Leadspace predictive analytics software drives pipeline for the leading B2B brands by transforming the way they discover, score and enrich leads. Leadspace is the only end-to-end predictive analytics platform built from the individual up, leading to real actionability and dramatic improvements in B2B sales & marketing effectiveness.
Earlier this year, I predicted that 2019 would be the year of the B2B Customer Data Platform (CDP). With B2B marketers struggling to stay afloat in a sea of data, businesses are fast abandoning the old methods of list buying and data/analytics point-solutions, in favor of a more holistic, sophisticated, integrated approach to data.
Similarly, CRMs and Marketing Automation Platforms, while still forming the bedrock of Sales and Marketing, weren’t built to solve contemporary data problems, like proliferating vendor-centric data silos. Meanwhile, all the ABM “engagement” platforms are only making the problem worse.
Marketers (and increasingly sales operations people) are desperately searching for a single source of truth – a way to integrate, verify and enrich all the different types of data they need; draw out actionable next-step recommendations from that data; and activate it easily and seamlessly across all their Sales and Marketing channels.
While CDPs have been ubiquitous in the B2C marketplace for many years now, this report represents the first time industry experts have mapped out the B2B CDP landscape.
We’re proud to see Leadspace recognized by Forrester as one of only two leaders in this highly competitive, emerging market. In the report, Leadspace was described as “a best fit for companies that need a comprehensive B2B-focused CDP,” and called out for our “compelling vision of becoming the single source of truth for intent signals and ultimately orchestrating engagement across the buying cycle.”
The Hype is Only Just Beginning — What’s Next…?
Looking ahead, it’s likely we’ll see a lot more buzz about B2B CDPs, with more and more data and analytics vendors jumping on the CDP bandwagon (sound familiar?), as well as a lot of misconceptions about what exactly a CDP is, and how it works.
But, as with any such industry “hype,” Marketing and Sales practitioners need to filter out the noise and set realistic expectations when adopting a CDP.
Forrester’s latest report is an excellent guide for B2B marketers looking to navigate this emerging market, charting the criteria that make a true B2B CDP. Critically, as always, Forrester also provides a helpful look not only at vendors’ current offerings, but also gauges their vision and strategy going forward – a key factor to consider given that this market is still in its relative infancy.
You can download the report by clicking below – or better yet, schedule a free demo, and we’ll show you firsthand how a B2B Customer Data Platform can transform your Marketing and Sales.
Whether in B2B or B2C, in today’s digital world “personalization” is the name of the game.
It’s no secret that B2B marketers have lagged those in B2C. In recent years however, developments like ABM and the rise of the B2B Customer Data Platform (CDP) have helped level the playing field, by enabling B2B companies to be more targeted with their Sales and Marketing.
But there is still one important area in which B2B marketers have had many fewer options and thus less success: digital advertising.
Until now, the prevailing attitude of B2B marketers towards digital ad campaigns was at best lukewarm. That stands in stark contrast to the world of B2C, where digital advertising is a favored weapon of choice, given its unique ability to reach customers with precisely the right message, on the digital platforms where they spend most of their time.
The reason for this disparity is simple: B2B marketers simply don’t have access to either the tools or the level of persona-specific data needed to create truly personalized ad campaigns. Instead, they tend to compile lists of people to target using superficial data sets like “job title”, or end up focusing on ads a particular company I.P.s or account names and hope that the right person at that account will see the ad.
When you take this approach to target large companies like GE, or a very broad job title like IT Manager, It’s no wonder that few B2B digital ad campaigns see more than a modest ROI.
Bringing a Consistent, Personalized Customer Experience to B2B
But abandoning the playing field is not the answer. As buyers become accustomed to a highly personalized, relevant, coherent customer experience as consumers, they are increasingly expecting the same in a B2B capacity. To achieve that, B2B marketers can’t just spam their prospects’ inboxes — they need to be engaging them consistently across all channels, with personalized, engaging content.
The need to offer a more focused, more relevant and more effective way to do B2B advertising is why we are launching Leadspace for Ads.
Leadspace for Ads harnesses the power of Leadspace’s industry-leading B2B Customer Data Platform to combine the broadest set of B2B first-party, third-party and intent data with AI, to generate personalized, target audiences at the persona- and company-level, and activate these campaigns across leading digital ad platforms.
