B2B Marketing Blog

B2B Marketers Guide To End Of Year Planning

By Andrew Nguyen
Oct 10, 2016
Find me on:

What happens once a year where people get so excited they don’t need their morning coffee?

Answer: End of year planning.

flow_chart_for_end_of_year_planning.jpg

All jokes aside, the most important elements of a B2B marketing strategy is knowing where to find potential customers, how to reach those potential customers to fill the funnel, and how to compete to close those customers. Marketers can improve their strategies with end of year planning.

Let’s dive right in and discuss what that game plan is.

Think Target Accounts And Audience Groups

The central focus areas for end of year planning fall into these two categories:

  • Target Accounts: You have target account lists that are grouped by territories, industry or deal size (small, medium-mid-market, and enterprise). Some target accounts turned into deals and some did not. How do you increase the win rate next year? An annual review of target accounts and associated performance data can help your team hone in on critical areas to improve win rates.

  • Audience Groups: We have different goals for different audience groups. We want to attract anonymous visitors, nurture prospects through the funnel and upsell or renew contracts for customers. End of the year planning is the perfect time to look for patterns around your different audience groups in order to make tactical improvements for the next year. You may also find patterns that help with marketing strategy, such as investing in a new initiative or axing one that didn’t result in positive ROI.

So let’s generate some ideas for reporting that can address these important areas of annual planning.

Reporting On Target Accounts At The End Of Year

If your organization targets accounts with specific messaging or marketing campaigns it’s time to review how they performed.

When thinking about target accounts, consider which accounts performed above expectations and which ones performed below expectations.

Why did certain target accounts result in revenue and higher rates of closing? Did enterprise accounts close at a lower rate than mid-level accounts? Why?

Layering onto your data parameters like region/territory, amount of engagement (sum of touchpoints), quality of engagement (in-person event vs. digital ads), industry, firmographics, etc. can help you understand from a reporting perspective why target accounts became customers.

For example, group high performing accounts together and then slice them by the above mentioned parameters. See any patterns? Did you expect any patterns that aren’t there?

Do the same for low performing accounts. Perhaps you realize that accounts in a certain part of the country are performing poorly and committing marketing budget to the region to boost engagement should be an initiative for the next year.

Also consider whether certain target accounts have an opportunity to scale. As you plan your year, knowing which target accounts deserve higher priority based on likelihood to close can make budget decisions fun. Well, as fun as they can be.

Using these reporting ideas as starting points, explore your reports and data further by grouping and slicing your data with different parameters:

  • Top X Target Accounts With The Highest Average Deal Size

  • Top X Target Accounts Lowest Average Deal Size

  • Top X Target Accounts With The Fastest Close Rate

  • Top X Target Accounts With The Slowest Close Rate

Learning From Audience Segments For End Of Year Planning

Audience groups vary widely, from job roles to location in the buyer journey, and it’s important to look for trends on an annual basis.

For example, when it comes to renewals or churn, are there any patterns around who is churning? While we’ve covered this question by slicing the data by industry or region, personas may be another way to slice your data and search for patterns.

For thinking about growth and demand for next year, consider:

  • Are there new personas that you’re going after this year which should be defined and tracked in your CRM?

  • Which personas and audience groups have engaged with your campaigns and ad groups?

  • Does your targeted content engage the right personas?

Answering these questions can help your demand and content team understand how to grow an audience and fill the top of the funnel by creating better ads and content. Understanding how audience groups respond to your marketing campaigns is knowledge that can be used for iteration and better targeting for ads.

Account-based marketing is going digital as new online marketing capabilities allow targeting at the company level. For audience groups this means identifying the job functions in a target company that you have not engaged with yet. For example, you can run a report that tells you which personas, say the CFO, that you have not engaged with yet. This will help your demand team to focus their efforts on engaging CFO’s in the next year.

Some ideas for audience and persona reports:

Revenue Generated By Channel By Persona: This tells us which channels your most valuable personas engage with most.

Revenue Generated By Content By Persona, Top X: This tells us which content your personas engage with most. This can be measured by blog article URL or Form URL for content downloads. Filter by job title text to understand seniority (e.g. manager or director) and domain expertise (e.g. director of "marketing operations" or "demand generation").

Engagement Levels On Key Accounts By Persona: This tells us who is engaging most on key accounts. Focus on who isn’t engaging on key accounts. This creates opportunities for marketing to help sales close deals faster by engaging stakeholders who lack engagement on key accounts.

Here are additional ideas:

  • Top X Industries With The Greatest Growth In Demand

  • Top X Industries With The Greatest Drop In Demand

  • Top X Territories  With Highest Customer/Revenue Growth

Conclusion

With so much orchestration and hustle needed to get marketing campaigns planned and launched, it’s nice to take a step back and look at the fruits of your labor. End of year planning consists of using attribution models to understand what generate revenue, and then ask why.

Grouping your campaigns and accounts in different ways, layering on filters/parameters, and simply exploring the available reports at your disposal will help your team achieve bigger milestones the following year.

Definitive Guide To Pipeline Marketing  Everything you need to know to be a revenue-focused B2B marketer.  Download Now

Topics: reporting, B2B Marketing

  New Call-to-action