16 Reasons Why B2B Demand Gen Programs FailThis post is on a topic that few marketers I know relish.  However, the best ones recognize its criticality.  Articulating a clear go-to-market business plan against which to execute and measure is fundamental to the marketing process.  More importantly, without one you risk drifting ashore to a deserted island where you will be alone to contemplate how you fell off course (a rather dramatic metaphor, but great for effect).

A Perfect Union

Most organizations operate under some kind of business planning framework.  Annual financial targets are established and some treatment is given to the challenges in achieving them and the initiatives that will be carried out to deliver on said objectives.  Larger, more complex portfolio businesses often undergo there planning process at the line of business (LOB) level, and then roll things up to a corporate wide operations plan.

Regardless of the nature your business or portfolio planning process (see: 16 Reasons Why B2B Demand Gen Programs Fail: Reason #2 for an explanation of portfolio planning), if it is not integrated with your go-to-market planning you risk a protracted, disconnected planning cycle that not even the most patient and strategic executives can happily endure.

Enter the Go-to-Market Business Plan.  Part business plan, part marketing plan, it is the perfect union of business and got-to-market planning.  It represents the output of a joined up, or integrated planning process.  It is a key artifact in the planning cycle of an agile marketing team.

You Had me at Hello

The best way I know how to guide you through the process of creating an integrated business and go-to-market planning document is to first introduce you to a best-in-class planning template that you can build on.  Second, you will need to establish an agile go-to-market planning team to drive it to completion.  Key roles will typically be a product, product or solution marketing and technical marketing manager.  They should be at the LOB level in the case of the portfolio business.  In these cases, each LOB will produce its own plan (see: 16 Reasons Why B2B Demand Gen Programs Fail: Reason #4 for an example of the kind of operating model in marketing that supports this kind of planning).

Ok, so you are convinced.  Or at least curious enough to want to get your hands on the planning template.  Cool.  But I want to know who you are in return.  Capturing information about you, my readers, is part of my go-to-market business plan.  Fair deal?  Go here to grab the tool and find out!

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