• Blog
  • Nov 01, 2018
  • By Jeff Keenan
Using Marketing Attribution To Boost B2B Sales

Marketing attribution isn’t just for B2C. In fact, using attribution to measure your B2B marketing efforts can provide deeper insights into your marketing operations than are often seen in B2C applications. Longer sales cycle times and more complex customer journeys for B2B customers make proper attribution indispensable.

The majority of companies that assign attribution to their marketing activities use single-touch attribution models. We have found that this is mostly because it’s so easy to set up. For many, marketing attribution is just about tracking the performance of a few shiny buttons on a landing page. It might be better than nothing, but it certainly doesn’t provide a complete picture of how that customer came to be a customer — just the final step that they took on a long journey.

Because so many marketers stick to simple attribution models, there is an assumption that marketing attribution is best used in those scenarios, but that couldn’t be farther from the case. In fact, the more complicated the buyer’s journey is, the more important attribution is.

According to Bizible’s 2017 State of Pipeline Marketing report, more than 40% of companies use a single-touch attribution model, while only 28.8% of companies use a multi-touch model. Shockingly, they found that 28.4% of companies don’t measure their marketing performance with any attribution model at all and are truly flying blind.

single touch attribution

Source: Bizible

When Bizible asked companies to rate their organization’s ability to effectively measure marketing performance, the results made it clear that companies that use multi-touch attribution had more confidence in this area. According to the survey in their report, 28.6% of companies that used multi-touch attribution rated themselves a 5 out of 5 in this area, while only 5.8% of companies that used single-touch attribution gave themselves a perfect score.

When a customer interacts with five blog posts, two case studies, one white paper, and visits more than a dozen pages on your website before finally visiting your landing page and clicking that ‘buy now’ button, it’s important that you account for the effect that those marketing materials had on their decision to buy. Doing so helps you to better assign your budget, understand what is important to your customers, and ensure that all materials receive their due credit for influencing the buyer’s decision making.

Still, we find that companies tend to value attribution more in B2C than they do in B2B, most likely due to the complicated nature of B2B journeys and transactions. We argue that proper attribution is even more valuable in B2B transactions than it is in B2C for this very reason.

This persevering misconception should be set straight.

Get to know your prospects before the first call

Today, the competition is fierce in almost any market. Potential customers spend up to 90% of their time researching a product online, looking at a range of different products, before reaching out to a specific vendor.

It requires a lot of time to perform in-depth research on a variety of different solutions. Your company will only get one shot to make a good first impression. It’s important that you go into that initial conversation with as much knowledge about the prospect as possible so that you can speak to their biggest concerns and pain points.

You can’t be everywhere all the time. You can only track and utilize data that covers what a prospect does when they visit your own website or owned assets. What they interact with on a competitor’s website is unknowable. But, by examining what they view, click, and respond to on your own website — you can glean insight into what matters to them and their company.

It’s essential to gather as much data about your visitors and leads before you get into direct contact with them in a first call. You need to observe and analyze which pieces of content they consumed, and what their search intent was before they reached your site.

The type of information that should look to arm yourself with going into the first call with a prospect includes:

  • What is important to your prospect. By examining the type of content that a prospect has viewed on your website, you can gain insight into what is important to them. You’ll be able to highlight specific features that address their problems and pain points that concern them most, while seemingly being able to read their mind. Nothing can help you to establish a connection and facilitate a positive first impression like speaking to their biggest concerns can.
  • What the prospect already knows about your product. Most companies go into an initial conversation with a prospect blind. They have a script that they follow that might be very good, detailing their product in full — but doesn’t take into account what the prospect might already know about the product. Analyzing the content that they have interacted with not only tells you what is important to them but can help you to improve initial conversations by avoiding long detours explaining topics or features that they already know about and understand. In initial conversations, you want to spend as much time as possible having a genuine conversation and answering questions that they have, not retreading ground they’ve already covered in their initial research.
  • How they initially reached your website. What did they search in Google or interact with on social media that led to them discovering your product and browsing around your website? Understanding this helps you to identify the “source problem” that led to them discovering your product. Often, additional pain points that your product solves for them will take a back seat to the source problem and it’s important that you engage in conversations with those prospects with this information in mind.
  • Where their biggest concerns lie. Often, prospects spend their time researching not to qualify your product, but to find reasons to disqualify it. The content that they interact with on your website can give you an idea of where they may feel your product falls short as it pertains to their needs. Arming your team with this information allows them to counter objections effectively and tie those counterpoints to the portions of your offering that make you a perfect fit for their needs.

Stats show that companies have now acknowledged the importance of creating a complete view of their customers. 68% of sales professionals say it’s very important to create a single view of their customers across departments, but only 17% have managed to do so.

Organizations are clearly struggling to combine different data sources to create a comprehensive view of customers across channels. But they know full well that it’s crucial for generating sales.

