B2B data-driven marketing

Published on February 27, 2020   18 min

A selection of talks on Marketing & Sales

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Hello. I'm Ruth Stevens, Adjunct Professor at NYU Stern. I specialize in B2B marketing, particularly a sales lead generation.
In this session, I'm going to explain the value of customer and prospect data in business markets. I'm going to talk about where data comes from, how to keep it clean, how to use it, and I'm also going to share an interesting case example of how a machine tools manufacturer used data to revolutionize its entire go-to market strategy.
To my mind, there are three major reasons why customer and prospect data is vitally important to business marketers. First, without it, you can't properly cover your market, meaning you can't get access to all the business potential you deserve. Second, knowing exactly who is in your target audience and how much you can know about their needs, means that you can sell to them with maximum efficiency, thus saving time and money. Third, accurate and complete data helps you anticipate your audience's needs, address them correctly, and improve the chances that they will enjoy a satisfactory relationship with you.
If you have experience with database marketing in the consumer world, you'll want to keep in mind several important ways that business data is different from what you may be used to. Perhaps most importantly, B2B data is more complex. A company has a lot of moving parts, certainly compared to a household. You have hierarchies within the organization like headquarters, subsidiaries, and corporate parents. For the B2B marketing database, you need information on all of these. Then, there are multiple parties involved at various levels. In large enterprises, there may be as many as 20 people involved in making a purchase decision for any given product. We need to know all of these people and what is their role in the purchase. Is the person a decision maker? Is it the end-user? Is it a specifier? This information is essential for us to be able to talk to them properly and influence them to select us as their supplier. Third, the value of a business relationship is typically much higher than that of a consumer household. So we don't want to overlook any account, and we need to have complete and accurate data on all our potential targets. That's why accuracy is so critical, this aim for completeness. Business data degrades really fast, as fast as 4-6 percent a month, which is twice as fast as consumer data degradation. Most business sellers have a limited universe of potential customers, so they don't want to miss out on any given account and they don't want to misunderstand them either. Finally, business data can generally be used more freely than consumer, and this is a big difference when it comes to the world of privacy and security issues. Buyers need vendors to help them solve their business problems. So thankfully, they typically want to hear from us and they want to do business with us. So if they meet a prospect at a trade show and get his or her card, most business marketers feel comfortable entering the data in their marketing databases and emailing the person without gaining a specific opt-in permission.