The value of B2B marketing increases with alignment – Marketing

The value of B2B marketing is different from that of marketing B2C companies. It’s less about branding and more about performance. B2B organizations typically engage in long and complex sales cycles for thoughtful buying with a buying group of four to 10 members. This creates an environment for B2B marketing teams that is focused on supporting these sales cycles.

There are many things B2B marketers do to generate value by bringing leads to the organization, but can they do more?

And I don’t mean they can generate more leads? Even if they do, that increased volume isn’t the best way to improve the end results.

They should generate higher quality leads.

Value of Quality Leads

In a 2021 Gartner survey of digital marketing leaders (both B2B and B2C), the primary goal was to increase lead quality. Lead quality has cumulative effects throughout the revenue lifecycle. The tension between quality and quantity exists in many parts of B2B organizations, especially those with aggressive growth goals.

When an organization focuses on improving lead quality, it upends traditional funnel metrics. The raw number of leads decreases as the quality increases. But conversion rates potentially increase throughout the process. These buyers are better suited to the vendor’s products or solutions. And that means more deals closed. This clearly shows the sales team the value of B2B marketing.

And the best way to improve lead quality is to align marketing and sales.

Alignment value

Marketing teams have a broad level of knowledge based on market understanding, personality development and the availability of quantitative data. This would be both first party data and third party data. Sales brings more granular insight into buyer challenges, especially their critical priorities.

Combining these two unique perspectives allows organizations to refine their audiences by creating a common definition of lead qualification. This means marketing and sales teams reach out to the same leads. Marketing can generate inbound leads from this audience, as well as provide aerial coverage to those that sales will prospect.

As we talk about marketing and sales communication with buyers, this collaboration can ensure they are saying the same thing. We’ve seen that buyers spend 15% of the buying cycle struggling to reconcile sources of information. Usually this happens between vendors, but if marketing and sales teams from the same vendor are delivering different messages, it only increases the time spent trying to make sense of the messages.

Then there is an account-based strategy.

Account-Based Strategy Value

As the survey results above show, the second priority for digital marketers is to drive increased sales among identified leads. With 38% of leaders supporting identified leads, this is a shift in how marketing and sales collaborate. The chart below shows the difference between MQL-based marketing and account-based marketing. Rather than a very separate handoff to sales once marketing qualifies a lead, the two functions collaborate throughout the process in ABM.

ABM often begins with marketing and sales bringing their perspectives to the development of an ideal customer profile. This collaborative process uses qualitative and quantitative data to identify an organization’s best customers based on their suitability, value, and strategic importance. Using the common attributes of these customers, marketing and sales create a list of target accounts based on similar modeling. Marketers can segment these accounts into tiers for campaigns, while sales begin prospecting.

Technology and data support these orchestrated processes because buying groups are considered part of a single account, rather than uncollected individuals.

Traditionally, B2B organizations have been sales-driven, with marketing playing a supporting role in the revenue lifecycle. With the continued shift to digital dominance, marketing-driven collaboration and ABM efforts are demonstrating the value of B2B marketing.

This article is republished with permission from the Gartner Blog Network.

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