There is a need for B2B Marketing ROI yet we’re still not there. According to Adobe’s 2012 CMO report, fewer than 20% of executive B2B marketers have the ability to measure ROI. SiriusDecisions reported in their 2012 CMO survey that CMOs number one concern was demonstrating ROI. Unlike the B2C marketer who has one consumer that could be making a single web commerce transaction which is tracked from start to finish, B2B marketers are faced with a buying committee of six to eight purchasers and a buying path that has become more digital over the years yet does not mirror the accuracy of digital tracking that a B2C marketer has.
There are 3 key ingredients that repeat themselves in companies that have been able to successfully measure B2B Marketing ROI
- An ecosystem of partners – Concur Software, has consistently grown revenue over 20% year over year and won a number of recent industry awards based on their marketing ROI performance. Their executive team relied heavily on an ecosystem of the right partners to implement their best in class CRM, Marketing automation, and data gathering/measuring techniques. One integration partner of Concur’s is DemandGen, who implemented the lead scoring processes so the Concur sales team could work more effectively on the right prospects instead of all prospects, thus improving the chances for higher return (conversion) on marketing campaigns.
- Data quality – I use the ‘sight on the rifle’ analogy with data. If your rifle sight is off by the slightest, you’ll miss your target by a mile when you squeeze the trigger. This area is often the most misunderstood by executives yet directly impacts productivity. Without complete data beyond account level information (contact names, phone numbers, email addresses) and a process to minimize data duplications, sales teams invest an inordinate amount of research time to find the right contact information and marketing teams waste energy with campaigns that never reach its intended target. ROI is strongly correlated to proper data hygiene and strategies
- Buyer cycle knowledge – a surprising number of companies underestimate the need to build out content around their buying cycle. Why is this? With a buying committee, marketing teams do not fully understanding the ‘moments of truth’ of how their buyers actually buy and when buyers leverage digital technology to buy. A great example of enabling the right content is how Rackspace leverages the LinkedIn product page with over 500 peer/client recommendations to help with their funnel conversion process; no different from an eBay or Amazon purchase with recommendations from ‘peers’, Rackspace has enabled a savvy capability that shows which peers are also buying their product.
With these three ingredients in place, marketing ROI is achievable. Measuring and tracking performance with systems can be tricky as it will take people energy, processes, and tools to get the right data reported on but without taking these steps in advance of measuring, you won’t know what areas to improve in. Veracity of measuring may come into question when data is formatted outside of CRM systems, so be prepared to identify all assumptions in data gathering and use those assumptions consistently.
B2B Marketers continue to improve their journey of ROI measuring as marketing becomes more accountable at the executive level for a quantifiable impact on revenues.