When it comes to negotiating a marketing and sales budget, marketers have two major hurdles to overcome. The first is that ever-present desire on the part of management to keep costs low and maximize net profit. The second is the fundamental changes that have occurred in marketing. Marketing has changed more in the past three years than in the fifty years before that. When you are dealing with advanced executives who may be used to traditional marketing, it can be difficult to express how vital robust efforts in online marketing, social media and inbound content marketing are.
Your task is to explain how what you do is of benefit to the company and worth the marketing dollars it takes. Luckily, your work talking to prospects in the language that they understand prepares you for talking to those in the C-Suite as well. When it comes time to ask for the sales budget you need, make sure you are speaking the language that the CEO and others in upper management want to hear. The most important things to remember:
1. Start with the Bottom Line.
Your CEO is a generalist. It's her job to direct the company and make sure that all tasks are delegated effectively. Begin by telling her your objective. Make it clear and concise. Provide details and background only as requested.
2. Focus on the Results.
Don't get caught up in details and minutia. The top boss doesn't need to hear the ins and outs of Youtube shares. He just needs to know how, historically, they have been linked to a substantial rise in sales.
3. Organize Your Presentation Well.
Link what you are recommending, what it means to the company and what needs to happen. Keep your presentation brief, crisp and factual. Those in charge will appreciate your respect for their time.
4. Know Who the Decision Maker Is.
Often, the CEO delegates these decisions to someone else behind the scenes. Engage the support of your allies. And, do what you can to make your case appealing to those who will make the decisions about your funding and projects. It is also important to identify the gatekeepers who have access to people, calendars and the data that you need.
5. Meet Before the Meeting.
Give everything a dry run with your team before you go in. Decide who is presenting and whose support you will need. Don't memorize a speech, but, have your talking points in order. If possible, have someone outside marketing listen to your pitch and help you avoid in-house jargon. Often, CEOs will complain that people in marketing fall into marketing lingo that makes little sense outside marketing culture. Having an outsider's input can make sure that you are easy to understand and that you focus on the needs of those in the C-Suite.
Crossing the gulf between marketing and management can be challenging. But, reaching them is easier when you understand what it is that is needed. When you speak in the right way about the need for social media and other online marketing efforts, you can win the expanded marketing and sales budget you need for sustained success. By approaching the management team with the same level of care and respect as you do your inbound marketing targets, you can show how your department's efforts are of benefit and yield the best results for everyone involved.