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We're excited to announce the publication of Fast CMO magazine edition 6. Our magazine shares stories, reflections, and descriptions of what's happening today in B2B marketing. 

It spans a variety of industries, focusing on diverse channels to deliver a thoughtful overview of where marketing leaders are finding success. 

It's a collection of perspectives on managing B2B marketing teams and organizations. It captures a mindset, one that focuses on growth, customer insights and cross-departmental coordination. Here's a preview of what's inside. 

  • Clay Stobaugh, CMO at Wiley, describes how the innovation program at Wiley works, and provides advice on how to work cross-functionally at an enterprise-level company. Wiley, is a global publishing company. 

  • Tiffany Wirth, VP of Marketing at WEX Health, shares insights on succeeding with the partner channel, and how she started an annual conference that is now the revenue driving center-piece of WEX Health marketing. WEX Health provides a healthcare financial technology platform. 

  • Jeff Schmitz, CMO at Zebra Technologies, talks to us about the critical areas CMOs need to focus on today. He also shares how to find the right brand message and build a marketing team. Zebra Technologies manufactures and sells marking, tracking and computer printing technologies.

  • Nicole Westenberger, VP of Marketing at Brady Corporation, talks to us about applying B2C approaches in B2B, and the relationship between voice-of-customer and positioning. Brady Corporation is a manufacturer of products for identifying components used in workplaces. 

  • William (Bill) Hurley, CMO at Syniverse, shares with marketing leaders his philosophy and advice for success in B2B marketing.  Syniverse offers a secured global network and engagement platform to enterprise and telecommunication companies. 

  • Kay Fernandez, SVP of Marketing at Konica Minolta, shares her approach to journey mapping, sales enablement, and improving the customer experience. Konica Minolta is a Japanese multinational technology company, and manufactures business and industrial imaging products, including copiers, laser printers, multi-functional peripherals (MFPs) and digital print systems.

To read these Q and A stories, visit fastcmo.com

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As Head of ABM at Marketo, I’m always eager to learn how others are doing account-based marketing (ABM) and the success they are having.

We all know that ABM has been exploding in popularity thanks to new technologies that make it possible to execute and measure ABM at scale, like our Marketo ABM and Bizible ABM solutions.

But is that buzz justified?

The only way to find out is to look at the data, which is why I had to look at survey question results from the State of Pipeline Marketing report.

For this blog post, I am examining marketers whose account-based marketing activities make up over 50 percent of all other marketing activities, like demand generation, done at their orgs.

I’m also looking at the other end, marketers whose account-based marketing activities make up less than 50 percent of all other marketing activities.

As you can imagine, we made some interesting observations.

Companies who are doing ABM are growing faster

One of the questions this year asked for approximate year-over-year revenue growth. Twenty percent of companies where ABM makes up the majority of marketing activities are growing revenue 30 percent year-over-year. For companies who aren’t doing ABM, they are growing by only 10 percent year-over-year.

With ABM comes a different way of executing all your existing channels. For example, paid social media campaigns become more engaged and focused, which requires more budget.  ABM also enables a whole new set of channels like outbound calling, field marketing, and direct mail which can break through the noise and combine to have a 1 + 1 = 3 effect.

Companies who are doing ABM are more likely to map investments to revenue

Specifically, those not doing ABM are more than two times more likely not to have any visibility into how investment data maps to revenue metrics.

Let’s be real, ABM is expensive.

The campaigns are more involved than traditional demand generation (often with longer sales cycles too) and therefore the channels/campaigns may require bigger investments per account in order to execute. It’s so important when doing ABM to map your investment data to outcomes like pipeline and revenue to justify the ongoing spend (and spend increases) each year.

Marketers doing ABM say their organization is effective at measuring marketing performance

Thirty-two percent of marketers doing ABM say their organization is effective at measuring marketing performance, compared to just 15 percent who are not doing ABM. Like the previous section, we believe this is the case because the expense of ABM requires accountability to revenue.

