I’ve written a lot about the influence of big data on marketing, but with so much focus on marketing to consumers, it’s important to recognize that big data can be just as helpful to B2B marketers as it is for B2C marketers. B2B marketers are under similar pressures from the digital age, with pressure to get more quality leads and provide more valuable information to the sales team. A poll in 2012 found that 60 percent of marketers see generating more leads as their greatest marketing challenge, and 63 percent noted that their current marketing mix either wasn’t meeting sales demand, or it was unclear whether the mix was effective or not. Measurement has also remained a challenge for marketers with 40 percent pegging accurate measurement as a top issue.
Big data can help B2B marketers to overcome these challenges and gain other advantages in a competitive market. Here are five ways how.
1. Boost Returns
For those marketers who feel their current mix isn’t meeting the needs of the sales team, they should take heart that a McKinsey study found that businesses who frequently use data in sales and marketing decisions saw an improvement in their return on investment by 15–20 percent. That means that if a company invested $1 trillion in marketing, big data provided an additional $200 billion in value.
2.Create a More Targeted and Relevant Experience
Big data can also provide a more relevant experience to consumers by providing more information about the consumer to the marketing team during the lead generation process, as well as to the sales team during the sales process. By tracking every digital interaction you have with consumers—rom clicks to downloads and time spent on a particular page—marketers can better evaluate the effectiveness of marketing tactics and learn more about the interests of each particular customer, so they can create targeted messaging and provide detailed information to the sales staff.
3.Start Analyzing Behavioral Intent
More data about the products businesses are buying, what amount is being paid, and the amount of time it takes to get through the entire sales process can help the marketing team to better qualify leads and predict their potential to buy at a particular time without overwhelming the customer with extensive questions and forms to collect the information. Adding public data into the mix can yield useful insights about competitors and the industry as a whole as well.
4.Identify the Decision Makers
Frequently the person that first comes in contact with your company isn’t the decision maker (or the only decision maker) in their organization. Thus, if the marketing team can use big data to identify the decision makers in the organization that are researching its product, it can significantly aid the selling process, as the salesperson will immediately be able to start talking with the correct individuals.
5.Optimize Interactions with Real-Time Marketing
By combining big data with predictive statistics, machine learning and other tools of real-time marketing, marketers can adapt their messaging, prices or other offers in real-time. For example, a bank in Latin America used real-time data about customers to provide its call centers with data on which product the customer was most likely to buy next, in order to make personalized offers. This is easily extended into the B2B market as real time data can help marketers stay on top of the customer’s journey by sending beneficial content to engage the customer until they are ready to buy.
With big data technology becoming more enterprise-friendly thanks to big data services incorporating Hadoop in the Cloud, B2B marketers should take advantage of all of the insights big data has to offer.
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