To connect with prospects in the all-digital world, B2B marketers must say goodbye to long-held habits. Adopt these growth marketing resolutions to humanize your approach and achieve your growth goals this year.
In 2022, your prospects are everywhere — and they still expect a unified conversation across all channels and platforms.
To meet these expectations, B2B marketing organizations are working to humanize their account based marketing and other demand gen programs. But for all the digital transformation we’ve accomplished in the last two years, growth teams are still holding on to some outdated and unproductive habits.
Here are five resolutions to help you put these to rest and achieve your growth marketing goals this year.
Growth marketing resolution #1:
Learn how to drive your Ferraris.
2021 saw explosive investment in martech. Now that you’ve built up your stack with ABM and sales enablement platforms, contracted with demand and intent partners, and adopted virtual event, digital experience and gifting solutions, it’s time to learn how to really use them.
What to do in 2022:
Just like a Ferrari that’s only used to drive around town, most martech platforms are incredibly powerful, and incredibly underutilized. Before investing in additional tools, ask yourself these questions about your existing ones:
- Are our martech systems connected? The automation aspect of marketing technology is great, but the real power lies in the ability to get — and then act on — data from your marketing and sales engagements. When those engagements are handled by different systems (and they always are), those systems have to be connected or you’ll miss out on a huge part of the story.
- What are we doing with the data flow in and out of our systems? Who’s using the data, and how? A common misconception is that having data is the same thing as using your data. It’s not. An even more common problem is assuming that the people who need the data can get it. Does your content team know which assets drive the most clicks in your email nurtures, or which subject lines perform best? Does your marketing team know which pain points prospects bring up the most on sales calls?
- What percentage of the functionality of our current martech tools are we actually using? In our experience, even large global companies fall short when it comes to using some of the best — and most basic — features of their martech, such as A/B testing of email subject lines. More often than not, marketing doesn’t need more or different tools to understand performance. They need to use the tools they have better.
Growth marketing resolution #2:
Let your analytics team inform strategy.
When the analytics team understands your business goals, they’re in the best position to predict marketing and sales actions that will lead to growth. But organizational boundaries often get in the way of this kind of productive information sharing. While every marketer needs to think like an analyst, your actual analysts have even more specific skills and expertise to help you predict the best time and manner to intercept prospects — if you let them.
What to do in 2022:
Stop thinking of the analytics team as report generators and start thinking of them as collaborators. Ask them to help you understand the shape of the customer journey. What prospect actions do successful conversions have in common? When is the optimal time to engage a prospect with a certain piece of content, or a demo offer?
Establishing this new way of working may be challenging, but the stakes are too high to give up. In the new digital reality, where everyone has access to mountains of data, the ability to use your data really well is the difference between stagnation and growth.
Growth marketing resolution #3:
Throw out MQLs as a core metric.
The marketing qualified lead, or MQL, is a singular metric focused on a single person coming to a single place — your website — near the beginning of their research process. In today’s digital reality, B2B organizations don’t sell to individuals, but to a buying team. And the members of that buying team discover, research and evaluate solutions in a variety of channels, which may not even include your site.
By the time prospects get to you — if they visit you at all — they’re likely looking for answers to very specific questions and don’t want to go through every step of a scripted sales process to get them.
In other words, everything about this scenario has changed. How you measure success needs to too.
What to do in 2022:
Start by replacing MQLs with MQAs, or marketing qualified accounts. These are accounts you know are in-market because you have 1st and 3rd party data that tells you who they are and what they’re doing — even if they’ve never visited your website.
To find and deliver MQAs to your sales team, you’ll need to listen, analyze, act.
- Listen: Get active in communities and groups and pay attention to what your target audience asks about.
- Analyze: Combine learnings from communities and 1st and 3rd party intent data to identify trends and better understand the account journey.
- Act: Adjust when you intercept the prospect. Make sure your entire growth team understands the signals and next steps — and are prepared to meet prospects where they’re at on their journey.
Growth marketer resolution #4:
Say no more to traditional webinars.
No one needs another long, one-way presentation full of thinly veiled sales pitches and chest beating. The traditional webinar is the antithesis to human connection, and it’s time to put it away for good.
What to do in 2022:
Don’t give up on webinars themselves, just get more creative with them. Dense slides, eye charts and talking heads have never been an optimal way to engage audiences. And now, there’s no reason to continue with this stale format. Instead:
- Offer your audience insights in the form of a conversation, community Q&A, leadership interview, or tip series.
- Experiment with live streaming, simulive experiences, and different ways of packaging your webinar content, such as pulling together popular sessions into a half-day conference.
- Think about how you can contextualize the wrapper around your content to create a conversation with different audiences. For instance, add a personalized intro to make functional content more relevant for a particular account or someone in a specific industry.
Growth marketing resolution #5: Don’t just ignite change, sustain it.
We can’t say it enough. Change initiatives are only the beginning. Technology investments are just Ferraris in the garage if no one knows how — or gets a chance — to best use them.
B2B marketing organizations have responded to the challenge of remote selling with creativity and innovation, and in doing so have cemented the digital revolution. To thrive in the new reality, growth-focused organizations must take the time to create new processes and train the entire growth team. Then, just like you do with your campaigns, continue to monitor your whole team’s progress. Resolutions are a great start, but it takes continued attention for new habits to take hold.