B2B Marketing: How good data can solve big problems
Problems in your marketing can be tricky to identify. They might seem isolated, but they can also have a single root cause.
Brian Carroll, Executive Director of Applied Research, MECLABS, believes a central problem for many B2B marketers is a lack of effective data.
“Everything connects to your data,” Carroll said. “Your data represents relationships, and that’s the hub.”
Carroll touched on this issue at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco this week. He described how seven of the most common problems that B2B marketers face have their roots in poor data optimization. We’ll go through each of these below.
Problem #1: Sales capabilities
Many marketers, Carroll noted, struggle with a feeling that some salespeople are incapable of converting the leads they generate. They wish they could give all their leads to a few select salespeople and avoid the others.
However, one of the most common reasons a salesperson cannot close a sale is that they do not have enough data about the lead, Carroll said. They cannot optimize where they spend time and energy because there is no data to direct them.
Challenge #2: Relevant content
Content is a well-known tool in the lead-nurturing process, but many marketers struggle to apply it beyond initial engagement.
“The challenge is how we progress people from early interest to purchase intent. Content is one of the ways of doing that,” Carroll said.
To make your content more relevant to leads, you need to understand their needs and habits — and you do that through effective data. Furthermore, content and how it is offered cannot be optimized without understanding its performance, which, again, hinges on data.
Challenge #3: Technology
Carroll asked the Summit audience, “How many of you have problems with people updating your CRM?” Many attendees raised their hands, and the point was clear. Your CRM cannot be effective until the problems surrounding its data — which many times have nothing to do with a technology or platform — are solved.
Challenge #4: Internal processes
Too many marketers have not sat down with their sales team to hammer out a specific definition for a sales-ready lead. This definition is a combination of data points that sets the threshold for which leads are strong enough to send to sales and which aren’t. You need good data to set this definition and apply it to your marketing analysis.
Challenge #5: Lead capturing
Data will point out the landing pages on your site struggling to capture leads. You may be losing your best opportunities simply because the page does not clearly explain your value proposition. You need good data to test these pages and improve their performance.
Furthermore, without data, you cannot effectively evaluate your lead sources. You need to know your cost-per-lead and closing rate by source. This enables you to focus on the most effective lead generators and pull your resources out of the money pits.
Challenge #6: Leaking funnel
There are various points in your lead nurturing process where people can drop out. You can find these holes by clearly defining each step in the process and tracking performance as leads trickle though. Again, this depends on your ability to capture effective data.
“You want to be like a revenue plumber and plug your leaks. But without effective data, you won’t understand where the leaks are happening,” Carroll said.
Challenge #7: Lack of resources
Today’s marketers struggle with limited time, money and staff. All of these resources need to be spent wisely to maximize efficiency and keep your marketing pumping out results. However, without good data, you cannot know where to apply your resources to get the best ROI.