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

Voluminous, mighty, and complex, data’s power lies in its ability to make marketing and sales efforts more focused. Businesses need this largess level of information to hone in on their customers’ individual needs, getting ever closer to the supreme goal of ultra-personalized marketing, and finally possessing the tools and knowledge to deliver a near flawless experience for the customer at every stage of the buying process.

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, are allowing marketers to use data to make predictions, generate recommendations, or simply to 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.

It takes the right balance of the data on your marketing and sales platforms combined with market data 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, 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.

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 the tip of the iceberg 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.

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 more strategic marketing initiatives. Marketers can know what channels a stakeholder uses, why 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 am on Mondays, with 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 like browsing history, purchase decisions and ratings are used to create a personalized web experience. Which is exactly what it is called. 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 uses 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, they will, for the most part, only see ads 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. 63 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 of highly advanced. As the importance of having a robust 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?

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

2 thoughts on “How Data Is Driving the Evolution of B2B Sales & Marketing Tactics

  1. I guess I’m not big enough to use these tactics. I do plan on using AI to analyze data and coming up with insights, but that’s something in the future.

    I will say that one way data will impact the future of B2B sales is in the creation of research content.

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