This observation supports the idea that companies are scaling ABM because  its positive impact on revenue growth is proven.

Marketers doing ABM are more likely to be aligned with sales

Forty-two percent of those doing ABM said they were aligned with sales, but only 22 percent of those not doing ABM could say the same. Not a big surprise here. To execute ABM well you need to work so closely with sales that the lines between the teams often blur.

I hope next year we'll find that even more companies align marketing and sales because 42 percent leaves a lot of room for improvement. This year's report shows those doing ABM are growing faster, have metrics tied to outcomes, and are closer aligned with sales. 

I’d say the buzz is justified!

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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of presenting at Marketing Loves Sales in Portland, hosted by Obility. It was truly one of the best B2B marketing conferences in the Pacific Northwest. This is the write-up for my presentation for those who couldn’t make it.

In the latest State of Pipeline Marketing, we learned that the perception and reality of Marketing is, uh, not good. A quarter of marketing orgs are misaligned with Sales. Half of companies see Marketing as a cost center. And two-thirds of companies are not confident in hitting revenue plans.

This is not good. I’d classify the state of the relationship between Marketing and Sales as awkward. If Marketing really loved Sales, we wouldn’t be seeing numbers like this.

But, with those stats, there’s an opportunity. And that opportunity is aligning marketing to revenue.

The opinions on marketing orgs we uncovered in the State of Pipeline Marketing likely originate from Marketing focusing on activities, rather than the outcome of the effort.

Every function in the business optimizes for revenue. The CEO. Finance. Sales. Even Success which is traditionally a support-based function optimizes for revenue. It’s time Marketing steps up.

Luckily, we know revenue is the answer. In looking at the raw State of Pipeline Marketing data, I found that marketing teams who align to revenue are:  2x more likely to be aligned with sales,  2x more likely to be seen as revenue center, 2x more confident in hitting goals, and 5x more likely to report 2x or higher ROI.

There are very few things in marketing you can do in one meeting that has this kind of impact.

It’s also something that has defined levels too. You don’t need to be the most advanced company in the world to get some benefit. Luckily we have a handy maturity curve for attribution. My recommendation is to work towards the next level and don’t try to skip over any. This might mean it takes longer to reach Stage 4, but you’ll have put down a strong foundation.

No matter where you are on your attribution maturity journey, there are three items to keep in mind and improve:

First, make sure you track all marketing interactions from first touch all the way to close. For us this includes tracking web visits, outbound calling, email replies, and more. In other words, it goes well beyond the form fill.

Why? If we just tracked form fills, we’d be vastly under-tracking the funnel. The average number of form fills for a Bizible purchase path is 22. If you look at the average number of marketing touchpoints, it's 167.

Second, separate out goals from indicators. The goal of marketing is revenue as we’ve already realized. It’s what our function serves to drive. Leads, MQLs, pipeline, etc are great metrics to track and understand, but are ultimately leading indicators. They are like your minutes per mile pace when running a marathon. That’s a great to way know if you are on track to hit your race time, but it’s just an indicator.

Lastly, you need to make sure the team is actually using the data and insights. The best data is meaningless if you don’t take action on it, which is why it's so important to distribute reporting across every function and every level employee on the marketing team. They must understand the performance of their channels, campaigns, and content.

These aren’t just good ideas. They can generate meaningful business impact. Tina Moffet of Forrester recently wrote, “B2B companies are seeing an average of 15 to 18 percent lift in revenue as a result of implementing a closed-loop attribution system and then optimizing Marketing programs based on the more sophisticated analysis.”

So what are you waiting for?

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You’re behind in revenue, but most of the quarter is already passed. Typically, marketing says there’s nothing more that can be done and moves to the next quarter. Not at Bizible!

Before we were acquired by Marketo, we found ourselves behind plan with only a month in the quarter. Instead of blaming sales, the marketing team quickly brainstormed a few ideas to make an impact.

