We’re all well-versed in the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has made things difficult on people in any industry, and B2B marketers have seen many of the same problems. While our job functions don’t qualify as essential like grocery, healthcare, or emergency service workers, we help keep the lights on at many businesses that provide jobs and bolster the economy.
The pandemic has caused everyone to adapt and make the best of our situations. The more we can work within the reality of today’s marketplace, the better our businesses will fare on the other side.
Many of us are frustrated by cancelled industry events, webinars that go unnoticed or unwatched, and campaigns that feel irrelevant in the current climate. But we can use the information we have gathered in the last couple of weeks to improve our revenue outlook going forward.
What do you do now that all your in-person events have been cancelled? If you don’t use that budget you’ll lose it—if someone hasn’t already found a new use for it.
By reprioritizing your budget and focusing your money on the campaigns that have the biggest returns, you’ll set yourself up for success. Use these four steps to conduct a thorough budget analysis and forecast.
Step 1: Check your portfolio for the biggest returns
For this article, we’re going to use our portfolio calculator. Make a copy of the Google Sheet under File>Make a Copy to edit your own version of the sheet.
Pull up metrics for the campaigns you’ve completed prior to COVID-19 shutdowns (September to February, for example). Include every type of campaign you run: content marketing, PPC, retargeting, email, and all types of purchased leads.
For consistency, use the same date range for every program you pull and try to gather at least 6 months of data. Enter those metrics directly into the portfolio calculator in the section at the top labelled Current Program Stats.
In order to get all of the calculations correct, you’ll need to gather and enter:
- Program name: this can be anything, as long as it makes sense to you
- CPL: cost per lead
- Volume: the number of leads you gain or purchase
- Conversion rate: the actual conversion rate you experienced for that program during the time period, not the expected conversion rate from a provider
- Pipeline: the dollar value produced by that program
These metrics will give you a good understanding of how each of your campaigns perform under “normal” circumstances. The calculator will automatically fill out your values for spend, conversions, cost per conversion, average opportunity value, and total possible pipeline.
You’ll also see your portfolio totals populate in the section labelled Current Portfolio. This is your “normal” baseline.
Step 2: Compare with recent data
Now enter metrics into the section labelled New Program Mix. Limit your numbers to the timeframe when your company began to be affected by the pandemic. The numbers will be smaller and more difficult to analyze, but you’ll want to see what the returns are like in the current climate.
If you have campaigns that were shut off completely or that you greatly reduced over the past month or two, go ahead and enter those metrics as well. We’re trying to understand the full picture of all campaigns, including paused campaigns.
Step 3: Project recent data out six months
Where will you be six months from now if nothing changes? Use simple multiplication to run the forecast, but scale it for how long your campaigns have been affected.
So, if your recent data from step 2 covers a single month, multiply your CPL, volume, conversion rate, and pipeline metrics by 6. If your recent data covers two months, multiply your metrics by 3. If you’ve been affected for 6 weeks, multiply your data by 4.3333 (26 weeks in 6 months divided by a 6-week time period gives us 4.3333).
These forecasted metrics show you what to expect should the current conditions persist for another 6 months.
Pro Tip: After you complete Step 4 and reprioritize your budget, you can come back to this step and change your numbers to give you a range of options for optimistic (3 months total) or pessimistic (18 months or more) outlooks.
Step 4: Begin reprioritizing your budget
The best thing about the portfolio calculator tool is that it gives you a sandbox where you can experiment. How does your overall pipeline value change when you adjust your budgets or timelines? For example, if you have to take your in-person event budget down to zero, where could you top out your spend otherwise?
Take some time to play with budget allocations, and keep an eye on the bottom line: the % Change portion of the calculator.
Under normal circumstances, you’re looking for positive change across your portfolio. If you’re in crisis mitigation mode right now, switch your focus to minimizing the damage to your overall pipeline. How can you manage your spend to invest in the programs that have the highest return?
One caveat to remember: not all programs have unlimited volume. If you purchase leads, you’ll want to work closely with your provider to understand the upper limit of what they can provide.
TechnologyAdvice can help with more than calculators
This isn’t fun. We’d love to say that our calculator will help you find hidden profits. And some of you may find that—congratulations. Our goal is that these tips will help you minimize your revenue drop.
Now is the time to think creatively about how you can better use your budgets, reach out to underserved markets, and begin making smarter decisions about your marketing. TechnologyAdvice gives your team the right data, marketing trends, and campaign ideas to help you pivot faster and with better results. Let’s talk.