The good news is data-driven marketing is hot, with potential demand generation partners everywhere. The bad news is data is hot, and there are vendors everywhere. Too many choices make it harder to make a good decision. When you add account-based marketing to the picture, it’s no wonder that marketers aren’t even sure where to start with an evaluation.
This article covers a lot of the points B2B marketing leaders should consider when looking for a good demand gen partner.
B2B brands have multiple reasons to outsource some activities to partners. These include:
- Cost management
- Create internal/operational efficiencies
- Drive innovation
- Drive revenue growth
- Enhance decision making
- Improve business process agility
- Improve business process outcomes
- Improve compliance and risk management
As data-driven marketing has settled in, some benchmarks have risen to the top when it comes to working with partners. Now marketers know there are certain capabilities that are table stakes for data-driven demand gen and partners are expected to deliver:
- Intent data and buying signals from buying groups, companies, contacts and devices across every channel
- High quality data backed by a thorough, multicheck cleansing process
- Scalable intent-based account-based marketing (ABM) and lead programs
- View results right within a marketing cloud with real-time reporting
- Scheduled lead deliveries and lead reports viewable and downloadable from the same delivery platform
- Lead alerts for sales based on intent and buying signal activity across a specified audience
Some vendors may have additional fees for managed services like these. Others offer flexible programs which may involve managed service fees based on niche-specific programs. Have the conversation with your potential partners.
When there are too many choices, a good practice is to ask what else does the partner bring to the table along with data? Data alone won’t help most teams. The pieces and people to activate data may remain out of reach unless you bring in a purpose-built team for data-driven ABM and other digital marketing.
A good practice to look for is a vendor who assigns an account support team to action any managed services as part of the relationship. This could include marketing cloud onboarding, training and calls about platform updates
A robust touchpoint cadence during launch ensures brands succeed with a new solution or service. For example, customer onboarding to the True Influence Marketing Cloud usually takes place over several calls for initial walk-throughs of the platform, along with deep-dives into user workflows. Customer Success Managers (CSMs) also review reporting within the platform with you to visualize the campaign.
Outside of your assigned support team, are representatives available 24/7 globally to answer questions via phone, email and chat? Not every partner offers help with required managed services any time of day or night.
Let’s take a moment to pause on reporting. At a minimum, basic functionality should let users track, measure and report on campaign performance for target accounts (essential for ABM). When looking at reporting capabilities your partner should bring, add things like this to your list:
- A set of preconfigured, out-of-the-box reports and data visualization/dashboarding capabilities appropriate for marketing and executive users
- Account-level engagement scoring across a range of marketing and sales touchpoints, for known and anonymous visits
- Support for ABM activities from account selection through reporting and optimization
Some partners combine core data offerings with the option of other services to ensure a steady hand to guide campaigns. For brands seeking this type of relationship, find out what support is available to:
- Build custom intent audiences
- Use audience intent ABM lists for lead generation campaigns
- Run ABM lists through a marketing cloud for list cleansing
- Prioritize accounts based on intent
- Set up custom lead deliveries,
- Provision and train new users
- Report on buying committees for accounts showing intent
If you’re considering outsourcing to a demand gen partner, campaign orchestration is probably one area that will come up. When it does, ask any potential data partner about their ability to:
- Segment audiences
- Define objectives and plan campaigns
- Build and launching display campaigns
- Campaign orchestration for native channels
- Upload creative
- Create / Activate / Pause campaigns
- View and analyze results This can all be a native experience in marketing cloud
- Provide access to DSP to allow customers to execute Display Strategy without having to have a seat themselves.
- Lead delivery notifications on a monthly basis
Gartner has identified these as factors that often drive choices around data-driven demand gen partners:
- Strong services expertise
- Product functionality and performance
- Breadth of services
- Pre-existing relationships
- Product roadmap and future vision
- Overall cost
- Financial/organizational viability
- Strong consulting partnership
- Strong customer focus
- Strong user community
Which of these matter most to your organization?
We partner with many B2B brands for demand generation. When you’re ready for a conversation, we’ll be here.