So what’s stopping them? The answer is simple: proper, multi-touch, cross-channel marketing attribution.

The difference between B2C and B2B journeys

When you look at the differences in buyer’s journeys between B2C and B2B customers, the importance of attribution in B2B becomes clear. To sell B2B products or services effectively, you have to understand your customers. In B2C sales and marketing, things are relatively straightforward. Business customers, however, have a wide range of considerations that affect their desire to purchase. B2B sales cycles are usually more complex than B2C cycles, making it harder to keep a single view of B2B customers.

The increased complexity is caused by a few things:

Journey duration

B2B sales cycles are much longer than B2C. In consumer sales, you can expect the average sales cycle to last as short as a few minutes (ever clicked the “Buy Now” button within minutes of finding a product?), to a few weeks. Most of this deliberation is internal with fewer customers reaching out to support teams to have questions answered before making a purchase. Consumers might have some basic questions they’d like answered, but the research phase in B2C sales is comparatively uncomplicated compared to B2B. B2B buying is more complicated for a good reason — their buying solutions that may affect thousands of employees.

The duration of B2B sales cycles can vary based on a number of factors but are always much longer and more in-depth than their B2C counterparts. As a rule of thumb, B2B sales cycles for small business buyers typically last 1-3 months, while larger enterprise sales cycles can last up to a year for larger and more complicated solutions. B2B cycles have more touch points over a longer period of time and for that reason it is even more important that you are able to analyze the actions of your customers.

Product complexity

B2B products or services are usually quite complex, so buyers require more time to evaluate and education about what they’re buying. In larger organizations, the process of integrating new solutions into their processes and workflows is a task that can require months of planning and additional training for their teams. It can take time to phase out old solutions or install new ones. Have you ever worked for a company that used an outdated legacy system, despite the fact that there were modern solutions on the market? B2C products or services are typically simple. Buyers understand what they’re buying quickly. They don’t need weeks or months to integrate a product into their daily lives.

Stakeholder considerations

In B2C sales you are selling your product to a single person or family. There is one decision-maker that you have to convince. In B2B sales, you have much larger groups of people that have to be sold on the viability and need for your product.

Today, 61% of buying teams include five or more people. Ignoring small companies, 88% of companies with more than 1,000 employees feature buying teams with five or more people. 50% of the time, the people within those buying teams are located in multiple nations.

Each of those stakeholders comes with their own unique perspectives, needs, and concerns regarding your product. Among those teams, some votes may count more than others. The buying team may include people who will never interface with your product or don’t truly understand the pain points that led to the consideration of your offering. Navigating these situations requires insight and takes much more time.

Amount spent

B2B purchases are typically more expensive, so buyers are extra cautious to ensure that the solution fits their needs optimally. A B2B solution may cost tens of thousands of dollars, which is less impactful to a company than it would be to an individual but is still large enough to inspire a higher level of diligence. Careers are often at stake when decision-makers make large investments into new solutions. The stakes simply aren’t as high in cheaper B2C purchases.

The difference between B2C and B2B marketing is clear. In B2C, not having a detailed understanding of every customer is not ideal, but often is not make-or-break when it comes to converting sales on a case-by-case basis. Customers are often able to research your product and make the purchase based on their own evaluations with very little interactions between your reps and the customer.

In B2B sales, when you don’t have helpful insights into how your customers think, growing your sales numbers will be challenging. But that’s not always a bad thing. As leads educate themselves on your product and move through the buyer’s journey, their actions provide valuable information to your marketing and sales teams that allow you to custom-tailor your messaging to their specific needs. To do that though, you need a way to collect, organize, and utilize your data effectively.

Using attribution to create a single customer view, to boost B2B sales

When you know your prospects well, B2B sales become much easier. But, to fully understand your prospects and leads, you have to have the right tracking and attribution tools in place. A comprehensive, accurate view of your leads through their journey across channels and platforms can only be achieved through a multi-touch attribution model.

If you’re coming from a single-touch model, multi-touch may sound complicated and tedious to set up, but it isn’t.

The LeadsRx universal tracking pixel tracks customer behavior across channels and platforms. Over time, the pixel gathers data to construct a comprehensive and accurate customer profile. You can assign weights to individual touchpoints along the journey, so you’ll have a good indication of how hot your lead is at any given time.

When your lead decides to schedule a call with your sales reps, they’ll be able to look into the prospect’s entire journey that led to the call. Your teams will know what content they’ve interacted with, what topics are most important to them, and what reservations they may have about your product. Armed with that knowledge, your sales teams will be able to close more high-value deals than ever before.

Get to know your B2B customers with LeadsRx

So, now what? It’s simple.

Schedule a demo with us today, and we’ll walk you through how LeadsRX can provide you with more insight about your prospects and help you to close bigger deals in shorter time frames.