A marketing plan is vital to every business and the idea is to leverage your resources in such a way that you get the maximum impact at the minimum costs. When you align marketing in a solid plan, you can understand how to reach your business goals and objectives and choose the right tactical mix.
There can be several varieties of marketing plans – very general to highly detailed.
But the purpose of every marketing plan should be the same – It should be able to tell exactly who your customers are, where they are and how you can reach them.
Before you start scratching your head to figure out a marketing plan, you first need to discuss your business goals and objectives, and create a business plan.
It’s also essential to make sure all these objectives are quantifiable and realistic at the same time. And each one of them should also have a timeline associated.
Why it’s important to align marketing goals with business strategy
Aligning marketing plans and goals with business strategy seems pretty obvious, but not many organizations practice that in reality. Many marketing teams work independently, selecting tactics from a hat and chasing the shiny object of the moment. “Hey, I was just at this show and company XYZ was doing this and it was really cool, we need this immediately!” Does this sound familiar?
Before you go and shift all your resources to make “Shiny Object X” a reality, take a step back and think about how this tactic (which shiny objects mostly are) will ladder up to an overall strategy, which ultimately is tied to a specific goal.
Don’t even think about doing any of this without your sales force at the table. Gone are the days of marketing and sales bickering and arguing like rival siblings for the family’s attention. Get over it and just make it work.
The next five (5) points discuss how to align marketing tactics with your overall business strategy.
1. Determine the revenue target
Revenue is the first thing you need to determine as this will also decide the total amount of efforts needed and the total marketing budget as well.
Determining revenue is easy, all you have to do is decide what percentage you want the company to grow by, typically you will receive this sort of direction from the board and shareholder expectations. Suppose you are expecting 20% growth, analyse your books, see how much you already anticipate through organic growth and the number you are left with is the target you need to carve out through clever marketing.
2. Determine the number of sales you need to reach your revenue goal
Take the revenue gap that you found in the last point and divide that number by the average amount you make from each sale. What you will get in the end is the total number of sales that you need to make in order to cover up the revenue gap.
This number will give you a great idea about how many sales you should be making through your marketing efforts.
3. Figure out opportunities and closing rate
To figure this out, you would have to revisit last year’s revenue numbers. The closing rate determines how many customers you were able to land against the total number of opportunities you got.
So if your closing rate is about 50% and you need 12 more sales to complete the revenue gap then you would at least need 24 opportunities in the funnel at the proposal stage, and even more as you get to the top of the funnel.
4. Determine quarterly benchmarks
Set your quarterly benchmarks in the beginning of the year and always remember to set higher benchmarks for the fourth quarter as opposed to the first one. All your benchmarks should include metrics for every important business goal. The old saying “You cannot manage what you can’t measure” is certainly true, driving a car without being able to see is madness.
5. Develop a marketing budget
Now that you have determined everything else, it’s time to decide your marketing budget. This can come in the form of operating cash or human capital required to execute on your tactical selection. But before we get to this stage, we should take a stab at estimating the correct return on investment from your marketing efforts (ROMI) to ensure that we have some solid numbers to take to the board when we go hat in hand.
It’s extremely essential to align marketing with business goals and objectives to make sure the entire organization is going in the same direction. The world is full of cool shiny objects, make sure when you have thought carefully about your tactical selection and ensure they are aligned with REAL world goals.