B2B Marketing Intelligence to Drive Growth: Quantity, Quality, and Velocity

April 10, 2018

image of a calculator to represent marketing measurement

Editor's Note: This guest post is authored by Jay Wilder, Director of Product Marketing at Datorama.

B2B marketers are no strangers to data. With longer sales cycles and multi-touch deals, B2B marketers stand to benefit the most from a deluge of data made available by their vast array of marketing technologies and platforms.

Marketers are feeling the pressure. According to Gartner’s latest CMO Spend Survey, “It’s show time.” Budgets pulled back to 2015 levels in 2017, while investment in analytics grew to the largest part of the marketing budget. Marketers are on the hook to drive growth for the business – and prove it.

In this data-rich, high-pressure environment, digital marketing metrics of the late aughts won’t cut it for marketing analytics and reporting. While still important barometers of digital campaigns, metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and web form conversions only tell the beginning of the story. Today’s B2B marketers have other areas they need to focus on, namely: lead quality and opportunity velocity.

Business Impact and Lead Generation

At the top of the funnel, B2B marketers should still focus on core efficiency and response metrics like CPC’s and click-thru-rates in their campaigns.  These create the day-to-day levers to pull to fuel lead generation. But looking at your campaigns from the perspective of lead quality and customer value can bring a whole new dimension to how you evaluate the effectiveness of marketing programs.

Your customers interact with you across many touchpoints.  So, a good first step to elevating your view of performance beyond CTRs is to start connecting your data. An example would be to connect your LinkedIn performance data to your website and CRM data.  This will enable you to go beyond initial CTR metrics to see which campaigns, content and targeting yield the best leads, opportunities and happy customers.

This enables a deeper set of KPIs to look at your short- and long-term impact:

  • Clicks, CTR, CPC
  • Prospects
  • Leads by stage: A Lead, B Lead, C Lead, etc.
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
  • Sales and Revenue
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Recycle Leads (leads that meet your marketing criteria but aren’t ready to convert)

When expanding beyond initial performance metrics in your campaigns, data is your friend. The more data you have, the more finely you can slice and dice your leads and customers. The good news is that today this approach doesn’t require a huge project or manual effort– Marketing Intelligence solutions are making this automatic and flexible for B2B marketers.

At the Pace of Growth

In the modern business, a corollary to the growth question is: How fast?

B2B leads often spend weeks or months evaluating solutions, and you can continue to educate them on your offering or subject matter along the way.  B2B marketers are being asked to layer in deeper nurturing campaigns to help accelerate these leads through the funnel.

In the same way, CTR’s and CPCs are still important within your campaign.  But, by connecting more of your data, you can see the impact of opportunity engagements on Pipeline Velocity.  Calculating velocity requires timestamps– something most customer relationship management (CRM) systems will have. Simply subtract the current date from the date a lead was created –or moved stages– and you have the time spent at that stage.

Some examples are:

  • Time: Lead to MQL (e.g., which campaigns deliver quality leads?)
  • Time: MQL to SQL (e.g., which campaigns supply leads that are ready to buy?)
  • Time: SQL to Closed Won (e.g., which campaign leads take longer/shorter to close?)

Top of funnel metrics focused on quantity–like impressions, clicks, and form submissions– only tell the beginning of the B2B customer lifecycle. When you layer in the quality of leads created, and how quickly they move between stages, you begin to build the marketing insights machine that the modern business demands. By adding these dimensions, B2B marketers can hit their numbers more efficiently – and more effectively prove their impact.

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