I was at Marketing Sherpa's B2B Summit last week in San Francisco and it was useful to see how the world looks from the techology capital of the world.
Marketing Sherpa's 2011 B2B Benchmark Report
The conference opened with Sergio Balegno, the Associate Director of Research, outlining the findings of Sherpa's 2011 B2B Benchmark report. Containing the views of 935, US-based marketers, the research highlights three issues that are keeping B2B marketers up at night:
- The quality (rather than quantity) of leads which has grown in importance since 2009 (+9%).
- Optimisation of website pages and social media has also grown in importance and is predicted to take up an increasing proportion of budgets by 2012.
- How to communicate the value of marketing to C-level executives in an environment of increased accountablilty and cost pressure.
Another highlight for me was Dr. Flint McGlaughlin's session on ways of optimising the top of the funnel. In other words:
- How can you get the most from the mix of search ads, emails and other tactics used to generate visits.
- How can you ensure that landing pages and forms are engaging enough to encourage those visitors to take the action you'd like them to take and convert. Dramatic ROI improvements can be achieved if the messaging is optimum.
The three principles of optimisation are:
- Increase specificity in a message to reduce page leakage.
- Continuity - keep users engaged throughout the process to maintain persuasive momentum. For instance, there needs to be a connection from a search ad to landing page to form.
- Intensify relevance - figure out who is buying, who is influencing and why. Then tie the pieces together and write copy which addresses the key motivation of the specific market segments.
Lead Nurturing & Lead Scoring
Brian Carroll addressed ways marketers can help to optimise the sales funel by:
- Creating and refining a universal definition of sales-ready leads
- Nurture early stage leads until they are sales-ready. Brian defined nurturing as 'a relevant and consistent dialogue with viable potential customers, regardless of their time to buy'. In a b2b context, organisations as well as people should be nurtured
- Define the hand-off process from marketing to sales to make sure that the 'baton isn't dropped' and leads are converted to opportunities
- 'Huddle' with sales to get feedback on sales-ready leads - in other words which ones are moving forward and which ones should be handed back to marketing for further nurturing
Using Advanced Analytics to improve ROI
Susan Zykoski, a Marketing Business Analyst at Citrix Systems, told the story of how she has developed a 'metrics philosophy' in her company to answer two questions:
1. What's happening?
2. What are we going to do about it?
They have successfully incorporated data from their web analytics tools with their marketing database to provide analysis at both an aggregate and individual level.
14 Takeaways from the B2B Summit
Slides from the conference
#b2bsummit on Twitter for a run down of what attendees thought throughout the event