B2B Marketing ROI — Focus on Quality Over Quantity

The efficacy of B2B marketing can be notoriously hard to measure. Due to long sales cycles and channel conflicts, most B2B marketers are underestimating the ROI of their campaigns. In an effort to improve ROI, B2B marketers often fall into the trap of measuring quantity over quality. Here are three things that B2B marketers are regularly doing but should stop.

The efficacy of B2B marketing can be notoriously hard to measure. Due to long sales cycles and channel conflicts, most B2B marketers are underestimating the ROI of their campaigns. In an effort to improve ROI, B2B marketers often fall into the trap of measuring quantity over quality. Here are three things that B2B marketers are regularly doing but should stop.

  1. Stop Making Sales Conversion Your Only Marker of Success. Yes, sales conversion is a very critical metric, but it is notorious for getting diluted or lost in a long sales cycle. Examples of this include: credit for a sale being split along multiple marketing and non-marketing touchpoints or the sales department wants full credit for the sale. The latter happens because five years back, the customer had briefly talked to a sales agent — and marketing gets no credit. As a result, marketers should have multiple conversion metrics (aside from sales) which are within the marketer’s sphere of influence. Examples include: white paper downloads, social sharing of content or mail list sign-ups.
  2. Stop Assigning Click Volume as a KPI. Yes, it is a performance indicator; however, it is not a KEY performance indicator for most B2B campaigns. First, let’s get past the fact that a clickthrough can be unintentional, click-baited or a bot. None of those clicks will have any value and baited clicks usually have negative value. However, even legitimate clicks tell you nothing about why the prospects are there and their level of engagement or sales disposition, which are the real metrics in B2B sales. Instead, focus where those clicks lead to macro-conversion activities, such as downloads or contact information shares. These post-click activities tell you much more about the level of engagement with site visitors, the types of prospects you are attracting and the relevance of your content.
  3. Finally, Stop Cold-Selling Through Digital Channels. As a B2B customer, if I don’t know you and you have not come recommended by someone, why would I take the time to learn about your company? Unless you have a very unique product that addresses an acute need and you catch me at the right moment, I am simply not going to “click here to learn more.” In my experience, these campaigns are full of low-quality clicks. Jeff Molander’s recent post “Ditch the Call to Action in Your Cold Email Strategy” provides a great discussion on why you should be aware of selfish calls to action. Aside from just being ineffective, these communications can also place your email campaigns on blacklists and hurt your overall brand.

A healthy B2B measurement program begins during the campaign planning stages. I often recommend the clients think about the digital sales development journey and how they want to develop sales opportunities. When thinking about content, I suggest that they don’t simply focus on sales conversion, but also think about content that helps prospects develop a relationship with their company. Finally, I ask them to think about measuring immediate content’s effectiveness. Tracking shares, mail list signups and other engagement activities help you understand prospect intent and confirm marketing effectiveness faster than waiting for the eventual sale.