At one time, lead generation was the top priority for marketers with a focus on quarterly targets and passing leads over to sales. But the remit of today’s marketing leader has evolved significantly and there is much more emphasis on creating high quality demand and working in partnership with sales to turn that demand into revenue.
Marketing teams are increasingly expected to take responsibility for revenue generation and play an integral role in the wider customer experience. It’s no longer just about generating demand; building loyalty and nurturing relationships with customers is equally important. Technology and data play a key role in this evolution and help to deliver more targeted marketing that creates a better customer experience and speeds up the closing of deals.
An intelligent approach
Marketing platforms have historically been rules-based, but developments in technology are helping to enable a more intelligent approach. Applications such as machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help to speed up the buying process. They can be used to identify events that impact how a prospect moves ‘through the funnel’ and automatically serve up information to help close deals faster. This is often too time-consuming to do manually, and machine learning can be used to spot patterns and trends in a more efficient way.
Chat bots are another example of martech in practice. At Dun & Bradstreet we’re working with a partner to use their AI-driven technology to help with lead management. A ‘bot’ responds to individuals and uses A/B testing to work out the best way to stimulate responses – looking at variables such as language, to determine what type works best. Technology is used to help keep the leads warm and continue to move them forward in the funnel. The bot does not completely replace human interaction but works alongside sales and marketing teams to enhance the process.
Wealth of the web
A company website is often the first place a potential customer goes to find information and is a valuable resource for marketing teams. Using IPs, cookies and third-party data, it’s now possible to identify who is visiting your site, where they work and what their job is – all before they’ve even filled out a form. Used correctly, this information can help marketers tailor the customer journey, optimise conversions and help to close deals more quickly.
If a customer does fill out a website form, advanced visitor intelligence technology can also be used to improve the customer experience. Auto form fill uses initial information about the customer to append data from a third-party database and complete in as many fields as possible to minimise input required from the customer. This information can then be used to enhance engagement and present content tailored to individual customers. This could include information relevant to the size of their business, the industry they work in and even content applicable to an individual’s specific job role.
Several B2B companies are using personalised web content as part of their account-based marketing (ABM) programmes. Web-based technology can help drive revenue by presenting customers with information on how to maximise value from the products they are already using, as well as driving cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
The importance of data
Buyers increasingly expect a personalised approach and emerging technology is enabling marketers to deliver more targeted activity. However, successful application relies on structured, consistent and accurate prospect and customer data to generate the most value. If you put the right information in, you get the best outcome. For example, if an auto fill form populates the wrong information, that is likely to frustrate a prospect and may result in them not completing a form. Similarly, an AI bot needs current contact data when connecting with leads.
The use of emerging technologies is likely to become increasingly important as marketing takes on more responsibility for the wider customer experience. Therefore, having the right data feeding into the latest automated martech platforms and applications will be crucial to generating revenue.