Tech marketing departments run lean and mean.This means that tech CMO’s and Marketing Managers are constantly short on budget and bandwidth. This also means that tech marketing managers have an ongoing debate (we’ll call it a debate rather than something stronger!) with their leadership team around budget allocations for new marketing tools or vendors. In short, tech marketers spend a percentage of their time asking their board or CEO for money. It’s an ongoing battle and we have five tactics to help team marketing get their funding.
Tactic #1: It’s all about the data
To convince your leadership team to loosen those purse strings, consider the dual nature of the data-driven approach. Walk into your budget meeting with slides, handouts, and a brain chock full of numbers and industry stories.
First, providing data and research to your leadership team will make them take your request for resources or funds more seriously. Your high school English teacher told you to “cite your sources” to properly make your argument. Your math teacher took you through the painstaking process of mathematical proofs so that you understood the theory behind geometry.
We are all taught, from childhood, to provide data and clear, methodical reasoning when trying to explain ideas and concepts. Use this method with your C-Suite. As tech marketers, we live in our data points every day and can speak to the micro and macro of campaigns and strategy at any point. The leadership team is not in our world and needs us to clearly take them through the numbers and conclusions. The keyword there is “clearly”. The more you can take your executives through the data with clear explanations, the more success you will have.
With this method, you’re providing the two key perspectives: showing data (your citation) and providing a methodical, analytical explanation (your “proving/proof”) that supports your ask.
The second part of the data-driven approach is for your own confidence. If you’ve parsed through your data points and followed the numbers and completed industry research you can walk into any meeting and present with confidence. You won’t have to postpone a decision to do more research or be unable to answer pertinent questions.
What do you need to present? Your own data (clearly explained of course!) and research from the field (case studies, white papers, trend reports, etc). Presenting the general trend towards what you’re proposing and examples from other companies who had good results from a plan similar to what you’re proposing to give the team context/lend support to your support and ask.
Tactic #2: Acquire Baseline Subject Knowledge
When tech marketers go to leadership for additional funding, they’re usually asking for money or resources to fill a gap in the department’s skills. Maybe your CEO has jumped on the PPC bandwagon and wants your company to have a Google Ads account up and going within a month but your team doesn’t have this background. This means you have to research the world of pay per click experts and get your
When asking for a new software option, martech tool or project spend with an agency you need to gain enough knowledge to have a baseline so that you can answer questions about the service/topic you’re asking for money for. If you want new software or a budget for an agency retainer or project you need to be able to answer basic questions for your executive team. For your department to get the tool or help it needs you need to know enough to sell it to the leadership team and manage the software/vendor once you have it on board. You don’t need to become the expert (because you’re hiring one!) but you should possess the 101 knowledge. So, you should know website development 101 or content marketing 101 when contracting for a new website or an agency to put together a content marketing strategy for you. If you’re working with a good agency they should be able to give you resources and an overview to help you out.
Tactic #3: Budget & Procedure
This might seem like a no brainer, but sometimes we all forget the basics when we’re putting together the bells and whistles of a presentation.
When asking for funding or resources from your leadership team, you MUST have a comprehensive budget prepared. Also keep in mind your company’s procedure: you’ll want to show your team what industry norms are for the budget (ie, how you’re proposing a spend that is normal or even thrifty) and that you gathered multiple proposals from vendors through the process. Explain why you chose the tool or agency you’re proposing clearly. (Remember that from #1--you know all the work you and your department did to research this but your executives might not. Take them through your thought process so they can appreciate the tech marketing superstars they hired)
Tactic #4: Be the Mastermind
You know your company best. Think through your presentation and your decision makers. Who will be a roadblock and why? What can you do to address their perspective or concerns while putting together your presentation? Consider what questions will come up--will IT ask about integrations? Will Bob ask about ROI’s? Is the CFO going to worry about Q1 spending? What facts/figures/approaches/information will each decision-maker need to say yes?
Tactic #5: Use your agency or tool’s sales team as a resource.
There are several ways to leverage the expertise and persuasive powers you have in your arsenal. Have your expert hop on a call or join your meeting to demonstrate their competence to your leadership team. They impressed you--they will impress your team.
Have them give you talking points/data to address the roadblocks you see from the last tactic. Consider your CEO’s or team’s long term wish list and have your agency rep speak to how they can help beyond the current project. You can explain how much money you can save if you find a partner who can serve you long term and doesn’t have to relearn your brand for every project.
If you need something from them--just ask. An agency that is a true partner will go out of their way to help you. This is also a good test of their compatibility.
Curious to learn more about trends in Tech Marketing? Download the 2020 State of the Industry Report below.