B2B Marketing Blog

5 Steps for Better Marketing Planning: A CMO Blueprint

By Alexis Getscher
Dec 18, 2017
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The B2B industry is beginning to see a new seat at the C-suite table-- Chief Revenue Officer. More often than not, Sales owns the role and Marketing reports into it. If you’re a CMO and you don’t want to end up reporting to a sales-grown CRO, here’s what you can do.

It starts with revenue.

Historically, Sales shows dollar signs while Marketing shows engagement metrics. For Marketing to receive the credit it deserves, it has to start reporting on revenue.

Here are 5 steps CMOs can follow for better marketing planning based on revenue.

CMO blueprint for marketing planning

Don’t Quit at the Top of the Funnel

Marketers must drive new leads, but they can’t simply stop there. They must shift focus from lead quantity to lead quality. It doesn’t matter if they drive X amount of leads if none of those leads turn into closed deals.

Marketers too often treat the bottom of the funnel like a black box. Marketers hand leads to Sales and their job is done. The first step to marketing planning based on revenue is to implement an attribution solution and track marketing through to closed deal and dollars.

The data provided by marketing attribution shows marketers which efforts drive quality leads that turn into revenue and allows them to report the dollar amount they drive with their efforts. Instead of saying, “my LinkedIn ad received 100 clicks,” marketers can now say, “my LinkedIn ad drove $50k in new revenue.” Revenue numbers hold a lot more weight than engagement metrics.

Own Revenue

Once the marketing team starts reporting on revenue, they have to go all in and own it. Revenue has to be their ultimate goal. If the team is writing blog posts, how much revenue are they driving? The same goes for social ads, events, ebooks and webinars. All marketing efforts should be optimized for revenue and success should be determined by ROI.

Revenue should be a part of all high level conversations, which means that CMOs have to start reporting revenue numbers to the CEO. This includes making quarterly and yearly plans based on revenue (we’ll get to this later).

Taking revenue ownership to the next level, CMOs can even compensate or bonus their team based on hitting revenue goals. This truly puts Marketing on the same level as Sales.

Partner with Sales

Although they may go about it in different ways, Sales and Marketing have the same goal of driving new customers. Revenue is something the entire company generates and teams need to work together to do so.Lead quality

Thanks to the rise of account-based marketing, many B2B orgs have already headed down the path of aligning Sales and Marketing and have seen the benefits of doing so.

In the 2017 State of Pipeline Marketing Report, marketers who responded that 50% or more of their efforts were account-based, listed “Converting Leads to Customers” as their Top Marketing Priority. When both teams work together, the bottom line benefits.

Since the sales team is in constant contact with prospects, they know the types of content that resonates and educates the best. When the teams are aligned, Sales relays that info to Marketing, and Marketing can get to work creating valuable, educational content that will help convert leads to customers.  It’s a match made in Revenue bliss.

Avoid the Flaw of Averages

Marketing planning today is marred by the flaw of averages. Instead of actuals, marketers use averages to report metrics like conversion rates, sales cycle and deal size.

For example, the average sales cycle could be 6 months. But how many deals ACTUALLY close in exactly 6 months? Not many.

Every account is different. If marketers are planning based on averages, they’re planning based on bad data. This flaw amplifies when things like seasonality and conversion rates across aggregated channels are included.

To get accurate forecasts, marketers need to start planning on actuals. Which brings us to our last step.

Get out of Excel

The only way for CMOs to start accurately reporting and planning to revenue, is to get out of Excel. The rest of the C-Suite has software dedicated to planning: CFOs have Anaplan and CIOs have Apptio, but CMOs get stuck using software from 1990.

In Excel, marketers are limited to the data that can fit inside Excel. Depending on the number of channels and subchannels the team is investing in, this can turn into a giant, messy spreadsheet with a high likelihood of error since all numbers come from manual data entry by individual channel owners.

Excel table

Bizible’s Revenue Planner solution solves this problem.

It gives CMOs the power to plan and forecast revenue by channel, subchannel and even campaign level. Based on machine learning and historical attribution data across a variety of channels, industries and segments, Revenue Planner gives CMOs accurate forecasts based on actuals instead of averages. This allows CMOs to present multiple revenue plans to the CEO and adjust investments based on the efforts that drive the most revenue and ROI, instead of clicks and conversions.

To get the credit they deserve and avoid reporting into a sales-grown CRO, CMOs must optimize, report, and plan to revenue. Using the steps above as a blueprint, CMOs can earn their seat at the revenue table with the rest of the C-suite.

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