We are seeing so many examples of technology being used to improve several aspects of our lives. Data intelligence can also be smartly used to improve the results of the B2B Marketing efforts carried out by a company. This article explains the important aspects of the usage of data intelligence in B2B Marketing, including some simple definitions, the advantages, and a few risks.
Big Data, Business Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning – we keep hearing these catchphrases being thrown at us nowadays. These are the things that seem to have taken over every aspect of our lives today. How could they not have impacted B2B Marketing? Yes, they have, to varying degrees. Let us pick out one of the – data intelligence – and see what role it has in B2B marketing. One aspect that is becoming more and more important today is data intelligence and we will try and see some ways in which it is impacting B2B Marketing today.
What is Data Intelligence?
If we take out data intelligence from the limited scope of Digital Marketing we discussed in the previous paragraph, then it becomes much easier to understand data intelligence. It is the sum total of all the processes, methods and tools that a company might use in order to make better sense of all the data they gather actively or passively. The end result or the intended result of this exercise is to make better-informed business decisions in the future. In the context of B2B Marketing, let us look at some of the ways in data intelligence can be profitably used.
The first user input of data intelligence can be in the creation of a larger sales funnel by generating more leads. We spoke in a different blog about using email marketing metrics like clickthrough rates to understand the level of interest that the email had generated. These insights could form inputs for understanding which recipients of an email campaign could be prospective customers. The analysis of the responses to your other B2B campaigns can work as useful inputs for future initiatives.
The pace of Movement through the Pipeline
Once a new company has been added to the pipeline of a company that is carrying out B2B efforts, there are more data points from which insights can be gleaned. A prospective lead first puts you in the consideration stage, after which your offers are validated by the prospect. If you get through that stage too, then you are added to the active consideration set of the prospective client, and from there you might or might not move to final closure. The right use of data intelligence can tell you the pace or the velocity of a particular set of prospects, either in terms of time or in terms of a number of interactions.
Let us take the example of a company that manufactures medical implants. There are several segments it would need to carry out B2B marketing for. For example, it would need to reach out to hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, physiotherapy centers, and maybe even medical colleges and nursing institutes to catch the medical students young.
The collection of usable and updated date about all the prospective clients could help this company to segregate its target groups suitably, and then design it’s messaging appropriately. The universal set of intended recipients of the marketing messaging could be segregated into smaller clusters with certain commonalities. Hospitals could be specialty hospitals or multispecialty hospitals or those that deal with only situations where these implants (that this company manufactures). The messaging to these three types of hospitals could then be differentiated for best ROI.
Social Media Management
More than 80% of C-level and VP-level buyers have admitted being influenced by social media during their procurement and purchasing decisions. That is why businesses should be looking to not only using social media marketing extensively but also use data intelligence to sharpen the effectiveness of their B2B marketing efforts.
We all know the unimaginably high volumes of content being generated across social media channels on a daily basis. Your B2B messaging would just be one more in that sea of voices. But it needn’t stay that way. The right use of data intelligence would help understand the dynamics of your earlier posts/tweets and see what people liked and didn’t like. Data intelligence would not only give you usable insights about your own content but would also help you see what your prospective clients or partners in the B2B space are talking about.
Customer Relationship Management
Most businesses focus on NCA (new customer acquisition) through B2B marketing. But they also keep losing existing clients with equal velocity because they are not able to devote enough efforts to them. Data intelligence can go a long way in fulfilling this need.
Let us continue to work on the example of a medical implant manufacturer we took in an earlier point. The company might have sold a few implants to a hospital two years back, but since last year, they haven’t got any orders. This should have got some people worried, but everyone was too busy cozying up to the new prospective customers.
Proper data collected at the time of the new customer onboarding two years back could have allowed the firm to get a few insights into the possible reasons why the hospital had drifted away.
Does Data Intelligence carry any risk?
All of what we discussed so far does give the impression that everything about B2B marketing can be improved by the use of data intelligence. But that is not always the case. There might be a growing temptation to judge everything by data and numbers, and an over-reliance on data intelligence might encourage the B2B marketer to stop using the normal indicators borne out of human interaction.
To understand this scenario, let us again go back to our earlier example of a company that manufactures implants. Based on data intelligence gathered about the present and prospective customers, they might be able to hold on to their client set. But what happens when a new technology is introduced in the market?
Data intelligence about their own messaging and marketing might not give enough insights about the new product introduced by a competitor which is technically superior. This will need good old ear-to-the-ground marketing intelligence, and the marketing team to talk to present and likely future users of the newly introduced implant.
As we can see from the discussions above, data intelligence is a sharp weapon with great results if used correctly. It can help to understand, predict, and modify consumer behavior and responses, and therefore help in sharpening the B2B Marketing efforts. But if used more than necessary, or used incorrectly, or used to completely replace traditional methods, then there could be some negative repercussions.
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