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    1. Leads – Number of Sales Qualified Leads delivered to Sales
    2. Opportunities – Percent contribution by Marketing to the Sales Funnel
    3. Wins – Percent contribution by Marketing to Sales Revenue



How and where you spend your resources will be critical to achieving these goals.  Get it wrong and you’ll have a painful conversation with the CEO to look forward to.


When it comes to marketing budgets, I typically see two camps:


  1. Those that spend way too much on the wrong things
  2. Those that miss critical spend categories altogether


Marketing Spend Assessment and Best Practices


Sign up here for SBI’s Annual Research Reportt. Get a peek at what the best in class marketing leaders are planning for Next Year and why. Also, download our Marketing Spend Assessment tool and Best Practice.


Spending too Much on the Wrong Things

There are way too many budgets that include bloated dollars for things like trade shows, promotion, sponsorships and advertising.  I’m not saying these are not important.  But what’s the return on investment?  Ask yourself, how many actual real opportunities came from a trade show.  How many actual customers?  Most of the time, the only participants are other vendors.  The only reason to participate is to see who’s there and who’s not.


The buyer has changed.  The new buyer is well informed, technology enabled, saturated with media, and suffering from information overload. As a result, he does not have the time or the desire to meet with sales people. Therefore, he self-directs his educational process in search of a solution to his problem.  The new buyer isn’t hanging out at trade shows.


Your marketing budget has to reflect the new buying behavior of your customers and prospects.  Find out where your buyers are going to get educated and spend money there.


Missing Critical Spending Categories

Here are seven must-haves in your 2014 budget:


Buyer Personas – Personas are research-based, modeled representations of who your buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, whatgoals drive their behaviors.  You need to know your buyer cold.  Allocate dollars for the research and work required to produce quality buyer personas.


Buyer Process Maps – Marketing must engage the buyer early in their journey.  You can’t if you don’t know what’s going on.  The Buyer Process Map (BPM) does just that.  A BPM maps the decision making process used to purchase a product, service or solution.  It includes Buying Phases and Key Buyer Actions.  BPMs also include the Micro Questions buyers ask themselves along the journey.  Marketing should help the buyer answer his micro question.  If they do, they pull the buyer along their buying journey.


Content Creation – This is by far the marketing leader’s biggest challenge.  They all struggle to produce sufficient content in enough quantity and quality to enable lead generation efforts.  The information saturated buyer craves ‘relevant & timely’ content.  If it’s not relevant & timely, the buyer ignores it.  Some tips on content creation:


  • Avoid the temptation to outsource content creation.  No one knows your buyers better than you do.  Leverage internal SMEs to produce relevant & timely content.
  • Do a content audit.  Use your Personas and BPMs as the backdrop for the audit.  This will show where the gaps are and provide a content creation roadmap.
  • Make sure your content is multi-modal.  Let your buyer research, personas & BPMs drive your content output: Blog Posts, Ebooks, White Papers, Newsletters, Customer Interviews, Video, Webinars, Slideshare, Print Articles, Live Events.


Demand Generation – Deploy, launch, measure and optimize all relevant modes of Demand Generation to stimulate top-of-the-funnel activity and generate Inquiries. You also want to create campaigns that nurture leads that are still early in the buying process.


Lead Management Process – Here’s a critical item often overlooked by marketing leaders.  The purpose of lead management is to nurture & qualify early stage inquiries into sale-ready leads. If you don’t have a lead management process, you will have a leaky funnel.  Make sure to include Lead Management in your budget.


Lead Management Staffing – Lead Management requires a person toexecute 1-on-1 nurturing and qualification of marketing leads. The Lead Development Rep (LDR) is not a tele-marketer.  An LDR is not a sales rep either.  Their role is to increase the quantity and quality of leads provided to sales.  If done correctly, the LDR is the first human contact a prospect has with your company.  They make that vital first impression.  The LDR’s job is to stay with the prospect and nurture them until they are sales ready.  


Marketing Automation – Marketing Automation is the art and science of automatically managing the targeting, timing, and content of your outbound marketing messages in response to prospects inbound actions and online behaviors.  The software automates lead management and campaign management.  It also facilitates implementing a Marketing Reporting Framework or ‘closed loop reporting’.  Don’t invest in marketing automation unless you have fully executed steps 1-6 above. 


CALL TO ACTION:  Next Year is fast approaching.  What’s your budget look like?  Where are you going to allocate your people, time and money?  Most marketers just add 5% to last year’s budget and wing it.  These don’t last very long.  Plan differently this year.  Make sure your budget includes the seven key categories above. Also, make sure to sign-up for the research tour here and download the Marketing Assessment Tool.