Our newest product means Leadspace customers can now use our CDP to reach the right people, at the right companies, at the right time, with the right messages and content — simultaneously and consistently across all Sales, Marketing and Advertising channels.
The events season is well and truly under way, and here at Leadspace we’ve prepared plenty of eye-opening case studies and tips from B2B Marketing leaders you won’t want to miss!
We kicked off the trade show season in February at the B2B Marketing Exchange in Scottsdale. One of the highlights was a session given by Leadspace customer and enterprise networking leader Extreme Networks on “Account Intelligence & Orchestration To Deliver Marketing-Driven Revenue Performance.” That session saw Director of Marketing Technologies Paul Green provide some fascinating insights into how Extreme Networks are using state-of-the-art tools to drive shorter sales cycles, larger opportunities, increase close percentages and deliver a major impact on revenue.
(If you missed that session, don’t worry! You can hear Paul sharing Extreme Networks’ success story in this webinar.)
We enjoyed chatting with customers and prospects at the Leadspace booth, and giving away some fun swag like silly putty and rocket shaped darts. (Well… we didn’t give it all away…)
Then it was on to Oracle Modern Customer Experience in Vegas last week, where we co-hosted a session with our customers at HP Enterprise. HP’s Sr. Director, Marketing Data & Technology Rama Krishna joined Leadspace Founder and CTO Amnon Mishor for an in-depth discussion on how B2B marketers can leverage data and AI to drive winning Marketing and Sales strategies (“How HPE Aligned Data Intelligence and Personalized Messaging to Win”).
If you missed us at B2B Marketing Exchange or Oracle Modern CX, you can still catch us at these upcoming trade shows this spring:
Adobe Summit – March 24-28
We’ll be back in Vegas — together with nearly 15,000 marketers, advertisers, and data scientists — for Marketing Nation Summit, where Marketo’s portfolio of solutions will take center stage. Meet with us at Booth #373
SiriusDecisions 2019 Summit – May 5-8
As always, we’ll be hosting some amazing speakers and giving you a chance to win in our prize draw at SiriusDecisions’ annual summit, in Austin, Texas.
We’ll be providing an opportunity to book a meeting with our data and AI experts in the next few weeks – but for the meantime you can register for the summit here. Stay tuned!
Come chat with us at either of these events. We’d love to learn more about your data challenges and opportunities and discuss how we can help you find, engage, and convert your target audience. Hope to see you soon!
Escape the Data Drudgery!
We’ll be continuing our series of webinars with B2B Marketing, Sales and Technology thought-leaders this month.
For our latest installment, we’ll be throwing you a lifeline to escape the drudgery of bad data.
On Wednesday, March 27 at 10AM PST / 1 PM PST, we’ll be revealing how the leaders of Symantec’s Global Demand Center fixed their data problems so that their marketing and sales teams could focus on driving revenue.
Join us for a live discussion on how Symantec brought together best-in-class tools and processes in order to:
Aligning Sales and Marketing has always been a major challenge for B2B companies.
Overall, industry surveys show that B2B marketers understand their primary goal is to support Sales’ objectives. But misalignment still occurs due to a whole range of factors. For example, there are vast organizational and operational differences between most Sales and Marketing teams, which are often compounded by the use of disparate, unintegrated technologies.
But perhaps the most critical point of misalignment occurs around data. Too often, Sales and Marketing are sourcing their customer and prospect information from different places — and then keeping them siloed in CRMs and Marketing Automation Platforms respectively.
And while many companies have managed to plod along in spite of that misalignment until now — taking the operational inefficiencies and lower ROI in their stride — the emergence of two trends in recent years has made alignment an absolutely necessity.
1. The Rise of the Data Economy
Today’s Sales and Marketing teams live and die by their data. It’s very simple: poor-quality data = bad results.
This is true even without considering Sales-Marketing alignment. Stale data means higher email bounce rates, and makes more expensive marketing channels like online ads and direct mail in particular impossible to pull off effectively. The same goes for Sales: if you don’t have the right contact details or current place of employment, for example, you’re going to waste a lot of time and have little to show for it.
