Embracing the digital transformation, the B2B industry has changed a lot over the course of the past five years. Capturing & relying upon the intent signaling of the prospects, the B2B marketers are now in a position to run better-targeted campaigns than ever before, to attract, engage & convert the prospects – leveraging omnichannel marketing.
According to Daniel David, Manager, Digital Corporate Communications at Fuji Xerox: “It is about stepping out of the traditional B2B mindset and seeing your customers as people who live within the digital space as ‘customers’ as well. This will open up more ideas and doors for creativity and new practices”.
B2B buying has always been a tricky proposition. A new study from marketing research firm Gartner revealed that despite the proliferation of digitization, 77% of B2B buyers still are under an impression that making a purchase is time-consuming & even painful.
The conventional sales funnel has also changed for good. According to a report published in CMO by Abode, it was deduced that 90% of the B2B buyers now loop back to the sales funnel & recap at least one or even more tasks in their individual buyer’s cycle. The marketers too, are experimenting with several marketing strategies in order to optimize their revenues through marketing & to simultaneously optimize their sales revenues.
While optimizing the conversion rates (Conversion Rate Optimization) lies at the heart of any B2B marketing strategy, that not only leads to the increase in the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) made, but also leads to an increase in the total sales revenue of the organizations; deciding on the pennies to be invested in separate marketing strategies across omnichannel can be a real challenge. Therefore, B2B marketers also need to abide by certain practices to optimize their marketing endeavors.
The marketers should ask the following questions to optimize costs for their marketing operations:
1. Is Elimination Possible – The first step in the thought process is whether an idea is really worth investing in? If the cost can be entirely removed from the current or future spendings, it can lead to saving huge bucks, which, in turn, can be invested in more meaningful campaigns or marketing initiatives that make more sense.
2. Simplify as much as you can – The marketers should scrutinize whether they can curtail their operational budgets by opting for the shortest & most efficient pathways to accomplish tasks. Analysis such as statistical PERT (Project Evaluation & Review Technic), can help the marketers in simplifying pathways & optimizing the cost for the completion of their projects.
3. Optimal Utilization – Getting the maximum output from the existing resources can aid marketing cost optimization.
4. Standardize – The marketers need to ask themselves whether they can reduce variability by tracking the deviations from the mean & by standardizing the processes by demarcations of common tasks & defining & test-running the best practices.
5. Centralization – Marketers should question themselves whether they are able to efficiently leverage resources through centralized marketing endeavors across omnichannel. Centralized marketing endeavors not only ensure that the marketers get the optimal output from their Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) but also help in laying the foundation for cross-functionality between marketing, sales, IT & other critical departments, which can assist further in boosting the sales KPI.
6. Automation – Marketers should question whether automating some or a portion of their daily manual routine can help them in optimizing their ROI & in reducing the cost on their manual labor.
7. Renegotiating Business Terms Wherever Applicable – The marketers should question themselves on their coherent business partnerships & should introspect whether they can streamline costs by switching or shuffling the business relationships.
Following cost optimization tactics are specific to marketing & can help the B2B marketers in optimizing the cost on marketing -for better returns on marketing investment (ROMI), as well as to optimize the website conversion rates, & in turn the overall revenue from sales investments:
1. Prepare an all-encompassing cost optimization program covering the entire operational framework of marketing:
The marketing activities of B2B companies cover a lot of integrated endeavors to be run across omnichannel, which consists of the following major parts:
- Lead Management
- Reporting & analytics
- Data Management
- Campaign Development &
- Content Development
Introspection of all the omnichannel endeavors on the “seven-question” parameter may help in optimizing the cost of these endeavors. Furthermore, technics for strategic market research such as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) & PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal & environmental analysis), help the marketers in planning for the present as well as anticipated scenarios in future. Having a futuristic approach not only helps in cost optimization but also allows the company to take calculated risks, by prognostic analysis of the market, well in advance.
2. Outsource to Intelligent Agencies:
B2B marketers often tend to outsource their mundane daily cores to drive efficiency & to ensure that the task is done timely – investing a reasonable amount. Cutting on extravagant agency expenses should be the target of the marketers looking for cost optimization; however, care should be taken for the short term monetary gains relationships with the agencies aren’t adversely impacted.
