The road to landing your product or service in customers’ hands is not a direct route. There is much twisting and turning along the way to close-won.
At first glance, it might seem random, but every account won has a rhyme and a reason – if you dig into it. Taking control of each step helps to better evaluate and scope your needs.
Our latest eBook shows you how to navigate your book of business, craft a well-calculated marketing plan, add more places of interest on the map, and direct potential customers to inroads back to your company. The marketing plan lays the groundwork for your team to go forth and execute.
Have you made your 2018 marketing plan yet? Get started with our free eBook!
Buyers control the journey
First, marketers must understand and accept that buyers control the journey to your product.
B2B buyers research solutions months before buying. According to Salesforce, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process.
Forrester Research analyst, Lori Wizdo, provides further validation, stating, “In a recent survey, 74% of business buyers told us they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.This buyer dynamic changes the role of B2B marketing in a fundamental way. Marketing now owns a much bigger piece of the lead-to-revenue cycle.”
Herein lies the rub: Marketers have an enormous opportunity to serve as guides for potential customers, to provide a path for exploration that leads them to the most optimal solution.
This pattern is traditionally understood through the sales funnel. While it is an elegant concept, passing customers through the stages of awareness, consideration, and decision is not a straightforward endeavor.
Every customer journey is different, but most follow a basic pattern. It starts before the customer fully realizes that they need a product—perhaps it’s a pain point, or the perception of an opportunity—and it ends with your sales team closing a new account.
Your marketing campaigns and programs are there to guide them along the way.
Make 2018 the year YOU adopt data-driven marketing: Get our free eBook!
Now that we know the importance of the buyer, let’s apply that to a general framework for creating your killer marketing plan for the upcoming year.
WHO to Target
To justify any hope of impacting the buyer’s path, you must first understand your buyer … and not just any ol’ buyer. You need to understand your ideal buyers, your best customers. What do they look like? What’s important to them?
Start by looking for common characteristics that make up your most successful, happiest customers. This should include:
- Firmographic data: industry, employee size, revenue
- Demographic data: role and responsibilities
- Behavioral data: popular pages on your site, top-performing assets, and favorite channels
In addition to applying prospect intelligence to find additional common characteristics of your ideal customer, Customers of DiscoverOrg can take this a step further by to identifying lookalike customers to target.
Did we mention our free eBook includes an Ideal Customer Profile worksheet?
HOW to engage
How can you get in front of your ideal customers and get them to engage with your brand?
For starters, don’t try and answer this question in a vacuum – involve your sales team! They interact with these buyers all day, every day, and have valuable insight into their pain points and interests. Sales should also understand prefered methods of engagement and buying cycles. Leverage these details to map your content to your buyer personas and buying cycle stages.
Get your Content Mapping and Matrix templates in our latest free eBook!
It’s critical to distribute content or relevant offerings where your buyers already live. That means knowing which social media channels – if any – they use, whether they prefer email or direct mail, respond to push notifications, or any of the many other channels of B2B communication.
Spend some time evaluating the effectiveness of each of your existing channels and specific campaigns from this past year, in terms of driving engagement with your target audience.
Be intentional about dropping campaigns or channels where you saw limited engagement with your ideal customer. Invest further in those with greater potential for engagement.
In addition, work with sales to identify and agree on criteria for qualifying a lead to be passed. Get marketing and sales teams on the same page to proactively eliminate future tension regarding the quality and quantity of the leads.
See how DiscoverOrg executed a cross-functional Account-Based program in our latest episode of our docuseries, Inside Look: A True Story of Implementing Account-Based Everything!
WHAT metrics to track
How will you know that your efforts were successful?
The answer may vary from organization to organization as well as person to person. However, before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, your sales and marketing teams should have an idea of how you are measuring the effectiveness of your efforts in 2018.
To further align the marketing and sales departments: Include some overlap in the Key Performance Indicators for organization-wide prospecting efforts. Shared goals, such as conversion rates, are a great way to get departments on the same page.
Our internal teams at DiscoverOrg are focused on lead-to-demo conversion rate and pipeline numbers. This ensures that both sales and marketing are focused on delivering quality leads and quality meetings that directly impact the growth of our pipeline.
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Start the best journey with good data
A data-driven marketing plan strikes at the essence of Account-Based Marketing (ABM). With sales and marketing intelligence, you will:
- Identify buyers you should target
- Develop a better buyer persona
- Align Sales & Marketing
- Find the “why”
- Developing Content with Sales
- Establish metrics
Each of these steps will be covered in our ebook, How to Devise a Marketing Plan 2018.
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