Top 4 Digital Practices that Drive High B2B Marketing Performance
Going into the 2002 season, the Oakland A’s were the second-poorest team in baseball. They had lost their best players. Yet they nearly broke the record for consecutive wins that year. They went on to reach the postseason playoffs three years in a row – and they did it while spending two-thirds less money than the New York Yankess.
This is the story outlined in Michael Lewis’s bestselling book Moneyball. So what does it have to do with B2B digital performance? Moneyball isn’t just a baseball story. It’s one of the greatest business stories of all time. The A’s General Manager Billy Beane defied conventional wisdom about what makes a player valuable and instead turned to a series of neglected statistics that told an entirely different story. And as the book tells us, “Picking the right metrics made all the difference.” That’s a story any business can get behind.
To drive the best B2B digital performance, it’s time to channel your inner Billy Beane, and not just in terms of the metrics you choose. Look at your entire process and ensure you’ve implemented these top four digital practices that drive high marketing performance.
1. Identify Your Goals and KPIs
In any marketing campaign, the very first thing you always need to do is identify your goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t know if you’ve arrived. The two biggest goals for marketing are usually either profits, in which case your ultimate KPI is ROI, or communicating about a new product, in which case your ultimate KPI is market reach.
Once you know your goals, you can choose the specific metrics that will give you the most actionable insights. They should:
- Align with your long-term business objectives
- Be relevant to your target audience
- Be able to be measured YoY or MoM to reveal trends over time
- Prove marketing influence over the entire sales process
Now you can create a plan. Break your overall goals down into smaller goals and set a timeline for each. Then determine the strategies that will get you there. Only then can you move on to the next step.
2. Use Technology to Track and Test
Gone are the days when marketers put a newspaper ad out into the ether and hoped for a phone call. We’ve entered the digital transformation, and in this brave new world, proof of B2B digital performance is everything. You can’t calculate your ROI or any other KPIs if you don’t track your results.
Luckily, marketing technology is keeping pace. Your MarTech stack should at least include marketing automation, customer relationship management (CRM), a content management system (CMS), and analytics, and you can consider CRO, email and social media tools as well. HubSpot covers many of these categories, and Marketo, Pardot and Salesforce are other popular options. Running an ABM campaign? 6Sense is the best out there.
Your job doesn’t end with tracking. Technology can also help you test and optimize your strategy. You’ll be able to see what works – and what doesn’t – so you can turn around a failing campaign or implement successful strategies in the future. You can also see trends over time so that you can better predict what’s coming. All of that means higher ROI, and a happier C-suite.
3. Organize Your Dashboard Like A Pro
You’re about to have a ton of data – but it will all mean nothing if you can’t make sense of it. Setting up your dashboard is an often-forgotten yet essential piece of the B2B digital performance puzzle. An easy-to-read dashboard helps you:
- Accelerate decision making
- Align marketing and sales
- Align stakeholders
- Easily disseminate information
- Access metrics on demand
- Prove your ROI
Dashboards are so important, Stephen Few wrote a whole book about them. In Information Dashboard Design, he lays out the top principles, including:
- Using a single-screen dashboard
- Placing important metrics and charts at the top
- Giving charts context using color, shape or order
- Keeping a high data-ink ratio by avoiding backgrounds, effects and shadows
- Using plenty of white space for a clean look
- Rounding percentages to the nearest tenth and dollars to the nearest hundredth
The best dashboards don’t just present data, they tell you what to do with it. For example, 6Sense’s recent upgrades include a Recommended Actions Dashboard that lets you know which actions should be your priority for each target account. Now that’s useful!
4. Align Your Teams
Like newspaper ads – and let’s be honest, phone calls – the days of sales, marketing and finance operating in siloes are over. Aligning your marketing and sales teams can lead to better B2B digital performance. Why? Because rather than focusing on the sheer quantity of leads, then throwing them over the fence to sales, an aligned strategy focuses on the quality of leads. When you pass off better leads, you get better results. Your sales team can help you figure out how.
Aligned marketing and finance teams are just as important. Both teams want the same thing: the best results for the least amount of money – just like Billy Beane of the Oakland A’s. Meeting regularly can also help create a true partnership in which each department understands and respects each other. Ultimately, that leads to a more efficient business.
Alignment starts with common goals and the technology to prove those goals. Your dashboard can help you with team alignment by making easy-to-understand reports available to all stakeholders. And an experienced team like the one at BOL can help you with everything from strategy and development to reporting and analytics. Once you start realizing your B2B digital performance goals, every team benefits from the recognition.