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How Effective Budgeting and Planning Accelerates Marketing Performance

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There‘s a little secret most marketers know, but don‘t talk about. According toThe CMO Survey of marketers, only 35 percent of decisions are made based on marketing analytics. Think about that. Just one in three marketing decisions is data-driven. The remaining decisions are based on experience and field feedback.

And, according to SiriusDecisions, fewer than 20 percent of B2B organizations are comfortable with their ability to quantify return on marketing spend. If only one in five are confident in their ROI, the rest are struggling and still learning.

Better budgeting and planning are critical to improving marketing performance. But how are marketers tackling these challenges in the real world?

David Johnson, Director, Product Marketing at Oracle, recently joined me to answer this question in How To Accelerate Marketing Performance Through More Effective Budgeting and Planning, our latest #RunMarketing webinar. Gina Reese, Business Intelligence Manager, Global Marketing Operations at Symantec and Amanda Lomas, Director of Marketing Operations and Analytics at Change Healthcare were also on hand to share their insider tips.

Read the recap below for their practical advice to improve your marketing performance.

What Does Performance Mean in Your Organization?

At Symantec, Gina said performance is defined both by best-in-class ROI and marketing funnel conversion metrics. In addition, marketing performance is meeting Symantec‘s marketing objectives, and annual and quarterly pipeline targets – measuring ROI holistically, as well as at the campaign level.

Amanda shared her team at Change Healthcare is ultimately responsible for bringing new opportunities into the sales funnel. Performance is measured through marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, sales accepted leads, and the conversion rate at each threshold. Performance is also measured through marketing‘s contribution to the pipeline and marketing ROI.

What‘s the Balance Between Driving Revenue and Delivering Marketing ROI?

There‘s a healthy debate as to where marketers‘ responsibilities lie – driving revenue or delivering marketing ROI. David explained he believes both are important priorities, and asked Amanda and Gina to weigh in.

They both agreed that ultimately the job is to bring in new revenue. But there are many steps along the funnel to achieve that goal. Defining success benchmarks and focusing on the metrics along the way show you‘re on the right track.

How Has Financial Management in Marketing Changed?

In the past, both Symantec and Change Healthcare relied on spreadsheets. However, it was difficult to answer basic budgeting and finance questions. And too much time was spent manually managing and combining multiple sheets across groups.

Both organizations now use Allocadia. Amanda said that Allocadia gives her the flexibility to organize data from a marketing perspective, as well as roll up the data finance needs for the overall corporate marketing budget.

Gina added that switching from spreadsheets to Allocadia has enabled her team to move from reactive to proactive decision-making. Setting up more complete and accurate data sets in Allocadia provides the necessary insights to answer budget questions in a timely manner, and do more predictive analysis, budget trend analysis and campaign optimization.

How Has Your Organization Handled Change Management?

Certainly, making a big change is never easy, and the same is true of rolling out new MPM tools. But Gina and Amanda offered several tips they’ve used to support their teams during the change management process to keep adoption high and get the most out of their MPM tools:

  • Involve a small set of cross-functional marketing “super-users“ throughout the process – from goal setting, vendor evaluation, selection, implementation and rollout.
  • Training, training and more training.
  • Hold annual meetings with marketing and finance to discuss changes needed in the marketing budget structure.
  • Create and update detailed user documentation. These materials provide users with everything to successfully use the system on their own.

Top Tips for Managing Your Financial Investment

Gina and Amanda closed the webinar by offering their top tips for managing your financial investment.

Gina suggested:

  1. Keep a close relationship with finance. For us, using Allocadia enables “one source of truth” for all budget-related information and eliminates the need for manual data entry work.
  2. Manage with a CMO in mind. Understand your CMO’s objectives and what types of questions they’ll ask. Be prepared to answer those on short notice.
  3. Consider whether your technology investment will be worth it. Don’t underestimate the impact of change management. You need a technology partner who will support you throughout the entire process.

Amanda offered these tips:

  1. Understand how your marketing budgets are going to be managed, and how finance wants to measure – whether it’s by a specific GL, category or market.
  2. Decide on the metrics you’ll report on by working with marketing and sales business leads.
  3. Don’t be afraid to remove previous process steps that don’t add value to you or your team.

Whether you‘re just making plans, or are already on the path to improving marketing performance, Amanda and Gina offered additional tips for better investment management. Listen to the full webinar recording for more of their insider advice.