B2B Marketing Blog

How To Gain The Most Valuable Insight From Your B2B Marketing Tools 

By Andrew Nguyen
Sep 15, 2015
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Garage queens, display only, mint condition, and brand-new-in-box are terms that make me cringe. If you buy it, use it.

The same goes for marketing technology. When expensive software sits idle, it’s enough to make you ask, "Why are we buying marketing tools and not using it?"

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As marketers, we have a ton of tools to work with. And a ton of tools we’re paying for, so it’s important we understand how to use each tool to its fullest potential.

In this post, we discuss marketing attribution across a variety of technologies and platforms used by B2B marketers. It’s a primer for getting coherent and consistent answers from the tools we use to generate leads, opportunities and revenue.

We’ll discuss how to use marketing automation, A/B testing, paid media, retargeting, and call intelligence more effectively.

Two Ways To Turn Marketing Automation Into An Insights Tool

Without marketing automation the job of online marketing would be tedious. Managing email lists, social posts, blogging and landing pages shouldn’t require hours of desk jockeying. To make marketing automation more effective there are a few best practices, including:

1. Lead scoring -- A lead scoring system evaluates the likelihood of your leads converting into a customer.  A lead scoring system uses a set of criteria based on the current performance of your funnel. Using average sales cycle lengths, conversion rates, and demographic data about your leads, you can predict when they’ll close and how much they’ll spend.

Marketers score leads based on two broad criteria: how qualified your lead is and how engaged they are with your brand. The illustration below is great way to visualize lead scoring.

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Those leads in the top right corner are engaged and qualified to buy. These are often designated as A1 leads and calculated using a score for “fit” and “engagement.” See below for an example of lead scoring.

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How sophisticated should your lead scoring system be? Well, it depends on your lead volume and how much you’re spending on lead generation. Where an established channel exists, lead scoring enables marketers to predict when revenue will close, and enable sales teams to prioritize which leads to contact -- both of which offers predictability and time savings.

If you’re shopping for a lead scoring tool or are using marketing automation already, then price and anticipated lead volumes will be the deciding factor for whether your lead scoring system is as sophisticated (and expensive) as poaching a data scientist from a major league baseball team, or a DIY model you tally yourself.

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2. CRM Integration -- Integrating lead generation data with your CRM turns your automation tool into an intelligence tool.  

If you’re investing in a wide variety of a channels, from offline events to AdWords, then it’s easier to understand which leads are converting by looking at one centralized platform-- the CRM.

It ensures you don’t double count leads, fail at merging data sets from different online platforms, and bias your investments towards channels you mistakenly think are making money.

There are a number of CRM integration options available to marketers, and the right one depends on your need and budget.

DIY solutions include outputting spreadsheets from a marketing automation platform and importing it into your CRM.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are solutions built in-house. Depending on the structure and size of your organization you likely fall in the middle, where an in-house solution is more expensive than purchasing an out-of-the-box solution and DIY is too much of a time-suck.

When searching for a CRM integration, consider the kind of data you need. Do you need first touch data telling you when a lead discovered your website/brand for the first time? Or do you need data that only tells you the last page they viewed before submitting a lead form?

Determining whether brand discovery metrics or last click metrics are important can help you decide the best CRM integration option for your marketing needs.

Other details include considering the length of your sales cycle. The sales cycle length dictates how long you need conversion data to be saved. The longer your sales cycle, the longer your conversion data will need to be stored until prospects turn into customers.

Lastly, access to customer support for your CRM integration and subsequent marketing attribution goals is another consideration for finding the best-fit solution.

Lead scoring and CRM integration are the two important factors for making MA an automation and insights tool.

Do A/B Testing Correctly From The Beginning

A/B testing is the foundation for creating the best customer experience. It helps marketers identify the kinds of content and page layouts that engage web visitors and app users.

While insights for engagement are great for fine tuning top of funnel marketing assets, more can be learned from A/B testing.

If the point of A/B testing is to gain assurance that your landing pages and website are fully optimized, then connecting A/B tests to bottom of funnel metrics like opportunities and revenue gives you supreme confidence that your conversion rate optimizations are profitable.

To get started in understanding what segment of new customers are attributed to optimizations you need to connect your A/B testing platform to your optimization platform to your CRM. Optimization platforms like Optimizely make connecting your A/B testing platform to your CRM simple.

After connecting optimization to customer success you’ll understand:

  • The top landing pages for new customers

  • Top traffic segments by industry vertical, deal size, region, and time-to-close

  • Top exit pages

A/B testing is all about identifying the traffic you want to retain and identifying where you are losing your best traffic. It’s the equivalent to directing the right traffic to the right destination.

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If your optimization platform is not connected to your CRM then confidence in your optimization efforts is dramatically reduced.

To be effective with A/B testing follow these steps:

Create a great hypothesis -- Ask yourself what your best opportunities are (Top 5 highest bounce rate pages, top 5 abandonment points in your funnel, and top 5 most valuable pages)

Understand your user’s intent -- By understanding what your audience wants and doesn’t want, you can improve your page. Using website exit surveys or customer feedback can help you understand what stopped the user from converting, what they didn’t find on your page, and why they visit your page.