But where data is important for each department individually, it’s even more central to coordinating between them. Today, data is the common language between Sales and Marketing. For example: When an inbound lead comes in, is it an SQL, an MQL, or not qualified at all? If it’s Sales Qualified, who should it be routed to? The only way to get that lead qualification and routing process right is by aligning on the data.
2. Account-Based Marketing
The widespread adoption of ABM has given added importance to data, particularly in the outbound context. Outbound data acquisition has always been a challenge: buying lead or account lists the old-fashioned way means opening the floodgates to bad, incomplete and duplicate information into your databases.
ABM has enabled a far more targeted, scalable approach to outbound — but, you guessed it, only if Sales and Marketing are aligned on the right data.
On the most elementary level, you can’t run an ABM campaign if your Sales and Marketing teams can’t agree on which accounts to target.
But it’s more than just drawing up the right named account list. Your ABM marketing campaigns and sales outreach need to be aligned on every level: From who to target, to how (i.e. what messaging) and when. To get this right Sales and Marketing need a single source of truth for firmographic and demographic data, as well as for more complex intelligence like intent signals and customer scoring models.
Of course, in addition to agreeing on the right accounts, Sales and Marketing sldo need to engaging the right individuals within those accounts through personalized marketing and ad campaigns, sales plays, and SDR outreach, using content personalized for those target personas. If Sales and Marketing aren’t aligned on who those individuals are and what pain-points they need to be addressing, your account engagement will be far less effective.
Sales and Marketing Ops: The Power is in Your Hands
The good news is that with data so central, it’s never been clearer where the point of alignment between Sales and Marketing lies — with the gatekeepers of that data: Sales and Marketing Operations.
At Leadspace we’ve had the opportunity to see how some of the best B2B Marketing and Sales Ops teams out there handle this challenge.
At NVidia, for example, their Sales and Marketing Operations teams decided to establish Salesforce as their point of alignment. Sales and Marketing Ops meet regularly and have open lines of communications, to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Timo Allison, Head of Digital Lead Management & Enterprise CRM at Nvidia talks more about this in the video below.
Between Sales Ops and Marketing Ops: How NVidia Created a Single Source of Truth - YouTube
This option won’t work for everyone, of course. For example, in some large enterprise companies there may be multiple Sales and Marketing organizations. Sometimes, it can just be a matter of bureaucracy getting in the way.
In such cases, the solution may be to connect data silos though what SiriusDecisions calls “virtual integration” — a practice studies show leads to increases of up to 12.5% in conversion rates (more on that here).
One such up-and-coming technology is the Customer Data Platform (CDP). We’ve seen firsthand how our customers have benefited from applying this previously “B2C” model of data management and execution.
But whatever route you take, it’s clear that in today’s data-centric B2B world, it’s the Operations people who hold the key to Sales-Marketing alignment.
By now, most B2B businesses appreciate the importance of taking a strategic approach to outbound. Buying lists of contacts and companies, and then firing off content or making Sales calls based on job titles or target industries is a recipe for failure.
This is particularly true for account-based marketing (though not exclusively). Marketing and Sales need to align on which accounts they should target; which individuals they need to engage within those accounts; how to pinpoint the exact right time to reach out with personalized content; and how to action this data for intelligent marketing and sales engagement.
To do all that, B2B marketers and salespeople need the right technologies. But in this age of technology and data overabundance, just trying to figure out where to start looking can be overwhelming.
What is clear is that there needs to be more intelligence behind targeting than simply known behavioral data. That’s where intent data comes in.
Intent data is among the strongest predictive indicators of propensity to purchase. When combined with the right underlying customer data and account intelligence, intent data can provide the framework needed to beat out the competition and win more, higher-value deals.
Take Extreme Networks, for example. By combining Leadspace Customer Data Platform with Bombora’s unique “Company Surge” reports, they’re leveraging intent signals alongside predictive modeling and real-time data enrichment to generate larger opportunities and increase sales conversions.
“Today’s B2B buyers expect personalized engagement of the kind they are regularly served as consumers.
“That means understanding what’s important to them right now based on their most pressing business needs, and being able to act on that quickly.”
2018 was a transformative year for B2B Sales and Marketing, and an incredible year for Leadspace.