One of those ideas, a direct mail campaign to decision makers at open opportunities, paid off big.

In less than a month, the team was able to send 37 customized mailers which cost about $750 in total. The results was $33,000 in extra revenue. Combined with a few other tactics, we beat plan by over 15 percent!

It wasn’t all that clever either, just solid marketing. Our main message is how Bizible helps you grow, so we printed out the Total Economic Impact of Bizible (on recycled paper of course), wrote a custom card, and planted a handful of trees in the recipient's name.

The personalized card tied it all together. Here’s one of them:

These were sent to get our message in front of decision makers, all before the deal was brought to them by their team.

Additionally, our idea with planting the trees was to tap into emotion -- do good with very little effort -- and also make it something they might share out to their teams in an email or Slack.

Overall we were very happy with the results and hope to make this a regular part of our marketing.

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One of the best ways to learn is by talking to experts. That's why we started Fast CMO magazine. 

We recently launched the fifth edition and if you manage a B2B marketing org, we're confident you'll like what's inside . 

In this issue, you'll learn from some successful leaders: 

  • Asim Zaheer, CMO at Hitachi Vantara, describes how he transformed a multi-billion dollar hardware/software/services business into a single integrated company.

  • Brian Kardon, CMO of Fuze shares his process for driving innovation by listening to the customer.

  • Vasu Jakkal, CMO at FireEye, describes how she simplifies product messaging and builds differentiated brands.

  • Rohit Wadhwa, CMO at EXL, describes the brand transformation journey and the future of B2B marketing.

  •  Tifenn Dano Kwan, CMO of SAP Ariba, shows us how to manage up and create a purpose-driven marketing organization.

  •  Frank Mallozzi, CRO of EFI, shares how to better articulate the ecosystem and portfolio offering in order to drive growth.

  • Evan Brownstein, Global Head of Marketing at Wipro, shares his observations on how CMOs can unify sales, marketing, and technology teams to grow the business.

Fast CMO magazine is the source for insightful, actionable information for business leaders in B2B who enjoy learning from their peers across a variety of industries. 

To get a digital version of the magazine, head over to fastcmo.com

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Despite lots of chatter around ABM, companies continue to smartly place emphasis on inbound marketing execution, especially content marketing. Content marketing is one of the few marketing channels that has compounding growth (i.e. effort is long lasting), is educational in nature (i.e. helps build the category), and creates intent, which is great for conversion rates.

However, it’s still important to capture this initial inbound interest and convert it to something more meaningful for your business. One of the highest value things we’ve done at Bizible has been to implement upgrade offers. Upgrade offers are CTAs on ungated content that convert the interest (and unknown visitor) to a lead, which then triggers sales engagement.

In this post I’ll share the upgrade offers we’ve tried along with associated stats.

Creating Content Upgrade Offers To Boost Conversion Rates

I’m a big fan of reporting revenue of marketing activities since Bizible is an attribution solution, but since that won’t give you the appropriate information to understand if it would be worth implementing at your company, I’ll share the CTR of each offer.

Slide-in

A banner that slides into view as you scroll down the page to capture attention. It’s a generic offer that applies to all content.

CTR: 1.1%

End of post content offer

Creating a content offer at the end of the blog post to continue the reader's journey is a great way to continue engagement with site visitors. At Bizible we make the sure the content always relates to the blog post topic. So CMO blog posts get CMO ebooks, paid media blog posts get paid media ebooks, etc.

CTR: 1 - 5% depending on the post category

Sidebar display ad

Essentially a standard display banner that we use to promote more bottom of the funnel CTAs (like a demo request). The placement is static and the offer is consistent across content.

CTR: 0.25%


Sidebar content form

A generic content offer that skips a step and allows the reader to download right from the blog instead of having to click to a landing page.

