extend b2b

Big Data Can Extend Your B2B Marketing Ecosystem Across the Entire Customer Journey

Your current and potential customers create almost limitless volumes of data about their businesses — and your B2B marketing opportunities, through product orders, quote requests, and interactions with your company’s site and content. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Every day, Web search, email clicks, and other online activity create millions of data points which can drive successful intent marketing campaigns. But until recently, this avalanche of data was trapped in various silos, or considered just too overwhelming to successfully drive marketing personalization, and other key business goals.

Enter big data, and its ability to compile and analyze massive amounts of information from various sources, creating a single, actionable picture of a customer’s journey. Using big data’s advanced number-crunching abilities, smart B2B companies are growing their B2B Ecosystems, which connect and extend key information systems, just as climate, terrain, and biological life interact in a natural ecosystem.

For B2B marketers, big data’s ability to correlate mountains of data presents more than a new opportunity. It’s now imperative that your team uses this information to hone and personalize your marketing funnels, as well as your sales efforts. In the world of B2B ecosystems, every winning communication with a current or potential customer will include calls to action, and content, tailored by your knowledge of the prospect’s real-world challenges. No more guesswork; big data will drive your strategies with cold, hard facts.

Survival of the Fittest

The driving force behind this evolution of B2B ecosystems, is the need for better collaboration, not only between internal teams and functions, but also with trusted suppliers and partners, who now are understood as vital elements of the digital ecosystem. The earliest B2B ecosystems tended to focus on supply chain and order fulfillment. For example, a widget manufacturer could see their customer’s inventory data and fire off a supplemental order, when needed.

Any system that gathers and acts on data can be viewed a part of the digital ecosystem, but the most common components include:

  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Marketing Automation System
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Product Information Management
  • Order Management
  • Marketing Automation
  • Leading companies, such as Apple, Amazon, and Google, have extended their ecosystems to include a wide breadth of data, including market projections. These new extended B2B ecosystems are creating entirely new business models at the leading edge of digital commerce.

    Driving Personalized Marketing with your B2B Ecosystem

    Your company probably has the beginnings of an integrated B2B marketing ecosystem in place; certainly, your Customer Relationship Management software and Marketing Automation System are likely connected, in an effort to coordinate personalized funnels, and trigger lead-nurturing and sales efforts. And, if you are not running a fully integrated marketing content system, such as Hubspot, you should connect your site Content Management System and your outbound marketing platform so you can make more efficient use of, and cross-promote your valuable marketing content.

    As you build out your ecosystem to include partners and advanced intent signal data collected from across the Web, strong internal leadership and customer relationships will be essential. In fact, Forrester Analyst Dan Bieler recently suggested that a trust scoring system will likely emerge as companies not only evaluate who they can trust to connect to their own data, but also who they can trust to send back valid information.

    The marketing and sales potential for B2B Ecosystems powered by big data is, as vast as all that customer data and insight, waiting to be tapped. But the journey will require a clear strategy, with buy in from technology, as well as marketing, sales, and executive leadership.

    Your Roadmap to an Advanced B2B Marketing Ecosystem

    Your first step to a B2B marketing ecosystem is to ensure you are optimizing all your internal data systems to personalize every point of customer contact. This will help build a stronger relationship with the customer. You don’t want to constantly hard-sell, but you never want to pass on an opportunity to present both content and resources which are relevant to the customer’s real-time challenges.

    For example, your order management system should interoperate with your marketing automation system to automatically trigger a lead funnel nurturing series, each time a client logs on to place an order. Ideally, your MAS could post personalized marketing messages in the order system’s dashboard, or confirmations. You never want to pass on an opportunity to speak directly to a customer that is ready to purchase.

    As you extend your B2B ecosystems to include trusted clients, you will gain a snapshot of your customer’s inventory levels, and not have to wait for orders to lag, before launching that personalized marketing campaign.

    Big Data and Intent Signals Provide the Big Picture

    Perhaps most powerfully, as you incorporate intent signal marketing into your overall big data strategy, you will be able to correlate your explicit, direct customers interactions, with information about their activities across the Web.

    Google reports that 71 percent of B2B marketing researchers begin their information gathering with a generic search. Loyalty is great, but your customers are always looking for a competitive advantage wherever they can find it. Knowing what types of content they are interacting with, on other vendor’s sites, can propel your personalized B2B marketing programs to the next level.

    Intent marketing systems, such as True Influence’s InsightBASE® Intent Monitoring platform, can gather as many as 250 million intent signals daily from across the Web. Coupling these insights with other components of your B2B marketing ecosystem can create extremely powerful, personalized marketing and sales efforts.

  • If an existing customer is downloading white papers relevant to a product or service you are already providing, you can initiate an elevated client engagement. This outreach will identify possible issues that should be addressed.
  • If a prospect you are having trouble closing continues to create intent signals showing they are researching a purchase, you can create trigger events connected to your own order and inventory systems. This will alert you when the time is right to cut an extra-sweet deal or onboard a new business.
  • If an existing customer or prospect exhibits a strong preference for a content delivery platform — say, blog posts and quick social media postings, over in-depth whitepapers, you can tailor your marketing funnels and client engagement programs to that preference, from the first moment of contact.
  • In an extended, trust-based B2B ecosystem, insights you have into your customers’ current and projected sales levels, will not only allow you to market to peak needs, but also to back off your efforts during projected down cycles. Coupled with intent monitoring data, your team will be able to see if a client is still researching for an expected turnaround. Therefore, you can tailor your message to that optimism.
  • As you can see, opportunities to personalize your marketing efforts are limitless when your data systems are talking to one another.

    Knowledge is Power; Big Data is a Super-Power

    The most effective marketing personalization is based on facts, not guess work. Big data enables you to gather, analyze, and act on data from across your B2B Marketing ecosystem, both from your own operations, and those of your trusted partners. With the powerful inclusion of intent marketing signals into your overall B2B marketing personalization programs, you can connect with your customers at the exact moment your company can help them meet their business challenges.

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