The Martech space generally continues to evolve and change rapidly. This is especially true in B2B, with many companies seeing seeing shifts in the way they align sales to marketing through ABM strategies; the growing importance of GDPR and the upcoming potential similar regulations in the US; and a continued focus on the digital journey in B2B.
Behind all of this is a recognition that data is fundamental to the success of these activities. ABM requires you to have a great list of target accounts based not just on gut instinct, but on data and analysis, leveraging both customer fit and intent data relating to the actual people within those accounts that buy things, so real engagement can happen. Personalized engagement requires similar data and intelligence. This shift was well highlighted in the “The Forrester Wave: B2B Marketing Data Providers, Q3 2018” report, which noted that “Data Is Now The Foundation Of All Successful B2B Marketing And Sales.”
At the same time, the explosion of data sources in 2018 has been faster than ever. Everyone seems to provide some flavor of intent data these days, and I expect this will only continue as more companies look to leverage the opportunities. While this presents some great opportunities, it is also creating a great deal of confusion (where have we seen this before!). Businesses adopting intent solutions must ensure they are able to determine the pertinent “signals” from the noise, and have ways to connect those specific, relevant insights (not just the raw “data”) into the myriad of customer touchpoints — from CRM to Marketing Automation, to ABM ad tools and Sales Op tools. That’s a tall order, but this challenge must be met in order to provide a consistent customer experience.
In 2018, B2B Marketing and Sales leaders realized that Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) present the ideal solution to this challenge — as they have already been doing for years in B2C. We’re proud that Leadspace has been at the forefront of this transformation.
And, more than anything else, our customers’ amazing results reflect that reality.
Throughout 2018, Leadspace customers like SAP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Extreme Networks, Marketo, N3, Sovos, OneLogin and many more have shared their incredible success stories in case studies and at industry trade shows and events. Successes like 55% higher win rates, 100% increases in engagement with their marketing campaigns, and 40% higher ASP — driven by our winning combination of data, intent signals and AI.
These amazing success stories have fueled a record-breaking year for Leadspace. In 2018, we doubled our growth in terms of Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), and continued to expand our teams with new talent in San Francisco, Denver, and Israel. Our success among enterprise companies in particular stood out, with a 76% increase in enterprise customer revenue and exciting new customers in 2018, including 8×8, Splunk and Iron Mountain.
We also continued to expand and strengthen our strategic partnerships. Last year, Leadspace joined LaunchPoint by Marketo®, as part of the Accelerate partner program. We also expanded our partnerships with leading data providers, including with leading B2B intent data providers Bombora and G2Crowd. Leadspace customers are already benefiting from these partnerships — like OneLogin, who used Leadspace and Bombora together to align Sales and Marketing, significantly increase marketing engagement, drive faster sales cycles and win more valuable deals:
The Power of Intent: How OneLogin Doubled Marketing Engagement & Cut Sales Cycles - YouTube
With that incredible momentum behind us, 2019 is shaping up to be more exciting still, as we continue to build out our Customer Data Platform with a range of new products, features and capabilities.
B2B data requirements are complex, particularly for Marketing and Sales. We need a lot of it, both in terms of overall coverage and depth; we need data on people (demographics) and companies (firmographics), and we also need to connect the two for context (e.g lead-to-account matching). On top of it all, we need analytics tools to draw out meaningful insights from volumes of data we couldn’t possibly process ourselves — like customer fit and buyer intent.
Requirements for CRM, marketing automation, and other existing B2B Sales and Marketing systems are equally complex. These platforms have provided so much value that it’s hard for most B2B marketers and salespeople to imagine life without them.
So why aren’t these systems meeting B2B marketers’ and salespeople’s needs? Why is data management the number one challenge cited by B2B marketers? Why can’t the increasingly sophisticated CRM and Marketing Automation Platforms solve this challenge?
The simple answer is that these technologies were built for different purposes. Data — and specifically the way B2B Sales and Marketing teams relate to it — has evolved considerably since these platforms were invented. The use cases are much more complex, and many new supporting technologies have emerged that have opened up new potential that B2B marketers and salespeople could scarcely dream of a decade or two ago.
