Economic fluctuations are a fact of life. Peaks and valleys, highs and lows, whatever you call them, they can be tough to navigate. Either way, during an upturn or downturn, the easy thing to do is to react with your gut and make decisions based on what gets you a quick result. Unfortunately, your gut doesn’t tend to look at the data and take into account all the factors necessary to make the right decision that pays off more in the long run.
The most common fluctuations that marketers see
While the full list is longer, we wanted to take some time to focus on the most prominent ones for B2B marketers. These are the changes you’ll often see that might cause you to course-correct your ABM strategy.
Changes in lead quantity.
The volume of leads you get can waffle between a deluge and a trickle. This can be attributed to many factors but often comes down to seasonality or a shift in market trends. How can you tell what the cause really is? The truth will be in the data (fair warning, this is going to become a recurring trend here).
When you analyze your data, and the more data the merrier, you may start to see patterns. Perhaps you have more leads in the summer and fewer in the winter, or maybe your lead numbers are tied to different trends in the market. Either way, taking your time to look at and understand the data can help you make decisions with an eye on the long term.
Why? Because a knee-jerk reaction to try and increase lead quantity doesn’t necessarily make sense if you’re only going to get poor lead quality out of it. This brings us to the next common fluctuation you might notice in your data.
Changes in lead quality
If you’re seeing a large volume of leads, but not seeing the conversions you want, you may be having issues with your lead quality. This can be due to a variety of factors, but most often the issue can be found in data accuracy and content relevance—which also aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive issues.
Taking a look first at data accuracy, you’ll have to ask yourself if you’re looking at the right data. What are you evaluating? What metrics are you using to qualify the data? Finally, what conclusions are the data drawing and do those conclusions seem to make sense? To be clear, we’re not saying that all conclusions will be what you want to see, they do need to be sensible. Having the right ABM strategy means starting with people who know what they’re looking for, how to measure it, and how to properly interpret the data. If you don’t have that, you may be drawing the wrong conclusions and making the wrong decisions without even realizing it.
Content relevance is somewhat more straightforward. If you’re not showing customers and prospects the right content, they’re not going to interact with it. So how do you know what the right content is? Well, that goes back to how data accuracy and content relevance aren’t mutually exclusive. Through data analysis, or even A/B testing, you can find what content is most effective in converting leads.
This all ties back to having the right ABM strategy and the right team or teams in place to see it through. It also helps guide you towards smarter decisions to maximize your ROI in both the short and long runs.
Change in market position
As with economic changes, a change in market position is common for businesses. This can be a result of many things, but properly identifying the cause is key to not making a rash decision.
Think of it this way, let’s say your product or service is best suited for cold-weather climates. Come fall when you’d normally be seeing an uptick in quality leads, you don’t. Your position in the market has changed. Maybe you think it’s because a competitor has come out, or maybe the world is in an economic downturn, or possibly forecasters have been talking about a mild winter. The right choice to improve your market position is different in each of these situations.
Employing the right ABM strategy will pinpoint the actual cause, and allow you to pivot your marketing strategy accordingly. Jumping to conclusions won’t help your business grow, but taking the time to properly track and analyze the data will.
Risk of emotion-driven decision making
We’re not trying to tell you that emotions don’t play a role in decision-making. They do. But they have some inherent risks, and it’s important to balance them with critical thinking.
For example, emotions are tied to your own personal biases and our so-called “gut instincts.” These aren’t inherently bad, but they can lead down a less logical path. Imagine if you had data that showed prospects were shifting to your most direct competitor who is offering a better price point. The data is there, but you think your price matches the quality of your service. Your emotions might mean you don’t want to adapt, but the data suggest otherwise. In the end, the choice is yours, but which is more likely to lead to the business outcomes you’re striving towards?
Similarly, if you have the data but don’t know how to properly interpret it, the right path may not be clear. Skilled ABM teams can extrapolate key insights from data sets and have years of experience to back it up. If you take the data, it’s possible to get an inaccurate reading off of it, leading to ineffective messaging. It may seem unlikely, but when you lead with your emotional connection to your product or service, it can blind you from what is right in front of your face.
Remember the key steps to strategy-based data and analysis
To help balance your emotions and strategic decision-making, follow these guidelines:
- Define clear goals
- Gather and analyze data
- Measure and track key metrics
- Test and optimize
- Foster collaboration
It’s impossible to remove emotions from the decision-making process, nor should you. We’re all human (unless you’re an AI bot reading this article). The key here is to look at the whole picture and make an informed decision that feels right. When you have a great team who can gather and interpret data, you’ll have the information you need to make the right strategic moves that will be best for your business, and also, feel right in your gut.