5 Things Your Board Wants from Marketing Now (+ Always)

If you’re a marketer today, you are likely thinking about how to resume growth or, at least, how to avoid another round of budget cuts. A fair amount of change and dire predictions about the economy and public health may be making it hard to prioritize. 

Here are 5 areas to focus on to drive marketing performance and put you in control. These are designed to help you provide Board of Director-relevant information. You or your manager will need this to communicate your plan for minimizing the revenue disruptions (and maximize the opportunities) created by the pandemic. And, if you are ready for the board, you’ll also be ready for your manager and internal and external teams. They are also good things to do quarterly even outside of a crisis.

“If you are ready for the board, you’ll also be ready for your manager and internal and external teams, whether or not there is a crisis.”

1 | Update Your Funnel Forecast

Why: As the world went into lockdown, each part of your marketing and sales funnel was impacted. You may be seeing more site visits but fewer new opportunities, for example. You need a solid understanding of what these changes are and how they will impact your ability to meet revenue goals and re-forecast for 2020 and into 2021.

How:

  • Invest in basic MarTech tools to help if you don’t have them. The sooner you have visibility into the funnel, the better. If you don’t have a CRM or other tools in place, a well structured Google Analytics instance that includes conversion events is a great place to start.  
  • Get your dashboards together to show:
    • Top down pipeline showing all revenues by lead source
    • Marketing and sales funnel conversion at each stage
    • Sales cycle length
    • Average deal sizes (ASPs) by product, region, etc.
    • Bottoms up pipeline showing revenue by quarter, rep, customer and product
    • Marketing channel performance
  • Update the forecast in real time and meet weekly with sales to be sure you can act early and often
  • Use weekly meetings to determine where you can have the most impact in the next 2 weeks and focus on tackling those visibility or conversion challenges

2 | Protect Existing Pipe

Why: Deals that are already in the pipe may be the most likely to close and close quickly. You want to do everything you can to close them to minimize revenue losses. The Board will be keen to know you have a plan to protect these deals.

How:

  • Meet weekly with sales to SWAT team all in-progress deals – determine what content, conversations, convincing needs to happen
  • Re-evaluate your expected close rate and dates by sector. Avoid “happy ears” and be conservative here so you plan for the worst case scenario. This will enhance your credibility with the board and save you if some sectors don’t perform as planned.

3 | Optimize Spend

Why: Since the situation is very dynamic, it is very important to be agile with your marketing budget. This requires knowing at a granular level what you have available for people and projects and how your spend is performing. Being able to shift funds to higher performing options or extending the life of your budget may be critical.

How:

  • Review subscriptions and spend, turn off things that aren’t performing well or aren’t critical now
  • Assess the ROI of each marketing channel, divest those that are not yielding, invest in those that are performing – focus on channels that will help you drive known pipeline vs. experimenting with new options

4 | Adapt Your Marketing

Why: Just as with spend, it is very important to be agile in your marketing approach and thinking right now. The 2020 plan is going to need some updating to be effective and reflective of the new budget and market realities.

How:

  • Target Market: Keep an eye on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) – this may be changing almost monthly. Assess:
    • Who can buy now? Think enterprise vs smb
    • What verticals are most impacted? Think travel vs security
    • Which geo’s are hardest hit? Think NY vs TX
    • Who do we sell to? Think operations vs customer support
  • Events: Shift to online, experiment with formats
    • Try running more smaller events, vs monthly larger events
    • Shift to online field focused events that are smaller, engaging an executive audience in virtual roundtables, for example
    • Try turning your annual event into a full day virtual conference
    • Look for ways to make your virtual events more personal and fun – that impression will stay with your audience post pandemic. For example, create Zoom breakout rooms for smaller groups to dive deep or send gift cards for Uber eats for a lunch and learn session
  • Messaging: Time to change it up again
    • Communicate – let customers and prospects know what you’re doing and what they can expect from you
    • Shift to free content offers and away from ‘in these unusual times’
    • Add an opt in to direct mail or incentives to get engagement
    • Monitor changes in keywords to be able to adapt and stay relevant
  • Competitive Positioning: Be proactive
    • Monitor competitors in media, on social, by visiting their websites and by learning from sales what they are hearing from prospects – share this with execs, the board, the marketing and product teams
    • Listen for ways competitors may be undercutting your deals and prep sales and exec teams with responses – the sales team will know what’s being said in the market so be sure to tap them as a resource
    • Adapt your messaging to reflect how you are meeting the needs of the market better than competitors now – for example “we’re the only solution that meets the needs of first responders…

5 | Get Aligned with Sales

Why: This is a great opportunity to increase alignment with your sales team, and it’s necessary. The Boards will want to see you are working together effectively.

How:

  • Communicate more
    • Send a weekly email with everything that marketing is doing (social posts, campaigns, etc.) – this can also be shared with execs and the board
  • Set standing meetings with sales
    • Hold a weekly 30 min mandatory session to understand current messaging, updated battle cards and competitive responses, and where to access resources
  • Continue or institute standing weekly/semi-monthly meetings to share info on deals and GTM effectiveness
  • Ping sales counterparts on slack to get pulse of what’s happening in real time and build rapport
  • Make sure you understand sales workflows and how the sales team likes to be communicated with (especially virtually) so you can maximize marketing’s impact

You may not be asked to present to the Board, but you might be and it’s best to be ready. In any case, if you are hitting on these five cylinders, you can be confident that you are being proactive and are able to adjust as needed. Not only will you shine, but your marketing will be that much more effective and appreciated.


Related Resource | See these tips and more covered in a Content Marketers Meetup Webinar Video and Slides.

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