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Getting it Approved : Your B2B Marketing Budget

Jun 24, 2008
It's time to start planning your business-to-business marketing budget for the next financial year. Here are some tips and helpful ideas for designing your marketing budget and getting it approved. There are three main strategies used for creating B2B marketing budgets. These include:

1* Simply use the previous year's budget, adding or removing elements in order to arrive at the upcoming year's budget.

2* Use a sales percentage as the basis of the upcoming year's budget. This approach examines what you expect to take in as sales and multiplies the figure by a certain percentage. The result is the marketing budget for the year. For B2B marketing, the usual multiplier is 4 percent less personnel costs. If using this strategy, you should not simply use last year's sales to calculate. If the previous year was not a good one, and you are only going to budget 4 percent of it, you may not have enough in the budget to rise to meet growth in the upcoming year.

3* The best approach is to use what is known as 'blank-page' budgeting. This technique allows you to create the entire B2B marketing budget from your plan and the B2B communications strategies within to arrive at the final budget.

Understand the amount of capital you will require in order to meet the goals for the upcoming year. Beginning with a blank page, create a list of all the expenses to employ the B2B marketing strategies outlined in your plan. These may include things such as: materials, design, photography, contracted services, rentals, and postage. Add them all up to arrive at a total needs budget. It can also be a good idea to provide management staff with minimum, target, and stretch budget options.

The three budget levels will illustrate the amount of funding needed to meet the three levels of sales revenue. That is, meeting the minimum will cost X amount, meeting the target will cost Y, and expanding to stretch-level goals will cost Z. In most cases, when managers are shown a proposed marketing budget showing a relationship to the goals of the business, they will choose the budget that is connected to the goal they think is most important. This is altogether different from just cutting off a bit of the single budget number you have proposed.

Be prepared to explain your budget allocations to management in general terms. The proposal needs to contain a written strategic plan that is geared to all three of the listed budget levels. This plan should include a situational analysis, corporate goals, executive summary, a marketing strategy, calendar, budget and tactics. Don't spend too much time making your proposal fancy unless you're pitching an investor or applying for a bank loan. All you will need in most cases is a PowerPoint presentation with an Excel spreadsheet that lists action items and the budget itself.

If your budgeting proposal meets resistance from managers, you should re-emphasize the symbiotic relationship between your plan and budget the sales goals of the company. If there's talk of cutting from the current budget, ask which sales they are willing to give up on, as these cut will certainly end up meaning lower revenue from sales. At times, dramatic tactics can rally the managerial support you'll need. As an example, acquire some copies of all the business-to-business materials produced by your competitors, and, before your managerial meeting, cover the office room with this info. This type of awareness-enhancement has been shown to generate a positive response and a boost in the B2B budget.
About the Author
M. H. "Mac" McIntosh is described by many as one of America's leading business-to-business sales and marketing consultants and an expert on sales leads.
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