The Democratization of Advanced Analytics

The Democratization of Advanced Analytics

Ah election season. Shaking hands, kissing babies and yes, democracy. Power was once held in the hands of the few but now we all get our say, more or less. I think we’re seeing something similar happen in the B2B marketing world when it comes to what I’ll call advanced analytics. Multi-touch attribution, velocity, waterfall analysis… In the past these were the domain of the analytics guru you had on staff (if you were really lucky). After all sorts of data wizardry and a couple weeks of work, they produced reports like this… and maybe even an insight or two that might lead the marketing leader to change course or double down.

Things have changed. Dramatically. With a tool like BrightFunnel these same insights are instantaneous so a marketer can measure and act quickly. Also they are no longer just the domain of just the analytics guru. This really hit home for me when I spoke to our customer Heather Sutherland at Cloudera. She said, “Within a few weeks, BrightFunnel provided us deep visibility into measuring revenue impact across all marketing channels. Our entire marketing team (digital, product, and field marketing) now can quickly get insights at all levels – by account type, marketing channel, campaign and deal.”

Everyone on the marketing team now has the critical marketing metrics at their fingertips. They can now fully measure and justify their impact. They can optimize channels and campaigns effectively as they see the output of every marketing dollar they spend. It’s an exciting time. Marketers can ground their decisions on real data, not to mention show their work to their boss. The content marketer can fight for that $10k to write the new eBook because the last one drove $400k in pipeline. The event marketer can prove to the skeptical head of Sales that a $50k event sponsorship is worth it because last year that same event influenced 40% of their Q2 opportunities.

Want to join the movement? Schedule a demo today.

Announcing BrightFunnel ABM Analytics

Announcing BrightFunnel ABM Analytics

I’m proud to announce BrightFunnel Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Analytics. BrightFunnel ABM Analytics helps B2B marketers better measure and optimize their ABM efforts. This is the only ABM analytics tool that fully measures ABM in the context of all your marketing initiatives and is built on the BrightFunnel multi-touch attribution platform. BrightFunnel ABM Analytics is already in use by leading ABM practitioners, including SevOne and Cloudera.

Orchestrate your ABM efforts with BrightFunnel ABM Analytics:

  • ABM Engagement Overview: Track engagement against all your target accounts. Measure how engagement rate changes over time as you dial up efforts and roll out new tactics. Is one target account not responding? Consider deploying more ad spend, shifting tactics or adding more contacts. Is one account really engaged? Notify Sales.
  • Account Snapshot: Drill down into individual accounts to get a clear picture of the impact of your marketing efforts on the account level. Assess the account’s Engagement Fingerprint to see which channels drive engagement and the kind of contacts you’re reaching.
  • A/B Testing: Compare an ABM test group against the control to assess if ABM tactics are actually working. Did conversion increase vs. traditional demand gen tactics? Are deals closing faster? BrightFunnel makes this assessment easy.
  • Channel/Campaign Performance: Actively measure and manage all of your ABM channels and campaigns with a window into the metrics that matter, all built on our multi-touch attribution platform. Are targeted emails influencing more marketing pipeline? Are those high ABM display Costs Per Lead (CPLs) delivering the right leads?
  • ABM Executive Dashboard: Your CMO and executive team can now see at a glance if ABM is helping deals close faster or increasing conversions. They can also layer in dashboard tiles for immediate understanding of the whole marketing picture, including marketing impact on pipeline and lead generation.

“BrightFunnel gets past vanity metrics to what really matters,” said Tommy Jenkins, SevOne’s Director of Global Demand Generation. “Is my ABM investment truly delivering increased conversion and faster deals? How do I optimize my ABM efforts from a channel, campaign and account perspective? BrightFunnel gives me these insights instantly.”

BrightFunnel’s ABM Measurement Philosophy

We believe it’s critical for B2B marketers to analyze their ABM efforts in a single measurement platform that captures all channels and both ABM and non-ABM initiatives.

Channel-specific tools are great as delivery mechanisms but only show one small piece of the ABM story. BrightFunnel allows you to fully capture the impact of all the varied ABM tactics on conversion and velocity. It’s also the best way to see which channels are driving engagement and how channels and campaigns can be optimized to work better together.

Secondly, we believe that ABM analytics and overall marketing performance measurement must be done out of the same platform. This is because the majority of marketers will undertake an ABM initiative as a segment of their overall marketing mix, a “hybrid ABM” approach. This is due to the significant cost, both in time and spend, of an ABM initiative. At a recent event with TOPO, the research and advisory firm, Craig Rosenberg explained, “If you’re going to start an ABM effort against 100 target accounts according to best practices, you need to develop 800 unique offers.” Unless a marketer is exclusively going after a very small target audience (e.g. < 100 total prospects), we believe there is an optimal balance between ABM and broader marketing initiatives where the cost and expected conversion/velocity improvements of ABM balance with the scale and efficiency of a non-ABM approach. BrightFunnel uniquely allows marketers to A/B test ABM vs. non-ABM approaches to find that optimal balance. For example, perhaps the cost-benefit of ABM tactics makes sense for your Enterprise segment, whereas you take a lighter weight approach to Mid-Market, and a traditional demand gen approach to SMB.

