Today technology providers broadcast the digital transformation message as a necessity to act and change every aspect of their operations to prolong their business lives. Furthermore, there is an urgent need felt by tech companies to get the word out on how their innovative solutions will contribute to this transformation. Marketing folks took this digitization trend with great enthusiasm as it relieved them of many tedious execution tasks.
Undoubtedly, use of digital techniques is raising awareness and thus effectiveness of business to consumer marketing and the front-end process of business marketing, but when it comes to complex business-to-business (B2B) solutions, effectiveness wanes.
Right at the start I am going to let the cat out of the bag and be bold to state that over reliance on digital marketing contributes little to complex B2B marketing effectiveness, but a lot of improvement in its process execution.
Impole provides investigative services that promote the B2B marketing efficacy to market facing sales teams. Naturally, as a participant, I want to learn what other experts, and direct or indirect competitors, say about any technique or technology aiding B2B marketing, so I read articles and often peruse websites.
My daily inbox is flooded, either with thought leadership articles, or a visited company’s website digital ping on their solutions’ value and urging me to contact them.
One of them, on the benefits of a solution to my company, which omitted mentioning subsequent complex and costly integration services, indicating that they knew nothing about Impole operations, prompted me to write this blog.
For propagators of digital marketing, the best illustration can be to look at the flow of digital responses through a prism of sales funnel stages of a complex solution. This produces a glimpse where non-customized digital marketing stops being effective, and other techniques with the human touch must be used.
Let us call any go-to-market audience as undifferentiated prospects, Stage 0. Then we expose the market to our solution through some digital tools, website, white paper availability, success story, or even a webinar and social media postings to get some kind of response; let’s call it Stage 1.
If we have an inflow of random responses, we now decide how to process them to uncover most effectively which have sales potential. In this stage, we have two processing choices as we have no knowledge what the purpose of each response was: first to qualify the response through some internal or external resources calling or sending some generic info but refrain from giving them to the sales arm.
Unfortunately, most companies pass them on without further analysis or qualification to sales as a bonified lead. This action partially explains the ever-existing chasm between marketing and sales departments in complex solutions sales pursuits.
The second aggregates responses until a larger volume is collected and is then given to data scientists for sorting and looking at existence of key words/phrases to predict which response offers a potential and should be contacted for a sales opportunity. In this case we have to realize the danger of waiting for a larger dataset to scientifically predict each response quality, a competing solution may be presented to the account before yours, and thus gain the advantage at the prospect.
In all stages following Stage 1, we have to combine digital activities with human analysis before we can feel confident of a reasonable chance of which account response to pursue actively.
Hence, at the later stages of the sales funnel flow we lean more on analytics by human and thus the effectiveness of digital marketing starts to produce minimal contribution to complex B2B sales.
Therefore, while digital marketing helps to identifies new business opportunities in the early stages of the buy cycle. In later stages deep account-insight by primary investigative research methods performed over time become necessary addition to successfully conclude a complex solutions sale.
Perhaps the age-old adage “Good wine takes Time” reflects what is most valuable in complex B2B marketing. Smart business to business companies know how to commingle appropriately digital marketing with human input to produce new revenue.