Your budget is only as good as the data you use to create it with. Without reliable data, your budget is highly likely to miss the mark. With accurate historical data, you can build a budget that you and your sales team can stand behind with confidence for the year ahead.
Understand the history of your key accounts
One thing that every sales team must have a solid understanding of is their key accounts. However, it is not enough to simply know the average spend of these key accounts. Many variables in the market in a given year can greatly fluctuate the amount these key accounts spend.
How much does your largest auto account spend? Were they up or down last year from that number? Have they been trending back to normal spending figures in recent months? Are there any variables ahead that might affect their spend? These are all questions to take into consideration when factoring key accounts into your budget.
Once you not only understand the typical buys of your key accounts, but their behavior in certain market conditions, you will have a much better grasp on a substantial portion of your budget.
Dial in on political years
It goes without saying that political spending has an influential impact on budgets, particularly leading up to a presidential election. Of course, we need to understand how much revenue is generated from political ad buys, but we also must understand their impact on our core revenue. Recognizing trends in political spend, as well as political displacement to core revenue dollars, will help you gain a truer picture of overall revenue in political years.
As we discussed with your key accounts, it its important to understand recent trends in political spending. Sure, you may have a solid grasp on the average revenue generated from political buys, but how has that changed over time. Recently, we have seen old swing states become less so, and other states falling more into the swing state category that were not in years past.
Finally, it is also important to understand your local elections and the impact they have. To say you saw an upswing in political spend during the last election cycle is not enough. An unusually hotly contested election will naturally bring in more political dollars. It is important to have a firm grasp on the impact that elections like these have on your bottom line and know whether or not that is to be expected in an upcoming political season.
The impact of big events
The Super Bowl, the Olympics, award shows, and more will be a contributing factor in your budget discussion. As with political revenue, you must be able to identify trends in years you air big events or are up against a big event in a prior year. It is also imperative to understand trends in the impact events like the Olympics have on your market. We will often see the Olympics act as a revenue vacuum to the surrounding months. Is that something that has remained constant in your market, or has that changed over time? When you understand these sorts of trends, you can apply them in your budget discussions instead of simply extrapolating historical data over future quarters.
Simplify the process
Better data equals a better budget, and therefore, more confidence in your budget and the year ahead. However, tracking all this data can require hours spent combing through spreadsheets and paperwork. Software solutions are available to simplify the process and put the data you need at the forefront, allowing you to save time and money spent creating a budget you and your sales team can get behind.