CRM can only take you so far…
CRM systems are primarily designed to help sales and service staff interact directly with individual customers and prospects, in person, on the phone, or by email and messaging. This requires a technical approach that can quickly find and update data on one customer at a time – specifically, a highly structured data model with limited data volumes, which is easy to search and maintain. This is quite different from the approach needed to gather and analyze data from many different systems, which will often be in unknown or frequently changing formats and may come in huge volumes.
Additionally, these systems work primarily with data that their users have gathered directly from customers or prospects, so are limited in scope. What’s more, this kind of static data quickly deteriorates as people change jobs, positions, responsibilities and so on.
Marketing Automation is a must, but still not the answer…
B2B marketing automation systems were originally designed to send bulk email campaigns to names from the CRM system, leading to single-level data models that use email address as the primary customer identifier.
Some of these constraints have been eliminated in today’s most advanced marketing automation products, but the legacy of simplistic data structures remains. Abilities to ingest data from many sources in many formats, store complete details in a queryable format, manage data quality, do identity resolution, and share the stored data are extremely limited. Only some systems provide connectors for third party data or do specialized analytics.
Data Management Platforms are great, but have narrow applicability
Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are even more specialized than CRM and marketing automation. They are designed to quickly retrieve advertising audiences and share them with ad buying systems. This requires yet another data structure that is optimized for fast selection and list generation: this generally has an identifier, such as a cookie ID, with a long string of attribute tags attached. This cannot efficiently store large volumes of details – such as individual transactions or details of website visits.
In addition, many DMPs do not store personally identifiable information for privacy reasons, even though such information is a critical part of any customer record. Some DMP vendors have expanded their scope, typically by adding auxiliary data structures that can store more details and personal data. But even those systems rarely have the multi-level data model, data quality, identity resolution, and analytics features needed for an effective B2B customer database.
It’s important to recognize that these limits do not reflect flaws in these systems. They simply reflect the fact that they are built to serve other needs. Criticizing a CRM system for being a bad customer database is like criticizing a pickup truck for being bad at Formula One racing. It was never designed for that job.
So what’s the answer?
How Customer Data Platforms fill the gap
Increasingly, B2B companies are turning to Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) as the answer to Marketing and Sales’ data woes. While traditionally regarded as a B2C technology, CDPs are starting to prove their value to B2B marketers and salespeople in equal measure — driving Sales-Marketing alignment, greatly increasing efficiency by automating data management, and most importantly driving more revenue.
Watch this 2-minute video for a brief explanation on how CDPs provide value to B2B Marketing and Sales:
How Customer Data Platforms Help B2B Marketers Drive Better Results - YouTube
There are 5 key technical reasons why CDPs are able to provide what existing Sales and Marketing automation platforms cannot:
1. CDP is designed as a central customer database
This is really the key point: the CDP was designed from scratch to build a unified customer database and deploys the technologies that make this possible.It’s not just a matter of intent: the technologies used by CDP, such as NoSQL data stores and API-based architectures, are themselves relatively new, so it wouldn’t have been possible to build CDPs in the past even if a designer had tried. But what matters today is that those technologies do exist and CDP developers have adopted them for this purpose.
2. CDP connects many systems
RM and marketing automation platforms are designed primarily to work with data they generate internally. If they were the only systems that marketers had, then they could serve as the unified customer database. Indeed, their vendors would very much like to provide that database because that would make it much harder for their clients to switch to a different product.
But today’s marketers have many systems that contain useful data and they don’t want to lose the freedom of adopting whichever combination of products they want. So it makes great sense to have a separate customer database system that has no bias in favor of working with particular applications. In fact, the CDP enhances that freedom by storing customer history outside of individual applications, so marketers can switch to new applications without worrying about losing their data.
3. CDP has specialized customer database functions
B2B CDPs have the multi-level data model, data quality, identity resolution, analytics, and data synchronization features needed for B2B operations. These are combined in a single, prebuilt package, making it vastly simpler to deploy the CDP than to build a comparable customer database from scratch. Similarly, B2B CDPs have prebuilt connectors for common B2B data sources and execution systems. This further reduces the time, cost, and effort needed to put a unified customer database in place.
4. CDP often provides third party data
Many B2B CDP vendors create their own company and individual databases. These are often generated from a combination of the vendor’s own research and by integrated data from other providers. The vendors can easily make this data available to their clients as part of the CDP deployment, again speeding time to value. Vendors who offer advanced analytics such as prospect identification and lead scoring are especially well positioned to use this data as part of their standard offerings.
