Even though some of the immediate business impacts of the COVID shutdown has started to abate, one of its more lasting effects has been to throw most enterprise 2020 marketing plans into total disarray. Tradeshows and field marketing events have been postponed indefinitely, and this has brought about a continuing scramble to fill the lead flow and sales pipeline. With so many plans in flux, many organizations have a renewed focus on sales and marketing alignment. More specifically, companies are taking a closer look at how marketing is supporting corporate goals.
It’s easy for a CEO to say that they want two things out of marketing – brand, and demand – but it’s harder to create and drive clear connections across these two objectives that continually support the corporate strategy. If you’re working on changes to your marketing budget right now, this blog post can help you think about reallocating budget and strengthening your marketing strategy. And for some fresh insight on navigating demand generation with so many programs canceled this year, you can read this to maintain engagement with your prospects. And to bring it all together, use this one-page planning worksheet to draw a clear line of sight from business objectives to key actions.
Aligning the Marketing Plan to the Company Objectives and Business Strategy
It’s not always easy in large companies, but ideally, every marketing manager in the organization should be able to directly map any program or tactic against the corporate strategy. Being able to answer these questions helps ensure alignment during planning and execution. What’s the business objective? What’s the corporate strategy against that objective? How does this turn into a marketing plan and programs? And more importantly, how are you driving integrated execution throughout the organization for maximum impact? Managing to a clear line of sight across these five points will help drive marketing alignment.
- Business Strategy. Built from the overall corporate objectives, the sales, marketing, and product leaders should define the key market opportunities and desired outcomes for the fiscal year. Ideally, these need to be very clear priorities that can be actionable by the marketing teams. If the top opportunity for Product A is new logo acquisition, then that dictates a set of demand generation programs. If the top priority for Product B is renewals and upsell, then that might be more of a customer marketing and customer success motion. Are there clear and actionable priorities for new logos, account expansion, and cross-sell?
- Marketing Strategy. The business strategy needs to be translated into marketing objectives, a strategy, and the requirements that drive and support the annual planning and goals. The marketing strategy should answer critical questions across the motions, such as what’s the scope and budget for each priority? The next step is to define the responsible parties and cross-functional teams to support the strategy.
- Campaign Planning. A clear marketing strategy leads to fully integrated campaign planning across content, programs, and tactics published on a marketing calendar. In addition, KPIs and a reporting cadence should be developed. Pro tip: Reporting out to stakeholders early and often is very important, and should never be overlooked.
- Demand Generation. For the campaign plans, develop the programs and tactics to fill the sales pipeline with enough coverage to achieve bookings goals. If this is an installed-base campaign, should you look at ABM? Is customer education needed such that a custom web experience would be best for communication?
- Integrated Execution. For best results, execute campaigns that are fully aligned within marketing and sales and across functions to deliver programs that achieve targets. Keep in mind both PR opportunities and localization needs.
Every company does some of this at some level, but companies that excel in revenue marketing have defined processes and checkpoints for keeping marketing investments very clearly linked to the corporate strategy and supporting the business objectives at every step.
Without clear alignment within the marketing organization and across the sales and product groups, marketing plans will have limited effectiveness in supporting the business strategy and corporate objectives. To help you get started, we’ve made it easy to evaluate your line of sight across your marketing plans with this strategy evaluation worksheet. If you need some more ideas and support in market segmentation or messaging, SBI is here to help. Click here to contact us and schedule a commitment-free consultation on developing your revenue marketing strategy or aligning sales and marketing for outsized revenue growth.