What’s the first thing we do when our destination changes mid-trip? We update navigation by re-setting the endpoint and following new roads to get there. As B2B leaders redefine strategies for the second half of 2020, one question is on our minds: How do we deliver results?
Shifting market conditions are forcing B2B marketers to extend themselves outside of their traditional role of sourcing demand. Now, they must help sales accelerate win rates within the existing pipeline, expand revenue from current clients and increase retention. With that, marketing investment has shifted course, too. Our data on global marketing investment patterns shows digital investment is now directed more toward reaching senior-level buyers where
budgets are more stable – such as in larger companies and buying centers like finance and operations.
To support these changes, marketers must deploy messages, content and offers that engage senior leaders throughout the buyer’s journey. It also requires a change in the way marketing’s impact on the business is measured and how agencies should support brands. Let’s explore ways to make updates.
Start by updating the destination for your marketing goals
To ensure demand and engagement goals align to the new strategy, the best first step is to review any goals based on the number of accounts and net-new leads. These may no longer reflect the reality of a targeted account strategy that includes existing customers.
To update goals, companies must revisit targets based solely on acquiring new accounts. Focusing on a defined universe of accounts and contacts also changes how agency performance should be evaluated. Make sure updated goals include both current customers and net-new accounts, and that expectations to source new demand are reasonable given the number of new and existing accounts and where they are in their sales cycle.
Enable a cross-channel view of account activity
After adjusting targets, build an integrated view of the buyers’ journey across channels. “For the second half of 2020, brands want a coordinated digital strategy that maximizes their media investment. That means as an agency, we have to read signals at all stages of the buyer’s journey and use them to continually optimize our clients’ market presence,” explained Bob Ray, Global CEO from Merkle | DWA.
Reading signals at every stage does three things. First, it enables marketing to inject the most relevant message at the right time to the right person. For example, you would not ask a prospective client to view a demo of your product if they are already negotiating with your company in a later buying stage. Second, it reinforces that not every interaction is designed to source a new lead. Third, integrated insights show how channels work together to engage target accounts at different buying stages.
Email, content syndication, LinkedIn and display advertising are the most common digital channels. Today, marketers typically use multiple platforms to track these channels separately and show how each delivered net-new marketing sourced leads. Because it won’t show engagement from existing accounts and opportunities, this disjointed measurement provides an incomplete view of ROI and leaves businesses wondering if marketing dollars are spent wisely.
Track how account activity is trending over time. Using those insights, compare engagement from your brand’s efforts to intent data that shows the account’s overall activity. This provides a view into marketing efficiency and influence based on how well your investment is reaching target accounts and roles who are actively in market.
Combine cross-channel metrics with revenue impact for a complete view
In times when budgets are relentlessly scrutinized, brands and agencies can’t afford murky metrics. It’s essential to track revenue, average deal size and deal velocity. These three outcomes link marketing activity to meaningful business results. Use your cross-channel metrics to show the path from activity to positive revenue outcomes.
There are a few ways to evaluate marketing ROI. Look to answer these questions: What number or volume of accounts are impacted by marketing’s efforts? Is there an increase in final deal size compared to non-target accounts? Are deals from target accounts closing faster?
Track the journey, report on the destination
Reports can have different goals. Metrics need to show near-term progress and long-term business results, but not always at the same level of detail across reports.
Consider your audience. If you are communicating with your executive team, make sure reports focus on where you are relative to the goal, with just enough detail to show progress or explain unexpected pivots. For marketing functional reporting, more detail is useful because it allows internal and agency team members to diagnose performance.
With this measurement and reporting in place, marketing can be confident they’re well on their way to the destination. Even better, they’ll never need to hear senior leaders ask, “Why aren’t we there yet?”