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The New VP of Marketing’s First 100 Day Plan – B2B SaaS Edition – Part 2 of 2

This is the second half of the new VP of marketing's guide to the first 100 days of work. If you missed the first half, which covers the two weeks before work actually starts and the first 30 days of the job, you can find it here.

Now that you're a month into your new role, it’s time to build your plan and budget for what you’ll need to succeed.

Days 31-60 as a new VP of marketing

  • Review marketing, sales and success automation and determine if it fits the needs of the business, as you understand it.
    • Build a requirements document (high level) for automation and socialize with peers and CFO.
    • Meet with leading automation vendors to determine fit and learn from them, research via internet (e.g., G2Crowd, analyst reports, associations, etc.)
    • Select marketing, sales and success automation vendor(s).
      • This may be plug-replacement of old systems or augmenting existing systems to achieve goals for reporting or other capabilities.
  • Gather as much competitor intelligence as possible; what are they saying, doing and spending money on? Build a marketing SWOT analysis for the competitor set.
  • Sit in on sales and customer success calls and dig deep with reps and managers here to gain a real understanding of their worlds and how marketing can and should help.
  • If persona research is old or non-existent, get personas done for the top economic buyers and influencers (2-5 in each segment).
  • Share results to date with agency and, if they are likely to remain in place, ask them to provide campaign and program recommendations (if they’ve proven themselves worthy keep them on, if not, this is a good time to start your search for a new agency and put the current agency on notice as may be required).
  • Review budgets and outcomes for all major marketing spend with an eye for what you can change to drive more results as sought by CEO and his/her KPIs; determine where spending needs to increase (categorically) and start building out campaign plans and associated budgets and KPIs.
    • Your mandate from the CEO or your fact-finding may require new spending but you may not yet have a new budget... so you'll need to reallocate budgets to get things done while you make the case for a different approach or greater spend.
    • Look to the advertising budget to potential savings and re-allocations to fund other initiatives. We see plenty of waste in midsize B2B ad spends where analytics trail current best practices. Make sure the advertising is driving toward resources that contribute to ROI, and attribution is as good as your martech will support, since this spend is likely scrutinized from time-to-time.
  • Whiteboard with your team and colleagues until you think you have a workable plan with BHAGs as well as achievable objectives. You might want to consider a weighting system (organizational impact, budget needed and revenue potential are three useful weighting factors) for the year’s priorities if your great ideas exceed your ability to budget and deliver on plans. (We’ve seen this work to great effect in gaining consensus around a plan.)
  • Evaluate your personnel needs and who’s on the team today; create a new organization chart based on what you think you’ll get approval to do. By now you should know who on your team is a keeper and who would be better off moving on, and you can create new roles and responsibilities, as well as training plans, accordingly.
    • It's likely your arrival threatens someone already on the team, frustrating their own career aspirations. This is a relationship that may bear fruit if they've got skills you need and you can win them over to your style of leadership and vision. It's important to have adult conversations early-on, start developing trust and see if you can bring this person on-side. It might pay to offer a plum assignment that underpins your new plan as a way of demonstrating that they're on your team (a fair amount of insecurity is likely and this may help alleviate it).
  • Make PPTs of your findings as discussion documents for a meeting with your CEO and leadership peers; get their feedback and then huddle with CEO to align once more.
  • Deliver and report on success of “low hanging fruit” project and share the glory with those who made it possible (team building opportunity).

Days 61-90 – Asserting leadership as VP of marketing

Now it’s time to build a formalized version of your plan, present it and iterate.

Read all the information you can about your industry, company and competitors and take some time to reflect on what it means. What are the big themes? What do buyers want? What do we have to sell? Do we have any unique insights into our market? Can we be thought leaders? You need some unifying themes to make your plans make sense.

  • Build a one-year plan that is calendar- and theme-driven. Some markets respond well to quarterly campaigns. Others are big picture, especially if you’ve decided to take a thought leadership approach, as this won’t happen in just a few months.
  • Use a template to help organize your presentation (or use what worked in previous jobs for you or your leadership).
  • Socialize your plans with sales and customer success, as they’ll have a stake in your success. Make sure your plan considers their needs as uncovered earlier to build your social credibility and political capital. (You’ll want to start off helping them through your new plans and budgets.)
  • Make sure to ask for a reasonable budget based on the agreed objectives; if budget is not forthcoming, dial back expectations as to what can be achieved.
  • Present your final plan to the CEO and subsequently to the peer group.

Days 91-100 – Implementing your first year’s marketing plan

Get busy! Here’s where the rubber meets the road. You’d sold your plan, got agreement on budget and priorities and have also closed on a quick-win project (and shared the glory).

The best advice is to not rest on your laurels. Put your plans into motion. Make decisions efficiently. Hire and fire as needed for the business (and please fire with compassion). Buy new automation and get it in place with the help of certified advisors. And make sure to measure and report on your success.

If you are using contemporary marketing and sales automation, a lot of the reporting is baked into the software. Make sure you know how to use it, or get someone who does to help you track what’s working and not, quickly iterate, and report it all to your leadership.

Oh, and have fun! Leading a marketing team can be one of the most rewarding jobs in any organization.

Want to talk about your new gig? Marketing leaders at SaaS firms (newly in the job or note) should feel free to book a meeting with me to discuss any one issue that’s vexing them.

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