Talking best-in-class B2B marketing: planning and measurement

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Annual business to business research reports focus into the criteria of customer empathy, technology adoption, sales and marketing alignment, as well as the importance of effective measurement and analytics within the industry to determine the best approach methods for best-in-class B2B marketers. The gap between marketers are widening base on these two criteria: planning and measurement, writes Andrew Haussegger, GREENHAT.

What were the initial findings of the report?

GREENHAT discovered that the gap between best-in-class marketers and the rest are widening up due to these two areas: planning and measurement. Best-in-class marketers are those with traits for future planning, measuring marketing success and being able to attribute that success to ROI. Measuring does not mean ‘vanity metrics’ such as email click-to-opens, click through rate (CTR) and website visits, which many marketers focus on.

The best-practice marketers are measuring at a much deeper level: attribution of campaigns, rate of conversion divided by number of leads, number of customer reach, level of engagement and overall pipeline performance.

How do you get these insights on measurement?

Survey respondents said the areas they are able to measure with significant accuracy were:

  • Lead conversion and pipeline performance (60%)
  • Sales acceptance and follow-up on leads (1/3)

In comparison to best-in-class marketers, GREENHAT’s survey respondents are twice as likely to measure these areas, as well as reach and engagement level, campaign ROI attribution and brand awareness. For B2B marketers looking to move beyond vanity, the key takeaway is to emphasise measurement.

Why is measurement in B2B marketing so hard?

B2B marketing purpose is “considered purchases”, whereas B2C marketers mostly deal with daily purchases. The B2B funnel is significantly more difficult to understand due to longer, considered lead times and touchpoints, as well as more complex processes of attribution. B2B doesn’t have the data values that B2C does (200,000 in B2C versus 2,000 in B2B) and therefore they don’t have enough breadcrumbs to follow through the path-to-purchase.

When you also consider that B2B firms are largely sales-driven with different expectations around what should be measured compared to B2C marketers, at times this disconnect can create friction between two or more business streams.

Where is the strategic alignment?

While half of the survey respondents believe their goals are aligned to the business objectives of the organisation, the numbers don’t match up.

  • Only 20% say they have an agreed lead management process between sales and marketing
  • Only 30% say they have an agreed definition of what a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is and then leading onto the measurement
  • Only 35% said they had all of their leads followed up on sales

What’s important is that the better the sales and marketing planning of the process from turning prospect into lead in an organisation, the more successful their measurement and outcomes are going to be.

What else can marketers do to help them measure more efficiently?

Marketers can measure more efficiently by having the right data-driven process and technology in place. The integration of customer relationship management with the marketing automation system can also enable lead flows and closed-loop reporting to make it easier and more seamless for the sales and marketing alignment.

However, common challenges for respondents are skill shortages and analytics. Nearly half said they lack skilled human resources or skill shortages around automation tools and smart email systems. Surprisingly, 45% said they lack skills to effectively do their performance management analytics.

The narrative the survey tells is pretty clear. If you haven’t got the right people, processes and integrated technology in place, it will be hard to effectively measure. As Peter Drucker said “You can’t mange what you can’t measure”.

Click here to listen to the full version of the podcast and here for the original article written by GREENHAT’s Andrew Haussegger.

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