To say that having a marketing plan is important would be an enormous understatement. The marketing plan is the lifeblood of your marketing department – the bible that guides all your marketing efforts. Get it right and you will enjoy great results; fail to do so, and you may lose more than just revenue.
There is no one marketing plan that can guarantee success, and that’s why businesses often struggle to get it right. In this article, we break down the most crucial elements of your B2B marketing plan.
1. Clear Objectives
All too often, business owners or marketers get too caught up in getting work done rather than the outcome of the work. This tendency, more commonly known as tunnel vision, can be fatal for a business as everybody loses sight of the ultimate goal and the bigger picture.
The key to overcoming this is to:
- Map out your objectives early on, as you build your marketing plan;
- Clearly outline how much you want to achieve and the time frame by which you want to achieve your goals;
- And reinforce these objectives during the course of your marketing execution.
It’s important to set the goals of your B2B marketing plan in terms of revenue and number of sales to generate so that your marketers clearly know what they need to achieve. Having these goals clearly defined will help your marketers be more outcome-oriented.
2. Market Knowledge
Time and time again I talk about understanding your buyers. That’s because it’s one of the things that can make or break your business. It is crucial that you know your target market beyond their target profile and target individual personas within a company.
Equipped with this understanding, you can build more precise campaigns which will help you generate better results.
3. Well-Defined B2B Marketing Strategy
Another key component of your marketing plan is your go-to-market strategy. Some businesses are guilty of offering the product or service they can deliver, without a clear strategy of how to actually appeal to your buyers.
Michael Porter, best known for his Five Forces model, outlines three generic competitive strategies for businesses: cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. The strategy then helps you identify your unique selling point (USP) which is the key to attracting your buyers. With the cost leadership strategy, your USP is cost, or price; Differentiation entails a one-of-a-kind product or service with a feature not offered by anyone else; while focus helps you narrow your audience to a segment of the market, or a niche, so you can offer the product that best matches their need.
Post strategy selection, outline your USP in the words of your buyer, i.e., their problem or need that you can solve or fulfil with your product or service.
4. Well-Built Campaigns
We’ve all had the argument of modern vs. traditional lead generation tactics, and read articles about the ‘death of the traditional marketing tactic’. I’ve seen first hand how businesses lose out when they are adamant on using tactics based on ‘what’s in’ that year.
Arbitrary tactic selection does not work in generating leads or sales, and only you will know if a tactic is unsuitable for your target audience. Identify tactics that correspond to your strategy and address your buyer’s problem, their journey and preferences.
Leverage a mix of traditional and digital marketing tactics, inbound and outbound lead generation tactics to enjoy the advantages brought out by each tactic. Then outline the tactics by stages of your buyer’s journey (including nurturing) to build an end-to-end campaign.
5. Precise numbers
If you think your objectives are the only numbers that should be in your marketing plan, think again. When you have your revenue objectives set, you need to determine which portion will have to come from new clients. Then, not only will you need to know how many sales to make to achieve your target objectives, you need to know the number of deals to close (and their sizes), the number of website visitors you need from various channels, the number of qualified leads to generate from each tactic down to the number of proposals you need to present. These need to be outlined month by month, year by year, to give your salespeople and marketers a clear view of the targets they need to achieve.
Essentially, you are building a Sales and Marketing Funnel to guide your people. And of course, both marketers and salespeople will need to be measured periodically on their success in delivering to these numbers.
These 5 key elements will help you make the right choices when building your B2B marketing plan and ensure your plan is successful in delivering according to plan. Find out if you have all the right elements in place in your marketing plan with our Marketing Health Check Tool below.
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