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 Sales​force​.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