The seasons are changing, leaves are turning and winter is just around the corner. What does that mean? It’s planning time for 2017. HI, I’m Andy Groller. VP of Digital Advertising at DragonSearch. A New York based marketing agency. In today’s video we’re gonna be focusing on effective planning and budgeting strategies for next year. The conversations that start today are going to have a lasting impact on the next 12 months or more. That’s why it’s so important that we look at things such as past performance, business goals, market analysis and more. Before we get ahead of ourselves let’s first focus on the most important part of any planning process; defining goals and objectives. Let’s start with defining corporate goals first. The obvious areas to focuson include: revenue, business unit growth, new logos and market penetration. With any growth goals, it’s important to not only look at the raw totals but also percent increases and realistically evaluate those against this current year’s targets. New logos are also critical to business growth as these are completely new accounts to your CRM. More new logos means more opportunities for growing your marketing funnel and thus overall business. After you’ve got your big ticket goals in place it’s now time to do some analysis to really set the stage for developing your marketing goals and strategies. In the planning process there’s a few key analysis that you should focus on. A SWOT analysis, a competitive analysis, a market analysis and a seasonality analysis. With your SWOT analysis, focus on such areas as value propositions, internal processes, brand awareness competitors, acquisitions in the market, market changes and fluctuations, new technologies to the market and finally product or service releases by your organization and others. When evaluating value propositions, compare your value props against what customers really care about. A good research tool for this is Reddit. Here you can gain insight into what customers think about you versus your competitors. When evaluating internal operations and processes think about things such as your marketing automation program or tracking systems or funnel velocity or sale standards. And with brand awareness, do people know that you do X, Y and Z or just X and Y? Explore your target market a little more and analyze such things as changes in consumer preferences, changes in buying behavior, new competitors entering the space and overall market growth. In addition to overall market growth, how’s your organization’s share voice stack up against that growth? Is it growing with the market or staying fairly constant? This point of analysis is going to shed light on to whether you need to deploy larger branding initiatives going into next year. When conducting a competitive analysis, here are a few key areas that you should focus on. Their product versus yours in terms of features benefits and problems solved. Their content versus yours. Are they mainly focused on self promotional content or they turning out educational content that fills the top of the funnel? And their marketing channels versus yours. Are they running paid ads? Are they active on social media? And how are they talking to the market at large? Finally there’s a seasonality analysis you should conduct because we all know how sensitive B2B is to seasonality. Besides looking into when intent or engagements fluctuate throughout the year, also analyze the buying behaviours of the market in Q1 and Q4. Q1 is a time of new budgets being available whereas Q4 is the time of year with money to burn through before the year ends and budgets are reset. Knowing how these buying behaviors impact your business is key. One way to understanding these buying behaviours is looking at how your products or services are consumed, from an operational versus a capital expense perspective. Capital expenses are generally one-time investments. A good example of this is if your company sells IT hardware. Capital expenses in general are likely to be purchased in Q1 or Q4 when larger amounts of funding are available. Operational expenses, which are typically recurring costs and not one-time investments, are less seasonal generally speaking. If you operate a SaaS company, you’re likely an operational expense to your customers. Lastly with seasonality, take into account internal factors around your sales team and sales incentives. Understanding how and when performance bonuses are in place, will help you know whether that ridiculously large deal that just closed was a result of a really good lead, or the salesperson being incentivized to hold off on closing the deal into the last minute. All of this analysis can be extremely frustrating and in some instances time-consuming. But it is critical to setting your marketing goals. At the corporate level, goals are focused on performance indicators such as revenue and new logos. A the marketing level, we want to create goals that are more aligned to the marketing funnel. Define goals for each stage of the funnel for marketing engage leads or MELs, all the way down to sales qualified leads and deals. Also define goals for converting a prospect from one stage to the next. Besides hard number goals, it’s ok to have fuzzy marketing goals too, such as wanting to use more marketing automation or testing new marketing channels such as social advertising. These fuzzy goals set the foundation for a testing and experimentation mindset which is going to lead to growth and more opportunities down the road. At this point you’ve laid out your business and marketing goals. You’ve analyzed so much your head is beginning to spin. But now comes the fun part, asking for money to hit those goals. Before you go asking for money it is critical that you bring together all of your marketing partners to understand how each of their channels and responsibilities will ultimately impact goals. Set up a marketing partner summit to go over strategies, tactics and experiments. This summit is going to provide the information you need to effectively budget for the coming year. When it comes time to request budget align those requests with your goals. Try to separate branding budget from direct response budget and ensure it’s clear how each of those budgets will impact the business goals. Also plan out budget across the year using insights gained from your analysis. And lastly plan for budgetary overages, ask for more than what you actually need. Effectively planning and budgeting for next year takes time and input from many different parties including your internal sales team and external marketing partners. Ensuring that everybody has a seat at the table is critical to making sure that you have a successful year. Outlining your business and marketing goals and getting budget approved for next year is just the first step in next year’s marketing plan. In the B2B marketing world content is a key driver performance, all the way through the marketing funnel. So laying the groundwork for a solid content strategy should start now too. Tune in next month when we discuss content mapping and content strategy so that you can hit the ground running in achieving your goals. In the meantime if you have any questions about what we talked about here today, please feel free to reach out via [email protected] You can also stay up to date when our latest marketing videos are released by subscribing below.