Almost Second Half: Time to Revisit Your Marketing Plan?
As you approach the second half of 2018, your marketing programs should already be reaping the rewards of your efforts. Marketing should help elevate your brand, build your pipeline, increase the acquisition of net new customers, and, if you’re selling cloud, ensure that you’re getting renewals.
If that is not the case, now is the time to evaluate your approach. Regardless of your results to date, it’s always important to conduct a wellness check on your marketing plans.
As you do a mid-year review of your marketing results, here are some key aspects to keep in mind:
- Goals: Make sure your goals are clear, specific, measurable and focused on desired results. Here’s an example: By year’s end, we want to have 25 net new customers; cloud solutions and services will represent 75% of our revenue mix; and we want to achieve a 99% renewal rate in subscriptions licenses.
- Sales forecast: Check with your sales team and ask: Are the goals realistic? The forecast should stretch you but be attainable. I also recommend checking previous forecasts to compare actual versus plan.
- Set marketing budget: Marketing has hard costs, but the returns should be worth it. A general rule of thumb is 5% of revenue to maintain your current state and 10% of revenue to increase your market share. This varies quite a bit based on the maturity of your business and several other factors. Don’t forget to invest appropriately ahead of the business and not react just to the current situation.
- Tactics: Your inbound tactics to attract prospects can include blogs, social media, podcasts, digital case studies, banner ads, infographics, videos, events, and paid search and search engine optimization. Your outbound tactics to push to customers and prospects can include email, direct mail, radio and TV, print and online advertising, telemarketing, events and trade shows, newsletters, cold calling and social selling.
- Build a timeline for execution: Chart your marketing activities on the calendar; when to build, develop and execute your tactics.
Marketing Must Showcase Real Value for the Customer
There are three things I often see missing from many partners’ marketing:
- Attention across the entire customer lifecycle
When it comes to attracting new customers, you need to demonstrate the value of what you’re offering–a value proposition not only around your organization, but services and IP that you provide. Almost equally important, though, you need to speak the customer’s language.
In other words, what language resonates most with them? And then use this language to clearly articulate how you will help customers achieve their business goals, how easily you will implement solutions for them, and what it means to them–in their line of business, industry and, of course, to their bottom line.
In the context of the customer lifecycle, it’s important to continue marketing to your existing customers, as well as prospects, for the sake of cross-sell and upsell, and the all-important renewal business. Post-sale marketing is vital to maintain a cloud revenue stream; if you forget about it, you’re likely losing not only renewals but revenue growth opportunities.
Strong Vendors Will Help!
Your vendors should provide you with a well-rounded approach to help you become a better, smarter marketer. At SAP we require marketing training, resources and plans from our partners. We also provide enablement on the latest proven digital marketing techniques, along with easy-to use tools, resources and assets, and even access to full-service marketing agencies. We work with our partners to develop, fund and support actionable marketing plans that deliver results.
In addition to providing you with training and assistance, vendors should also be working to build their brand so that when you connect with potential customers they know the value of the company and what you’re selling. SAP’s recently launched campaign, which showcases our purpose to help the world run better and improve people’s lives, is an investment in providing SAP and our customers insight into our values and how we can help them succeed.
When the second half rolls around, will you have an effective marketing plan in place? Now’s the time to make sure.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.