B2B Marketing Blog

How Marketers in 2017 do Marketing Planning [State of Pipeline Marketing Data]

By Alexis Getscher
Oct 6, 2017
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For the first time, in the 2017 State of Pipeline Marketing Report, we asked marketers how they do planning. They answered questions about budget, planning metrics, confidence in hitting revenue goals and ROI.

At Bizible, we’re huge advocates for planning all marketing channels to revenue. Marketers who track, report and plan to revenue, can level up and join the rest of the organization by talking business in terms of dollars instead of leads.

Of marketers surveyed, almost 30% said they create marketing plans based on Revenue targets or Customers acquisition targets. This post focuses on those marketers, and compares their responses to respondents who answered that they plan marketing to a Lead Volume or MQL metrics.

Overall, marketers planning to Customers or Revenue are more aligned with the greater business objective. A response of 4 or 5-Extremely Aligned received 76.9% of responses from those marketers compared to just 50.6% from marketers who plan to Leads or MQLs.

The same goes for Sales and Marketing Alignment. Marketers who plan according to Customers or Revenue reported their alignment with Sales as a 4 or 5 in 59% of responses, while marketers who plan to Leads or MQLs only reported a 4 or 5 on the alignment scale at 37.3%.

Marketing Budget

How much budget marketers get is directly related to how they plan their goals and how closely tied those plans and goals are to business value. It makes sense then, that 70.7% of marketers who plan to Revenue or Customers expect their budget to increase next year.

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On the other hand, of those that use Leads or MQLs as their planning metric, only 55.4% of marketers expect their budgets to increase, while 37.4% expect it to stay the same.

Planning to drive X amount in new revenue carries more weight than planning to drive X amount of leads, and when you can prove you are directly impacting the bottom line, it seems that marketing leadership is more confident in allocating budget to your efforts.

Confidence in Hitting Revenue Goals

Speaking of confidence, marketers who plan to Revenue or Customers are more confident that they will hit their revenue goals than those planning to MQLs or Leads. A response of 5-Extremely Confident or 4 received 60.9% to 38.6% of responses respectively.

Those planning to MQLs or Leads were far more likely to report a low level of confidence. They responded with a 1-Not Confident at All or a 2 at a rate 3 times higher than those planning to Revenue or Customers.

Confidence in Hitting Revenue Goals.png

These statistics aren’t surprising, though. If you’re focused on bottom of the funnel metrics, and do all of your marketing planning to those same metrics, it makes sense that you’d be more confident in hitting those metrics as goals.

Primary Metric to Measure Performance

State of Pipeline Marketing data shows that the metrics marketers use for planning go hand-in-hand with the metrics they use to measure performance.

The graph meets in the middle at ROI, where 12% of both groups said they use it as the primary metric to measure performance with stark contrasts between the metrics at either end.

Metric to Measure Performance.png

Almost 56% of marketers who plan to Revenue or Customers, also indicated the primary metric they use to measure marketing performance is Revenue or Customers. And 53% of marketers who plan to MQLs or Leads, named those same metrics as the ones primarily used to measure marketing performance.

Current ROI for Marketing

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Lastly, marketers who plan to Revenue or Customers see a higher ROI than those planning to leads. They are three times MORE likely to report an ROI of greater than 2x and two times LESS likely to report an ROI of under 1x.

The 2017 State of Pipeline Marketing supports what we at Bizible have based our business on. Revenue is the ultimate metric and there really is no downside to using this as the basis of your marketing planning.

The data shows that marketers who plan to Revenue or Customers are more confident in hitting their revenue goals, expect to receive more budget, are likely to receive higher ROI and more aligned with their Sales teams and greater business objectives.

If you’d like to see the full State of Pipeline Marketing report, you can download it in the link below.

2017 State of Pipeline Marketing Report  See how top B2B marketers drive growth  Download Now

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