Michael Brenner on data and the evolution of B2B sales & marketing

How Data Is Driving the Evolution of B2B Sales and Marketing Tactics

The power of data is only realized when it is used, tuned into insights, and optimized for better decisions.

This power of data is especially evident for sales and marketing teams who can use it to determine customers’ individual needs, get ever closer to the supreme goal of ultra-personalized marketing, and, finally, possess the tools and knowledge to deliver a near flawless experience for the customer at every stage of the buying process.

It takes the right balance of market data and the data on your marketing and sales platforms to build the right analytic models, but the potential of what can be done with advanced usage of advanced analytics is profound.

Data, whether it’s Big Data or simply large data sets, is driving the evolution of B2B sales and marketing because it is making more personalized, efficient, and impactful marketing possible – at scale.

This unprecedented level of sophistication has fostered the development of quite a few breakthrough marketing tactics. Here’s a look at some of the ways leading B2B organizations are using data to power their marketing today.


Advanced Analytics

Advanced marketing analytics, such as predictive and prescriptive analytics, is allowing marketers to use data to make predictions, generate recommendations, or simply gain deeper insights. Which makes it easier to make smarter marketing decisions and increase your marketing ROI.

Take, for example, one US insurance company. This company increased their marketing productivity by 15 percent every year from 2009 to 2012 without increasing their marketing spend. Over the same period, their industry increased marketing spending by 62 percent. (Check out how anticipatory analytics is shaping the future of decision-making.)

It takes the right balance of market data and the data on your marketing and sales platforms to build the right analytic models, but the potential of what can be done with advanced usage of advanced analytics is profound.

Account-Based Marketing

With account-based marketing, marketing and sales pool their data to develop strategic, targeted marketing campaigns.

The two departments come together to develop hyper-relevant campaigns based on whole customer accounts, rather than depending on marketing to generate leads and then passing those leads to sales to close the account in a separate process.

It’s aligned data plus aligned sales and marketing. And it drives better outcomes for B2B businesses. More than 70 percent of B2B organizations are using account-based marketing at some level today. This SlideShare offers six quick steps to get your organization started.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is permeating every area of marketing technology. Most marketing automation platforms are already using some form of machine learning, helping marketers use customer data for better segmentation and more personalized campaigns. But this is only a fraction of what AI can do with data.

For example, AI-based image recognition software can analyze billions of social media images to figure out how customers are using a brand’s products. Marketers can use that information to create more effective campaigns. But remember, AI is only as smart as the data that feeds it.

Persona-Based Marketing

Persona-based marketing is similar to account-based marketing in that it uses customer data to develop relevant campaigns. The difference is that the focus is on individual stakeholders rather than the entire account. The intent is to resonate with a key stakeholder at each stage of the buying process.

Here again, it’s data that is driving strategic marketing initiatives. Marketers can know what channels a stakeholder uses, what type of content they are likely to respond to, what their challenges are, and when they are likely to engage.

When you know a target tends to open new emails at 10 a.m. on Mondays, favors professionally toned subject lines, and often ignores text content but will click on short videos, it’s a lot easier to tailor content for engagement.

Personalized Web Experience

There are a variety of marketing tech tools that make it possible to track how users interact with your website. Data such as browsing history, purchase decisions, and ratings are used to create a personalized web experience.

When users arrive on your website, they will see the products they are more likely to be interested in or may be given a web experience that is tailored to the buyer segment they fall within.

Programmatic Ad Buying

Programmatic ad buying is what has made digital advertising so much more effective over the past few years. It’s no wonder a majority of B2B marketers are now embracing it. It uses behavioral, search, and social media data to determine what ads a user is most likely to be interested in.

Then, when the user clicks on a web page, the ads they see will mostly be ones that relate to their interests. Programmatic ad buying has been around for some time, which means the technology has had time to evolve.

Today, ad buyers can evaluate the data mid-campaign and make tweaks to create better-targeted ads. And more recently, programmatic mobile advertising has become mainstream.

Developing Your Data Strategy

A recent Harvard Business Review and Radius report revealed the importance of data strategy. Sixty-three percent of B2B marketers say data and analytics will be very influential on marketing activities within the next two years.

However, many survey respondents claim there are still persistent roadblocks to advancing their strategy, including data siloes, a shortage of in-house data analytics skills, and problems with inaccurate or out-of-date data.

In the survey, only 37 percent characterized their strategy as “somewhat advanced” or “highly advanced.”

As the importance of having a robust data strategy isn’t going away and, in fact, is only going to become more pressing, it is those organizations that put data first who will be prepared to be the early adopters of the next generation of data analytics.

Is your organization taking advantage of these data-inspired tactics?