5. CDP vendors are experts
B2B CDP vendors are specialists in B2B customer data. This is important because of the specialized requirements we’ve listed above. Working with experts gives each client the advantage of the vendor’s previous experience, enabling the vendor to help the client build a successful database quickly and to use that database effectively over time.
To learn more about B2B Customer Data Platforms and how they could help your business increase efficiency and generate more revenue, download our free white paper:
Here are just a few eye-opening statistics: Marketers’ number one challenge is understanding customer interactions across all touchpoints. A Forbes survey showed that 88% of marketers use data obtained by third parties to better understand each customer; 66% use marketing data to enhance targeting offers, messages, and content; and 33% of top marketers say the right data collection and analysis technologies are most useful in getting to know customers.
With more data than ever before, today’s marketing teams prove their value to the rest of the company by leveraging this information — by integrating deep-dive analysis of accurate, real-time data into marketing strategies — to derive insights that help them finely tailor marketing efforts to customers’ pains and expectations.
The Many Ways Data Science Matters to Marketers
Marketers deal with these three types of analytics to make smarter decisions to achieve their goals: Descriptive (historical information), predictive (possible outcome based on historical or real-time data), and prescriptive (recommendations that helps take advantage of what’s likely to happen). With this data and analysis on hand, a company can:
Personalize customer interactions, making them feel valued, and not just a statistic.
Plan and refine content and measure its results.
Focus marketing efforts toward the segments and locations that give the highest ROI.
Discover which customers are high- and low-value — and adjust strategies accordingly.
Know customers’ preferred channels, as well as which specific content, posting day/time, or partnerships bring in optimum response.
Learn, through social data analysis, what customers really think about your business or marketing campaign and even their competitors.
Master customers’ buying cycles to determine the optimal times for a marketing push.
Know how to better allot a budget to each campaign, channel, and location that best delivers results.
Enhance buyer persona research to go beyond mere demographic descriptions.
Improve pricing strategy and pinpoint exactly what drives prices: The economic environment and the customer’s history with a brand, including past price negotiations, willingness to buy, etc.
How Technology Can Help
Does all the above seem overwhelming? If you’re a B2B marketer tasked with tapping all the available data, expertly analyzing it, and pinpointing where trends are headed to improve business decisions, it certainly seems that way.
It’s time for you to take control and use technology to make it manageable.
Consider Tipalti, the leading supplier payment automation provider. Tipalti’s go-to-market strategy is built around target lists for Account-Based Marketing (ABM). They needed to:
Fill their pipeline with qualified accounts.
Identify the handful of key individuals within those accounts to engage with.
Traditional lead and account list vendors can provide net new accounts and leads, but they’re very blunt objects and generate a huge amount of extra work for marketing. Typically, a significant portion of the data will be inaccurate, out of date, incomplete, or duplicates of prospects you already have. That means hours of extra data cleaning and management, as well as wasted time, money and effort on bad data.
But data — critical as it is — is merely the fuel that can power marketing strategy. To make a strategy actually run, the raw data needs to be processed (deep-dive analysis) and turned into data intelligence. A customer data platform (CDP) can do the job. A CDP aggregates many data sources — bringing all individual and company-level data together — and “scrubs” them to provide clean, accurate, uncluttered information. It becomes a single source of truth and a marketing-focused actionable intelligence resource.
But a CDP with data enrichment capabilities is even better. Value-added data enrichment activities include adding third-party data from multiple sources to existing data (providing more product information to the customer), correcting errors in the database, keeping information up to date, and performing other actions that refine and enhance data for high-impact marketing, enabling an organization to:
Create new opportunities by reactivating cold leads in a database.
Qualify and segment leads in real time for swift and accurate lead routing.
Pinpoint target audiences on both the lead and account levels then personalize campaigns and activate them on their preferred channels to reach those prospects effectively.
Maximize engagement and increase conversion rates.
Tipalti’s solution was look-alike modeling with deep learning AI. By automating their target account list building process, Tipalti was able to grow its market reach by 13%. Leads generated in this manner saw a 20% higher conversion rate than leads from traditional data providers.
