Your first-party CRM data is one of your most valuable assets for driving leads and lowering your cost per marketing qualified lead (MQL)and sales qualified lead (SQL), but unlocking its full potential can be difficult. According to Forrester Research and Adweek, B2B marketers face a data management problem. 74% consider the accuracy of marketing data a critical weakness, and 32% of B2B marketers have cited “siloed or inaccessible customer data” as a major obstacle in their marketing efforts.
It makes sense, considering that the B2B buyer journey is much more complex than that of the consumer. Lengthy buying cycles, 10+ person buying committees, and cross-departmental decision-making all lead to fragmented data that stall marketing efforts. In addition, the scale of B2B first-party data tends to be orders of magnitude smaller in comparison to consumer data, contributing to the challenges that B2B marketers face.
Yet, modern B2B marketers understand the power of an effective omnichannel strategy and are motivated to overcome these data hurdles and leverage best-in-class technology to drive successful marketing campaigns that equip sales teams with the volume of quality leads they need.
Given current economic conditions and uncertainty, these best practices are more important than ever to ensure B2B marketers are making limited budgets more effective at driving ROI.
First Party Data Works When Activated
First-party B2B data is incredibly valuable representing customers you want to retain, nurture for an upsell, or prospects who are in various stages of your sales funnel who, with the timely and targeted marketing, can more quickly move to the next opportunity stage. To unlock this value, you need to make it available for use across digital channels and that’s where data onboarding and activation come into play.
When looking at onboarding solutions, it’s key to look for one that accurately matches as many of your professional contacts across as many of their devices as possible. Maximizing your total audience size and your reach and frequency gives you more of the right opportunities to land your message and efficiently drive MQLs. To do that, you need an onboarding solution that is optimized for B2B contact data like professional records that are tied to a work email address. Onboarding solutions have historically been built for consumer contacts, so it’s essential to ask how any onboarding solution is built to handle B2B data records.
Find Professionals, Even When They are Working From Home
It’s also critical that your onboarding solution enables you to activate your professional data across all the digital channels and platforms where you run campaigns.
And, as more professionals work from home or away from a corporate network, it’s important that you can reach them on whichever device or network they’re on.
Look for onboarding solutions that can tie together professional and consumer touchpoints to get a holistic view of your audience. This will enable you to reach more of your audience, with the right message, at the right times throughout their day; whether they’re at work on the corporate network, or working from home.
Use Account-Based Marketing Strategically to Reach a Broader Set Of Accounts
But, what do you do when your own data doesn’t give you the scale that you need to be effective? Enter account-based marketing (ABM). Some of the benefits of ABM are that you can reach individuals you don’t yet know who may be influencers and decision-makers at your target accounts, or individuals at accounts your sales team has not yet engaged with giving you more opportunities to drive MQLs at the account level.
Reaching these unknown individuals with the right content increases brand and solution awareness as well as engagement.
For example, using ABM to drive professionals to a gated whitepaper download or webinar registration helps you create known leads. And, by casting a wider net than just those contacts in your CRM, you can increase the total number of qualified leads at your target accounts, and also drive down your acquisition costs.
Demonstrate Marketing Effectiveness with Clear and Transparent Metrics
Experienced consumer marketers leverage measurement to understand the effectiveness of targeted campaigns powered by their own first party and acquired third party data. More and more B2B marketers are now able to do the same by leveraging measurement and attribution solutions built for B2B marketers that tie into both marketing platforms and sales platforms to create a comprehensive view into cost-per-lead metrics, campaign optimization opportunities, and perhaps most importantly the ability to show the impact and ROI on sales pipeline.
Leveraging this data allows a B2B marketer to see how campaigns using onboarded data are performing at the account level to double down on accounts that are most likely to convert, and optimize campaigns using first- and third-party audiences to cut back spend on accounts that have already made a purchase or are not engaging.
B2B marketers can also discover new accounts that were previously unknown to the sales organization and show the impact of marketing on sales performance.
Doing this effectively requires siloed data in systems like ad serving platforms, your websites, CRM systems, and more to be linked using a common identifier at both the individual and account level. Bringing together unknown and known data sources, as well as data at both the individual and account level are necessary to implement an effective B2B measurement and attribution solution.
Test, Measure, Learn
Creating a culture of test, measure, learn will lead to continual improvement of your marketing. Start with a crawl, walk, run approach.
- Crawl – onboard your first party data and use it for audience targeting. Include ABM audiences to reach professionals and accounts not in your CRM.
- Walk – Test your audiences against different channels & creatives to see which perform best. Use basic account-level measurement to prove success.
- Run – Segment your first-party audiences and A/B test different messaging and channel combinations. Use advanced measurement tools that tie into your sales data to your marketing efforts to understand the buyer journey and resulting ROI
In all of this, don’t be afraid to end campaigns and tests that aren’t working. Focus on what you’re learning, even from “failed” tests, and how that moves your impact forward.
Experienced B2B marketers understand that using first-party data for digital marketing unlocks value and drives successful campaigns and therefore quality leads. Bringing in third-party data, to augment your first-party data as part of a targeted account-based marketing campaign further helps increase scale, find new prospective accounts that were previously unknown and drive leads at an increasingly lower cost-per lead. Taking advantage of all of the marketing and sales data at your disposal through a B2B-specific measurement solution enables you to implement a test, measure and learn methodology to hone in on the tactics that will drive the most value for your sales team in a measurable way; one that will allow you to demonstrate the effectiveness of marketing on opportunities at various stages in the buyer’s journey.