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B2B marketing: suit up for the team sport

18th Jun 2020
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It’s time for all B2B marketers to realize that B2B business is a team sport. And in this team sport, there are teams on both sides of the field.

On offense we have the B2B buying group. B2B purchasing decisions are made by a group, team or committee and have been since the beginning of B2B. Since the introduction of Marketing Automation Platforms, B2B marketers have focused on individuals or leads, forgetting that their buyer is a group not an individual. Yes, B2B marketers do need to market to individual people, but they can’t lose sight that these individuals do not act alone. B2B purchasers do not come together as a team when an opportunity is created in your system. These B2B buyers start as a team well before they hit your website or respond to your marketing efforts, but you can’t tell that from your marketing automation system. B2B marketers needs to figure out how to connect these individuals into buying groups – well before there is a qualified deal entered in your system.

The team goal for B2B marketers, is to attract, connect and engage these buying groups. B2B marketers need to figure out how to translate these multiple contacts from an account into groups and ultimately connect ALL the buying group contacts to opportunities and revenue. Today B2B marketers focus exclusively on individuals, not on groups. Many organisations have tried to remedy this by adopting Account Based Marketing (ABM). However, the ABM approach to focus on accounts is too broad. Each account can have multiple opportunities, with associated buying groups, so it is impossible to set goals or measure success against accounts. And this remedy gets even more problematic when an account-based approach is combined with a leads-based demand process. It is simply impossible to determine the success of marketing based on leads or accounts.

The best answer was in front of us all along. B2B sales teams have always been and will always be focused on opportunities and revenue. So why aren’t B2B marketers? B2B marketers are so focused on leads – attracting leads, converting leads, measuring leads, sourcing leads and even compensated on leads. But it was never about leads. It has always been about buying groups associated with opportunities, because opportunities are where a B2B organisation measures revenue.

This blinding focus B2B marketers have on leads, instead of buying groups and opportunities, can cause some penalties:

  • Lack of connection – When multiple individuals from a single account come to your website and engage with your content, if you’re counting them as individual leads – you’re missing the most valuable signals by not viewing these multiple signals from all the players on the purchasing team.
  • Loads of lead waste – When marketing delivers a second lead from a single account to teleservices and sales teams, any lead after the first lead is typically get ignored or disqualified – you’re missing valuable insight into the other players on the purchasing team.
  • Increase internal friction – When one part of the team is focused on leads and the other part of the team is focused on deals, with teleservices usually caught somewhere in the middle – you’re causing misalignment within the team where finger pointing happens when a play doesn’t end well and fighting for credit happens when you score.

It’s time for B2B marketers to employ a winning game plan. B2B marketers need to create the shift in their organisation to move from leads to buying groups and opportunities. This single shift, with simple process changes and system updates, will ensure that the entire revenue team is lined up for success with the entire buying team. When B2B marketers focus on buying groups and deliver buying groups with opportunities, along with all of the group’s buying signals, they will provide a complete picture of the pending deal. And this will improve the odds that teleservices and sales teams can score the points and win the revenue.

You can learn more about how B2B marketers can make the move to buying groups and embrace opportunities here.

This post was written by VP & principal analyst, Vicki Brown, VP & principal analyst, Terry Flaherty, and VP & principal analyst, Kerry Cunningham.

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