Six Best Practices for Better B2B
Drawing from years of experience helping companies with Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing there are six main recommendations that I would like to share with you. I’ve seen organizations succeed by diligently applying these practices and I’ve seen organizations fail by ignoring these practices. Using these practices in your modern marketing organization will give you both short term and long term wins.
1. Aligning your marketing activities with your sales process
Marketers needs to re-think how they fundamentally operate. The modern buying process needs to account for buyers who are not ready to buy when the sales reps first calls but still want to engage with your brand. The modern marketer can send the right message at the right time across different channels to the right buyer persona.
Industry analytics estimate that buyers are 60% in the buying process before they engage you. Buyers drive their own buying cycles, they are much more empowered today to search and educate themselves. Understanding the stages in this new buying process and creating marketing activities for each stage is crucial.
2. Define clear roles for everyone using your CRM and marketing automation systems
As a good modern marketing organization, you are using a CRM in combination with a marketing automation platform. Everyone gets their user login, but do they know what their roles are? The user roles have to be reflective of responsibilities in your marketing organization. For example the administrator is the person who is responsible for setting up and maintaining the marketing automation or CRM system. Other roles and responsibilities can be field marketer, graphic designer or analytics user.
This will further define their security roles and tasks they need to perform. Giving some thought to everyone’s roles and responsibilities will help you better define how everyone in your marketing organization can work together towards the same objective.
3. Document step-by-step processes and allow everyone to access them
Tasks such as email deployments, creation of landing page or list uploads can have standard step-by-step processes. These should be easy to follow by anyone in your marketing department who will need to perform these tasks.
You’ll need to store these process documents somewhere everyone can easily access them. Remember processes always change, so make sure you indicate what is the latest process. You can reference specific interfaces from your CRM or marketing automation system using direct hyperlinks. For example you can hyperlink to email templates to be used in each use case or which reports to monitor.
4. Make the leads flow from your marketing automation system to Salesforce
The modern customer journey has multiple interactions across different marketing channels before leads are ready to engage with sales. Understand how leads are coming into your marketing automation system from forms, list imports or other sources and then how they make their way forward into your Salesforce CRM system. Understand what is the minimal information required when acquiring new leads. For example if you have a large sales team selling a variety of products to different industries around the world you would need the at least Country, Industry and something to gauge what is their interest in your products.
5. Maintain clean data in Salesforce
Clean data is the crucial for the success of your sales and marketing departments. Unfortunately, data is not always clean which doesn’t allow you to build effective business intelligence. Few things you can practice to maintain clean data:
- Ensure the correct data is recorded at every entry point. Also know all your entry points!
- Maintain consistency in data values. For example United States and USA. Enforce values through picklists where possible.
- Avoid entry of duplicate leads and contacts.
- Merge duplicate records. Use build in functionality for preventing duplicates or third party deduping tools.
- Maintain complete information on your records.
6. Use only certified consulting services
You wouldn’t trust a doctor or an architect who doesn’t have credentials, why would you trust a marketing agency with your data? Marketing automation and CRM vendors have rigorous certification and training programs. These certifications can be easily verifiable. Use only certified consultants and agencies that can prove their specialists are certified in your marketing automation and/or CRM system.
In conclusion ask yourself a realistically: How good are you at applying these six practices in your B2B marketing organization?