Explaining the differences between B2B and B2C applications
Marketers are seizing the opportunity to remake their identity from being a cost center to a revenue driver. While their efforts to prove influence on revenue can vary greatly between consumer and business-to-business organizations, both types of organizations can use multi-channel attribution to better tie their efforts to revenue. Over the past few years, B2C marketing teams have been adopting and benefiting from better attribution techniques, but differences in the B2B revenue cycle have made attribution tougher for B2B organizations to adopt. With the right tools, B2B companies can solve this challenge and start benefiting from full visibility and control over their effect on revenue.
B2B vs. B2C Revenue Cycles
Revenue cycles for B2B companies are much different than that of consumers businesses. B2C businesses have a shorter revenue cycle with a generally high volume of interactions across many different channels, including TV ads, billboards, and in-store displays. Additionally, consumer businesses are almost always selling to one decision maker. B2B companies deal with much longer revenue cycles, with only the biggest organizations, like FedEx and IBM, spending any money on TV ads. B2B companies also have to navigate their marketing and sales efforts to and through multiple decision makers and evaluators. Proving marketing’s influence on revenue for either type of organization is difficult, but because of their differences, consumer marketers have been quicker to solve attribution for their efforts than B2B marketers.
For B2C companies, shorter revenue cycles means that marketers are affecting revenue more immediately. This makes attribution a more urgent problem for consumer marketers to solve, hence their early adoption of multi-channel attribution when compared to B2B marketers. The shorter revenue cycle also makes attribution a somewhat different challenge for B2C marketers. To effectively use multi-channel attribution, consumer marketers have been focusing much of their efforts on being able attribute conversions across digital channels. With this issue already being solved, B2B marketers are teed up toward taking the next step to make multi-channel attribution work for themselves.
For B2B marketers, longer revenue cycles means that their influence on revenue won’t be realized for months or quarters out. This can make attribution a lower priority for some B2B teams, since it may seem like evaluating today’s results would only provide insights on actions that were taken many months or quarters prior. In actuality, multi-channel attribution can be used to evaluate more than just the effect of historic marketing efforts on today’s revenue. With proper attribution, marketing forecasts can give marketers more accurate insights into how today’s efforts will affect revenue in the coming quarters. Marketing automation (e.g., Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot) and CRM tools (e.g., Salesforce, SugarCRM) can help marketers gather most of the data they need to tie campaigns through pipeline and to revenue. This information is crucial as it contains much of the raw data needed to attribute efforts across long revenue cycles. Marketing teams can then rely on internal marketing operations/analysts, home-brewed solutions, business intelligence packages, or 3rd party SaaS marketing analytics solutions to make sense out of the raw data and attribute revenue influence to their efforts.
While consumer and business marketers may have the similar goal to measure their impact on revenue, both types of organizations face different challenges in doing this. For consumer marketers, tackling attribution can provide lots of immediate value over shorter revenue cycles. For B2B marketers, attribution allows marketers to not only evaluate previous efforts, but also predict pipeline and revenue changes throughout much longer revenue cycles. Through attribution, both types of organizations can gather the insights needed to prove marketing’s deep influence on revenue.