Choose your tests -- Make a change you can actually measure. Your tests should include message changes, design changes, and engagement capture moments (the step a visitor makes right before they are likely to become a customer, e.g. viewing a product video).

Measure the impact on the entire funnel -- You aren’t optimizing for page success, you’re optimizing the entire funnel. Be sure to connect your A/B tests to revenue.

Get Smarter About Call Tracking and Call Intelligence

Inbound calls are a significant source of new business for many B2B brands. When it comes to shopping for expensive software products there are details and questions that are best handled over the phone.

Calls are an offline conversion that needs to be tracked in analytics as it represents a major part of your customers’ journey.

Here’s how to track, optimize and do attribution for your inbound calls:

  1. Track calls from all ad types such as calls from ad extensions, paid search, and landing pages. Bid management solution, Marin, finds that 70 percent of calls triggered by paid search ads come from landing pages.

  2. Measure call quality. Metrics like length of call, keywords mentioned, and confirmation numbers given can tell marketers how qualified inbound calls and leads are.  

  3. Determine what counts as a call conversion. This can be based on whether a caller signs up for a demo or trial.

  4. Determine how much revenue credit call conversions deserve. At Bizible we use W-shaped attribution and distribute 30% of revenue to each of the 3 major touchpoints in the marketing funnel. For some brands an inbound call happens further down the funnel and vice versa for others.

Call intelligence platforms help marketers improve the customer experience by measuring call quality, using call data to route calls and using call data for retargeting lists. 

Here’s a summary of how to get the most out of call intelligence from Julia Stead at Invoca.

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Master Your Paid Social Advertising

Paid social advertising is a top of funnel (insert link to glossary) activity for B2B brands. When it comes to brand awareness, brand discovery and the first touchpoint (link to glossary) linkedin and twitter are indispensable ad platforms.  

These ad platforms are channels for you to distribute content and bring traffic to your website.

Optimizing and doing attribution for paid social platforms helps marketers accomplish their job of keeping the funnel filled with qualified leads.

To get started, B2B brands need to look at the following social advertising metrics:

  • Which clicks turned into leads?

  • Which headline and content offered converted the click into a lead?

  • What targeting parameter generated the most qualified clicks?

  • What’s the click to lead conversion rate? The lead to opportunity conversion rate?

These questions can be answered once your website has the correct tracking setup and data is important to your CRM.

For paid social we create campaigns based on content. Our reports tell us which ad they clicked on, which platform they came from, and what page or ebook they downloaded before becoming a lead.

Once your prospects turn into customers, then an attribution solution can be used to tell you which ads initiated the brand discovery and which converted them through each stage of the funnel. Using an attribution model will then give revenue credit to those ads, signaling to you which ads work and which ads don’t.

Making the correct decisions in online marketing isn’t easy. It’s a process of testing a hunch and being able to see exactly what happens inside the marketing funnel.

For example, LinkedIn does not have built in conversion tracking code so you’ll need to add tracking codes to your ads. See our article on tracking parameters for more tips.

Do Retargeting Like A Pro

Retargeting keeps track of who visited your site and shows ads to them on other websites.

The single best practice advice is to segment your audience. But how do you know if you’ve segmented correctly?

Test a variety of lists composed of diverse segmentation data like newsletters readers, geographic location, offline conversion data and demographic data.

By using as much segmentation data as possible you can be sure to formulate a list and associated retargeting ads that truly resonate.

We recently wrote about a strategy we used to dramatically improve our retargeting efforts. In it, we explain how to match campaigns to funnel stages. In other words, how to make your retargeting effective by segmenting your lead list based on how warm the leads are.

Your message, ad content and content offer, should be tailored to how aware your audience is with your brand.

Have they viewed your pricing page? Have they visited your product page multiple times? Use this data to create campaigns and lists. As these clicks convert into opportunities and customers your list building prowess will grow. You’ll be sure that the criteria used for your retargeting lists are correct.

When considering the use of retargeting there are a variety of types to consider. These ad types vary by personalization. For example, you can personalize each impression with offers for specific product pages an individual viewed. Ads can be custom linked, for example if a person began a signup or added items to a cart then you can display an ad and link them back to the signup or check out page. There is also search retargeting which displays ads based on a user’s recent search history. Lastly, if your audience is on specific platforms like Facebook, you can use Facebook’s Perfect Audience to display ads in news feeds.

Below is an example of the dynamic elements in a retargeting ad. These are used to add a variety of personalization.

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The landscape of retargeting is wide and varied but like many of the tips in this article you should tie your data to revenue.

Retargeting is a great way for marketers to extend their web reach and target web visitors who don’t convert on the first visit, AKA the vast majority of web visitors.

Be The Batman

Today’s marketers are like Batman. I don’t mean they lack actual powers compared to the likes of Superman and The Flash.

Marketers are like Batman because both carry a utility belt. And both have to know how to use their tools to be effective. 

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What separates great marketing teams from average marketing teams?

I believe it's the ability to make careful decisions.  When you take full advantage of your marketing tools, you make the right spending decisions. It's pipeline marketing 101

The CMO's Guide To  B2B Marketing Attribution  Learn the ins and outs of marketing attribution in this guide created just for  you.  Download Now


Topics: demand generation, marketing automation

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