Avril, the VP of Marketing at a leading biotech company, was dreading the upcoming slog.
Typically, her marketing team spends a week in a conference room, chest high in campaign data and pricing sheets strewn about the table. They emerge with a multi-sheet, macro-enabled, polychromatic Excel workbook that would impress NASA.
Avril submits this masterpiece to the CFO and then she waits, and waits, and waits. About two months later she receives a redlined document assigning her only 50% of the budget she requested, with no detailed explanations as to why specific line items were cut.
One of the reasons Avril didn’t get anywhere close to the budget she needs to meet corporate goals is she didn’t sell a story of how the marketing programs align with her company’s BUSINESS goals.
Why Avril Didn’t Get Her Budget
It turns out the CFO and CEO of Avril’s company are planning to sell the company in 24 months. Although she had heard rumors, she had not heard this from the leadership team, so nothing in her budget addressed this event.
Her budget was focused only on generating leads for the top of the sales pipeline when it should have been targeted on sales enablement and business valuation growth.
Aim for the Goal POST
Our agency is a complete outsource marketing department for some clients and involved in strategic planning for others. In both scenarios, it’s vital that we understand the business goals, not just the marketing goals, of an organization.It’s amazing how many marketing departments are kept in the dark regarding high-level organizational objectives. Click To Tweet
One of the first exercises we do with a new client’s leadership team is a Goal POST exercise.
POST stands for Performance, business Objectives, marketing Strategy, and marketing Tactics. Instead of starting with campaigns and how much they cost, we ask leadership…
“What are the top three business objectives for the company this year? In five years?”
The answers to this question are the “Os” in POST. They set the foundation for the marketing plan as each strategy and tactic will directly align with a goal the leadership team wants to achieve. Then we ask:
“How will you judge if marketing has been successful when we regroup in 12 months?”
Once we have the answers to this question, we can assign marketing performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPI). In order to get a monster budget approved, it’s vital that marketing strategies have quantifiable performance metrics stated.If we are willing to be held accountable as marketers, then we’re more likely to get the budget we want. Click To Tweet
Next Up: Marketing Strategies and Tactics
Now we have the high-level business objectives and performance criteria documented, we can put together the marketing strategies to support them.
Under each strategy should be tactics that will aim to accomplish the strategy.
Here is a marketing strategy/tactics example:
Strategy #1: Assist sales with converting 50% more sales qualified leads (SQLs).
|Ensure CRM and marketing automation system are synching correctly to measure SQL conversion.||$5K||Q1|
|Submit our latest customer success story to industry media to boost company’s validity.||$60K PR retainer||Q1|
|Give sales team content to handle objections at Spring and Fall trade shows.||$20K||Q1, Q3|
|Develop and launch a return-on-investment calculator.||$12K||Q2|
|Create an executive brief and case study for the new product launch.||$8K||Q4|
|Pitch industry analysts on our new product launch.||$24K AR retainer||Q4|
POST Really Works
You might be saying to yourself, that this goal alignment process seems like common sense. Yep, it is. It is a logical exercise, but SO many companies and marketing departments don’t do it.
It’s easy for the C-level to redline spend they can’t easily articulate or justify. It’s harder for them to ax the budget for a marketing campaign that will increase SQL conversions by 50%. Click To Tweet
Your Turn. What Works for You?
As your fellow marketing leaders start budget planning, do you have a process you’ve used in the past to get more budget? We’d love to hear from you.