The MarTech industry peddles an integrated utopia where all the pieces are connected and working together in harmony, but the reality is quite different. More often than not, human intervention is needed to connect the dots across a sales and marketing organization and its attendant martech stack.
As B2B marketers deploy their data-driven strategies, the biggest obstacle is now clear. Enter data orchestration. Orchestration is the process of setting up data-driven workflows that generate positive business outcomes on a repeatable basis. Orchestration is moving data ‘”from the brains to the veins’” of a marketing operation, as JJ Kardwell of Everstring likes to say.
Think of the five core use cases that almost all B2B organizations deploy in the traditional sales funnel. At the top are the three cases that all B2B marketers use:account-based marketing (ABM) advertising, paid social, and lead generation. Then, email sent through marketing automation. Sales is at the bottom. These five activities are practically universal for B2B organizations.
Orchestration is using the same data, consistently, across all of these disciplines to drive leads and identify demand, especially the three top-of-funnel areas. Automation, via ad- and mar-tech, nurtures that demand and salespeople can harness it. What we see across the B2B ecosystem is that, many times, sales and marketing teams aren’t doing that much with data to begin with, let alone using the same data sources for their efforts. In fact, some organizations may be actively leveraging all five tactics, but may not even know if they’re successfully orchestrating.
The main struggle, whether a company is succeeding at it or not, is the oft-cited misalignment of sales and marketing. These two disciplines have long lived in siloes. The concept of ABM has broken down those walls because both teams are focused on specific, named accounts. Thus, successful ABM requires a centralized data source as a foundation for orchestration across sales and marketing. The sales team is often the superuser of data of data within a B2B company, especially if there is an inside sales organization. These teams will use intent data to determine who is in-market, whether that comes from a third-party source or from their own active monitoring of target accounts’ social media presences, press releases, hirings, layoffs, funding rounds, acquisitions, technology installations, and other public activity.
Using Sophisticated Marketing Data
Many sales teams will use any tool they can get their hands on, and data is a tool that is used daily. On a B2B marketing level, data may not be used every day. Maybe it’s used to determine an ABM target list, but not many B2B organizations are making use of sophisticated marketing data. It’s important here to make use of the same data sources that are driving sales. The best thing that marketing teams can do is focus on what’s working for them and do more of it, rather than focus their attention on what’s not working.
If you’re finding that targeting certain companies with email messages is working, then targeting those same companies with display advertising makes sense. It shouldn’t require a big leap within the organization to say “yes” to bringing the successful strategy to a new discipline. Yet this often goes wrong, thanks to the deep entrenchment of siloes. Larger companies will have a team or agency running paid social or all the programmatic media, with their own best practices. This makes it difficult for anyone in the organization to say “this data source is working over here, so let’s use it over there.”
The Idea of Orchestration
Third-party data may be doing wonders for inside sales, but it will never catch on with the programmatic team if the pride of ownership gets in the way. B2B companies that are struggling with the idea of orchestration should focus on the first step in establishing a data-driven workflow. Ironically, this involves taking one single activity and proving that using data leads to the desired outcome. Demonstrating a data-driven win will grease the skids to open things up and collaboratively work use data with other teams throughout the organization. Orchestration is the process of alignment. The outcomes, and ongoing goals, are improved sales and marketing results and business growth. This benefits everyone, including sales and marketing, but most of all, it benefits the customer.