It used to be difficult for marketing to demonstrate its value, and sales traditionally got the lion’s share of the credit when customers respond and purchase a product or service. By using hard data to target what customers want with pinpoint accuracy, marketing can now show the exact path to purchase that prospects traveled on — proving their value and why the marketing manager deserves that raise or promotion.
So how can you leverage your Marketing and Sales in this way, on a single platform?
What’s the one thing marketers all want — whether they’re in B2B or B2C; whether they’re selling shampoo or cloud communication software?
What can the laws of physics teach us about Marketing? And is Marketing an art, a science, or both at once? Or, is it actually a lot like counterterrorism?
How can marketers use Artificial Intelligence to do away with the tedious aspects of their work, like data management?
How important are “values” to a successful company — and what’s the secret to leading and scaling a successful startup?
Hear the answers to these questions and more in this interview on Bay Area Ventures Radio with Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher.
Charting his time from selling shampoo for Unilever, to CMO — first at Skype, then later at Salesforce — to CEO of a Leadspace; Doug also explains why he believes a new Golden Age of Marketing is upon us.
Without a proper SEO strategy that aligns with your brand, you aren’t fully leveraging the power of blogs.
In this day and age, we have quickly moved from optimizing for rankings to optimizing for discoverability. It’s really about understanding user intent, emotion, state of mind, extrapolation of thoughts, semantic connections, understanding entity-relationship models, etc.
It’s about figuring out what your users want, even when they don’t know that your business solution can be the answer to their prayers.
We live in a demand generation world – where our leads or prospects have completely redefined marketing. We have to first show how our solutions can help, and we hope they’ll consider us – amongst the ten other vendors they’re looking into.
With so much competition and information overload, it’s essential to make your B2B blog stand apart.
From my experience, content marketers usually focus on branding and tone (which is absolutely critical), but SEO always comes second – which always has been the most significant missed opportunity.
There are plenty of great online resources to help beginners who are just getting started with SEO.
But in many cases, the same people within a company who are responsible for blog content (not to mention other types of content such as infographics, videos, webinars, etc.) are also responsible for other online digital activities.
In such instances, its hard to find the time to appropriately focus on blogs. If that’s the case for you, it could be useful to look into SEO strategists that have prior experience in your industry – especially with blogs. Preferably, look for a content marketing agency, or an agency that does SEO AND creates content.
Writing blog content is a heavy investment, so it’s a shame for all that work to go to waste. Don’t neglect SEO, and if you need it, look for outside help. Ultimately, 57% of B2B marketers expressed that SEO generated most number of leads, than any other marketing channel.
Pitfall Number 2: Not Having a Documented Content Strategy
In plain terms, it’s a living and breathing document that highlights your content marketing goals, the efforts you’d have to make to achieve those goals, and how you’d measure the success or failure.
But that’s only a good documented content strategy. A great documented content strategy addresses the roadblocks and challenges your business faces that prevent you from being number 1 in your industry, and how you’d use content to overcome those challenges.
I know what you’re thinking: This sounds like meetings, meetings, and more meetings.
Honestly, you’re right! It does. But the only solution here is to get started on this ASAP.
Time is money!
Have a documented content strategy that adapts and evolves, just as your organization does. It’s as simple as that.
Pitfall Number 3: Not Having Personas
This could also be a part of your documented content strategy.
They’re directly communicating with their customers to gain a deeper understanding of their target audiences’ needs and wants.
Plus, personas help with more than just content. It creates a brand experience that is unique to your business’s solutions, and could event help you attract the right kind of talent for the job openings you have.
While creating your documented content strategy, create personas too. In this particular instance, involving your sales or customer support team might be beneficial – as they’d have firsthand knowledge on how customers/leads reach out to your business.
If you have personas, evaluate if they’re on par with your marketing goals – especially with respect to content. If you don’t, get moving, now! And remember: personas need to evolve too, as and when your organization does.
Pitfall 4: Ignoring Changes to SEO and Search Algorithms
After all, Google and all prominent social media platforms are designed for their users, not for websites. Further, Google ranks pages, not websites (a fine distinction that many marketers often forget).
Consider this: Have you ever encountered a top Google search result, where the page you went to only had a paragraph written?
Yet, it ranked number 1. Do you know why?
