At large organizations there are numerous responsibilities, ownership areas, and processes in place that make it difficult to identify opportunities to improve operations. It’s also difficult to prioritize which areas to improve or optimize first.
Every year marketers go through the ritual of annual planning. It typically involves working with team members to update a highly complex Excel workbook and an attempt to forecast leads, opportunities, and deals into the future.
Annual planning also involves working across departments to understand what marketing needs to do in order to contribute to the closing deals, generation of pipeline and the improvement in brand awareness.
A revenue plan is a set of revenue targets with an accompanying plan to reach them. High quality data, forecasting techniques, and large Excel spreadsheets are the typical tools marketing leaders use to build a revenue plan. Unfortunately there is a flaw in the typical forecasting process.
The Flaw Of Averages
One of the fundamental elements of a typical revenue plan is the conversion rate used to estimate growth. In order to decide how much to spend and where to spend it, we must rely on a single, average conversion rate for each channel. For example:
Paid search converts from a lead to opportunity at 8% on average.
And leads from organic search convert at 6% on average.
So to create a revenue plan you coordinate revenue targets, say $100,000 in MRR, and the use your conversion rate to understand how much you must invest.
But there's a pitfall in using an average conversion rate for revenue and annual planning.