The internet is one of the greatest things that has happened to businesses. It provides us with an abundance of information on any area we want. And for us marketers, specifically, it has given us the ability to measure our marketing efforts. That being said, B2B marketing measurement can be quite challenging. Let’s take a look at how you can successfully measure B2B marketing.
For a B2B company, as the campaigns and buying processes are getting increasingly sophisticated, measurement needs are rising, especially with longer buying cycles and multiple touch-points spanning over months, and even years. However, with proper planning, most of these issues could be resolved.
Why should you measure your marketing efforts?
Business is all about making decisions- some right some wrong. Decision making is all about risk-taking. What distinguishes calculated risks and other ones? A Vision. If your decisions are backed by concrete data and you know the “why” behind everything you do, you are in a better position of taking risks and experiencing success.
In marketing, we spend a lot of money on different tactics and that too with one end goal – drive revenue. With a proper measurement plan in place, we can better allocate our resources to things that work and fix the things that don’t work. These small moving parts (call it your different departments or your marketing activities) make up your entire business.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses still rely on intuition and assumptions.
How do you create a measurement plan?
In this post, I have tried to emulate the buying behaviour of a typical B2B buyer. I went through Avinash Kaushik’s post about measurement models and there is an abundance of information on how B2B buyers make a decision. I have combined knowledge from these two areas and put in my experience working with businesses that cater to the B2B segment. The end result – a measurement plan that you can easily customise.
This post also assumes that you have a well built marketing and sales system in place and your marketing and sales team work together to close deals.
A well-defined B2B marketing plan would consist of the following components:
- An in-depth understanding of your target audience
- Your goals and concrete objectives
- Strategies and tactics (these are moving parts and can change as your marketing needs evolve)
- Key performance indicators and analytics implementation to measure the KPIs
Your target audience
In typical B2B sales, the cycles are longer, extending from weeks to months to a few years. So, it is very important to understand the buying behaviour or educational spectrum of your target audience. You can start by creating a buyer persona of your customers. Buyer personas are fictional representations of what your ideal customer looks like. They help you focus your time and efforts on qualified leads. These personas can help you understand the demographics, psychographics, interests, hobbies and much more information about your target audience. Once you target the right audience, you will get high-value leads with potential to convert and have a long-term relationship with your organisation.
Once you have your buyer persona you can also start tracking the buyer journey. Buyer journey is the different stages, such as awareness, consideration, evaluation and decision, a buyer goes through. This can give you an insight into how your customers make their purchase decisions and what motivates them to make their purchases.
For information on the educational spectrum, read this post here: Why prospects don’t buy.
In this post and the free template, we have assumed that a B2B buyer goes through the stages of awareness, evaluation, consideration, and decision. You can definitely (and you must) carefully look into your audience and decide on what the different stages are. If the research stage takes a lot of time, you might want to divide it into sub-stages so that you can work on individual components to shorten the stage length (or sales cycle).
Your goals and objectives
I’m assuming your end goal is to meet your annual/quarterly revenue targets. However, reaching there involves many steps and a lot of these steps are in the hands of your target audience. However, you can speed them up and make them move with you through each of the stages by setting certain goals and objectives for each of the stages.
It is important to outline your objectives as they form a foundation for all of your marketing, content and branding campaigns. This definitely requires more thinking time as your objectives need to be clear and precise. Invest time and consider all aspects of your business when coming up with your goals and objectives.
Marketing objectives should be :
- Specific: they should be easy to measure
- Achievable: they need to possible and realistic enough to achieve
- Time-bound: you need to set an estimated timeline to complete these goals
Strategies and tactics
In order to speed up these cycles, you must have a strategy, which could be to launch a paid search campaign, branding campaign, or link building campaign. Basically, how are you going to achieve your goals and objectives?
Strategies and tactics enable you to implement your plans in order to achieve your goals. Every objective will have tactics to support its achievement.
Key Performance Indicators can improve the performance of every aspect of your campaign. Define the KPIs for every objective. Once the KPIs have been listed they are approved by key stakeholders in the company. This list of KPIs is not permanent and will keep getting updated depending on various marketing campaigns.
Maintaining the Measurement Plan
Once you create your measurement plan the work is still not finished. Measurement plans have to be maintained. It is often a recurring task where you will have to check-in and make the required changes. Ensure that you are measuring the latest data. Also, any other changes in the campaigns or business need to be updated. For example, maybe the KPIs you have chosen have not proven useful and you need to redefine them. Any situation where you need to change or modify certain parameters, you might want to make those changes to your measurement plan. This will help keep your measurement plan accurate and up to date.
If you need help implementing these KPIs or creating a plan specific to your organisation, get in touch with us.
We can also help you automate most of your KPIs and create reporting dashboards so that you can spend most of your time analysing rather than filling in the reports. We’re here to help!