If your company is deep in planning mode for 2011 (or soon will be, or should be), and you’re in charge of acquisition marketing, consider dumping the PowerPoint slides and lengthy Word documents this year in lieu of a single, simple spreadsheet.

It will save you time.  It will guide your work for months to come.  Your CFO will love you.

Think of it this way:

The first tab is the most important, as it represents a roll-up of how leads generated convert to sales opportunities and closed business each month or quarter.  If you already know what your lead-to-opportunity and opportunity-to-close conversion rates are, you should be able to plug in the expected sales figures each month or quarter, and the formulas will work back to 1) the required size of sales pipeline at the beginning of the month/quarter, and 2) the required number of leads to achieve that pipeline.  Relatively simple napkin math.

The second tab breaks down, by month and by channel, where those leads are coming from.  It demonstrates explicitly which marketing channels you will lean on, and with what expected lead volume, to contribute to the required overall figure to fuel the sales model on tab one.

The third tab demonstrates how you are able to achieve certain lead volume by month and channel.  For example, if you’re counting on email marketing, it will demonstrate how many emails need to be sent in a given month, with what expected response and conversion rate, to hit that number of leads.  Same for required search impressions and click rates, same for expected event or Webinar registration and/or attendance, etc.

You can make all of this more complicated, of course, by factoring in cost per lead and cost per sale (a really important thing to know) as well as variations in quality & conversion rates by lead channel.  And the specifics of how this overall spreadsheet should look will differ depending on how you’re selling, the channels you count on to close business, etc.

But for marketers who ultimately are responsible for helping a sales team and an organization close business and exceed new sales expectations, it all comes down to the numbers.  So how important is the PowerPoint or Word doc if it all needs to be metrics-driven anyway?  Why not go straight to the numbers?

Worth thinking about anyway.