If you’re like most B2B marketers, you diligently plan and execute campaigns to drive new opportunities and, ultimately, increase revenue. But unless you’re ready to rethink marketing’s role, you may be throwing precious budget dollars out the window and missing opportunities to drive real customer value.

Customer buying behavior is evolving, and demand management is evolving along with it. Today’s B2B marketers can’t focus only on generating leads and turning them over to Sales. They need a new process for creating effective, targeted programs that hit the right people at the right time.

Develop a lead-management process

Marketing and Sales must work together to design a more integrated – and collaborative – process that addresses goals, metrics, and activities at crucial lead stages.

That process includes…

  • Identifying key business drivers to optimise demand generation
  • Mapping out the customer lifecycle (from suspect to prospect, lead, and customer)
  • Building marketing programs for nurturing and qualification
  • Defining a Sales-ready lead
  • Determining how leads should be passed to Sales and tracked

Making customer data and segmentation work for you?

Organisations might have thousands, of contacts from promotions tradeshows, partner events, and website leads. And data from social media monitoring and capture have added to the volume of data that organisations have to sift through. Developing marketing initiatives for an unwieldy database results in wasted budget and resources – and, more important, missed revenue opportunities.

You need a data strategy to develop a comprehensive view of your customers and their interactions. That means starting with a clear understanding of what customer data you have today – from all available sources – and where there are gaps.

The sources of information that feed the database are critical; just as critical, however, is how that information is collected, stored, and managed… because that’s what will help you make decisions about to whom you should market.

Define your customer

Who in your customer’s organisation is the buyer of the services that your company sells? Who influences the sale? Who approves it? A multilevel view will help you target messaging and better arm your sales force with the information it needs.

Cleanse and standardise your data

In B2B marketing, obtaining prospect information, such as company, title, contact name, and email address, is paramount. Use reference libraries to standardise mailing addresses. Implement email address formatting and domain validation to ensure higher deliverability.

Match the data

Data-matching is about creating links between records from various data sources to create a richer, more accurate customer profile. B2B matching is complex because of the variations in company naming conventions and sites that can span addresses. As a best-practice, you should continually refine and test your matching rules based on results.

Generate insight

Once you have the data, you’ll need to generate insight on the following.

  • Whom to target
  • What stage of the cycle your target is in
  • What products or services your target is interested in
  • How your target likes to be contacted or receive information
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