The BrightFunnel platform delivers one place for the marketer to fully measure all of their marketing efforts, whether ABM or traditional demand generation. A single source of truth for marketers, no matter the strategy.

Ready to see the platform?

ABM Dashboard

Give executives clear visibility into how ABM efforts are increasing conversions and speeding deal velocity.

ABM Engagement Overview

Track engagement against all of your target accounts and take action.

ABM Engagement Overview (Trending)

Monitor how account engagement changes over time.

Account Snapshot

Get a deep dive into a specific account and modify tactics as needed.

ABM Filters on the full BrightFunnel platform

Understand how ABM tactics are working across all channels and campaigns.

 

Interested? Fill out a demo request.

How to Find the “Right” ABM for Your Business

How to Find the “Right” ABM for Your Business

Account-Based Marketing. ABM. Those three little letters caused quite a bit of head-scratching in 2015 for B2B marketing leaders as they struggled to get their arms around if and how they should approach the strategy. 2016 seems to be the year that many of us will actually put those thoughts into practice. This isn’t to be taken lightly. An ABM strategy carries with it serious costs, both in spend and time. I attended a great TOPO event recently where Craig Rosenberg explained that if you’re going to start an ABM effort against just 100 target accounts, you need to create 800 unique offers to go along with ABM best practices. Ouch. Add to that the cost of finding the right accounts (ideally using predictive analytics), contact records for all the right people at those accounts so you have adequate coverage, increased pay-per-click (PPC) costs, expensive oh-so-clever direct mail tchotchkes, operations needs (lead to account matching for instance) and ABM is an expensive proposition. Given this cost and all of our finite resources, we at BrightFunnel feel like the majority of marketers will undertake an ABM initiative as a piece of their overall marketing mix, a “hybrid ABM” approach.

Just going after enterprise whales? Super niche industry with a limited target account list? Totally get it. Pure ABM makes sense. But for the rest of us, a hybrid approach is probably best… and how most of us will likely tackle this. Unless you are marketing to exclusively to a relatively small, focused target list, you will likely find that there’s an optimal balance where you can carve out a number of top target accounts who can get the full ABM treatment and market to the rest of your target audience with more traditional demand generation strategies. You may layer in tiers: Top accounts get fully-customized messaging and more expensive tactics like direct mail, the next tier is broken out into industry-specific messaging (mentioning your customer in that space for instance) and the last tier gets a broader approach (though still segmenting personas hopefully).

So how do you find that balance? In short, understand your resources, understand the marketing impact of ABM and optimize accordingly.

Here’s a basic recipe of how you might approach this:

  • Identify your top 100 target accounts (or a number that you know your operation can handle without a massive impact).
  • Split those 100 into a test and control group (50/50).
  • Plan and execute your fully-baked ABM strategy against the test group while the control group gets traditional demand gen tactics.
  • After enough time (dependent on your typical velocity), measure the impact. I’m not talking about increased display and email click rates. I mean revenue-impacting metrics like lead to opportunity conversion rates and velocity. BrightFunnel makes this surprisingly easy to do with a simple set of filters for your target account test and control groups.
  • Using this impact, model out the benefit of expanding your ABM strategy vs. the resources (budget, headcount) you have.
  • Expand efforts (if appropriate) and optimize on an ongoing basis as that optimal balance may change.

Yes, ABM is expensive. So it better work. And it does for many, including several of our clients who are leading the ABM charge like Invoca, SevOne and Cloudera. I would just urge you to dip your toes in those deep ABM waters with a measured, data-driven approach like the one I’ve outlined.

The Importance of Multi-Touch Revenue Attribution for B2B

The Importance of Multi-Touch Revenue Attribution for B2B

If you’re reading this, you’re likely well aware of Marketing’s increased responsibility for today’s B2B sales cycle. As marketers, we know that our prospects prefer to research and evaluate on their own terms, waiting as long as possible to engage with Sales. (I am certainly guilty of that too!) With that in mind, the modern B2B CMO invests heavily in content creation and channels designed to help prospects self-educate until the very end—the point at which they’re ready to discuss pricing. While it wasn’t so long ago that Marketing was primarily a creative function and Sales owned the bottom line, as Marketing’s ownership of the buyers’ journey increases, so does our responsibility to attribute marketing activity to organization-wide objectives.

