Foundational Marketing

How to Master Fiscal-Year Planning and Pipeline Forecasting

By Trusted CMO

Creating a fiscal plan that inspires your team and garners enthusiastic support from executives and board members is not easy to do. Often GTM teams are "stuck" with plans based on a company goal that feels impossible to reach and is not correlated, or attributable, to performance data. We know how that story ends.

Recently, I took part in a workshop for ops and marketing pros from small and large companies. Together we discussed how the fiscal planning process could be less painful if we could only better educate our stakeholders on what GTM investments drive pipeline and closed/won opportunities. What seems like a straightforward process is often one that marketing teams can't support. For example, which TOFU campaign drove closed/won deals? 

Be an orchestrator of growth

CMOs need to have revenue-oriented mindset, and their teams' work should be connected to pipeline. But this is frequently not the case. According to Deloitte, 6% of CMOs said they were actively working on growing revenue across the business (Deloitte Review, Issue 22).

As CMO, you should be asking yourself:

  • Where do we need to invest to generate enough pipeline to meet our annual goal, and why those investments?
  • How do we know if we have enough pipeline coverage for in-quarter sales?
  • What is our strategy for contributing to a new logo-sales objective?
  • How are we keeping customers actively using our product and adopting new features? 
  • Which campaigns, channels, and activities resulted in pipeline that converted?

The answers to these questions will help you glean what you know and can show, and where you'll place bets and budget next.

There are six areas of focus to help CMOs plan for next year.

Precision planning: Breaking down sales plans and predicting ideal pipelines

A major theme addressed during the workshop was the importance of precision planning. By breaking down sales plans according to market segments, organizations can accurately predict ideal pipeline multiples, optimizing account and lead plans accordingly. This approach ensures alignment between marketing objectives and sales goals, increasing the likelihood of success.

Budget optimization: Connecting budgets to pipeline objectives

Aligning marketing budgets with pipeline objectives was another crucial topic covered. By estimating budgets based on account and lead plans, organizations can connect their financial resources to specific pipeline targets. Conducting top-down and bottoms-up budget analyses helps validate the models and ensure that budgets are effectively allocated.

KPI health check: Quarterly objectives

Translating the fiscal year plan into quarterly objectives is a key strategy for success. Set objectives related to sales funnel stages, pipeline creation and coverage, and contributions to new logo sales. By breaking down priorities into quarterly increments, organizations can track progress and adjust strategies more effectively.

Go-to-Market tuning: Building the demand engine

Building a best-in-class demand engine was highlighted as a vital component for marketing success. By monitoring demand engine activity on a weekly and monthly basis is best for quickly identifying and removing bottlenecks to increase marketing (and sales) efficiency and reduce risks that could hamper growth. A unified approach that involves all functions—marketing, sales, SDR, and partners—ensures coherence and enhances effectiveness.

Multi-touch attribution: Measuring marketing campaign influence

Multi-touch attribution in measuring marketing campaign influence is how we know what's working. But there are different models one should use that allow for a closer look at what's driving success and seem less hand-wavy. Models including First-Touch, Last-Touch, Linear, U-Shaped, and Time Decay attribution. And one new one: Proximity-Based Attribution.

Proximity Attribution values recent interactions with the greatest impact on conversions. Calculating campaign ROI and visualizing marketing campaign influence is critical in tracking performance and informing future strategies. Companies should adapt their marketing campaigns based on what is proven to work and put a pause on anything that isn't or the team can't support.

Similarly, this type of attribution can indicate where you should invest and apply more budget or headcount. With data and insights everyone can see, and asking for a bigger budget becomes a lot easier!

Executive Reporting: AI in Action

Translating marketing efforts into a predictable formula is finally possible with AI-powered executive reporting. AI can help marketing organizations effectively track, measure, and aggregate marketing performance, providing ongoing insights and education for all the stakeholders.

By embracing precision planning and setting annual quarterly objectives based on performance data, organizations can better plan and navigate the next fiscal year with increased confidence and better results.

Workshop findings and information summarized above were presented at an event produced by Mperativ. For more details and a comprehensive understanding of the platform and how planning could work better, get in touch!

See what we can do together

See what we can do together

Lets Talk

Blog Articles