CTR: 0.12% (however a click = submission in this case)

Subscription email

The blog just isn’t bizible.com/blog. Every time we publish a new post, it notifies thousands of people many of whom are prospects. Since we already have their email addresses, we use this email to encourage them to move further in the funnel with a demo CTA.

CTR: 0.45%

As you can see, your blog can be a revenue driver, while still providing great thought leadership. Good luck in your journey to revenue success from inbound marketing!

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At Bizible we love looking at data to help us improve the profitability of our marketing. We're revenue focused and love sharing data in order to help you be performance-minded when it comes to managing B2B marketing teams. 

We're working on a set of benchmarks for all B2B marketing channels and want to share some early results. In this post we'll look at LinkedIn paid media ROI. 

How We Created The Benchmarks

This wouldn't be possible without revenue attribution and touchpoints tracking. 

We looked at every paid LinkedIn touchpoint (e.g. paid social ads) across our customer base from 2017 through July 2018. Because our LinkedIn integration is somewhat new, only a subset of our customers have both revenue and costs being logged for this channel. 

For our subset of customer data, we look at every closed-won opportunity between 2017 and July 2018, and every LinkedIn touchpoint attributed with revenue across that same time period.

We use a full path attribution model in order to give revenue credit across the entire customer journey, including marketing that happens post-opportunity creation. 

Before diving into the results, a few important points to make about the data. 

We look at cost data and closed-won opportunities across the same 1.5 year time span, meaning we don't take into account the B2B sales cycle.

In other words, this includes costs for LinkedIn ads directed towards leads and current open-opportunities.

Furthermore if a deal was closed-won at the start of 2017, we would not take into account of the cost for those LinkedIn touchpoints prior to 2017, because again, our cost and revenue data covers the same 2017 - 2018 time span.

Why does this matter? 

For SaaS businesses, custom acquisition cost (CAC) is key to understanding the health of the business. CAC is a ratio that takes into account average sales cycle length. And rightly so, because a dollar spent in marketing today is (hopefully) some dollar value greater than one in several months.

Still, this data sheds light on some interesting points. So let's dive into the results. 

Basic Statistical Measures of LinkedIn ROI

Average ROI for a subset of our customers is $9.59.

It's always nice to see marketing ROI for a channel be greater than one, i.e. for every dollar spent on LinkedIn our customers on average enjoy $9.59 in revenue. 

There is quite a range of ROI rates in our data. We find a standard deviation of $6.07. Standard deviation is a measure of how much variation there is around the average (mean). 

Some customers have ROI levels below $1 and some in the $20 - $35 range. 

After doing a simple test, we see evidence the data comes from a Normal distribution. With that let's simulate some ROI numbers and make some probabilistic statements. 

Simulating a sample from a Normal distribution, using the mean and standard deviation from our customer data set, we can create a histogram below.

The Y-Axis shows the count of customers (from the simulated data) and the X-Axis shows the ROI rate. We use this to get an idea of what the chances are that we'll achieve certain rates of ROI.

We can see that it is rare to get ROI rates at the tail ends of the curve and that it's centered around the average ROI of $9.59. 

Using the empirical rule, we can say, assuming ROI data comes from a Normal distribution, that 68 percent of businesses investing in LinkedIn can expect an ROI between the range of plus or minus the standard deviation ($6.06) of the mean ROI ($9.59), i.e. they can expect and ROI between $3.52 and $15.66. 

A reminder of this concept below: 

(image credit to Statistics How To)

Making Sense of the Data

There are many reasons for the wide variance in ROI we see across our customers. These reasons can include:

  • Bizible currently only has a small subset of customers tracking LinkedIn cost (it's a new integration)

  • Customers lack long term historic tracking because they are new to the channel, or they only recently started using Bizible

  • Their target markets respond differently to LinkedIn ads

  • They are using LinkedIn to build awareness and ROI isn't important

But the value here is the ability to set baselines, set revenue-based performance benchmarks in marketing, and understand expected return on investments. 

