Stop forcing your B2B marketing org structure on your buyer’s journey

We’ve built our B2B marketing teams and respective budgets with specialists who know their marketing discipline and channel inside and out. Social Media rock stars, organized events pros, sales-driven field marketers, demand gen maestros and digital gurus deliver on their campaigns. This approach works for individual performance and, well, if you are competing in the Olympics for individual medals. It doesn’t work for marketing teams tasked with creating demand and revenue opportunities with buyer and target accounts.

Unintentionally, our siloed marketing structure artificially creates gaps and friction, while negatively impacting our ability to identify, engage and delight current and prospective customers.

The B2B buying and account journey shapes your marketing’s new organizational blueprint

Let’s tackle a few realities and facts all B2B teams must navigate and master today. Considered B2B purchases are driven by a decision-making unit of at least 6 and up to 20+ pros at each account. And, according to Gartner, the amount of time a buyer spends with any one sales rep may be only 5% or 6% of the buying cycle. The pressure is on Marketing to deliver the 17 to 20 touches per buyer at different points in the buying journey to make and advance the connection. Therefore, Marketing must play a much more proactive, educational and value creation role in the buying and selling process. But you know that.

The challenge lies in that we are stuck in outdated organizational, and therefore, engagement models. We deliver “campaigns” channel by channel aligned with how marketing organization work, not across channels and how accounts buy and how buyers make decisions.

  • While marketers have relied on a single channel called email, our buyers have unsubscribed.
  • While marketing and sales refined emails hoping our audience doesn’t unsubscribe, our buyers refined their preferences on how they evaluate and purchase.
  • While marketing ops has grown our MarTech stacks, our buyers expanded their access to information, including the channels and sources they turn to.
  • While CMOs increasingly focused on numbers and internal goals, buyers are focused on their experiences and finding the right solution and provider.

In a siloed marketing organizational structure, we’re no longer connecting to our buyers across the channels they are using to research, evaluate and validate options. And, deploying an account-based strategy across multiple channels, buying groups and accounts is nearly impossible when our teams are driven by outcomes from one channel.

CMOs and B2B marketers are beginning to change it up. Marketers are reducing “push” marketing (generate a contact and push email at automated calls at them) to “pull” marketing (providing multi-channel information and feeding content along their journey). They are connecting their campaigns, channels and all the resulting data at the top of the funnel.

Breaking down the marketing silos by connecting data, first

We still need the expertise on specific channels on our teams. So how can Marketing better integrate with the way B2B buyers make decisions today?

One effective way is to use data to deliver cross-channel buyer and account-based campaigns and solutions. This starts with making sure your campaign and buyer data is connected and marketable (opt-in permission and accurate). Connected, marketable data allows for the team to both be experts in their channel(s) AND use multiple demand channels in a more orchestrated fashion to deliver the right info at the right time to your prospects and across accounts. For example, you may launch a digital advertising program targeting specific accounts. As accounts engage or reach impression levels, content syndication programs can be activated to generate and build out the buying groups with opt-in permission (the right titles and personas for each account). Your event attendees – physical and/or virtual – can be connected to LinkedIn social campaigns to digitally nurture and build deeper engagement.

Data-powered, digital-led experiences are the way forward. This strategy not only better integrated your team, it provides the path to create and connect buyer and account journeys that deliver high-quality experiences and measurable business value. When connected, marketing teams report delivering 3x the return from their marketing effort (McKinsey & Co, April 2020).

To make meaningful connections with your prospects, customers and audience, YOU HAVE TO BE CONNECTED. As you plan for 2021, now is the time to evaluate your organization and break down the silos across your team and across your campaigns by connecting the data and the channels.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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