There’s no doubt big data has hit B2B marketing, with brands using (and generating) more customer information than ever. And yet, compare your last B2B experience with the kind of personalisation you see as a consumer in your personal life, and it’s clear B2B has a long way to go.
After all, as one Salesforce customer said, “If Amazon can send a relevant recommendation about something relatively trivial like an item of clothing you might like, why can’t a business selling something as important as IT services understand what you need?”
That customer is Backbone Connect, a UK-based managed IT services provider. At Sales Innovation Expo 2019, I caught up with James Golding, (now former) Marketing and Business Change Manager, and he shed some light on what businesses can do to thrive in the Age of Connectivity.
Turn your marketing into a machine
“It’s not enough to make a lot of noise – you need to be strategic. You need to really define your USP (unique selling point), find the right audience and go after them. And then that’s where tech comes in,” said Golding.
“As a marketer, you have a few different options. You can grow your team in-house, you can outsource – or you can give a couple of really skilled in-house guys the right tools to scale up.” Equipping the right people with the right software means you can scale your marketing and your message without having to massively grow your team – or increase your cost base.
“The us vs. them mentality is really detrimental,” notes Golding. “But if marketing understands what’s important to sales, and sales understands what’s important to marketing, it eventually all comes together. Sales might not care what’s in the campaign, but if it’s working, they’ll definitely want to know how many of them you can run.”
Get buy-in across all your stakeholders
When you’re implementing a new marketing automation platform like Pardot, adoption is key – not just across the marketing team so they can use it to the best of their ability, but across sales and any other departments involved, too.
This is the human requirement of adoption that’s often overlooked, and one of the main reasons new software deployments – that are meant to change the way teams work – end up in failure.
But how do you get that buy-in?
“Always understand the software you are bringing on board. Scope it out, get to know it inside out, and work out exactly how you’re going to measure impact, report on results, and so on. Be critical, because other people will be. Your investment in software like this is naturally tied up in the results that it delivers, so you’ve got to be able to show them.”
Marketing and sales should share the same vision – growth – but they also need to speak the same language.
“Establish what you need to prove and maintain to the business to justify your investment. Is it the number of opportunities generated? Is it revenue pipeline contribution? Is it the scale of the campaigns you can deliver with the resources you have? Identify that at the beginning of your search, understand how you will measure it and stick to it.”
How Backbone Connect did it
“Pardot allowed us to effectively match a variety of value propositions to the right customer profile, then use that built, templated infrastructure to scale the number of campaigns running,” explains Golding.
“Additionally, we were able to combine our automated digital touch points to match with the personal pipeline management of the sales team. We then used Pardot to create campaigns that matched individuals’ or teams’ industries and verticals – and showed them exactly how we were contributing to their pipeline.”
Effective reporting is essential when it comes to demonstrating your value to others.
“Pardot and Salesforce reporting allows me to link campaign output to pipeline growth quickly and easily. All campaigns are uniquely segmented, and their individual and cumulative impact can be measured.”
The software has been key in helping Golding achieve his goals for the business: “It’s allowed us to deliver smarter demand generation without simply growing a large in-house team.”
Iterate, iterate, iterate
Golding isn’t resting on his laurels. His team are always looking at how they can improve – and at the tools and tactics that could help them achieve those incremental gains.
“We want to take CRM to the next level by leveraging the data on customers to personalise our communications. We’re also keeping an eye out for the new features on existing tools that will deliver the incremental 1% improvement that will still make an impact. Einstein AI is of interest, for example – can it serve up actionable campaign analytics to me?”
Whatever they choose to use, it’s all about how to optimise the experience across marketing and sales – and ultimately delivering a better experience to their customers.
And none of it would be possible without sales and marketing alignment.
Find out how Salesforce can help you transform your sales and marketing alignment.