When we can do this, we as marketers can make great decisions that make marketing relevant to the core business. 

What is your monthly ROI? This is a great question to answer and metric to collect. Over time you can construct your own ROI analysis to better predict and identify patterns. For more information on optimizing LinkedIn for revenue, download the ebook below. 

Stay tuned as we examine and compare the ROI of other channels, many of which have a larger sample size.

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I had the chance to read Engage to Win by Steve Lucas, the CEO of Marketo (which is Bizible’s parent company). It shatters decades of thinking on marketing execution.

The world has changed drastically in just the last few years. It’s become saturated with channels, messages, expectations, and competitors. Customers know this and it’s no secret that they are demanding more.

A few years ago we would talk about how we need to become more “connected” with our customers and that used to mean just opening up lines of communication. In Engage to Win, Steve introduces the idea that companies will set themselves apart by driving true engagement. What is true engagement? It's engaging customers where, when and how they prefer to be engaged with.

True Engagement Is Relationship Building

Marketing teams now need to focus on creating meaningful relationships, understanding the voice of the customer, and standing by values to cultivate a passionate following. The book does a great job diving into the idea that customers want to advocate for brands that reflect their own values. Customers want to advocate for brands that understand them. But that’s a really tough thing to do at scale. Steve has some ideas, guidelines, and a call to action to engage your customers.

This isn’t just a good idea; it’s good for business too. McKinsey published research that says up to 70 percent of the buyer’s experience depends on how well they feel they’re being understood. Understanding creates insights, insights drive engagement, and engagement drives revenue.

The book not only outlines thought-provoking ideas, but also provides action-focused frameworks. Here’s just one example: You probably remember the 4 “Ps” (product, promotion, price, placement) from school. How much do you really use them anymore? The book provides a new set of principles to guide effective marketing, including customer experience, advocacy, value, and engagement with obvious emphasis on engagement. It also shows you ways to empower your customers to tell your story for you.

If you’re in marketing, add Engage to Win to your fall reading list, no matter your level or experience.

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One of my favorite times of the year is being able to dig into the raw results of the State of Pipeline Marketing report. Now in its 4th year, the report is based on survey responses from over 400 B2B marketers and provides a wealth of insights.

A great question this year was: What is marketing's perceived reputation in your organization: Cost center or revenue center? Overall, the question was quite polarizing. Fifty-three percent of respondents said cost center and 47 percent said revenue center.

Let's explore possible explanations as to why certain marketing teams are perceived as a revenue center instead of a cost center. And perhaps this will inspire ideas for your marketing organization. 

Mapping Investment and Marketing Spend to Revenue

We find that mapping marketing spend to revenue increases the likelihood that a company's marketing organization is viewed as a profit center. This makes sense, to be a revenue center you have to be tracking money coming in and money going out. 

The Importance of Measuring Marketing Performance

We also find, effectively measuring marketing performance increases the likelihood of being a revenue center. 

We asked B2B marketers how effective they are at measuring marketing performance. The results are below, and pivoted by feedback on whether or not their organizations saw marketing as a cost center, or revenue center. 

We also found, being intentional about the attribution model and ensuring it's purpose is to give credit to marketing activities increases the likelihood of being viewed as a revenue center. 

While great measurement is critical to marketing being a revenue center, it's not all about the tech. It's about the people too. Having alignment with sales increases the likelihood of being a revenue center:

Not surprisingly, it's quite clear that aligning marketing to revenue in planning and measurement greatly helps the perception of marketing being a revenue center for the organization. Marketing can't operate in a silo and expect to be move the business forward. 

This was just a sliver of data we collected as part of this year's State of Pipeline Marketing. Download the full report to learn more insights. 

