotes from my book is from Sally Lowery, a serial revenue marketer. In a job interview, she told the CEO, "I'd like to own some revenue responsibility, please." Did she get the job? You bet she did. It's a fine balance between the long-term view traditionally held by marketing and the requirements of revenue impact. Today's marketing leaders must manage both while acting like a business owner.