Chloe Washington, HubSpot
To justify their marketing spend, marketing leaders are under constant pressure from their organization to deliver ROI. With ever-changing plans and budgets especially, they’re grappling with the best way to do so, whether that’s through reallocating funds from canceled events, reducing their overall budget, or, as everyone has heard, pivoting (the marketing buzzword of 2020?) their campaign strategy to address their audience’s focus on remote work or virtual events.
To get a sense of the current struggle, let’s take a look at what marketing leaders Denise and Christine have been up to. Working at a major U.S.-based computer parts supplier that pulled in $4 billion in revenue in 2019, Denise heads up campaign strategy as demand gen leader, while Christine, as a campaign manager, makes sure the right campaigns are running.
Although they’re rock stars at their jobs, things don’t always run smoothly. Honestly, it’s a bit of a nightmare when they try to get everyone—the entire marketing, sales, and finance departments—on the same page in order to bring their plans to fruition. Via Zoom chat, Denise and Christine took us through this arduous process, which typically (and unfortunately) takes place over a couple weeks’ time.
(Note: Denise and Christine, although they seem like nice people, don’t really exist. However, their struggles are not unlike those we’ve seen from our own discussions with marketing leaders who are looking for more efficient ways to achieve their goals.)
It’s Monday. Denise—hard-pressed to drive leads through campaigns that resonate with the target audience but remain sensitive to the country’s current state of affairs—comes up with a great idea that she knows will hit a sweet spot with what her prospects care about. However, it’s a timely campaign that Christine needs Denise to execute right away; the longer they wait, the fewer qualified leads they expect to deliver to sales.
2. The Ask
Denise can’t move forward with the idea until she receives word from her boss (we didn’t ask what his or her name is, but we’re going to guess it starts with a B) that there are available funds in the marketing budget.
Christine, who often plays the middleman between Denise and the other marketing and finance execs, knows there’s a big chunk of money the organization is getting back from canceled events in Q2 and Q3, but she doesn’t know how much exactly. To investigate, she emails the marketing finance department.
3. The Manual Work
The marketing finance leaders read Christine’s email, fire up Excel, and get to work on manually inputting the latest budget numbers—which have needed constant updating the past few months—so they can give their best estimate to Christine.
It’s a hectic time for the company, especially because many employees aren’t all accustomed to remote work, so they don’t finish the spreadsheet until Friday. In the end, they’ve compiled a spreadsheet with 447 rows and 18 columns, prepped and ready to deliver to Christine, who plans to deliver the goods to Denise.
4. The Dilemma
There’s one problem: Another marketing finance group in the company’s office in the U.K. has undertaken the same process this week (ending up with a slightly smaller spreadsheet of 322 rows and 14 columns), and they’ve already gotten budget approval for their own new marketing campaign.
Consequently, back in the U.S., by the time the spreadsheet has gotten in Christine’s and then Denise’s hands, their numbers are out of date—a blunder both the U.K. and U.S. teams realize late in the day on Friday during their weekly conference call. Time to get all the spreadsheets together next week and try to make sense of what budget everyone should really be working with.
5. The Blame
As head of demand generation, Denise has to make sure Christine and her team are running the right campaigns while, at the same time, considering the company’s entire revenue process and monitoring sales’ follow-up on the leads generated from these campaigns.
So, the next Monday, trying to orchestrate all the moving parts, Denise calls for a new meeting with Christine and the marketing finance leaders, who will all sit down virtually with the U.K. team to go over respective spreadsheets. They’re not able to secure a spot altogether until Wednesday afternoon, and the clock continues to tick on Denise’s time-sensitive campaign idea.
On Wednesday morning, Denise gets a call from sales, who wants to discuss what’s next in the campaign pipeline. Had she been able to secure budget approval for her idea a week and a half ago, she’d be able to let sales know exactly what she’s working on to help in their area.
Instead, she’s stuck explaining the current struggle: Despite everyone’s best efforts, a lack of real-time visibility into everyone’s marketing and finance data is hindering their ability to execute campaigns efficiently. On the surface, it may look as if poor campaign manager Christine isn’t performing, but the blame falls squarely on the organization’s disjointed process for managing their data.
Now let’s go through the same exact process again, but instead, we’ll add in the company’s usage of a centralized marketing planning, finance and performance solution (like Uptempo!).
It’s Monday. Denise—hard-pressed to drive leads through campaigns that resonate with the target audience but remain sensitive to the country’s current state of affairs—comes up with a great idea that she knows will hit a sweet spot with what her prospects care about. However, it’s a timely campaign that Denise needs Christine to execute right away; the longer they wait, the fewer qualified leads they expect to deliver to sales.
Denise still can’t move forward with the idea until she receives word from her boss that there are available funds in the marketing budget.
Denise logs into Uptempo, sees that the U.K. group is working on their idea and how much of the budget they’ve allocated, and fits her ask into the remaining budget. Christine logs on and sees Denise’s idea, along with the immediate approval from Denise’s boss; it’s not only a fabulous idea, but it fits perfectly within the remaining budget, which, as they can all see, accounts for company-wide marketing campaigns and spending by vendor, region, product, and target audience.
3.The Manual Work
The marketing finance leaders read Christine’s email, boot up Excel and get to work on manually inputting the latest budget numbers – which have needed consistent updating in the past two months – so they can give their best estimate to Christine.
It’s a hectic time for the company, especially because many employees aren’t accustomed to remote work, so they don’t finish up the spreadsheet until Friday. In the end, they’ve compiled a spreadsheet with 447 rows and 12 columns, prepped and ready to deliver to Christine, who plans to deliver the goods to Denise.
Within the software, the company’s marketers have managed their budget by campaign hierarchy, while the finance teams have managed the same budgets based on their general ledger hierarchy, supported by a tight integration between the two functions, no matter where they are in the world.
The best part is that everyone’s looking at the same data in real time, so nobody’s out of the loop (except maybe Sam from social media marketing, who seems to be enjoying the newfound flexibility of remote working and hasn’t logged on to Uptempo since—let’s see—mid-March?)
Now that Christine’s approved the plan, sales’ calendar has been automatically updated with the new activity launch date—bringing marketing and sales in immediate alignment, allowing Denise to kick off her campaign.
Time spent? Five minutes.
4.The Dilemma Success and 5. The Blame Accolades
The campaign ends up being a huge success, and Denise receives the appropriate kudos from sales during the next company-wide virtual Zoom meeting. Now, there’s only one dilemma facing Denise and Christine: Can someone figure out whose audio is creating this unbearable echo?
Our software helps revenue-centric marketing leaders like Denise and Christine plan better, work more efficiently, demonstrate their value, and align themselves with corporate strategy so that everyone is rowing in the same direction—in a timely manner! Let us know if you’d like more information on how it could do the same for you.