The age of marketing in the dark is over. Today’s advanced analysis and reporting tools grant marketers insight into the success of their campaigns like never before, rendering abstract concepts such as branding all but obsolete. This trend is especially apparent in the world of B2B marketing. But how well are marketers keeping up with this shift from guesswork to a more data-driven, results-based approach?
Recently, Pardot set out to investigate this question by surveying B2B marketers on their use of marketing metrics (PDF). In our quest to understand if and how well marketing measures itself, we uncovered some rather surprising statistics and an even more surprising conclusion: It seems the answer to our question is “not so well.” Despite the significant amount of money and time poured into marketing efforts every year, many businesses are not taking advantage of the many marketing measurement tools at their disposal.
Here are "five dirty little secrets of B2B marketing," and what marketers can do to overcome them.
1. Nearly 30 percent of companies aren’t measuring marketing-sourced opportunities. Despite the fact that more than 90 percent of marketers report that they are expected to generate qualified leads for sales, 20 percent don’t know the number of marketing-sourced leads generated. Furthermore, of these companies, nearly 30 percent are not measuring the number of marketing-sourced leads that turn into sales opportunities. Tracking leads according to campaign and following these leads through the entire sales cycle can provide marketers with insight as to which campaigns are bringing in the best leads, and which campaigns aren’t panning out.
2. Almost 40 percent of companies aren’t measuring the percentage of revenue that can be directly attributed to a specific marketing campaign. Given that nearly one-third of marketers are not measuring marketing-sourced opportunities, it’s not surprising that even fewer are calculating the revenue generated by individual campaigns. However, especially in today’s economy, revenue tracking is the most important metric. As budgets tighten, providing concrete evidence of marketing’s contribution to the bottom line ensures that marketing has the optimal balance of resources and staff to support business goals. Revenue metrics also enable marketers to see which campaigns are truly performing. Marketers may be surprised to learn that they’ve been investing in campaigns that aren’t actually bringing in the sales. Quality of opportunities matters as well. Targeting the right channels can bring in higher-valued deals, which means more revenue with less work. Using this insight, marketers can reallocate resources for smarter spending.
3. About 40 percent of marketers report they don't have the resources to measure campaign success. Tracking campaign success and generating reports easily ranks low on the list of priorities in small companies. However, marketing measurement is the last area you should skimp on, since an understanding of which campaigns are effective can save you invaluable amounts of time and resources. Automation is the answer: Marketing automation software can enable a company to automate social postings, set up and manage drip campaigns, and other repetitive tasks. Automating the distribution of marketing content through both email and social media frees up staff to concentrate on developing content, strategy and doing analysis to improve results.
4. Nearly 30 percent of marketers report they did not have the tools needed to track leads throughout the sales cycle. Although analysis and reporting tools such as marketing automation are an investment, understanding which programs are working and allocating resources accordingly will lead to smarter spending.
5. About 35 percent of companies are not using lead nurturing for less-qualified sales leads. Perhaps one of the most surprising statistics of all in our survey revealed that more than one-third of companies don’t nurture cool and warm leads. You’ve already invested precious dollars to acquire leads, so don’t let them die on the vine. The good news is that lead nurturing isn’t time-consuming if you have the right tools. If you do this right, your sales team will receive better-qualified leads, and can act on them when the time is right.
If chief marketers can put all these pieces together within budget, then marketing can deliver on one of its core promises: helping sales close more deals, faster.