While data is now widely used in a B2C marketing context, its usefulness is often questioned in B2B. The volumes are smaller and the baskets usually much more significant. The equation is different, but the opportunities are real if we know how to decrypt and concertize them.
Here are some keys to evaluate its potential data and define the tracks to explore.
How to evaluate your data potential?
Admittedly, traffic on B2B sites is less than in B2C, and many professional places are still more showcases than e-commerce sites.
However, the volume of audiences is not the only parameter to consider in evaluating its data potential. We usually add two:
- The opportunity for qualification. This is your ability to segment audiences, alone or with partners. The diversity and rarity of the eligibility concerning the market will make its value.
- Valuation opportunity. There are three levers of indirect valuation – media acquisition, relationship marketing and on-site marketing – and right leverage, monetization.
The potential data is evaluated from end to end: “a qualified volume valued on a lever.”
It is evident that a high traffic is not very useful if it is not qualified. A smaller, well-qualified traffic, as is often the case in B2B niche sectors, can be very valuable.
How can data serve B2B business?
In B2B and B2C businesses, data is used for three purposes:
- Identify and attract new prospects
- Improve the user experience, customize
- Create a new source of income
The difference with the B2C lies in the chosen partners and the volume/value equation.
Data to attract new prospects
By the very definition of “new prospects,” the source of the data used will be external to your company. We choose to group data provider partners here in three categories:
- Third-party providers, some of which have B2B-specific segments, may even be entirely specialized in B2B.
- Advertising agencies and especially those with access to professional content and developed offers of publisher trading desks.
- Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & other social networks that have targeting options that can be useful for B2B prospecting.
Targeting allows you to go from an advertising watering to a finer targeting but with a limit: finding a shoe to his foot regarding data providers requires experimentation and regular questioning performance and market.
It goes without announcing that the use of third-party data does not replace traditional SEO and inbound marketing strategies to acquire natural traffic and welcome new prospects.
Data to improve conversion
Whatever your goal of conversion (lead or merchant), as soon as a visitor arrives in your ecosystem, the goal is to engage with your brand until the conversion:
- More pages viewed, more time spent – Customize the experience offered to the user by feeding the CMS, online chat, AB testing tool…
- More visits and revisits – We speak digital retargeting mechanics, similar in principle to the process of “prospect raises,” very traditional in B2B marketing.
The desired data here will be the contact person’s position, his company, the range of products consulted, the level of commitment, even a relational history with your brand, etc.
Your data assets – websites and CRM database – are then an excellent source of data, with key details ready for your ability to:
- Segment and make the data available to activation tools
- Manage back and forth between nominative and anonymous data
- Enrich or supplement your data with the data available on the market
Technology and data partners exist on the market to help you in these different tasks, with more or less packaged, flexible and integrated offers.
Data as a source of new revenue
Finally, the data 2nd party market has been developing rapidly for several months according to two models: monetization and data exchange.
The most immediate case is to resell your B2B data to the data above providers (with the risk of seeing it used by your competitors). Another option is to identify complementary businesses to yours that may be interested in your data.
How to take the first step?
The first step is to evaluate your potential data, relying in particular on the three criteria mentioned above: volumes of audiences, opportunities for qualification and valuation. This reflection should take you to priority use cases that will allow you to feed your choices of technology and media partners, to experiment and if you’re potential is confirmed, to adopt a more industrial approach.
Question of leads in B2B
To the question, what is the role of B2B marketing, the answers can be many and varied. However, to this same problem, a salesperson will answer without hesitation: generate leads! So lead generation is at the heart of a complicated but essential relationship in all businesses, the relationship between marketing and sales.
B2B marketing today must generate leads that will directly contribute to the generation of revenue for the company. But it is not uncommon to note that this contribution is often a source of frustration. The marketing will complain about a lack of support for his leads while the commercial will argue about the low quality and waste of time caused by this multitude of leads. As a result, while the trend may have been in the past to generate as many leads as possible to prove the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, it has become essential for modern B2B marketing to generate “good leads.”
But what is a lead? And especially a good lead?
If each company can have a more or less precise definition of the lead, it is necessary that this definition is shared between the different actors within this same company. Is a lead a person who has shown interest in content? Or on the contrary, a prospect identified with an expressed need, to see a sales opportunity?
For my part, I think that lead is all at once and that it is the role of the marketing to make sure that it goes through all the stages, from the lead phase to the prospect phase, then opportunity, ending with the sale. The existing techniques to be done are numerous and will depend on the maturity and investments of the marketing department.
How to detect a “good lead”?
If the acquisition of lead can be done through a multitude of channels, Inbound or Outbound, its maturation will require an investment on adapted content, a tool to monetize b2b marketing efforts.
For this, a knowledge of its market and its buyer persona is essential to be able to evaluate the relevance of content which will be pushed to a lead and the score which will have to be attributed to him. The idea is to push content (white paper, video, webinar, technical sheet …) progressively.
Each interaction will result in an update of the first score. Once a limited company has been reached, the lead will be deemed sufficiently “hot” to be pushed to the economic force to initiate a further qualification and possibly convert it into an opportunity. In the end, marketing will no longer distribute many leads and low qualified but only those judged mature enough to be supported by a commercial.
If the marketing maturity of the company does not allow a nurturing/scoring approach yet, we must not abandon the telemarketing approach (even for complex solutions) that will allow through a pre-qualification (as for example the BANT: Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) to define if a lead can send in its commercial phase and thus obtain its label of “good lead”.
Measure the effectiveness of marketing through the lead
The role of marketing should not stop at the transfer of the “good lead,” but the follow-up of the latter is also essential. Indeed, marketing budgets are often reduced or stagnant, and it is necessary to invest in the channels and campaigns that pay the most. This measurement of the ROI of a campaign, and therefore of the lead generation, is also an excellent tool to show the effectiveness of marketing if the analysis is done until the sale and not just the generation of the lead.
Of course, a CRM tool is essential to measure the contribution of marketing and changing leads. The preferred metrics cost per lead, cost per opportunity, ratio investment marketing/sales achieved and conversion rates. This analysis is all the more important because it will not only identify successful campaigns but will also detect the best channels based on cost criteria.
The lead is always a source of many questions, be it about its definition, its importance, its qualification or its analysis. But this lead must be the source of all the attention of B2B marketing, from the strategy to capture it to its conversion into real income for the company. It’s about credibility, but also the importance of the role of marketing in our businesses.