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How do you track where a deal originates? It’s a perennial challenge for marketers, and one that is not easily solved. Relying on one field, or even a set of fields, to associate where a deal came from does not capture the whole story. What about all the interactions that weren’t first or last touch? Often times those are the ones that lead the prospect to the moment of accepting a meeting or signing a contract.

We knew we had a problem understanding where our deals were coming from, so in February of 2017 we chose Bizible as our attribution platform to help us solve this issue. We implemented it way before we ran any major paid spend, so that we didn’t have to deal with partial data. Most of our actions at that time were offline, so enabling the Salesforce campaign sync to Bizible allowed us to report retroactively as well to get a complete picture.

Implementing Activity Attribution

Outreach did not start out with a full-fledged marketing team. In fact, the early team achieved $10M in ARR in two years using only outbound tactics. As marketing was added to the mix, complete with its own headcount and budget, we had to figure out how to measure the incremental contribution of the team. Outreach logs every sales activity, whether it’s on the phone, via email, or even sales-driven text messages. Bizible logs all marketing activities for our team, right in a Salesforce custom object where we can leverage the data to determine true source. We use a 30-day lookback window upon meeting creation to determine whether the meeting was sourced because of an outbound sales activity, or marketing drove the activity to engage with sales.

On a monthly basis, we analyze all marketing investments and rebalance budgets to increase revenue efficiency. It’s always fun for the team to see which channel/vendor gets a budget boost and which ones gets the axe!

How to Track Sales Touchpoints 

A few months ago, we enabled sales touchpoints within Bizible. The way this works is that Outreach logs all sales activities in the activities object, and Bizible picks them up and converts them to touchpoints associated to contacts and opportunities. This means we can now, in one view, analyze the interplay between all marketing and sales interactions with prospects.

A quick note — we decided to focus on “meaningful” touches on both sides of the fence. For marketing, that means view-throughs do not count (sorry display ad vendors!). On the sales side, simply sending an email or getting an open or click is not enough — it has to be incoming emails, more commonly known as replies. On the voice side, we count answered phone calls, while call attempts or left voicemails do not make the cut.

Interested in setting this up in your own Bizible org? You can set it up with any system that logs your sales activities in the activities object. If you’re using Outreach, this gist will save you time by allowing you to copy the filters we use.

In my opinion, no blog post is complete without some fun data and clear takeaways, so here’s some data straight out of our Bizible, Outreach, and Salesforce data, along with our commentary.

We wanted to look at how often marketing is involved in our deals, so we took a look at every deal that closed in Q2 2018 and analyzed whether they had marketing touchpoints, sales touchpoints, or both. You’ll notice there’s no blue wedge for marketing-only deals. Obviously, we can’t close anything on our own! Sales is an art as well as a science — and marketing is very ineffective without their expertise. At this time, 83% of our deals have at least one marketing touchpoint logged. This didn’t blow us away — who buys software without checking out the website and downloading some content first?

The Number of Touchpoints Required to Close a Deal

Like most companies, we have deals that close in as little as a one day, and deals that take months or years to close. When we look at last quarter’s closed-won deals, we can see that the longer the deal is alive, the more sales touchpoints it requires. We knew this, but we didn’t know how much communication is required to get a deal over the line. It’s almost 1 reply per day — our team sure knows how to hustle!

This is probably our favorite chart. We took the deals that closed last quarter and broke them into two categories: deals where marketing sourced the initial meeting, and deals where the initial meeting was sourced by sales. What we discovered is that when marketing is involved with deals, they require less sales-driven communication to close. Marketers rejoice!

Another very interesting thing here is that larger companies do require more sales touchpoints, but it’s not a linear function. If your business is anything like ours, a 1000-person company may yield 10x the revenue of a 100-person company, but it does not require 10x the sales activities.

We know that every sales touchpoint requires time and consumes resources. As our product continues to evolve to minimize the time it takes to perform selling activities, we’re using Bizible to optimize our marketing strategies to further contribute to that revenue efficiency.

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