Over the past decade, the rise of Data-Driven Marketing and Account-Based Marketing (ABM) have both followed steep trajectories, and that’s no coincidence. After all, the best ABM programs are the ones built on rich data and insights. However, the meteoric rise of data-fueled ABM has had an unintended side effect inside the marketing organization: Marketers now have to become data experts or hire them in droves.
As the complexity of analyzing and employing data for ABM increased, marketers started to get lost in the numbers. While building B2B marketing teams with greater data-savvy and talent is a wise move, Marketing Executives must be careful not to overcorrect when it comes to rebalancing the skill sets within their organizations. Furthermore, they must ensure that the data talent they do have in-house is being effectively leveraged, rather than wasted on mundane data organization tasks.
The simple fact is that data solutions exist within the market that can greatly simplify the process of combining sources, deriving insights and putting those insights to work in campaigns. B2B marketers should not have to become Data Scientists, and the Data Scientists they work with should be spending their time delivering real value to the bottom line. To do this, teams need to be armed with data tools that allow them to do what they do best: draw insights, build relationships and tell the right stories to the right people.
Moving from Data to Insights
A 2018 Gartner report made a simple yet profound observation: ‘Marketing departments have staffed up their data analytics teams who spend more time wrangling data than building insights’. The report went on to recommend that marketing executives rethink their allocation of resources in this regard. ‘Strategic outsourcing and automation start to make sense when a significant volume of foundational tasks are currently handled by talented, expensive (and coveted) data scientists’, the report noted.
Of course, there are numerous external resources available to marketing teams that can assist with the foundational work that is needed to wrangle multiple data sources and put teams on the path to true insights and optimization. In finding the right fit, marketing leaders need to ensure a resource’s capabilities complement that of their internal teams and enable them to focus on the tasks that lead to success with ABM. Core requirements include the following.
Diverse data sources that enable hyper-targeting. ABM teams have a deep need to understand not only who their prospects are, but where they are on their buyer journey. As such, Data Optimization Solutions need to tap into a diverse range of data sources—from firmographic and technographic data to audience and intent. Only with this diversity of sources can marketers begin to understand who their strongest prospects are, what they’re in the market for, where they are based and when to reach out via marketing and sales channels.
Insights that drive action: The right data solution should also be able to feed learning back into the system for refinement, otherwise data teams have to spend their valuable time doing this in a piecemeal way. Through enhanced insights dashboards, marketers should be able to track a campaign’s progress across channels, see who engages with what content and discern which programs have the greatest sales impact. From there, they can take action to close their best accounts faster.
Acceleration of the customer journey: As Gartner noted, the strategic use of automation within the Data Optimization process represents a path to greater efficiency for marketing and data teams. Data Solutions should be capable of automatically moving prospects along the customer journey by shifting them into the proper media and content programs based on their engagement and demonstrated interests. The right data automation can significantly reduce manual tasks and achieve better conversion by continuously engaging prospects with relevant content to keep them moving down the pipeline.
As B2B marketers realign the way that they use data to prospect and engage, they must do so with an eye toward making the most of their internal resources. As Gartner noted, some expensive data talent too often ‘spend their time doing work that is necessary but not necessarily the work that will drive competitive differentiation and breakthrough insights’. There is a better way. With the right Data Optimization tools, marketers can focus on building true Business Intelligence to drive more efficient, effective outreach across all channels.