The 2019 B2B Marketing Exchange wrapped up with a closing panel wherein marketing practitioners from Pendo, Outreach and GE Digital shared their go-to-market strategies for measuring and accelerating revenue growth, and discussed new trends shaking up the industry.
B2B markers are increasingly expected to report on their performance and tie marketing dollars directly to revenue. According to Demand Gen Report research, 87% say marketing measurement and attribution is a growing priority for their organization. But it is often easier said than done.
“If you’re on a desert island and just need to see a few things for your business, what do you look at?” asked Binch, who said Pendo’s key metrics are gross pipeline created and killed each week, as well as customer engagement scores and conversion rates. “At the end of the quarter, our board comes to us and they don’t ask about MQLs created. They ask how much pipeline did you create? And what are your conversion rates?”
Binch said that in addition to proving marketing’s value, measuring conversions rates has also helped align Pendo’s sales and marketing teams to accelerate growth.
Using intent data positions marketers to better identify target accounts, which is increasingly important in an ABM world.
Pat Oldenburg, Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Operations at GE Digital, said the company has shifted to focus almost exclusively on target accounts.
“We don’t sell to white space,” said Oldenburg. “We’ve named a certain number of accounts and those are the account that sales reps are allowed to sell into.”
To improve its account-based marketing and sales efforts, GE Digital also reevaluated its ideal customer profile. By blending firmographic data with intent data, its sales reps are able to sort through the list of 4,500 target accounts and prioritize their outreach accordingly.
“Our CEO said ‘[intent data] is not a long-term play; it’s the most important play you can ever make. We should be betting our company on getting intent data and making sure the account selection is flawless,’” said Oldenburg. “We’re seeing more account-based sales and marketing activities, and the very foundation of that and maybe the most important part is account selection and the identification of not only your target market but within that, your ICP target accounts.”
Sixty-five percent of B2B buyers rate review sites as “very important” during their evaluation process. According to the panelists, review sites mark the latest trend of consumer-like experiences transforming the B2B marketplace, and they expect the value of peer input to rise over the coming years.
“What we’re seeing in B2B with these review sites is the development of peers as trusted advisors,” said Max Altschuler, VP of Marketing at Outreach. “People are going to these sites, seeing these reviews and they’re making their decision based off of them. They’re not as focused on the analyst anymore, as they are on what their peers have to say.”
Binch agreed and suggested marketers take advantage of the insights into customer pain points that review sites such as G2 Crowd and TrustRadius can provide. When armed with this information, marketing and sales teams are better positioned to tailor their messaging to address a specific customer’s needs and pain points.
“Go on these websites and look at the two-, three- and four-star reviews and pick up some themes about what their users are saying. Then, give them a call and say, ‘I saw the reviews on a third-party site about your product and these are the areas we can help,’” said Binch. “You need to go from talking about yourself and your technology to talking about the customer and why it’s relevant for them.”
The central tenet of ABM is that you choose your customers. It’s the flip side of inbound marketing where clients find and select you, drawn to your business by insightful, relevant content. While inbound marketing casts a wide net, catching everything that swims by, ABM is like spearfishing — you only aim at the fish you want.
The value of content marketing extends beyond just a top-of-funnel activity. When leveraged correctly, content insights can provide critical intent and account data that can be used throughout the funnel to move buyers towards a sale. B2B companies such as SAP, IHS Markit and Blackbaud are investing their marketing dollars towards interactive content and content syndication networks to extend content reach, garner greater insights and refine their go-to-market strategies. The results are higher engagement, improved lead generation and better data on prospective buyers.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the B2B marketing world, as marketers took their strategies to the next level to engage buyers in a more authentic, human way. The landscape is ever-evolving and new technologies and channels have made it easier for marketers and sellers to build relationships with their audiences.
If you are responsible for lead generation activities, website content, white papers, blogs, links, articles, tweets, E-books, videos and more, chances are you’re a true believer that content is king. The ability to push your content out to publishers and third-party sites, while you retain full copyright, helps you reach potential prospects who may never have been introduced to your products or services otherwise. In essence, you’ll have the distinct advantage of reaching a much broader audience in a much shorter period of time.