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Building a B2B Marketing Budget for Uncertain Times

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The pandemic is prompting B2B marketers to revisit their budgets and outreach strategies. There’s never been a better time to implement revenue-focused metrics so you can allocate spend more efficiently.

To bend the curve and save lives during the COVID-19 crisis, people stayed home, and businesses scrapped roadshows, conferences, and other events. Some companies reduced staff and slashed budgets, and millions are working from home. While this disruption affects people’s lives and livelihoods, it also has a major impact on Marketing plans and budgets. For B2B marketers, there’s no time better than right now to build a B2B Marketing budget and plan that focuses both on Marketing efficiency and revenue generation.

As B2B marketers restructure campaigns and create new budgets, many are thinking about shifting investments to digital channels. It makes sense under the circumstances. But if you’re reallocating spend to do more with less, you need to make sure every investment pays off during this uncertain time, which means investing as efficiently as possible. These high-level tips can help you get started:

  • Revisit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and validate targets, making adjustments to account for the economic fallout of COVID-19.
  • Study funnel metrics, and find a way to accurately attribute revenue to campaigns so you know what works and what doesn’t. 
  • Select a message, content types, and specific channels, and then test combinations. 
  • Determine which combination worked best, and use that mix for a larger campaign. 

With the basics recalibrated, you’ll be in a better position to move forward with your strategy, but keep in mind that maximizing efficiency requires drilling down into the data to understand which types of digital marketing are working best from a revenue generation standpoint. Point solutions that provide data on clicks and page views are nice, but you’ll need data that sheds light on revenue and sales. 

Read more: How to Improve the Efficiency of Advertising?

You can start by taking a look at your historical demand generation efforts, noting the split between digital and non-digital campaigns and analyzing how each influenced sales. It’s important to find a way to attribute leads to campaign outreach. If you’re using a “first touch” attribution model, which credits the lead to the initial encounter with the prospective customer, you’ll likely find that digital campaigns play a key role in generating new interest. The question is, which campaigns are best and conversely, which are the worst and influencing revenue.

Here’s an example of a chart that shows how digital and non-digital efforts are influencing sales:

Building a B2B Marketing Budget for Uncertain TimesData like this can guide you as you re-plan your Marketing strategy to emphasize digital outreach. 

Velocity metrics are another important component, measuring the time it takes to convert a lead to a sale. It’s best to have insight into velocity at every stage of the funnel so you can identify and address any bottlenecks and get to revenue faster. Insight into velocity at every funnel stage also lets you gauge the effectiveness of any adjustments you make along the way. 

Here’s an example of a chart that illustrates how fast marketing qualified leads (MQLs) were moving through the funnel in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020:

Building a B2B Marketing Budget for Uncertain TimesThe trendline suggests a huge improvement in Q1 2020 results over the same period in 2019. Armed with that information, you can take a look at your program mix from those periods and consider potential velocity when developing your new Marketing plan.

This is a stressful time for B2B marketers, as professionals and as human beings. But we can do our part as individuals to flatten the curve and help those in need. On the work front, we can reevaluate plans we made for a completely different business environment and adapt to new circumstances. You’re Marketing data matters, so now is the time to measure your Marketing and be agile. 

Read more: What’s Happening to Brand Loyalty?

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