It’s that time of year. The leaves are changing and, for a limited time, seemingly everything can be pumpkin spiced. Most importantly, as a B2B CMO or marketing leader, it’s time for you to step up to the table and ask for next year’s budget.
Odds are, you want more money for 2015. In order to get it, you’ll need to convince your boss that you’ll be able to increase your customer base, reduce CPA, and meet company-wide growth objectives. A plan and a prayer is no longer viable and, faced with a complex buyer’s journey, B2B marketers must present data-backed strategies to gain the confidence of boards and executives—and secure enough money to excel in the coming year.
But marketing today is responsible for much more of the revenue cycle—interacting with number stakeholders across countless touchpoints—and most marketing leaders lack the insights they need to succeed. How can you get a grip on performance across the buyers’ journey, and make sure that investments are mapping to the activites that drive revenue?
5 Tips To Map Your Budget to The B2B Buyers’ Journey
- Attribute every meaningful touch.
Be complete. Many marketers use first or last touch attribution, though, because the B2B buyers’ journey is so complex, these methods are becoming increasingly ineffective. Marketers today must implement multi-touch attribution to understand how every campaign touch is performing all the way along the buyers’ journey—not just at the top or bottom of the funnel. Accurate attribution allows marketers to not only evaluate previous efforts, but also predict pipeline and revenue changes throughout much longer revenue cycles.
- Use 80/20 Modeling.
Don’t stress too much over the exact attribution model (for now). If you’re new to multi-touch attribution, start with a Pareto distribution model (the 80/20 rule), which credits 80% of the conversion value to the first and last touches while the remaining 20% is distributed across all the nurturing touch points in the middle of the customer journey. Done is better than perfect and by understanding the value of various mid-funnel interactions, you’ll be able to more intelligently craft nurture campaigns that translate to revenue, and improve your attribution model over time.
- Consider activity alternatives.
Good decisions come from good options. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but make sure you’re running at least a few scenarios to gauge how well different activities are performing across the buyers’ journey. In doing so, you’ll be able to identify revenue levers (gaps and opportunities) to guide investment decisions as your strategy evolves over the course of the year.
- Know where you stand.
Have an idea of how budget will cascade into revenue over time (i.e. your revenue waterfall). Put measurement tools and processes in place to make sure you can identify lead progress through various stages such as MQL, SAL, SQL, and so on. This will allow you to follow along to ensure that you’re tracking to targets at each stage—and make necessary adjustments—all the way through to revenue.
- Communicate your plan to sales, execs, and the board.
Today, CEOs, CFOs, and boards care about one thing: growing pipeline, revenue, and profits. How fast are we growing this quarter/year vs. last? How much revenue do you forecast for the next quarter/year? Why are you confident in these answers? With knowledge of historical campaign performance, and a demonstrated ability to measure, interpret, and act on real-time performance data, you’ll earn the respect of company decision-makers and the budget you need to succeed.
No marketer can afford to be inefficient. In today’s economy, an emphasis on smart spending and accountability demands that marketers prove their programs’ ROI with intimate understanding of prospect engagement throughout the entire buyers’ journey. CMOs and marketing leaders must evolve to be increasingly data-driven, armed with the confidence to make big, data-backed decisions quickly.
Supported by the right technology—namely, B2B marketing analytics solutions—this dream has already become a reality for many who’ve been able to transform marketing operations, and tie marketing activity directly to revenue. In doing so, leading data-driven marketers have been able to more effectively interpret, plan, and predict, and give company decision-makers the confidence that every dollar invested in marketing in 2015 will be a dollar well-spent.