Every year brings new challenges, and marketing makes no exception in getting its head around a new year’s plan. It might be very tempting just to close the door and embrace the thrill of new beginnings, but when the budget meetings start popping up, marketers everywhere shudder.
It doesn’t have to be the same for you! When it comes to planning and budgeting for next year, follow these steps to prepare:
1. Review Marketing Sourced and Influenced Pipeline
Articulating how marketing moves the needle on the business in the universal language of money is the single best way to justify your budget and value. Well-aligned marketing automation and CRM make it easier to see how many unique leads your paid efforts sourced, how many leads your campaigns influenced, and how much pipeline was driven by those campaigns.
2. Document Processes
The nature of marketing requires collaboration between roles within the department, but it can also create unnecessary overlap if processes and responsibilities aren’t clearly defined. Documenting your processes is a great help because it makes it easier to understand what went great and where you can do better and use the resources you already have to increase efficiency across future campaigns.
3. Realign with Sales
An added benefit of documenting your processes is that it can help you realign with the other departments. If you don’t already have a handshake agreement with sales on when and how you pass leads to sales and back from sales to marketing, you should prioritize making sure both teams sign off on the process.
Marketing and sales must agree on the volume and quality of leads created to make possible a seamless handoff. Sugar advocates for sales and marketing alignment through improved technology, offering a common platform that brings them together, providing a complete, closed-loop system lead generation, management, and revenue contribution.
4. Market Awareness and PR
Be realistic about your position in the market—good or bad. Pay attention to indicators like placement in analyst reports, the number of outlets picking up your press releases, and the volume of inbound media requests for interviews. Market awareness is not easy to measure, but once you understand how to fit it into your strategy, it helps you drive a higher volume of qualified leads. Your PR efforts can generate relevant backlinks on your website and ultimately help you rank better on Google.
5. Content Strategy
A good end-of-year activity is to outline your content strategy. Define everything from key topics on your business, content types, and promotion channels to help you shape your upcoming editorial calendar.
The most important part of reviewing your content strategy at the end of the year is understanding its impact on revenue. Did your content help elevate the quality and quantity of leads and ultimately grow new revenue? On the flip side, you should uncover what content did not perform well and why.
6. Sales Enablement
Arming salespeople with the right content could be the difference between an opportunity win or loss. Collaborate with your sales leaders to understand their needs and agree on presenting your products or services. Your content must work together with the content your sales reps use when approaching prospects—so they won’t get confused—and that you both match with the company vision.
7. Technology Audit
There are so many promising tools now for marketers that they might confuse you when deciding what’s best for you. Analyze your business requirements, integrations with other tools, and don’t forget about fixed monthly or annual costs. Not only are you consolidating tools, but you’re also making them work better for you.
Now that you’ve gone through these essentials, you need to determine how they fit into your overall marketing framework. Just make sure you build tangible and measurable goals in each marketing area and assign them back to each member of your team.
Don’t be afraid to ask for support within your company. Articulating the marketing plan helps set expectations and rally the company around common goals.
And remember: You’re marketers for roughly one-third of your week. Take a well-deserved break during holidays, and recharge for next year. The SugarCRM team wishes you lots of health and happiness in 2022!