Microsoft Dynamics ISV Marketers: Start with Budget, But Finish with Sales

If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics ISV marketer and your marketing budget can be described as “let me check this year’s rates on the same marketing vehicles we’ve always used,” then chances are you’re not doing the more intelligent budget allocation that Michelle Glennie recommended in a recent Partner Marketing Group blog post.

Developing detailed budgets for new content creation initiatives is a key part of the marketing mission, but only a part. To take Michelle's ideas further in one direction (and for this post we're talking specifically about Dynamics ISVs), an upfront expectation of quantifiable results should be the other key component that drives marketing investments, especially in what she describes as the “mid-level” and “large” activities. Spending thousands on a great white paper can become a waste if it becomes a paperweight at your event booth for the next two years, or if it is available online but generates just a few downloads from your existing nurture list and fails to account for many net new leads.

Too many Dynamics ISVs we talk to are putting serious budget into marketing activities that will yield very little output later in terms of quantifiable results. One all too common example goes something like this: a Dynamics ISV spends $40,000 per month on Google ads, paying $30 to $60 per click to drive people to their site. So Google can now tell them what it costs to get a pair of eyeballs on their landing page, but the ISV execs can’t or won’t (or maybe just don’t want to) calculate the real cost per lead of such a program. Yet they hold steady on their PPC ad campaigns month after month, throwing serious money at it with just a vague sense that it is keeping the sales team happy enough at the current spend levels.

Not knowing is not a great excuse, but it explains why so many marketers still struggle to compare their marketing investments on anything resembling a level playing field. Instead, the discussion becomes a mixture of gut feelings on the importance of a program combined with sales team feedback and some solid metrics from certain programs that, unfortunately, can’t be compared to anything else in the mix in any useful way.

In today’s digital marketing environment where CRMmarketing automation, and content-driven lead generation programs can provide data at a far more granular level than ever before, the gulf between the old “gut” marketing investments and the new data-driven ones can be substantial – and uncomfortable to face head on.

So next time you write the check for a program that you’ve “always” done, make a note to check back when it’s over to see whether you can trace it back to any marketing or sales results based on data. If the answer is still hazy, think about allocating some of that precious marketing budget to something you can stand behind with evidence and real results.

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