Google felt that the page is the best candidate for answering the user’s query. So is it always about writing long blog pieces, fluff, and producing content for the sake of producing?
Always keep one eye peeled for significant changes to search behavior. Again, if you’re getting started there are some useful online resources like Search Engine Land and Moz where you can stay up to date on the latest changes. If you’re outsourcing your SEO to an agency they should be alerting you to any changes and the potential ramifications — as well as how it should influence your content creation, if at all.
Writing good content per se often isn’t the number one problem. The challenge often revolves around doing so without falling afoul of the latest SEO trends (if you’re paying attention to SEO at all!)
To thrive organically, you need to have an SEO strategy that bolsters your content performance; it’s as simple as that.
Pitfall 5: Ignoring Videos
We live in an “instant gratification” world. In other words, if there’s a problem, we need a solution NOW!
What’s more, people are increasingly depending on video tutorials. For example, studies have shown that 70% of millennials watch YouTube to learn to do something new.
Videos are the best way to demonstrate how to fix a problem. That’s because unlike textual content pieces, videos directly present an answer; however, this can be tricky in the B2B world. You may not be able to easily record your product and present to your clients.
Without a doubt, videos are the perfect medium to communicate what you have to offer. I mean, haven’t we all gone to see a movie because we liked the trailer we saw beforehand?
Here’s the kicker. Videos aren’t limited to your products. You can incorporate them in your blogs, conduct interviews, create webinars, join discussions, appear on television, share company culture, etc.
If you don’t know where to start, ask! Tell your marketing department to look into what video development looks like and see what your competitors are doing.
Look into the infrastructure you have in place that will support your video marketing efforts. Do you need to get a CDN, do you need to buy more servers? What can you do with LinkedIn, and Facebook? Is it time to hire outside services for videos?
Pitfall 6: Not Thinking About Client Journey & Engagement With Content
Remember what I said about “optimizing for discoverability…”? Let’s dive into that a little more.
Often the biggest problem with content is that the top dogs in the organization look at content as a direct sales channel. There is a huge lack of patience here in terms of the time it takes before content does anything.
The issue really originates from the fact that a single content piece that is produced is primarily evaluated against how much money it has made (and how quickly), versus how much engagement it generates.
Wait, isn’t sales the end goal here, you ask? Yes, it is, but you need to be subtle about it with content; you need to nurture the relationship you’ve built with your audience and convince them that what you’re saying is beneficial.
To generate revenue with content, engagement is key. That’s really the essence of content.
Will users convert if they don’t find your content useful? Will they play your video if they aren’t curious? Will they click on that internal link to your product page, from your blog post, if they aren’t piqued to learn more about what you have to offer?
Also, will Google continue to rank a page in its SERPS if no one clicks on it? Will it also continue to rank a page if users quickly bounce? Will it rank a page that takes 20 seconds to load?
Pay more credence to engagement and user experience with content as a measurement of performance. Keep track of what kind of content creates most opportunities, what kind doesn’t, and what you need to do to optimize engagement, address user needs, and become a trusted voice in your industry.
Being perceived as reputable, trustworthy, and an expert is an intangible benefit. Have you ever had to look into reputation management or review services?
Here’s a challenge: go to your tools and use whatever method you’re using to track content performance. I’ll bet that in most cases, the content that made money, performed well or generated leads would be the pieces that had engagements.
If your content has had engagements but isn’t contributing to leads, the problem then lies with mismatched user expectations, which in itself is another investigation to find out the disconnect.
Write content for discoverability, engagement, and knowledge nourishment. Become the go-to source for your clients and your prospects (before and after you close the deal).
Revenue will follow these tactics! Change your thinking on how you evaluate content performance and remember money comes second. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you will make more money if engagement comes first.
Content will be a very big piece of the marketing puzzle in 2019. Use it wisely, but more importantly, stay in the hunt for unique content opportunities. Experiment and try new tactics and create an identity.
Content is an investment that will reap benefits in the long run.
To end, I’d like to invoke Henry David Thoreau, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
Don’t fall into the 40% of people who do content without a strategy. Realize and introspect what you’re really trying to accomplish with content and what value you want to create for your B2B organization – through content.
Discover how OneLogin doubled email reply rates and closed bigger deals, more quickly, using Intent Data. Read the case study: