There are many key parts to a marketing plan such as defining the product or service you want to promote, defining the target audience, the buyer persona, the offer, the tactics and finally, metrics that will help measure results. This is the area I will focus on today.
When building a marketing plan, make sure you base it on set goals. Have you planned key performance indicators to track engagement, prospects and leads into quantifiable results?
You might think it’s a difficult task to define metrics that will measure your program’s traction, but all you need to do is to start small and build from there. It does take some time and effort to achieve measurable results, but the long-term benefits to your organisation will be substantial! You can start by getting your inside sales rep to ask prospects where they heard about your company and to keep a log of those responses for analysis.
A great starting point for a marketing plan is to define areas of the business that will help your organisation be more successful. Start with areas you want to grow and align marketing and sales activities to achieve the desired outcomes. Looking back on last year’s results can help you assess which areas need attention, whether that is a high growth area, steady or declining. Your strategy will vary for each scenario.
1. Defining a strategy aligned with sales goals
Determine the business strategy and sales goals to identify focus areas, so you can align activities to meet objectives.
Here are some examples of business goals you can create metrics for:
Your sales team is a very important group you need to align with. By collaborating with them, you can develop tactics to help them be more successful and contribute to your plan’s results. Get their input to help identify the criteria that qualifies a potential lead and you will develop a true partnership with your sales team and a win-win strategy.
2. Setting SMART Goals
By setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART), you will be able to track the effectiveness of your marketing plan, programs and tactics. These can be monitored and adjusted depending on the tactics used and help you align with business goals.
Your goal to report ROI is to focus on clearly defined metrics, such as:
3. Examples of measurable metrics and critical success factors
Goals, strategies and marketing tactics can be clearly aligned with key performance indicators to determine if they are on track to be successful. Examples of those can be viewed in the table below.
3. Setting realistic metrics and KPIs
From a strategy perspective, you should determine which metrics are going to help your company boost revenue, attract your targeted audience, and convert quality prospects.
When defining metrics, you’ll need to do your homework. For example, if you're expecting to add 300 new customers for any given period and the plan is to draw them from an inbound strategy like your web site and online ads, you need to do the math to see if this is a realistic expectation.
Here’s an example: To achieve the revenue goal of $600,000 from your inbound marketing, you’ll need 20,000 visitors, 500 leads, and 12 customers within the next 12-months from your inbound marketing efforts (Based on client value $).
You’ll need to check how many qualified leads you need to close X number of clients and how many total prospects you need to be able to deliver that number of qualified leads. Check how many clicks on your online ad or how many inquiries you get from your website to deliver that number of qualified leads.
Once you get that final number, you’ll need to ask yourself if that’s a realistic expectation. If it is, great! If not, go back to your marketing plan and evaluate what other marketing tactic could contribute to reaching your objective and how you will measure it. Some marketing tactics are more difficult to measure than others, or simply do not deliver leads but generate awareness. This can be a part of the process of moving your audience through the buyer’s cycle and qualifying them will happen in a future phase.
4. Aim for lead quality not quantity
What’s important is quality leads, not high quantities. The ROI you are striving for will come from leads that are qualified, with the right audience, and so on. You will reach your objectives if your message appeals to your targeted audience and peek their interest to engage them with your offer. Another important aspect to look for is the value of new clients that your marketing tactics delivered. If you’re spending $500 to attract a new potential customer worth only $100, then not only will your final sales metrics suffer but your cost of sales is out of alignment.
You might have a scenario where you are closing 10 new clients, but if they are small businesses and your goal was to attract larger businesses, then you’re off target. This is an example of your marketing being effective, but with the wrong audience. You’ll need to revisit your offer and messaging.
5. Your plan will not be perfect.
Your marketing plan is a living document that will evolve with time and adapt to the market situation and results. Learn from past programs, analyse and readjust based on tangible data to help you make smart decisions and determine your next marketing campaign.
Adjusting goals and programs should not be perceived as a failure - it's something that's completely necessary to keep improving effectiveness. No one has a crystal ball!
Best of success!
VSM works with companies looking to increase the performance of its Business-to-Business sales and marketing activities in North America.
We offer marketing consulting services and a range of services to help organizations find new business opportunities.
Contact us to discuss your marketing needs!
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