Driving Marketing Success for B-to-B Organizations
Marketers are smart, creative and critical to the success of their respective organizations. No marketer would dispute these claims. But do they really know the impact of their initiatives? In days past, it was difficult, if not impossible, to effectively quantify their efforts. But in today’s business environment, data and technology allow marketing teams to maintain visibility through the entire prospect life cycle. This should create a feedback loop that results in optimized results.
But does it?
In his recent report, The Pipeline is Less Than Half Empty, Forrester Research Analyst Peter Burris uncovered the unfortunate truth: on average, less than one-third of B-to-B technology pipeline opportunities are generated from marketing-sourced leads. That research takes a bit of the wind out of marketing’s sails.
The story doesn’t need to end here, however. Marketers can increase their contribution to their organization — and in doing so, their budgets — by implementing a more informed, strategic approach to their marketing programs. With the following six-part process, marketers can transform their efforts from simply creative-driven into a creative- and insight-driven revenue generating machine. Starting with the data, the process provides a logical blueprint for success:
1. Data and insights. Data might not seem sexy, but it's critical to success. Most B-to-B marketers don’t take advantage of the vast amounts of available customer data to drive their marketing efforts. Understanding who your best customers are can help you establish acquisition targets. To start, organize your data and take care of the fundamentals — e.g., capture techniques, data hygiene, standardization and matching. Starting with the data will ensure that you're focusing your effort and scarce dollars where they will yield the best return on investment.
2. Strategy. Clearly your strategy should align to the financial goals of the business, but it should be driven by customer insight. For example, knowing which lead sources produce your best opportunities (and ultimately result in sales) can help you focus your efforts and allocate your resources more effectively. Behavioral data can help you determine which types of content and channels are preferred by customers. Establish a long-term (18 months to 24 months) plan to find and address critical gaps or areas of improvement to achieve your performance goals.