The Definitive Guide to Multi-Touch Revenue Attribution

This shift in accountability has also meant that we’re dealing with larger budgets than ever. If
Marketing is to own more than 75% of the sales cycle
, then it makes sense to shift focus (and spend) higher in the funnel. Increased investments, the dominance of trackable, digital marketing tools, and the reliance on marketing to convert pipeline, means CMOs are experiencing more Board-level accountability than ever before.

In 2014/2015, almost 70% of enterprise organizations anticipate an increase in marketing budgets above the rate of inflation, with a predicted average increase of 14%.
Kapost

Data-driven marketing is becoming imperative. No longer simply a theory discussed by bloggers and analysts, this new approach is defined by its focus on employing data to deliver greater value to the business. Accountability, however, is not the only factor driving its adoption. According to Forbes, data-driven marketing leaders are almost three times more likely to have increased revenues. For the data-driven organization, tying campaign spend to revenue becomes a critical requirement.

While marketers are collecting more data, the problem is that most are still unable to use that data to surface visibility into Marketing’s impact on sales. Many marketing technologies (e.g. customer relationship management, marketing automation systems, content curation tools, etc.) offer plenty of TOFu (Top Of Funnel) reporting, yet still provide only simple campaign influence metrics. The status quo is no longer sufficient. Even if CMOs know something about the first touch or last, the majority are blind when it comes to 80% of their sales cycle.

The key to shedding light on this dark spot is multi-touch revenue attribution—the ability to measure and evaluate performance across every touch point in the buying process. Multi-touch attribution is necessary for marketers to calculate true ROI and, in turn, identify what’s working, effectively plan and forecast revenue, and take control of Marketing.

To learn more about attribution, download

The Definitive Guide to Revenue Attribution.

The Definitive Guide to Multi-Touch Revenue Attribution

The Year In Review: A Quick Start Guide to Data-Driven B2B Marketing in 2015

The Year In Review: A Quick Start Guide to Data-Driven B2B Marketing in 2015

2014 was an exciting year to be a marketer. The ever-increasing volume and availability of data gave way to substantial changes in the way B2B marketers analyze and optimize their marketing activity. Marketing leaders embraced the data at their fingertips, using it to understand what’s working, prove ROI, and get a grip on marketing-generated revenue.

We’ve tracked the pivotal advancements over the past year, adding our own commentary and tips along the way. To help you get a jumpstart on the coming year, we’re pleased to recap of the top B2B marketing trends (and related reading) from 2015. For a great starting point, check out the six strategic themes that B2B CMOs must address in 2015, and use the following guide for more comprehensive coverage of the leading trends in data-driven marketing. In 2015…

Marketers embraced a data-driven culture.

In 2014, marketers truly embraced big data, implementing new roles (Marketing Operations) and processes to help make smarter, data-backed decisions. Suggested reading:

This culture shift was largely supported by new technologies.

2014 saw the introduction of many new marketing analytics tools and the rise of the “marketing cloud.” Still, we quickly realized that not all marketing analytics and BI tools are created equal. Suggested reading: 

Free eBook: The Analytics Cloud Review: A Primer For B2B Marketers

Multi-touch attribution became a reality.

Supported by new technology, many marketers stopped relying on single-touch attribution—crediting a deal to only first or last touch—and adopted more thorough models, able to assign appropriate credit to every touch leading up to a sale. Suggested reading.

Proper attribution gave marketers complete visibility into their buyers’ journey and revenue waterfall.

Technology and attribution helped marketers track progress along the entire B2B buyers’ journey to prove marketing ROI, plan more intelligently, and tie marketing activity directly to revenue. Suggested reading:

Free eBook: The New B2B Buyers’ Journey: A Guide for Data-Driven Marketers

Marketing got predictive—allowing marketers to more intelligently plan, forecast, and take control of marketing.

With visibility into activity across the revenue waterfall, marketers can now accurately predict the future revenue outcomes of their activity. In doing so, CMOs can forecast exactly how much marketing-generated revenue will be generated in the coming quarter (or year), building respect and accountability throughout the entire organization. Suggested reading:

As B2B marketers ourselves, at BrightFunnel, we’re excited about the massive adoption of data-driven marketing tactics and have built our own predictive analytics platform exclusively with B2B marketers in mind. We hope that the above resources will both inform and inspire your plans for the coming year.

We invite you to reach out, should you have any questions about how you should be thinking about data-driven marketing in 2015, or if you’d like to schedule a demo of our platform. Until then, Happy New Year from everyone at BrightFunnel. Wishing you a prosperous (and data-driven) 2015!

How To Answer The 5 W’s of B2B Marketing With Predictive Analytics

How To Answer The 5 W’s of B2B Marketing With Predictive Analytics

Marketers are drowning in data. Across any number of platforms (Salesforce, Marketo, Google Analytics, etc.) we track everything and, as a result, we amass more records than most can effectively manage and interpret. We know that if analyzed correctly, this data contains powerful insights, but too often analysis leaves CMOs and their teams with more questions than answers.

