The demand for “big data” and “big content” to better acquire, retain, and cross-sell B2B customers is growing rapidly. Since 2010, most B2B companies have made significant investments in four core types of customer engagement platforms:
- CRM (e.g. Salesforce)
- Marketing automation (e.g. Eloqua, Marketo)
- Content management (e.g. Adobe)
- Social media (e.g. Linkedin)
These platforms have enabled companies to make quantum improvements in workflow efficiency by automating labor-intensive marketing and sales tasks. But increasingly, executives are trying to grapple with an even larger potential benefit of these technologies – the explosion of customer data and content. The new B2B challenge is helping product marketers and front-line sales reps increase sales effectiveness by “cherry picking” accounts and customers that are most ready-to-buy and providing them with the most relevant content and offers.
To address this challenge, from 2012-2015 venture capitalists and private equity firms invested billions of dollars in 100s of small, innovative SaaS companies specializing in predictive customer analytics (who to target) and content personalization (what to offer). As B2B Sales & Marketing organizations have tested and on-boarded these data-driven marketing and sales effectiveness technologies, three critical lessons have emerged:
- Successful predictive customer analytics processes – those that actually enable sales reps to target the right prospects and book revenues – require aggregating and analyzing customer data from both external and internal sources
- Successful content personalization processes – those that actually serve unique content/offers tailored to each prospective buyer – require curating and measuring the performance of content from both external and internal sources
- Successful deployment of these analytic technologies – the who, what, where – must be easy-to-use and be trusted by the Marketing and Sales professionals who use them
Working with our enterprise clients, we are seeing leading CMOs, product marketers, VPs Sales, and quota bearing reps all rapidly migrating together toward digital sales enablement solutions. Our own customer intelligence platform we call Playcaller is just scratching the surface of combining “big data” and “big content” to enable both B2B product marketers and quota-bearing sales reps to better determine who to target, where to reach them, and what content to offer. By combining deep customer insight and personalized content, we see our clients build high performing, data-driven, end-to-end marketing and sales processes to maximize the performance of any “sales play” — customer acquisition, cross-sell, or retention.
The lesson is simple: effective Marketing and Sales processes need BOTH predictive customer intelligence and personalized content. Like peanut butter and jelly, they go together.
What do you think?