3. Optimize the Campaigns by measuring, test-running through impactful media planning technics:
Marketers should understand that when it comes to the cost optimization for marketing, measuring the ROI from the omnichannel marketing campaigns is imperative. While a major chunk of the marketing budget is meant for advertising, which in turn, is subject to many changes to keep abreast with the dynamic requirements of the industries, marketers need to make it obligatory to analytically quantify the endeavors of their omnichannel marketing. Test-running the social & off-line campaigns from time to time & benchmarking them against the best competitors & even the best relevant practices outside the industry helps the marketers in planning out the strategies of optimization of the omnichannel campaigns.
Systematizing an orchestrated approach of optimizing the cost of campaigns isn’t an overnight task & may take at least a quarter of a year. Marketers should, however, be open to test-run the new ideas before they reject it altogether just because it appears to be expensive in the beginning.
4. Measure & Optimize the ROI on technological Investments:
B2B marketing nowadays requires marketers to measure their marketing endeavors through omnichannel. This requires modern Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, several third-party plug-ins, marketing automation tools as well as Business intelligence tools. Technology is virtually everywhere as an indispensable element of B2B marketing which helps the marketers in optimizing their sales revenues, by opting for hyper-targeted campaigns. The campaigns can be designed based on the first & the third party intent-data of the prospects encompassing their demographic, firmographic, technographic, psychographic, “fit-data” as well as the data obtained from their researching habits, past buying preferences & the types of products opted-for.
The customers can also be segmented into clusters based on specific criteria for niche-specific targeting if required. Leveraging the digitized intent signals & running targeted campaigns helps the marketers in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Artificial Intelligence (AI) & algorithms based on machine learning help the marketers in data-driven decision making which happens to be imperative for their sales revenue optimization. However, the marketers should be careful enough to measure their technological investments & should be investing only in those which are best suited for them – considering their prime areas of proficiency, their niche size, targeted geographies & their allotted marketing budgets on technology.
5. Optimize the cost for Analytics & Business Intelligence (BI) Tools:
The optimization of all advertising endeavors starts with quantification. While the market today is studded with several analytical tools to assist marketers with their data-driven decision making; the marketers should be aware not to overdo things.
While analyzing & optimizing for the most crucial steps in marketing & those needed to integrate the endeavors of the sales & marketing teams is an essential practice, marketers should be wary enough to invest in the BI tools only within their permissible budgets & should keep their company size in mind (whether it is a small, mid-sized or a large enterprise). The criticality of analytics varies immensely as per the industry size & the density of competition. Several organizations also prefer to invest in their in-built, all-inclusive marketing analytics tools -to optimize the costs & above-all, to keep their data analytics processes as trade secrets.
To Sum All
The modern B2B marketing realm requires sales & marketing teams to be highly coordinated, not just on digitized platforms, but also in person. At a Gartner Digital Marketing Conference, it was disclosed that unlike a common misconception, B2B buyers utilize the digital resources throughout their individual buying cycles & not just during the discovery & exploitation stages, as was believed earlier. The conventional sales funnel now has evolved as a loop wherein, the prospects after surpassing the awareness stage, consider a product or service at disposal only after indulging with multiple participants & often by having testimonials in the form of positive word-of-mouth interactions (known as Word of Mouth Marketing or WOMM), before they make a final purchase. The loop can be going on forever until the prospects haven’t got their pain points addressed & even after sales are made, B2B buyers expect exemplary after-sales services (which help the marketers in retaining their clients).
Client retention helps in forming the loyalty loop for bringing in new customers by positive WOMM, as well as in pitching new supplementary products to the existing customers. Architecting & articulating marketing endeavors is essential as it is an interminable part of optimizing users’ experience (UX). However, at the same time, optimizing the cost on marketing campaigns helps in running hyper-targeted campaigns within the permissible marketing budgets to help marketers optimize their Return on Investment (ROI), specifically when measured against ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) or even against the total investment made on running omnichannel campaigns.
According to a study published in Blue Corona, B2B sales deploy 80:20 models, wherein 80% of the purchase decisions are based on users’ experience (UX), whether direct or implicit & merely 20% are driven by pricing. Optimizing the cost of B2B marketing doesn’t mean that marketers need to compromise upon the quality of their campaigns.
We, at Valasys Media, possess expertise in helping our clients with optimizing their marketing cost & ultimately ensuring that they achieve their prime goals of optimized sales revenue. Our lead generation services, appointment setting services, business intelligence services, content syndication services & account-based marketing services have been specifically designed to deliver quality services to our clients as per their approved budgets. We do our best to optimize ROMI for our customers. For the engineering of perennially healthy sales pipelines, feel free to contact us.