Closing Strong and Kick-Starting the New Year

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As 2018 winds to a close, we start to see a flurry of activity in sales and marketing to try to close the year strong. Often, that means mass emails are sent and sales teams start “dialing for dollars” to see what they can bring in before the year’s end. It becomes a race to the finish to do as much activity as possible before the bell tolls on December 31st.

But what if sales and marketing teams focused more on how they were doing business and less on just taking actions? Not only would they be able to close the year strong, but they could set themselves up for even more success in 2019.

As we move into another year, here are three tips to maximize the last few business days left in 2018 and to go into next year poised to hit the ground running.

Use your data wisely
Data is probably one of the biggest (and most underutilized asset) a business has. In the B2B world, the holy grail is having comprehensive account-level data that is shared throughout the organization in a standardized way. This means you are connecting all individual actions taken by employees in a target account, leveling that information up to an account level, and then making sure the information is flowing seamlessly across various departments in your business.

Having that connected data will allow your sales and marketing teams to share a view of the customer and be more efficient in their outreach. In fact, a study found that an overwhelming majority of B2B sellers believe having access to accurate and complete data has helped them close deals faster, because it gave them a better understanding of a prospect’s needs.

If your business is still operating in silos with systems that don’t talk to one another, this is your first order of business in 2019.

Audience Personalization
We’ve been talking about personalization for a long time and almost every marketer will tell you it’s on their roadmap. However, I don’t see a lot of companies truly mastering personalization… yet. In the B2B space especially, purchasing decisions are being made before ever talking to a seller, therefore a large percentage of the messaging a prospect receives from a business is through content marketing or a website. As expected, content budgets are increasing to accommodate personalization, but that isn’t enough.

The technology is currently available to allow your teams to understand who is coming to a website, for instance, and deliver personalized content at an account or individual level. However, one of the issues facing many companies is having the resources to fulfill the content on the backend. In these last few days of 2018, do an audit of your content resources and make sure you have the necessary people and processes in place to take advantage of the detailed information you’re receiving from your website. If you aren’t able to see who is visiting your website, that’s where you should start. Invest in some web visitor intelligence to drive the personalized content you’re producing.

If your company is spending money on content personalization without truly understanding who’s coming to your website, you’re wasting valuable dollars and resources. It’s imperative you have both the visibility into the web visitors AND the customized content for these programs to run smoothly.

Expand programmatic for wider reach
While many marketers link programmatic to online advertising methods, really programmatic is just an automated way of doing something. And automation often leads to economies of scale if done correctly. For instance, take Account-Based Marketing (ABM). While many marketers understand the importance of ABM to their marketing mix, it is often difficult to implement due to lack of data, lack of resources, or lack of optimal processes within the organization. However, as data and technology progress, more marketing teams are looking at automating some ABM programs by using digital properties to gain a wider reach for those target accounts. The 1:1 ABM tactics of the past won’t go away, but by layering on more digital connections and programmatic methods, companies can optimize their campaigns and resources to make the most of their marketing dollars. What’s more, these expanded digital connections will make it easier for your sales teams when they do reach out for a 1:1 conversation because your brand will be top of mind.

So, with just a few days left in the year, take a look at the things you can do quickly to close those last-minute deals, but also have one eye toward the future and what your teams can do now to lay the best foundation for the coming year. With just a few small updates to your data, personalization, and use of programmatic methods, your sales and marketing teams will be working in tandem for greater success in 2019.

Anudit Vikram
Anudit Vikram is Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer for Audience Solutions at Dun & Bradstreet. He is responsible for overseeing data-driven audience targeting, deterministic data and verification of audiences in programmatic advertising. Anudit joined Dun & Bradstreet in 2014 from Merkle, where he was VP, Digital Marketing Technologies. Prior to that, Anudit held positions at nPario, Yahoo!, Operative Media, Inc., The Digital Group and Microsoft. Anudit holds a degree in Electronics from University of Pune and a Master’s Degree in Management from Columbia University.

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