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My Shortcuts for Writing a B2B Marketing Plan

  • Schedule appointments with yourself in your calendar in block out the time you need to work on your marketing plan.
  • Start planning with an outline.  Goals.  Strategies for meeting those goals.  Tactics for implementing those strategies.  Costs. Timing. Owner. Due date.
  • Write the executive summary last. It might be first in the table of contents, but it is intended to be a summary of the following, more detailed information rather than the starting point in your plan writing.
  • Keep the plan high level.  For example if your tactics include ads in trade magazines, it may not be necessary to identify the specific magazines or ad formats until it is time to implement.  However, you might need to have given that some thought for determining the budget required and in order to be able to answer specific questions that come up when discussing the plan.
  • Break the planning and writing into chunks.  Work on one specific goal, the strategies for accomplishing that goal, and the tactics for implementing those strategies.  Then start on the next goal.
  • Interview key stakeholders before finalizing your plan. Your boss. Your boss’ boss. The sales VP. The loudmouth top producer and the quiet but passive-agressive sales rep. This will help insure their buy in and allow you to add in things that they think are important.
  • Realize that nobody ever has enough money or staff needed to implement the perfect marketing plan and all the tactics in includes.  Instead, prioritize and focus your plan on the five or so most important tactics for implementing each of a handful of strategies designed specifically to help meet the company’s sales goals.
  • Consider a three-option plan:  The first option designed to meet the company’s minimum sales goal. The second option designed to help meet a target sales goal (the minimum plan + these additional tactics.)  The third designed to meet a “double the business” or stretch goal (the target plan + these additional tactics.)  Then, rather than cutting your proposed budget, your senior corporate and financial management can pick the plan and corresponding marketing budget that is tied to the right sales goal.
  • Add some “nice to have” tactics, in addition to your “need to have” tactics, into the marketing plan and budget. These become the sacrificial lambs if management decides it must cut the budget.
  • Add activity calendars and spreadsheets of budget numbers as attachments.  Later you can use these same documents to manage the implementation of the plan.
  • The audience determines the delivery format:  Lender or investor?  It must be polished.  Internal decision makers and implementers?   Depends on the company culture but a PowerPoint™ or spreadsheet might be all you need.
  • Bonus tip:  Consider renting a hotel room for a day or two and go there to work on pulling together the final written plan and its attachments without interruption.

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