Q1 Check-In: Are You On Track to Hit Your 2021 Goals?
We’re nearly two months into 2021. Meaning you only have 85 percent of the year left to hit 100 percent of your goal. So let me ask you:
Is your pipeline on track to get you over the finish line?
Is hitting your goal feasible given the time remaining?
Do you know if you’re ahead, behind or on track?
If you’re not sure how to answer these questions, or if you answered “no” to any, then this article is for you. Read on for a crash course in pipeline analytics and marketing planning actions you can take now to course correct -- and get ahead -- in 2021 and beyond.
1. Establish a pipeline reporting infrastructure
Answering the questions above requires a solid understanding of your company’s sales pipeline. To do this, you need a reporting infrastructure that reflects three key metrics:
The target value of your sales pipeline
The actual value of your sales pipeline
Total revenue by month
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Target Value of Your Sales Pipeline
This is the total dollar value your pipeline needs to be in order to hit your goals. To back into your target pipeline value, you need to know your close rate and your average deal size (AOV).
If you need to win $50,000 of new business in a given time frame, with an AOV of $10,000, you know you need to win 5 new deals. If your win rate is 25%, you will need 20 deals in your pipeline to close 5. Your target pipeline value would be $200,000, or 20 deals x $10,000 AOV.
Actual Value of your Sales Pipeline
This is the total dollar value of all active sales opportunities in your pipeline.
Before calculating, ask yourself: Do we have a methodology for qualifying leads? If your pipeline is just a duplicate of all the sales activity in your CRM, then the answer is likely no and you need to define what qualifies a lead. At Rise, we use the BANT methodology to do this, asking:
Do they have the budget to spend?
Do they have authority to make the purchase?
Do they have an urgent need?
Do we know the timeline?
There are a lot of sales methodologies out there. Pick one that works for your business and ensure everyone uses it. Once you’re working with clean data, you can calculate the value of your pipeline.
Total Revenue by Month
Track how your business is progressing toward its annual revenue goal on a monthly basis. This way you can identify if and when marketing may need to make up ground to close gaps. (When that happens, it’s time to tap your triage plan -- more on that later.)
2. Stand up a steady-state marketing plan
This is your year-long marketing plan complete with the defined strategies and tactics you’ll put into place to achieve your revenue goal. You poured a lot of energy and smart thinking into this plan, so believe in it. Have the confidence to let it breathe and see it through.
Then, each month, assess how your plan is tracking against the goals you’ve set. I’ve written in the past about the value of using a framework to guide this assessment. For Risers, this is a set of five questions known as the Rise Five. We apply these questions to our client work, and our own:
What are our goals?
What’s our budget?
How are we tracking against goals and budget?
What are we going to do about it?
Sometimes, your steady-state plan isn’t enough to get the job done. Maybe a big loss or win shrank your pipeline. Or unexpected events threw you off course (I’m looking at you, 2020). This is when you trigger your triage plan.
3. Have a triage plan at the ready
A triage plan includes the near-term tactics you can quickly activate and are proven to generate results. It’s your answer to the last Rise Five question. That is: When the data says you’re falling behind, this is your best bet at getting ahead.
Tactics will vary by organization, but promotions are a common lever that businesses can pull when looking to make up ground. For example, e-commerce brands may want to target customers who are most likely to purchase during sales events with a special offer. (Reinforcing why first-party data is the most valuable data.)
For B2B marketers, you could turn up the volume on email marketing campaigns or pitch quick-turn incremental programs for existing customers.
Keep in mind that when your triage plan is “on” it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation. Everyone in the organization takes on a sales or sales support role. When this happens, new revenue-generating ideas could come from anyone, so embrace collaboration and idea sharing to uncover this new thinking.
4. Ask for more budget (Then be flexible if you don’t get it.)
I believe if a marketer isn’t asking for more money, they’re not doing their job. (Let’s not forget, we’re here to grow our businesses!) This ask shouldn’t be limited to the planning season. And it shouldn’t only be tied to new, big ideas. Activating a triage plan, for example, is an ideal time to ask for more budget. These added activities shouldn’t come at the expense of your steady-state marketing plan. Rather, make the pitch for why you need incremental dollars and back it up with data that proves out the ROI.
Now, you won’t win every time. That’s okay. Stay nimble and be ready to shuffle around your steady-state marketing plan and budget to accommodate what you need to do in the short-term to get back on track. This is a lot simpler to do when you have a solid reporting infrastructure in place and confidence in your data.
5. Go on the offense with data
If you take away anything it should be this: Always arm yourself with data. So often, marketing leaders find themselves playing defense -- defending their spend, ROI and decisions. Get ahead of this by seeking out data that validates why you’re ahead -- or behind -- and what you want to do next.
For me, it all comes back to the idea that data breeds confidence. Confidence to ask for more budget. To course correct. To not panic. Being comfortable with data is the hallmark of today’s new-age marketer. Get out there and seize it.
That’s it. Five things you can start doing right now to take control of your pipeline and crush your revenue goals. Have anything you’d add or takeaway? I’d like to hear it -- let’s connect.