The B2B marketplace has undergone a seismic shift fueled by the pandemic, heightened buyer expectations, and relentless technological advancements. Generative AI, the newest disruptor, is already revolutionizing content creation, crafting personalized headlines and messages that resonate deeply with individual buyers. As AI reimagines customer experiences, businesses must unlock the power of data-driven insights and deliver exceptional customer experiences to thrive in this ever-evolving market landscape.
B2B deals often involve prolonged sales cycles and the participation of multiple buying group members. Thanks to digital transformation, today’s B2B buyers are more empowered than ever, equipped with abundant information and self-service channels at their disposal. Understanding and deciphering B2B buying patterns has become increasingly challenging.
Unraveling these complexities demands a profound understanding of your customer – comprehending their aspirations, needs, and desires, both present and future. While customer-centricity isn't a novel concept, longstanding roadblocks hinder the achievement of a comprehensive 360-degree customer view. Challenges arise from data silos erected by disconnected systems and departments, coupled with a sheer volume of data that surpasses any human scale.
Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) provide solutions to these challenges by consolidating data from all sources, spanning from front-office to back-office, and from first-party to third-party. They establish a unified, holistic customer view, extending beyond the contact level to encompass account-level insights. Infused with Artificial Intelligence (AI), CDPs unlock insights from previously fragmented data and offer actionable recommendations, empowering you to anticipate customer needs, optimize interactions, and ultimately fuel revenue growth.
Amidst economic headwinds, the role of marketing has undergone a transformation, shifting its focus from individual MQLs to revenue acceleration. This change necessitates a shift in strategy towards targeting with increased precision. While awareness generation and broader audience engagement remain pertinent, redirecting your targeting strategy to identify potential opportunities within existing accounts and understanding the size and roles of relevant buying groups within these accounts becomes paramount.
80% of the value creation achieved by the world’s most successful growth companies comes from their core business—principally, unlocking new revenues from existing customers.1
Marketing is not always about "doing more with less." Bombarding customers with a barrage of messages across multiple channels, with only a 2% chance of ever being qualified as something, proves resource-intensive and inefficient. By meticulously focusing on your most valuable customers and high-propensity buyers, you strengthen customer loyalty and satisfaction, accelerate deal closures, and drive profitable growth. It's a win-win situation where happy customers translate into flourishing businesses.
Customer journey orchestration is the art of crafting personalized and seamless experiences across an evolving multi-channel landscape, catering to and anticipating customer needs. Executing an exceptional customer journey can be daunting due to its inherent scale and intricacy. Businesses often struggle to understand customer needs clearly because journey information is scattered across disparate communication platforms and departments.
CDPs help mitigate this dilemma by providing a single source of truth, a repository where all customer data is consolidated, transforming untapped potential into actionable insights. Once customer intelligence is harvested, marketers need to activate it across multiple channels from one platform. This necessitates central governance and sophisticated yet flexible tools. By leveraging AI and machine learning, marketers can deliver dynamic content to customers based on real-time signals through their preferred channels at the right moment, all while respecting the customer’s intent to engage without causing fatigue. The central governance also ensures all go-to-market activities and customer engagements build upon one another, adding value to customers at each interaction, and moving them to the next step in each of their unique journeys without stalling.
While data fuels marketing intelligence, analytics optimizes ROI. With the potent power of AI, future marketing professionals will likely gravitate toward either revenue operations or data and analytics. Armed with a panoramic view of the entire revenue cycle – from lead to order, cash, and renewal – analytics empower organizations to identify leads ready for conversion, customers primed for upsells, and accounts at risk of churn. Businesses need access to a single dashboard that can reflect all activities and touchpoints across different functionalities, enabling them to understand how these elements drive engagement and conversion.
AI's transformative power unlocks the full potential of data, promising a brighter future for businesses and their customers. Leveraging AI for automation across the entire technology stack to support immense workloads and automation at scale will become the new normal. However, AI comes with potential risks. If not deployed responsibly, it can exacerbate problems rather than resolve them, negatively impacting entire customer segments. Outcomes may suffer, and real people can feel real-world consequences.
Companies that responsibly harness the power of AI will set themselves apart from the competition, fostering customer loyalty and optimizing their revenue engine.
Digital acceleration has driven B2B companies towards a digital-first existence. However, an overreliance on digital, whether by buyers or brands, can lead to disappointing outcomes. Surprisingly, despite 75% of B2B buyers preferring a rep-free experience, those who opt for self-service digital commerce are 28% more likely to regret their purchases than those in traditional rep-led transactions. Conversely, buyers whose purchase decisions were primarily led by sales reps were 63% less likely to complete a high-quality deal than those who navigated the process themselves or took a hybrid approach.2
B2B buyers are restless and unsatisfied with either digital or human-led channels alone. They yearn for seamless experiences across both to smoothly progress through all buying stages, ultimately leading to a high-quality deal. This underscores the necessity for marketing and sales to collaborate seamlessly throughout the entire customer journey, supporting onboarding, renewal, upsell, and cross-sell activities.
The outdated "handoff and then hands-off" model is obsolete. B2B buying is not a linear process; it's a collaborative effort between marketing and sales. Insights and signals are shared, and different buying group members are engaged, regardless of their stage in the journey.
Martech may be the new language of marketing, but marketing doesn't exist in a silo. It's a vital piece of the customer-facing puzzle, where marketing, sales, and service teams collaborate seamlessly. In the current landscape, marketing is evaluated not only by leads but also by its impact on revenue. The ability to integrate seamlessly with other customer-facing teams is what distinguishes excellence from mediocrity. Connected marketing, sales, and service suites streamline enterprise processes and data on a common platform, enabling organizations to communicate with one voice, enhance operational agility for new business models, mitigate the costs of fragmented system governance, and deliver personalized and engaging customer experiences.
Now is the moment to resist the temptation of acquiring every shiny new Martech tool; instead, think holistically about your tech strategy to unlock your full growth potential.
This marketing era is exhilarating, with cutting-edge tools and technologies at our fingertips. Don't be overly concerned; be overly prepared. Embrace the changes, ride the wave of innovation, and march into the future of B2B marketing with confidence.
Ling Zhang is the product marketing manager for Eloqua Marketing Automation Platform and B2B marketing technologies at Oracle. She leads analyst report marketing, go-to-market strategies, and sales enablement at Oracle CX Marketing.