Today, smart marketers are replacing pivot tables and manual analysis with technology to automate the process and help them identify what’s working, intelligently plan and forecast, and draw a direct correlation between marketing activity and revenue. In doing so, they’re able to take control of marketing, transforming it into a true revenue function.

The ubiquity and availability of data has brought us into a new era of data-driven marketing—allowing us to finally answer the most challenging questions in marketing. The following are the five key questions that predictive B2B analytics can help address:

Who: Target Audience

As marketers, we must cater to any number of audiences throughout the sales cycle. B2B purchase decisions often require the input of many stakeholders and an intimate familiarity with the characteristics of these target influencers is critical. Using data-driven insights, it’s now possible to identify which profiles are most vital to a sale. Blending traditional demographics with behavioral patterns—how prospects interact with both native and external touchpoints—helps us develop precise profiles of those with the highest propensity to buy. With these insights, marketers can more effectively target marketing to ensure they’re mapping activity and messaging to the most receptive audience.

What: Campaigns and Themes

70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did just last year, but how much of this content is actually providing value to the prospect? How much of it is presenting a message that truly aligns to a target’s interests and pain points? Content and messaging are too often developed in silos, based chiefly on Marketing’s perception of which themes will resonate with an audience. Predictive analytics allows marketers to leave the guesswork behind and embrace data-driven messaging. By analyzing everyday activity captured in CRM and marketing automation systems we can gain strategic insights that can be applied to the more granular elements of messaging—ideal theme, audience, product, region, and which cohorts work most effectively together. Predictive analytics helps automate this process, tagging themes and associated cohorts to tie messaging directly to sales.

Where: Which Channels

B2B Marketers use an average of 15 different channels in demand generation activities. For many, this number can far, far higher. Prospects engage with your brand across so many touch points—online and off—and it’s imperative that B2B marketers understand the role that each of these channels play in the evaluation process. While a webinar found through LinkedIn may be the final push to move an opportunity to sale, it’s irresponsible to discount prior campaigns and channels that also helped move the needle.

Most marketers still rely on single-touch attribution models—crediting a sale to only the first or last touch—but multi-touch attribution is necessary for full visibility into channel efficacy. With proper crediting of all channels involved in the path to sale, marketers can accurately model and measure the buyers’ journey taken by prospects, and tailor investments accordingly.

When: Targeting and Velocity

The B2B buyer’s journey is complex, spanning numerous stakeholders across any range of touchpoints, and Marketing now owns 75% of the sales cycle. With predictive analytics, marketers gain visibility into where targets will be most receptive to various schools of messaging along the path to purchase. Do eBooks work well as a first touch asset? Where in my nurturing track should I introduce case studies? After how many touches should Sales contact a lead? Specific content offers are more relevant to specific stages of the buyers’ journey and identifying the “when” is key to providing value to prospects.

Furthermore, by tracking progress along the complete revenue waterfall, predictive analytics can help marketers get a grip on velocity. Where are leads falling off or slowing down? Which efforts produce the shortest velocity results? When can I expect an investment to translate to revenue? With visibility into velocity patterns, B2B marketers can accurately forecast future revenue impact and align their plans to company goals.

Why: Data-backed insights facilitate confident bets

Arguably the most important of the set, understanding why something is or isn’t working is critical to making the big decisions that can transform marketing. Being able to answer why an activity was successful (i.e. the specific intersection of who, what, where, and when), builds respect, accountability, and helps secure/protect budget. The same is true for planning and forecasting. By understanding why certain programming has worked in the past, marketers can now predict precisely when and how much revenue will be produced as a result of their efforts. Predictive analytics helps facilitate smarter bets and justify there investments with the ability to accurately predict why/when an investment will turn into revenue.

Bonus: The “How”

Of course, we’d be remiss in not mentioning the red-headed stepchild of the group, the “how.” The past year has seen the rise of “analytics cloud” solutions promising to be everything to everybody—one-stop shops for organization-wide analytics. The reality is: most of these technologies aren’t built with marketing in mind, and traditional BI tools fall short when it comes to the unique needs of marketers. Marketing needs its own analytics and thankfully, the tools exist to help gain complete visibility into marketing’s impact on sales.

Predictive analytics solutions are facilitating data-driven marketing operations for companies of all sizes. Rather than adding headcount for manual analysis, smart B2B CMOs have embraced technology that’s helping them take control of marketing, tie efforts directly to revenue, and answer the big questions with the power to make or break a company. Data-driven marketing has arrived and the pioneers who are already using predictive technology are being met with significant competitive advantage. In the age of data-driven marketing, only one question remains: will your organization embrace predictive analytics… or risk being left in the dust?