Way forward for B2B advertising and marketing: Are you on target?

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30 second summary:

  • Even in countless B2B companies, marketing today still has top-of-funnel emails and lead genes, which are ultimately passed on to sales at a certain point in time. However, this iteration should instead be firmly positioned in the rearview mirror as we modernize and develop.
  • Even if marketing takes more responsibility for the bottom-of-funnel, sales take on more top-of-funnel activities. You need to be comfortable finding email addresses, finding new leads, emailing prospects, and using social media. In this new environment, it is important to make sure that every department owns the right things rather than sticking to their status quo.
  • The goal of this new era of orchestration is for marketing to support the sales cycles and help accelerate the pace of business by working together in an integrated and synchronous manner. The two departments have to say goodbye to the old baton routine and instead act as a soccer team, playing the ball back and forth on the pitch.
  • The rise in recurring revenue models and the increasing importance of expansion revenues mean that the vast majority of revenue is generated after the first sale. This is a fundamental mismatch that needs to be addressed.

I co-founded Marketo in 2006 and to say the industry has changed since then is an understatement. In the 14 years since then, marketing, technology, and, yes, marketing technology (martech) have continued to evolve on a treadmill. But do you know what else has changed? How companies buy B2B products.

This part is important because together we have all recognized Martech’s growth, but most marketers have not adequately evolved their processes or tools.

You have to grow to build a marketing department of the future. To help you out, let’s look at what this future holds so that you can step on board instead of being left behind.

Know when you’re stuck

Marketing used to be viewed as a “fun” department (OK, we still are). Marketers threw parties, printed brochures, and conjured up fancy new logos while flexing their creative muscles. However, since then we’ve found that marketing has a lot more power and shouldn’t be limited to just these areas. Marketing should increase the pipeline and sales.

So the marketing went from parties and printouts to emails and the pipeline. They owned the top of the funnel and were pretty quick to use marketing automation tools to help them with this. They’d attract and capture the leads, and then they’d pass the baton on to sales, like in a business casual relay race. At this point, the sale would be solely to start communication and close the deal.

From here, for the past 10 years, marketing has evolved to … well, wait … it hasn’t evolved. That is where the friction lies. Some marketers have continued to grow, but let’s face it. Most marketers got stuck on this second iteration of their role.

Even in countless B2B companies, marketing today still has top-of-funnel emails and lead genes, which are ultimately passed on to sales at a certain point in time. However, this iteration should instead be firmly positioned in the rearview mirror as we modernize and develop.

Have the right things

So if marketers are not only supposed to have top of funnel activity, what is their new ideal role? Well, especially at ABM, the marketing team should expand their influence to the bottom of the funnel. There are several reasons for this.

First, privacy regulations like GDPR and the proliferation of sales retention tools have helped sales teams send their own top-of-funnel emails. So this is a natural change.

Second, purchasing committees continue to grow, making it very difficult for sales reps to talk to stakeholders as they did before. But marketing shines in this capacity. Marketers know how to send different messages to different people at the same time.

Even if marketing takes more responsibility for the bottom-of-funnel, sales take on more top-of-funnel activities. You need to be comfortable finding email addresses, finding new leads, emailing prospects, and using social media. In this new environment, it is important to make sure that every department owns the right things rather than sticking to their status quo.

Embrace the new face of orchestration

In earlier marketing eras, orchestration was easier. There were fewer digital channels, so of course a significantly lower volume of coordinated activities.

Today the story is drastically different. Marketers need to understand multi-channel orchestration that encompasses both digital channels and human touch. For example, follow direct mail with an SDR call or an invitation to an event with a personal follow-up from an executive.

The goal of this new era of orchestration is for marketing to support the sales cycles and help accelerate the pace of business by working together in an integrated and synchronous manner. The two departments have to say goodbye to the old baton routine and instead act as a soccer team, playing the ball back and forth on the pitch.

This is the modern – and indeed the only – way to get new business and build accounts. Of course, when they’re working as a team, they have to rely on the same single data set. It is also a departure from the separate functioning of departments in the past.

Think beyond new business

Long ago, marketers viewed customer acquisition as the holy grail. Fast forward, and even now that we know better and have heard the stats on how much more it costs to get a new customer than to keep an existing one, a lot of marketers still just crave the new names.

However, this is myopic and ineffective. The B2B marketing of the future and the present must have an overview of what is important.

It’s time to focus on all sources of income, including new business, but also expansion and retention. Modern marketers thrive when they keep an eye on the entire account journey. This includes the post-sale journey, an area that is often overlooked by salespeople and marketers.

The rise in recurring revenue models and the increasing importance of expansion revenues mean that the vast majority of revenue is generated after the first sale. This is a fundamental mismatch that needs to be addressed.

Now that you know what the future of B2B marketing looks like, ask yourself a question: are you going in the right direction? If so, keep moving forward. But if not? It is time to adjust to these new realities now.

With ABM, sales and marketing alignment, and the right technology to drive it all, the impact of marketing can continue to create value and grow. Without these pillars, you have to be left behind. Your future is yours.

Jon Miller is Demandbase’s Chief Product Officer. In his role, Miller is responsible for delivering Demandbase’s product vision to excite customers and fulfill the mission to transform the way B2B companies go to market. Miller has a long history of founding and running some of the best-known marketing technology companies such as Engagio and Marketo.