The annual planning and budgeting season is here. The potential effectiveness and efficiency of the Sales and Marketing plans, which represent a big slice of the annual budget, are often difficult to weigh. For companies with complex sales cycles here are a few tips for getting the plans aligned strategically.
What percent of the marketing budget and other resources are being devoted to these strategic areas? Does the mix make sense considering the maturity of the market and your sales strategy?
a. Environmental marketing – those programs aimed at building brand awareness; the “air cover” tactics.
b. Demand generation marketing – those tactics and programs devoted to obtaining and nurturing leads.
c. Channel readiness – those programs and materials that enable the sales force (direct and channel) to effectively sell.
Calculate the costs per lead and cost per qualified lead from historical data. If you know how many leads and qualified leads are required for a Win you have a way to determine, roughly, what the demand generation budget should be. This assumes you also know how many Wins you need to achieve your revenue target.
Historical sales and marketing conversion data should reveal how many leads and opportunities are going to be required to achieve the revenue target. Next step is for Sales and Marketing to negotiate who is responsible for generating those leads. In most companies the lead generation responsibility will be split between Marketing, Sales, channel partners, and strategic partners. Many market and budget factors can prevent Marketing from generating all the leads that will be necessary.
Are you using valuable Sales resources to nurture leads? If a buyer has stalled – stopped progressing through the buying process – Sales should disengage and recycle the prospect back to Marketing for further nurturing until such time as the buyer is ready to get serious.
If you are uncomfortable with the degree of measurability or accountability in the plans and budgets crossing your desk it’s time to consider changing the planning process so that Marketing and Sales can become better aligned to the strategy and to each other.
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