7 B2B Marketing Challenges (And How CRM can Help)

on January 30, 2018

7 B2B Marketing Challenges (And How CRM can Help)

How do you align your B2B marketing approach with the shifting technological landscape? Do you embrace new tools and trends? Or do you sit back, waiting to see how these developments play out, while your competitors dive in head first?

At the rate of change we’re seeing today, being an early adopter can keep you highly competitive in your respective market. In this article, we’ll discuss the top B2B marketing challenges and how to address them with your CRM platform in 2018.

1. Maintaining Data Integrity

The Challenge: Your audience is a moving target. The basic information you have on prospects, customers, and partners constantly changes. They get promoted and change their title. They get fired and change their email addresses. They get married and change their surname. Minor changes like these drastically alter the segments in which your audience is bucketed. As a B2B marketer, having inaccurate or incomplete data makes it extremely difficult to tailor the right messaging, not to mention, reach individuals in the first place. If you don’t understand who your buyers are, how can you possibly engage with them in a meaningful way?

The Solution: If your data is in poor shape, consider adopting a data cleansing service like Acxiom or Data Ladder. Otherwise, conduct an internal data audit if you have the internal capacity. To ensure reliable data is flowing through your CRM platform, use a duplicate lead identifier—like an email address—to flag incoming duplicates so you can merge or delete them. Finally, if your CRM allows for verification of incoming data—such as email address or telephone number—be sure to leverage that.

2. Integrating CRM with Social Media

The Challenge: Social media offers a wealth of information about your audience’s needs, pain points, and interests. Any time a prospect clicks, shares, or converts from your social posts, it’s important to not only track his journey but integrate it with your CRM platform. That said, with so many different social networks and tools, it can be challenging to connect social data across platforms.

The Solution: With Oktopost, you can wave goodbye to siloed social data. As a B2B social media management platform, Oktopost provides a native integration with Salesforce. This allows you to push all social data–from clicks to conversions–into custom Salesforce dashboards and reports. Besides gaining a complete picture of your marketing ecosystem, you’re able to visually report results to higher-ups in the company. Whether it’s showing lead generation by social network or demonstrating the ROI of employee advocacy to stakeholders, the options are endless!

3. Aligning Sales and Marketing

The Challenge: As a B2B marketer, your primary goal is to generate qualified leads; leads that meet the criteria of an ideal buyer persona. Your sales colleague, on the other hand, is inundated with prospecting buyers and closing as many deals. In light of these differences, marketing and sales function as two separate entities, and it can be difficult to get the two teams on the same page. Marketers that lack this synergy have a much harder time proving their value to the company.

The Solution: A shared CRM dashboard allows sales executives to see how many leads are qualified, and marketing to see how many qualified leads converted into customers. From a marketing standpoint, you can use CRM to automatically create new opportunities whenever a lead is qualified. Along with this, you can use system tags to populate the opportunity with actions taken by qualified leads, helping sales understand the lead’s personal interests. With a CRM service-level-agreement, you can also limit sales outreach to a specific time frame, ensuring that warm leads don’t go cold because a sales rep wasn’t proactive enough.

4. Adhering to GDPR

The Challenge: The EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) comes into effect on May 25, 2018. B2B marketers need to understand the scope of these regulations to ensure compliance. If you collect data or payments from customers or prospects in any of the 28 EU member states, these regulations apply to you.

The Solution: B2B marketers must do their homework, and a good place to start is this article, which does a good job of summarizing GDPR. Once you understand the GDPR parameters, you’ll need to use system tags in your CRM to flag contacts in those countries and find alternative channels for generating leads and communicating with prospects. Overall, you’ll need tighter opt-in and opt-out controls for EU contacts. There are many nuances associated with these regulations, so research the topic thoroughly.

5. Behavior-Based Personalization

The Challenge: B2B buyers are growing more accustomed to tailored messages and offers. Having grown fond of Netflix’s and Amazon’s recommendation sections, individuals expect to receive the same level of personalization when buying from a B2B company. This creates a unique challenge for B2B marketers, but also a unique opportunity to better engage customers and prospects.

The Solution: Most CRM solutions, like Salesforce, allow you to tag contacts based on behaviors they display, such as the content they consume and the social media actions they take. With that information, it’s easy to craft highly personalized marketing emails and web pop-ups to individual contacts. For example, if a lead has registered to a webinar about ‘employee advocacy’, you can personalize an email providing a white paper on the same topic.

6. The Rise of Account-Based Marketing

The Challenge: Account-based marketing (ABM) shifts the focus from high volume lead generation to highly-targeted outreach to fewer prospects. Essentially, you treat each account (B2B) as its own market and target your outreach to speak directly to their pain points and needs. It can be tedious and challenging, but certainly worth the effort. According to a survey by ITSMA, 85% of marketers who measure ROI, describe ABM as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach.

The Solution: Conduct research to create buyer personas, ideal customer profiles, and define other indicators of those that would be a good fit for your product or service. Those ideal customers will take various forms and you’ll want to capture all of them. Then, it’s a matter of granular segmentation using CRM tags in order to easily market to them in a personalized way that speaks to their unique pain points.

7. Measuring Marketing ROI

The Challenge: Measuring ROI is an intractable objective for B2B marketers. If you can’t tie your marketing programs to broader business goals, it’s difficult to request more budget and understand which tactics are generating qualified leads. Marketing ROI is an abstract metric to measure, but there are methods for doing so.

The Solution: Measuring ROI is about attributing new deal closure to marketing efforts. Use your CRM to track the first touch a lead had with your company—typically in the form of a “lead source” field. If your webinar generated a lead, who later became a customer, marketing can take credit for influencing this deal. You can also attribute a closed opportunity to marketing success if you qualified this deal through the consumption of marketing content. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to measuring marketing ROI.

Bottom Line

The challenges B2B marketers face today are drastically different than those faced a few decades ago. As CRM platforms evolve, so will the challenges. Staying up-to-date with recent trends not only helps you stay ahead of the curve, it also helps you overcome challenges before they affect your bottom line.

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