The constant evolution of technology and software has led to remarkable results in the B2B marketing sector. Today, businesses have numerous tools at their disposal to highlight the goods and services they offer. Yet, some challenges still remain that analytics may be able to solve.
According to the 2015 State of B2B Marketing and Analytics, the implementation and study of meaningful data is an area worthy of investment (1). The report revealed 84 percent of marketers are currently investing in analytics, with 56 percent of marketers saying they expect analytics budgets to increase within the next 12 months. Analytics may cause some confusion and hesitancy because of the complexity, but the results are more than beneficial for marketers.
What is analytics, exactly?
At its core, analytics takes recorded information and allows it to be analyzed for trends. Companies such as Google and Twitter offer analytical software to help marketers gain an understanding of how websites or social media posts are performing. This information enables businesses to then adjust accordingly and increase efficiency by not wasting resources on a subpar offering. A 2014 study from Marketing Charts, as cited by Entrepreneur, said 6 in 10 professionals were under increased pressure from management to increase the use of data (2). The study mentioned marketers often felt the brunt of the pressure.
Areas to start with
There are numerous subsets of analytics that are useful for marketers. In fact, 65 percent of respondents to the "State of B2B Marketing and Analytics" report from Regalix stated sales rose by 10 percent after implementing analytical strategies.
Predictive analytics helps marketing departments anticipate future events, according to Harvard Business Review (3). For example, a business can turn to data to reveal purchasing trends and prioritize sales leads. Other industry experts have said 2015 is the year of predictive analytics (4). It is only a natural progression of a proven model, as large companies like Amazon have successfully shown how analytics can benefit the numerous parties involved. Marketing departments can increase efficiency by using data to prioritize leads and find which ones are worth a follow-up.
Analytics is an extension of big data in a sense. Big data is such a valuable tool because hidden within the information are important trends and areas sales teams can turn to when looking to stay ahead of the competition. According to predictive analytics firm Infer, marketers can get a complete picture by pulling data from multiple systems.
Data needs to be usable
Big data has played a huge role in pushing wide adoption of the analytics movement. In the past, only large enterprises could afford to collect and store volumes of information. Advancements in technology and development of cloud services have opened up the possibilities of big data collection. A January 2015 study from Gartner found cloud-based, software-as-a-service applications are helping "effectively generate demand and win deals" (5). However, businesses must ensure the data is useable.
Other areas improved
The B2B predictive analytic models also offer more benefits to those wary of relying on data to improve business matters. One area in particular is helped by implementing analytic solutions, according to Keku Wu. In an opinion piece with insideBIGDATA, Wu wrote companies now have personalities because of data (6). This helps sales departments find suitable matches and allow for precision marketing, meaning businesses are better able to cross-sell, upsell and retain existing business clients.
Further, sales and marketing teams will be able to respond in real-time to current events. For example, Wu said if a business offers IT security solutions and a new product is unveiled, that business can immediately identify companies that adopt groundbreaking technology.
"The time has come for the marketers and data scientists in the B2B world to unleash their creativity," Wu wrote.
There is no doubt businesses that implement data analytics will see the results.