By Brian Hansford, VP of Performance Management

Marketing planning season is here for the top performing B2B marketers.  Yes, just one month into Q4 the most proactive B2B marketers are starting their 2019 planning process. I also know a lot of B2B marketers don’t start planning until late January simply because corporate objectives aren’t finalized and budgets aren’t set.  Even if that is the case, marketers can lead the way by preparing now for a successful 2019.

The most important reason to prepare now is more marketers are accountable for revenue performance.  Our latest survey on revenue marketing conducted with CaliberMind showed that 67% of B2B marketers are accountable for revenue performance. Accountability requires detailed planning and preparation on how to use resources for the greatest effect.  The days of activity-based marketing are over.

I suggest following these 5 steps to planning your 2019 marketing budget.  These steps build the case for the resources needed and the justification behind the proposed plan.

Here’s where I recommend starting:

  1. Demonstrate performance against goals by quarter and year.

Show exactly how the marketing org has performed against overall corporate and revenue goals including revenue, new customers, and existing customer retention.

  1. Measure your 2018 performance against strategic KPI’s, not activity metrics.

Now is the time to show exactly how marketing has driven the business and where opportunities exist for 2019. This means showing the data behind strategic KPIs like sales pipeline velocity, marketing-sourced revenue, cost per lead, cost per opportunity and cost per deal.

  1. Identify the top performing marketing channels based on objectives.

Now is the time to review the channels that produce the best leads and influence the most opportunities. Also, look at the channels with the highest performance based on the amount spent.

  1. Build new models that show what MORE you could do if you had more budget to execute more programs.

How can you justify asking for more budget in 2019? Show your CFO how the resources will help drive more results based on the models created from 2018.  The converse is true as well.  Sometimes you may need to cut the budget in some areas, which isn’t a bad thing. Show the impact based on facts and data and not emotion.

  1. Work with your CFO today to start the planning conversation.

What data would your CFO be especially interested in seeing from marketing?  Even if 2019 goals aren’t set, starting the conversation now will build a strong partnership. The CMO-CFO relationship is increasingly important and it’s never too early to confirm the KPI’s the CFO finds valuable in order to make budget decisions.

Don’t wait until January to reactively learn about your 2019 marketing budget. Be proactive and use the data from 2018 to show results to how effectively your budget resources were used to drive results. Create a position of planning strength even if you use planning proposals based on 2018 performance models.