Due to much research we’ve been doing to increase our own demand marketing effectiveness, I’m posting some information I’ve recently released in a few other publications such as DM News and some webinars we’ve recently completed. This will be the first post in a multi-part piece on the topic of improving B2B demand marketing with better measurement.According to the Direct Marketer’s Association, North American B2B companies spend $77 billion annually on marketing programs and campaigns with no real idea of how it affects sales.  WOW – as marketers, we should be concerned about our marketing investments, but more importantly, our jobs!  This statistic also underscores the love/hate relationship that frequently exists between marketing and sales organizations.  Sales teams complain that marketing doesn’t generate enough leads to get the sales cycle moving or that marketing’s activities aren’t meeting their intended goals.  Marketing complains that if the sales team were producing more sales, then marketing would have more budget to do the marketing activities that would produce more meaningful leads.

There’s an overriding question that marketers and sales organizations should ask themselves though: Are leads really the end game? What about the number of meaningful sales opportunities per month?   The number of net new customers gained?  Or a campaign’s overall return on investment?When used properly, analytics can create marketing nirvana for marketers because they can know the exact answers to all of the above questions. Marketers can easily understand what’s working and what isn’t.  They can better allocate marketing budget toward those activities that are most effective at achieving their key performance indictors and eliminate those that aren’t producing.

A simple, recent example that we highlighted at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce show illustrates how lead generation vs. conversions from leads-to-sales made a big difference in our marketing and demand generation efforts. Recently, my team promoted both a free webinar and a downloadable guide on the topic of “8 Critical Success Factors for Lead Generation,” from Brian Carroll.   So which one, the guide or webinar, performed the best?  This is a misleading question because the follow up question from the person being asked should be, “Performed the best based on which metric?  Leads, sales opportunities, closed deals, close rate, etc.”

Here are the answers: The downloadable guide converted 42% more leads than the webinar. At the outset, you would think the company would have emphasized and promoted the guide over the webinar, however, you would have guessed wrong. It turns out that even though the webinar generated fewer leads, it was 155% better at converting those leads to sales-ready opportunities and had an 80% better close ratio from sales opportunity to closed deal. We prematurely quit promoting the dual combination of both guide and webinar and weren’t able to fully measure beyond the lead on this one due to insufficient data.  Now don’t run out and stop the presses on white papers and guides in favor of webinars just because of this test. In speaking with Tony Jaros of Sirius Decisions, a Sales and Marketing effectiveness research firm, his advice is that the topic is the area that drives the most effectiveness and where it fits into the buying cycle, not so much about whether it was a webinar or white paper format; we’re going to test another version by promoting both together and look deeper at the results which was his advice.

Gaining this kind of information was made possible by integrating Omniture’s Web analytics applications with its CRM system—becoming more than Web analytics, but full marketing analytics capable of measuring off- and online events including tradeshow performance, direct mail, as well as offline sales pipeline metrics.For Omniture, integrating analytics with a our CRM system, as you would imagine, is an important step to tying the entire lead generation and sales process together and measuring the combined process.  We’ve found three key benefits to doing so:

  1. Better marketing investment prioritization (for both time and money)
  2. Measure marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline
  3. Enable sales intelligence for improved selling context

Looking ahead: Part II—The Real Metrics & KPIs for B2B Marketing