How to get marketing budget approval

It’s that time of year – budget and plan preparation. For marketing, this is an especially stressful time for many reasons but chief among them is how to show revenue impact. For the last several weeks I’ve been having conversations with a number of marketing executives about planning for the upcoming year and it struck me that there are two kinds of marketing plans that get prepared:

  1. A Marketing Plan with budgets and activities
  2. A Marketing Business Case with budgets, activities, and business cases that demonstrate ROI.

Which one are you building? If you’re building #2, you have a much higher chance of approval because you are showing ROI and acting like a responsible business leaders. Here is what a part of your Table of Content might look like.

The Current State of Marketing

  • Previous Year’s Assessment
    • Wins
    • Losses
    • Challenges
    • Opportunities

Upcoming Year’s Initiatives

  • Key Company Initiatives in Upcoming Year
      • Key Initiative 1
      • Key Initiative 2
      • Etc.
  • Key Sales Initiatives in Upcoming Year
    • The Numbers (Revenue and growth projections)
    • Key Initiative 1
    • Key Initiative 2
    • Etc.
    • Common Plan Assumptions (Marketing and sales uses same assumptions)
    • (This section includes the key elements from the Upcoming Year’s Sales Plan
        • This is a major input for the creation of the Revenue Marketing Plan.
        • The Marketing plan needs to reference items in the Sales plan and show how marketing will contribute to achieving the objective.
        • The actual Business Cases you will build from your plan will come from the Sales plan (at least in part).
        • You will need to use the same assumptions in your plan that sales used (or show why you used something different)
        • Average deal size
        • Conversion rates through the sales pipeline
        • Key products/solutions
        • Revenue Objectives
        • Growth)

The Changing Role of Marketing

  • Description of current marketing dynamics
  • The Revenue Marketing Journey (See prior blogs for what this is)
  • The Revenue Marketing Journey Assessment – Where we are and where we need to be (and why)

Upcoming Year’s Revenue Marketing Goals (Need to be revenue focused)

  • Goal – Ex: 30% contribution to sales pipeline from MQLs
  • Goal – Ex: 60% of net new logos from MQLs
  • Goal- Ex: 40% contribution to closed business from MQLs
  • Goal
  • Goal

The Business Cases (This can be the Results element of RM6 – see my prior blogs for information about the RM6)

  • This is the numbers section that is tied to the Key Initiatives
  • Investment requested
  • Return estimated
  • Includes stakeholder alignment for each business case

How We Get There

  • RM6 Assessment – How we get there – given the business cases above, this is what we need to do holistically.
      • Use Company and Sales initiatives to bake out this section of the plan
      • Initiative #1:
      • Strategy
      • People
      • Process
      • Technology
      • Content
  • Repeat for each initiative elements
  • Have one roll up of all intitiaves


  • Stakeholder Personas

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About Debbie Qaqish
Debbie is a nationally recognized thought leader, innovator and speaker in Revenue Marketing with more than 30 years of experience applying strategy, technology and process to help B2B companies drive revenue growth. She is the author of the award winning book – “Rise of the Revenue Marketer,” Chancellor of Revenue Marketing University, and host of Revenue Marketer Radio (WRMR). Debbie has been at the forefront of the marketing automation phenomenon, first as a beneficiary, and now as an advocate and expert. She is a frequent speaker and writer on topics related to Revenue Marketing transformation, leadership, change management, sales and marketing alignment, ROI, content, organization, talent and marketing operations. She coined the term “Revenue Marketer” in 2011. As a principal partner and chief strategy officer of The Pedowitz Group, Debbie is responsible for developing and managing global client relationships, as well as leading the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. Debbie is also PhD candidate and her dissertation topic is how the CMO adopts financial accountability in an e-marketing environment.

Related Resources

  • Posted by Debbie Qaqish
  • On 06/18/2015
Tags: marketing strategy, budget, budget approval, building a budget, marketing dynamics

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