Marketers have a love-hate relationship with the end of the year. While it is exciting to wrap up a year and review performance, it is also a bit chaotic when planning for a new year. Have you thought about your B2B marketing plan for next year? Well, it might be a good idea to start. While it can be tempting to procrastinate planning, especially when the end of the year can be a busy time for organizations, it is valuable to stay on top of planning. Being fully prepared for the first quarter of the year can help an organization maximize leads and revenue and refrain from missing any opportunities. Whether the year is coming to an end, or you are reviewing and editing your plan during the second quarter of the year, it is important to keep certain things in mind when developing a B2B marketing plan. These four components ensure your marketing plan is successfully developed to increase leads, opportunities and revenue.
Understand What Has and Has Not Been Effective
While it is ideal for all marketing efforts to be effective, the reality is, some marketing activities are more effective than others. Understanding which efforts performed well, did not perform well or only somewhat had an impact, is necessary to determine what should be included in a new B2B marketing plan. Be sure to evaluate all your marketing tactics. This includes everything from content marketing to social media to search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing and more. Everything that qualifies as a marketing activity in your organization should be analyzed and helps round out the B2B marketing plan moving forward. Consider these three questions when determining what has and has not been effective:
- Which activities moved the marketing engine forward most effectively and influenced company growth and revenue?
- Which activities were star performers in terms of response and conversion rates, cost-per-lead, total revenue generated and overall influence?
- Which activities did not see any success and had minimal impact on overall marketing and revenue performance?
Have Knowledge of Emerging B2B Marketing Trends
In any industry, but especially marketing, it is important to be in tune with current and emerging trends as well as changes to technology, software and more. Trends influence many aspects of marketing that impact B2B marketing plans and overall business decisions. For example, with the addition of new social media platforms comes the opportunity for advertising on those platforms. Understanding how popular that social media platform is, who the audience is, what the costs look like and the potential for success will largely determine if advertising on that platform is worthwhile. As new trends take hold, such as new social media platforms, the usage of videos, the inclusion of voice search in SEO and more, there will need to be more consideration as to if and how to include them in your B2B marketing plan. Whether they are included or not, being up to date on new trends ensures you are keeping up with the industry changes and even gaining a competitive advantage.
Be Clear on Sales and Marketing Objectives
Too many marketing teams create goals and tactics that are not necessarily aligned with sales. This crucial error negatively impacts the relationship between sales and marketing and creates issues when developing a B2B marketing plan. It is important to be in the know of how the sales team is working and what they need from marketing to move prospects forward. For example, understanding the type and volume of leads that the sales team needs and when the time is to pass a qualified lead to them. Taking the time to strategize with your sales team also gives you the ability to revisit the segments and audiences you are trying to reach, tactics to get to them and the information they need before purchasing your product or services. While this is most likely a known thing, it is always valuable to have a conversation with sales since they are at the forefront of what’s going on in the market by being face-to-face with prospects every day. As a result, you will wind up with aligned goals and ensure that sales get what they need, not just what marketing thinks they should have. An empowered sales team is a more effective sales team, which directly impacts the bottom line and marketing’s value within the organization.
Consider All Possibilities When Creating Your B2B Marketing Plan
With trends, data and other teams in mind, it is time to put those together and create a marketing plan that will help your organization achieve success. Start by outlining all of the possible activities, while keeping in past performance, and prioritize them based on your expectation of what each one should produce. For example, if you found this year that SEO was a key factor in driving people to your website, this is something to devote more time and resources to in the future. In contrast, if you found social media efforts did not have a huge impact, but you want to keep a presence alive, then it might go lower on the list. Consider all possibilities. Maybe videos were not a large part of marketing activities in previous years, but it might be something to include this year based on trends. Whatever the case may be, do not rule out anything. Some activities have to be included, like content creation and branding. Content and branding heavily drive many other activities in the B2B marketing plan, so including these is non-negotiable.
Another thing to keep in mind is the budget. Including budget allotment for each activity will ensure it is approved and remains under the targeted budget. Having specific numbers tied to expenditures gives you the ability to properly evaluate cost-per-lead and other metrics that will help assess the efficacy of a marketing activity. And, it almost goes without saying, but you need to put resources into each of the marketing activities too. After budget tasks, it is a matter of creating a marketing calendar, and then individual action plans for each part of it. When it is all put together, it will surely be a detailed B2B marketing plan aimed to deliver success and increased revenue for organizations.
Want to get started on your yearly B2B marketing plan or make adjustments to your current one? Contact us today or request a free marketing consultation! We’ve helped many of our clients put together B2B marketing plans around their goals.