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Marketing Strategy
min read
November 2, 2023

How to Make a Business Case for Resources as a Content Marketer

Keelyn Hart
Content Writer at Letterdrop

Most Content Marketers we talk with struggle for resources that they NEED to do their job for two reasons:

  1. They don't have budget.
  2. Their boss says no.

This can be frustrating, especially if you just found the perfect addition to your martech stack that would help you hit what I'm sure are VERY ambitious goals. We've had hundreds of conversations with content marketers and SEOs who love Letterdrop, but aren't sure how to get their boss to approve it (or whether they ever will).

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to build a bulletproof business case for leadership and get buy-in. A checklist like this could be the difference between you making a difference to the top line or enduring another quarter of missed KPIs (and a very unhappy VP).

Step 1: Understand Leadership's KPIs

The opening paragraph of your business case should address two things:

  • The potential cost of the vendor, even if it's an estimated range
  • Your VP / CMO / CEO's KPIs and priorities and how the proposed vendor links back to them

If you're not explicitly aware of leadership's KPIs, you need to sit down with them and ask:

  • What are their KPIs?
  • Where are they today?
  • Where should they be, and within what timeframe?

Here's an example of a compelling first paragraph of a business case.

I'm proposing to spend $[vendor price] on Letterdrop to help us execute against our primary goal of increasing our marketing qualified leads from [current number] to [targeted number of leads] by [targeted date]

Tip: Leadership is likely to ask for specifics on contract terms like the length of the agreement, what factors into price, and whether you've tried the software in some capacity. You should sit down with your sales rep to get these specifics.

Step 2: Align Your Own KPIs to Leadership's KPIs

Your boss has higher level KPIs than you. Their KPI is influenced by outcomes that you control. You need to make sure your personal KPIs positively influence their KPIs.

Your goals need to tie to tangible numbers. Without them, it's difficult for leadership to understand the true value of these efforts for marketing goals and overarching business goals.

Adam Goyette, former VP of Marketing at HelpScout and G2, talked to us about the importance of hard metrics in proposals to leadership.

Here are some common examples of KPIs you can have that feed into marketing goals:

  • Increase traffic
  • Increase conversions
  • Rank higher on SERPs for valuable keywords
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Shorten sales cycles with sales enablement content

Suppose your VP or CMO needs 100 leads next quarter. Figure out how many leads your own efforts could bring in. Do this by looking at quantifiable data from the previous quarter, such as:

  • Linkedin Impressions
  • Total Linkedin posts
  • Total organic traffic
  • Total blog posts published/refreshed
  • Organic traffic to site
  • Conversions/demo requests

You'll be able to identify a loose correlation between your efforts on content output and leads. For instance, last quarter, we had 150k LinkedIn impressions, 1,600 organic clicks on blog posts, and this resulted in 34 marketing-sourced leads.

Now, make sure to mention your KPIs in the next section of your proposal. The vendor you're pitching should be able to help you move those objectives.

Letterdrop is a solid return on investment. In order to hit our lead goals, the software would allow us to increase content output from [current amount] to [target amount] resulting in an estimated [amount of traffic increase]. In addition, it would facilitate more reach on LinkedIn and allow us to go from [current impressions] to [target impressions] within a month, which would bring in [target amount] leads based on last quarter's data.

📢 Tip It's a good idea to connect with other departments, like your Sales team, who are impacted by your outputs since they would also benefit from the vendor. The more buy-in from across the company, the easier it is to feel the impact. For example, if sales says they struggle to convince leads that are very familiar with the competition but not your product. You need more content and distribution to make sure leads are educated before they even get on a sales call.

Step 3: Quantify Current Challenges To Achieving KPIs

There need to be roadblocks stopping you from achieving your KPIs or slowing you down enough to justify a new investment. Your VP wants to understand what's wrong with the status quo or other solutions you've tried before buying yet another tool. You need to drive these challenges home in the next section.

Namely, you want to cover:

  • What the current challenges are
  • How long you've been dealing with them
  • Alternatives you've tried before buying something new
  • The direct cost in terms of time and resources
  • The cost of inaction if things stay the same (no one wants to deal with an angry board and missed targets next quarter)

Here are some common challenges faced by content marketing teams:

  • Limited bandwidth - content teams tend not to be very large and expect a lot from a few people
  • Low traffic or conversion rates - you need better tools to focus on the right content and optimize it
  • Low content output - you need better tools to create faster and stay organized
  • Low distribution - you need to automate it

Here's an example section:

Without Letterdrop, we're not working on the right content, creating enough content, or distributing it to have the required impact on our lead gen goals. We continue to deal with low content output due to bandwidth and resources, which has been impacting our traffic for [amount of time] now. For [period], we tried [alternative here], but it hasn't moved the needle. The content team loses about half a week's worth of time fighting fires, and after looking at last quarter's numbers, we're down [amount] in monthly traffic and likely missing out on [amount] of monthly conversions. We are taking action to change this trajectory.

Tip: It's important to mention other solutions that you've tried, how long you tried them for, and why they didn't work before pitching to buy new software. This bolsters your argument for the specific vendor you're pitching for. Here's Adam on the subject.

Step 4: Show How Vendor Features Will Tangibly Move Business Goals

At this stage, you need to link vendor features with quantifiable results.

  • Go to the company website for a list of features you'd like to use
  • Talk to your sales rep about the capabilities
  • Use public data like case studies that showcase results other companies have achieved to assign possible results to these features

Here's what you would say for Letterdrop:

Letterdrop offers features that we believe will have a considerable impact on our KPIs, as evidenced by them working with companies with similar goals to ours (see case studies).
SEO Optimizer: This will help me write [number] more blog posts per month and make sure they're actually ranking. This beats having content without a clear goal, or using older tools that are just focused on keywords, and don't help us rank.
Automated Internal Linking: We can get a 20% boost in traffic from smart internal linking. This is better than me maintaining a spreadsheet with 100s of rows and missing links.
Automated Employee Advocacy: We can see a +115% increase in LinkedIn impressions and clicks with employee amplification from our sales and exec team. This beats me manually begging the team to engage with our posts only for no one to participate.

Business Case Templates for Letterdrop

Once you've compiled all the necessary information you need to make your business case, you need to compile it in a way that's clean and easy to read. Leadership is busy, and you want to make sure you get your message across quickly and effectively.

Here's an example of how you might present your business case to leadership:

Letterdrop Business Case Template

We also have a one-page alternative if you're looking to make your business case even more to the point.

A one-page business case template
A one-page business case template

Here's how a real-life customer modified the template to suit their message:

How a customer used Letterdrop
How a customer used Letterdrop's one-page business case

Use Real Numbers To Build Your Case

At the end of the day, leadership just want to know that what you're asking for will positively impact revenue. Unless what you're asking for is extremely unreasonable in terms of budget, you're likely to get approval with a strong business case.

Don't be afraid to ask around for more information, and don't forget to look back at the numbers you help move on a monthly basis.

Letterdrop can help drive your content KPIs in a way that moves your business forward. Reach out to us if you want to find out more.

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