No matter what marketing strategy you use, B2B lead generation is key to business growth and profitability. Oftentimes, this is a challenge because the research business buying groups conduct prior to making a purchase is invisible. However, intent data from providers like 6sense and Bombora provides visibility into who is researching products or services similar to yours, which can inform strategy to turn buying groups into leads that sales can convert to closed/won business.
Since lead generation is such a critical function, you’ll need to monitor results closely to properly educate people outside the marketing department on how successful your efforts are. A marketing analytics solution can help you achieve this by demonstrating the value of your work. Here are four steps you can take to prove effective B2B lead generation using marketing analytics.
- Align your B2B lead generation strategy with company KPIs: The first step is to address the basics by aligning your lead generation strategy with key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect your company’s quarterly and annual revenue goals to create a marketing analytics roadmap. For example, you can work backward from organizational objectives, accessing historical data to determine how many leads you’ll need to generate and what kind of conversion rates you’ll need to maintain to meet or exceed revenue goals.Remember, if you use a person-based funnel, a key lead generation metric would be marketing qualified leads (MQLs). If you use an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy, you’d determine how many accounts need to reach the prioritized stage of the revenue funnel. Most B2B marketers now use an ABM strategy since it better reflects the B2B selling approach, but many marketers still track leads through a person-based funnel as well as an account-based funnel.
- Monitor and measure success metrics in the CRM: The next step is to determine which key metrics you’ll monitor to measure success inside your CRM. It’s critical to use the CRM because it functions as the system of record. Unlike data generated by marketing point solutions, CRM data is broadly credible and makes data accessible across the organization. If you’re using an ABM approach, metrics like volume of prioritized accounts gives you a sense of how your B2B lead generation plan is working in terms of nurturing accounts to hand off to sales. (In a person-based funnel, this correlates to MQL).The engaged conversion percentage tells you how many accounts are being activated within a buying group and engaging with your gated content. The engaged to prioritized velocity rate provides insight on how fast accounts are moving through the funnel, and pipeline attribution by campaign metrics can tell you how effective campaigns are so you can make adjustments if necessary. Full Circle’s ABM Framework Cheat Sheet provides an overview of critical metrics for each funnel stage in the Forrester B2B Revenue Waterfall framework popular with ABM marketers.
- Hold weekly meetings to review your B2B lead generation progress: Collaboration across teams is crucial. Weekly pipeline development meetings where attendees review marketing analytics ensure everyone is on the same page and all relevant perspectives and contributions are considered. Meeting attendee makeup will depend on the size and configuration of the company. In larger organizations, a marketing operations leader might host the meeting and invite representatives of the lead generation, sales development, field sales and sales operations teams.At a minimum, representatives from marketing and the VP of Sales should participate. The agenda should include an overview of the B2B lead generation tactics currently in place and a review of the results. This will provide an opportunity to identify trends and collaborate on optimization. For example, if the engaged to prioritized conversion rate changes significantly, the meeting leader would assign an investigation of that change as an action item. Findings would be reported at the next meeting for the group to form a hypothesis to explain the trend.
- Optimize B2B lead generation campaigns to drive pipeline growth: It’s important to review lead quality with sales development reps and your ad agency continuously, and then apply your conclusions to optimize nurture sequences to drive pipeline growth. For example, a review might identify a piece of content as particularly effective, and using that finding, the marketing team would decide to invest more in promoting that content and/or testing it on other platforms.
CRM-native marketing analytics are a must for modern B2B lead generation. When you align your lead generation strategy with company KPIs, monitor and measure success metrics inside the CRM, engage key players via regular pipeline development meetings and optimize campaigns to drive pipeline growth, you can demonstrate how marketing creates value—and ultimately drive more revenue.
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