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Turn Your Data Points Into A Data Picture

Screen Shot 2019 06 20 at 3.49.25 PM“But how do you know it’s working? Show me a dashboard.”

You’ve been there. I’ve been there. Whether it’s your CMO, head of sales, CEO, or just that curious little reporting angel on your shoulder — we all want proof that our marketing is having an impact.

Here’s the problem: you know there are dozens of touch points between your marketing campaigns and every buying center that ultimately closes business with your company. Sometimes hundreds. But between click-through rates, opens, web visits and a whole mysterious black box of offline stuff, it’s still a struggle for us to communicate the value of our marketing programs on pipeline and revenue.

And most of the tools we use today — from marketing automation to custom dashboards — are all focused on minute interactions with individual people (inherited from the lead-based attribution that relies on a cookied form fill and known contacts, and the B2C bias that runs through most digital marketing tools).

But using tactical micro-metrics like cost per click (CPC), cost per lead (CPL) and click-through rate (CTR), and on-page optimizations is like looking at a Seurat painting up close.

You can count the dots, but it won’t help you see the whole picture.

Screen Shot 2019 06 20 at 3.51.25 PMToo often, B2B marketers end up in this scenario: you’ve measured everything. Your UTM hygiene is pristine. You track CTR, CPC and CPL on every permutation of channel and content or ad creative. And you optimize constantly, culling out underperformers and iterating on your superstar content.

But no matter what you do, your tiny tweaks never quite seem to add up to a more efficient funnel (and no one beyond the digital marketing team really thinks they matter). Somehow, you always seesaw between quality and quantity, and those optimizations don’t shake out downstream as better opportunities, faster sales cycles, or any improvement in opportunity-to-close numbers.

So, let’s start by admitting it’s not just you. Actually, it’s very possibly a problem with the way you’re measuring success — by hyper-focusing on the small stuff, you may be inadvertently losing resolution on the bigger picture.

Manage What You Measure

If you’re measuring minutia, you’re going to be focused on minute optimizations. That’s fine if you’re selling high velocity, ecommerce or consumer, but that’s not B2B.

B2B buyers are signing up with you for the long haul. Their livelihoods depend on your product working, so they need to trust you deeply. This applies to your expertise, ability to deliver and ethics.

Start Fixing It By Measuring The Right Things

The account-centric measurement mentality is designed to pull you out of the weeds, so you can understand the impact of complete, coherent, cross-channel programs, not individual ads and campaigns. This is accomplished in two ways:

  1. Turning anonymous web traffic into known account traffic, so you can quantify overall program impact. According to Gartner, there are 9.6 people in today’s average buying committee. How many contacts do you typically have on an opportunity? I’m willing to bet it’s not 9.6, so odds are high that there are a lot of phantom influencers who aren’t getting enough of your attention (and who can slow your deals down unexpectedly late in the game).
  2. Making it possible to track and communicate the revenue impact of higher-level programs across your organization and for yourself. By elevating the importance of open and closed pipeline value, sales cycle time and quantified engagement as the most meaningful leading indicators of true account interest, you’re able to communicate outcomes to everyone in the organization, in terms they actually understand and can get behind.

Get To The Metrics That Matter

By using newly-available, account-level web traffic data in this funnel, you’re able to focus in on exactly the metrics that mean something:

  • Engagement, not leads;
  • Opportunities (also not leads);
  • Revenue (real deals closed);
  • Deal cycle time; and
  • Average contract value.

Revenue Measurement Drives Confidence, Which Encourages Bold Moves & Big Wins

We all know leads can be a little wishy-washy. But one thing that doesn’t lie is cold hard cash — that’s real revenue. And if there’s one thing revenue wins lead to, it’s confidence.

When you’re confident in your reporting, and know it represents what’s really going on with your programs, you can commit to bold ideas and big bets.

And ultimately, that’s my brightest vision for B2B marketers — a future where more of us can make bigger bets on memorable experiences, and easily understand the payoff of those bets so we can iterate and make more. But in order to get there, we need to use our data points to create the full, big picture first.


 

Janet Polyakov is the VP of Product Marketing at Terminus, where she runs sales enablement, digital marketing, content strategy and more. She has also served as the Director of Global Growth Marketing and Senior Manager of Acquisition and Retention at Matterport.

Industry Experts Close Out #B2BMX With Revenue Growth Strategies, Predictions For 2019 & Beyond

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.

Hone In On ‘Desert Island Metrics’

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.

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To sort through the mountain of metrics available, Bill Binch, CRO of Pendo, suggested marketers prioritize company-specific “desert island metrics.”

“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.

Invest In Intent Data For Enhanced ABM

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.”

Use Review Sites To Fuel Buyer-Centric Marketing

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.”

Pipeline Velocity Measurement Becomes Next Stage Of Maturity, Revenue Growth

The pressure is on — marketers are becoming more responsible for driving revenue. In fact, Forrester research shows that 82% of CMOs have goals tied directly to revenue. As such, modern marketers are taking an active approach to measuring and accelerating pipeline — a task that was typically reserved for sales. But at companies such as Oracle and CenturyLink, there is a growing priority for marketers to generate pipeline metrics, including velocity, which can provide key insights to accelerate deals and streamline customer retention and advocacy.

SiriusDecisions Debuts New Matrix To Help B2B Companies Accelerate AI Applications For ‘High-Def View’ Of Audiences

Despite the buzz around artificial intelligence (AI), many B2B organizations have been slow to adopt and deploy AI-powered applications due to a limited understanding of the technology and how it can impact all areas of the revenue engine.

During its Summit in Las Vegas this week, SiriusDecisions debuted a new matrix framework to help companies better understand the four categories of AI, as well as use case examples and guidance for advancing their AI journey.

Measurement And Revenue Optimization Has Officially Arrived, As Dedicated Gathering Launches In San Fran

Next week, I’ll be heading to one of the first conferences for B2B marketers to focus exclusively on measurement and revenue optimization. Circulate 2017, taking place Sept. 14-15at the W San Francisco, will bring together thought leaders and practitioners from different roles — all with the common interest in measuring and optimizing marketing and sales performance.

  • Published in Blog

It’s About Revenue: Marketers Head Directly Into The Sales Funnel

1Brian Fravel 4x3The trend is clear. The role of marketing is changing and expanding to encompass revenue accountability. In the not-so-distant past, the sole goal of many B2B marketers was focused on building awareness, creating desire and generating leads. Once initial interest was generated, sales took over. Sales leads were handed off to sales teams, and the marketing team could scoot back to their creative dens to plot the next campaign. No longer. Marketing is not limited to brand awareness and lead generation anymore and is becoming more directly responsible for revenue generation. That job doesn’t end with dropping the leads off at the sales funnel entrance.

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