• Many B2B sales and marketing organizations develop their annual plans separately, resulting in missed opportunities
  • At SiriusDecisions Summit this year, Craig Moore and Steve Silver will discuss new processes to align sales and marketing planning processes
  • Both analysts recently joined in a candid conversation about what often goes wrong in the planning process – and how it can be fixed

The annual plan at any B2B organization sets the course for the year, ideally giving the sales and marketing teams the information and resources they need to help them meet – and exceed – goals. Unfortunately, sales and marketing often develop their plans separately, without sharing critical information for ensuring alignment and mutual benefit. 

At this year’s SiriusDecisions Summit, Craig Moore and Steve Silver will present processes for aligning the SiriusDecisions Sales and Marketing Planning Models, which are designed to get all components of the organization’s revenue engine firing in accordance with corporate goals and go-to-market plans. By using these models, sales and marketing teams can develop effective annual plans that improve alignment from the start and keep the teams on the same page throughout the year.

businessmantalkinginameetingAs they put the finishing touches on their Summit presentation, Craig and Steve recently spoke about the annual planning issues currently plaguing B2B organizations – and how these models can provide a better way:

Craig: Sales and marketing have a hard time developing their respective annual plans. They’re good at developing these plans on their own, but they tend to be out of sync with each other. A lot of the time, the problem stems from either side not having the right information given to them as they begin the planning process.

With the SiriusDecisions Sales and Marketing Planning Models, we want to help people involved in sales and marketing planning understand exactly what information they should be given as they develop their annual plans. For example, what corporate information on overall goals for the year is important – what does the profitability picture need to look like, and what are the direct and/or indirect sales goals? When sales and marketing get all that information, they can see how it all affects their own functions. 

Organizations shouldn’t create their plans in a vacuum; they must keep in mind all the people working on plans in different departments. Sales needs to consider what the marketing team needs to look like, for example. Does the organization need to increase the number of people in certain roles and decrease the number of people in other roles to adapt to the new goals being defined? Our new models help all teams understand the necessary information for making those adjustments. There’s an entire section of the process to build functional interlock. Then, we’ll help organizations understand that by building out their plans sequentially, they can roll it into what they need to do to execute. 

Steve: Marketing has a lot of information available on markets, prospects, customers and buyers, but sales often doesn’t leverage this info as part of its planning process. In many cases, sales plans are not delivered before the start of the actual fiscal year, so the result is a lot of lost sales productivity. As the fiscal year starts, the sales team has to deal with delays in rolling out comp plans, account assignments, quota allocation and so on, so they’re delayed in working leads and haven’t yet figured out what they’re being paid for this year. 

SiriusDecisions research shows that only 14 percent of organizations say they have aligned processes across marketing and sales. We are trying to help them fix that! At most organizations, the teams are doing their own thing – marketing might be doing a lot that doesn’t help sales, and sales might not be achieving its objectives because it’s not getting the full value of what marketing can do. 

With an aligned process, both teams are working toward a deadline. The idea is to have all plans ready at the start of the fiscal year so that they are ready to go. Teams might say they don’t have time to collaborate, but it makes a difference when they ensure they start on the planning early enough – and have a structured process to follow. 

Craig: Plus, C-suite executives do not always know what they need to give sales and marketing to help with annual planning. This is worse when marketing loses out on potential resources because it’s not as aligned with sales as it should be – and then the organization suffers. 

At our Summit session, we’ll answer the question “What are the things you need to be able to build your plans, from the marketing point of view and the sales point of view?” We’ve identified the go-to-market structures, roles, resources and other needs that must be allocated, and we will share the back-and-forth information that should be exchanged as the sales and marketing plans get refined. If you get those right for sales and marketing, you can put together an effective plan.