Data: The Key to B2B Marketing Lead Generation
If you are like most B2B marketers, you may be swimming in a sea of data. After all, “data is essential in marketing,” and “data drives results.” However, as you are taking this swim, you may also feel a bit like you are drowning in too much data. Rest assured – with a little structuring and integration, you will soon be safely navigating your way to shore, data insights in hand and the winning formula on how to sell more to your B2B buyers.
In fact, most B2B marketers struggle with this data chaos. They are increasingly selling through new digital channels, to buyers who are harder to reach, and as is increasingly the case, to end-users in addition to channel partners. As a result, there are different sources of data to collect, different definitions of “customer”, and Big Data and real-time data that must be collected in the moment before the opportunity is lost.
While most executives understand the importance of data and customer insights, they are more focused on the need to solve real business challenges. They are asking themselves, “How do I find new profitable customers?” or “How can I retain and upsell my current customers?” A solid foundation of data is the first crucial step to answering these questions.
Today, the B2B sales journey is longer and more complex, involving multiple stakeholders. According to a B2B Magazine Survey, 43% of marketers agree that their B2B sales cycle has increased in length. And research also suggests that up to 90% of the decision process is complete before a B2B buyer even engages a sales rep. Gaining a thorough understanding of today’s savvier and more empowered buyers through data and analytics goes a long way in ensuring your brand stays top of mind throughout the entire buying journey. The right data, integrated and structured into a marketing database, provides the answers to these questions on how you can acquire, retain, and upsell prospects and customers.
What Types of Data Are Marketers Using to Understand Today’s Buyer?
According to a study by Econsultancy and Signal, both B2B and B2C marketers are using the following data types most frequently:
- Transaction history (87%)
- Customer information (80%)
- Behavioral data from sites and campaigns (74%)
While this first party data holds invaluable insights, B2B marketers must also embrace more third party and real-time data sets to really understand buyer’s across the entire customer journey.
The Power of Real-Time Data
Using a Data-as-a-Service solutions provider, marketers can open new doors into a real-time view of the buyer. By integrating 1st and 3rd party data sources with real-time and Hard-to-Find data (HTFD), you can not only understand who your best customers and prospects are based on their past behaviors, you can also understand and target them in the moment when they are actively in market for your products.
For example, with more digital and social channels available to do research, buyers are taking advantage of these forums. According to the latest Social Buying Study from IDC, 75% of B2B buyers “studied social media” to support purchase decisions.
Your prospects are having conversations on social media, asking for recommendations, and reading user reviews. A DaaS solutions provider can monitor social media for specific keywords and discussion about the products YOU sell and send these prospects to you in real-time so you can target them with the right offer at the exact moment when they are actively making purchase decisions.
A recent study by MarketingProfs showed that generating more leads is the biggest challenge B2B marketers face.
But when this “sea of data” is structured and integrated into a marketing platform, and when real-time and fast moving data is added into the mix as it occurs, B2B marketers are empowered with the right formula to acquire new customers – well before the competition does.