A recent Forrester Consulting thought leadership paper concluded that 78% of B2B marketers see their role expanding from demand generation to deal acceleration. The role of the retrospective marketer is transforming dramatically as people are hitting the wall on their demand generation efforts. We are now marketing to an account not a lead.
This intrinsic shift in marketing and sales strategy requires technology that can handle the complexity of increasingly complex amounts of data to identify accounts. This is where predictive and fact-based analytics come to the rescue.
The widespread adoption of predictive marketing has exploded into the mainstream. B2B marketers are beginning to play a superior role in their companies as they use advanced strategies to deliver impact across the entire customer life cycle.
The epic rise of digital, mobile and social technology has seriously disrupted the standard B2B purchase process. These advancements have put the power to analyze products in the hands of the buyer. They are able to investigate options, compare products and often complete their purchases online.
The B2B marketer is now faced with new challenges in trying to attract these more discerning buyers. Content and messaging has to be more relevant and personalized. Marketing programs have to also engage influencers and decision makers inside target accounts a lot earlier in the buying process.
Predictive and fact-based analytics enable B2B marketers to be much more effective in identifying and connecting with buyers in specific accounts across the buyer’s lifetime. Marketers who have employed these technologies are currently outperforming “retrospective marketers” across business metrics delivering high impact.
- Buying journeys are more complex and the marketing role is shifting. Lead generation is still a top priority to marketers, with a total of 80% of survey respondents agreeing they must generate qualified leads for sales. Even so, 78% of marketing respondents are seeing more complex and nonlinear buying journeys for their prospects.
- Marketing is advancing from demand generation to deal acceleration. 75% of top marketers are shifting from demand generation to accelerating deals and 78% see responsibilities advancing toward deal acceleration.
Figure 1. Roles are evolving as the buyers journey changes
- Most often, marketers are having issues ensuring data quality from various sources, and managing the volumes of data (both 47%), which they use to gain insight into customers and prospects. The insights gleaned help to nurture the right leads, convert sales faster and engage their customers with the right content. 34% of marketers have trouble connecting individual prospects or customers to the companies they represent, an issue when you have identified a target account or person, but don’t have the quality of data marketers require.
Figure 2. Marketers are struggling to draw real-time insights from their many data sources.
Is Predictive really the future?
Predictive analytics processes enormous amounts of data and builds models that can predict where the sale is likely to come from in the future. It works on a look-alike formula identifying other accounts in the market who may have progressed to a certain stage of the buying process. This process echoes the manual scoring model except it is able to compute massive amounts of data and includes more dimensions and data points than a human is able to generate. The predictive models aren’t fettered by bias or hypotheses. So its no surprise that 89% of marketers have added predictive analytics into their 2016 strategies for the year.
But what stands out as concern is how to get time based insights from the data. You can look into the crystal ball for look-alike prospects already in your CRM but how about identifying quality prospects in the robust present? Prospects outside your current database? The present has the gift of fact-based analytics and Account Based Intelligence (ABI) derived from a prospect’s online activity level. This offering does ask the question, “should we rely on predictions alone?”
The solution to the real-time puzzle
Can you know in near real time when a company is in the market for a solution that your company offers? Intent signaling available in a Data-as-a- Service (DaaS) platform can tell you right now. This intent signaling includes what people at a certain company are researching on 3rd party sites, their content downloads or clicks in near real time, identifying prospects so you can deliver key content at the right time.
Fact based marketing is a new way to leverage Big Data giving marketers time based, actionable insights. For example, when a prospect company begins exploring your product category online, they can automatically receive the email (or other) campaign that you’ve chosen for them. This is automatic early engagement. Sales and other internal will know when a target account is active and looking for your product through email alerts, allowing for timely and immediate outreach. Fact-based technology can also be layered with predictive solutions for the digital marketer’s technology stack.
A USE-ful Case
Once you have started reaping the rewards of your fact-based and predictive analytics you start to use the power of these technologies in your marketing arsenal. Marketers are leveraging behavioral data to run targeted display advertising campaigns to specific accounts, email campaigns. The B2B marketer now has some big guns when planning their outreach strategies – intelligent email marketing, Programmatic display and PPC and direct contact. These prospects are all in the early stages of the buying cycle and tailored content can be sent via integrated marketing automation solutions.
We have reached the age of marketing nirvana where you can find the right people at the right companies at the right time who are interested in your solutions when you use fact-based marketing. Ultimately having access to exceptional intent signaling data gives you the competitive edge and B2B marketers using this ABI approach are seeing the benefits on their company’s ROI. You are now in the running to reap real-time rewards.