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Building your Business Case and aligning Sales and Marketing

Solution Provider

Building your Business Case and aligning Sales and Marketing

Business Case template and methodology

To “Begin with the end in mind” (Covey, 2000)[1] is fundamental. We recommend that you begin with a clear number of monthly incomes. You can decide if that number is for a single business area, your whole company, a sales person or team. In campaigns you should select the sales target for the product/services advertised and promoted through it. In small companies it can be the monthly income targeted. In essence, a Business Case is a valuable tool that Marketing and Sales can use for alignment. It tells us with certainty how many people have to be impacted by your Campaign in order for Sales to succeed.

Case Study

For example we have a student that aimed at achieving $30000 usd monthly in services and his median sales ticket has $2500 so his business case was built to achieve at least 12 sales every month. At a 10% closing rate, he needed 120 Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) with validated opportunities every month. Since he knew a 10% close rate could be improved his work concentrated both in Campaign planning and execution and sales skills that would enable him to have a 20% close rate. He did it by:

  • Executing more targeted campaigns every month by using Industry segments and their corresponding Buyer Personas.
  • Validating that opportunities that moved from MQL to SQL were real for which he used gBANT.
  • gBANT helped in the closing process since it identifies the key information every sales person requires for each opportunity in progress.

Now, with a 20% closing rate, only 60 SQLs are required making it easier to achieve the Business Case.

Your Business Case will help you determine ROI and align marketing and sales

Return on Investment (ROI) is the starting point of every campaign. The Business Case is structured with specific information that will help you understand the metrics required to achieve it.

Your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Marketing Binder will store each and every Campaign you execute throughout the year. In this way you will be able to accumulate strategic knowledge on which type of campaigns yield the best ROI.

Top-Down Analysis

You can build them with a Top-Down or Bottom-Up approach. Top-Down analysis helps you validate if the industry segment you selected is large enough to deliver the anticipated leads and revenues required. This is how you can find if a specific industry or market is large enough for you and your competitors.

It is always good to sell to every Industry, but we do recommend that you also specialize in at least three. That way you you can become the expert thus making it difficult for your competitors to block your sales due to lack of experience. If you want, you can practice everything learned in this certification with only one industry and then apply everything learned in the other two.

Bottom-Up Analysis

Bottom-Up analysis starts with the revenue goal and you have to work it down toward the number of suspects or prospects required to achieve your Marketing Qualified Lead target to achieve your Sales Qualified Lead target to achieve your required sales. Compared to the Top-Down Analysis that is only used for Industry selection, the Bottom-Up Analysis is required for every Campaign. It always becomes the first page and Dashboard of the Campaign Workflow.

Create your Business Case

Use the Business Case template. First fill the sales revenue target. Then the average revenue per customer. Select a close rate between 10% and 33%, which are the most common. Just keep it real. The closer it is to reality the better prediction you will be able to make. If your real number is lower than 33% then you have room for improvement in the sales closing area, sales acceptance rate, demand generation and opportunity identification.

Key Marketing and Sales Campaign Indicators

We cannot achieve successful results if we don’t start by standardizing terms. We have students worldwide and have found that in some countries prospect and lead mean opposite things. Some start with leads and end with prospects. Others start with prospects and end with leads. So in order to achieve a world wide best practice for your company we recommend that the terms recognized and defined by the American Marketing Association are used. There fore the following explanation is set to start the conversation into an international standardization of terms.

The idea is simple. Advertising in every campaign will start by generating Suspects (1 S) or Prospects (1 P), they are pretty much the same, and those that react to the Call to Action will become Marketing Qualified Leads (2 MQL). Meaning that we detected an interest or an action from them and that we can contact them. At that point, we have to validate if there is a real opportunity to sell them something and if there is they become Sales Qualified Leads (3 SQL) and when the Opportunity is closed then they become a Sale (4 SALE).

In a Bottom-Up Business Case metrics are organized this way.

  • Sales revenue target per year (with x number of campaigns)
  • Sales required to achieve the target (SALES)
  • Average revenue per customer.
  • Number of Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
  • Number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
  • Number of Marketing Qualified Prospects (MQP)
  • Number of Prospects or Suspects (S+P)

Define your Target Audience for an Industry

Targeting is the process of identifying a set of companies, and the appropriate individuals within those companies to be contacted through a specific message. If you did a Top-Down analysis of different industries to identify which ones have the biggest revenue growth opportunity for your company then this step will be very easy to follow. If by any chance you need help talk to your vendor sales representative and ask for Industry information. They have some for your region and can help identify sectors into which you could and should specialize.

Lets start by working only one of the industries you selected and identify:

  • Typical customer profile.
  • Key contacts
  • Buying cycles and behaviors.
  • Competition

Identifying your Target Client

Start by identifying your typical Target Client. It’s industry or vertical, geography, size, structure and requirements.

  • An industry or vertical segment to target
  • Geography is how it’s organized. Who makes the purchase decisions? A corporate office somewhere else in the world or in a region other than the one you cover?
  • Size related to employees, and sales. Some companies like Microsoft consider a small company one with 50 personal computers even if they have thousands of employees.
  • Structure
  • Specific Requirements due to their industry circumstances, legislation changes, etc. For example accounting software tends to sell more upgrades when law changes. Or in moments where network and data security are attacked the most, those types of solutions are requested more.

Continue identifying key contacts:

  • Who are they?
  • Who influences the buying process?
  • Who are the users of your services?
  • What are the points of contact of those users with your services?

If you don’t know your target client, what they want and what motivates them to buy, you won’t be able to prepare an effective Campaign.

Who makes the different types of decision:

  • Financial
  • Technical
  • Administrative
  • User

It may very well be one different person for each or one for all areas. Like owners do.

  • What motivates each type of decision and decision maker?
  • Why is that contact important for your sale?
  • What type of search, analysis, selection and purchase pattern do they follow?
  • From whom do they accept recomendations? Friends, analysts, other companies in the same sector, events?
  • Are they buying to save money, earn more money, product replacement?

Finally identify key contacts in different levels or areas:

Throughout this certification you will find us talking about the voice of the customer (VOC). It is in this step that you start documenting and talking with the words, terms, and style your target clients do within their specific industry. And you will also have to learn to communicate with different levels of contacts depending on the size of the lead.

Advertising to small companies requires a voice that talks to the owner or user who make the purchasing decision.

Advertising to medium companies may very well be aimed at information technology managers, owners, general managers or users.

Advertising to large companies requires targeting CXO suite. This is Chief Information Officers CIO), Chief Financial Officers (CFO), Chief Operation Officer (COO) etc.

Your audience has to understand immediately the products and services you are positioning and the way they are designed to solve their particular challenges. Therefore a CFO will look for economic benefits, an Operations Officer will look for answers related to logistics for example, and so on.


[1] Covey, S. R. (2000). Living the 7 Habits: The courage to change (Fireside Ed.).


P.S. If you want a copy of the Business Case Template dont hesitate to write me