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Even before the pandemic, marketers were on a spree for data and analysis. Then the pandemic accelerated technology adoption as a result of the shift to digital reach.
Despite the cuts in marketing budgets, CMOs continued to throw money at Martech.
Martech issues weren’t the only trend that gained momentum in 2020 and 2021: More marketers than ever before are relying on agile methods and cracking the 50 percent mark for the first time.
Just like Martech, who helps B2B marketing teams manage digital reach, Agile Marketing – with its sprint focus – fits well into the B2B business environment.
However, if your focus is on maximizing the return on B2B martech investments and making sure that agile techniques pay off in leads and sales, you need a strategy to integrate data from your point solutions and marketing and sales to a single source align with the truth. You also need measurement tools that provide real-time results.
Creating an agile B2B martech stack
The convergence of the two trends – the introduction of agile methods and the expansion of the martech stack – creates a new urgency to focus on measurement in B2B marketing.
The agile concept is based on frequent measurements so that teams can make course corrections during sprints if they need to improve their performance. In the B2B area, measurement cannot wait until the end of a sales cycle, as agile sprints are relatively short and B2B sales cycles tend to be longer. Therefore, measurement tools need to be able to generate data that you can use to measure progress during the sales cycle.
This can be a challenge for B2B marketing teams that use dozens of point solutions. Martech tools generate data metrics that are relevant for marketing, such as open rates and clicks. This information isn’t particularly relevant to sales, however, and since agile B2B teams are cross-functional and typically involve sales reps, B2B marketers need more compelling data.
This is where a single source of truth comes into play, and the CRM system makes the most sense for B2B companies.
To create an agile marketing stack, use the CRM as a central data repository. It’s already in your stack and can handle huge data sets.
To link marketing campaigns to leads and sales, you can feed data from lead generation and marketing automation solutions into CRM using a CRM-native measurement system. The best approach is to measure leads through the sales funnel and use attribution models to account for sales.
The measuring sprint
B2B marketers using agile methods need to figure out how to measure results when the length of the sales cycle exceeds the length of the marketing sprint – e.g.
An agile marketing stack with measurement tools in CRM (as previously described) solves the problem for you by tracking lead progress through the funnel and returning real-time data. However, it is worth doing a simultaneous sprint that focuses solely on the measurement.
In one Measurement sprint, cross-functional teams (including, for example, marketing departments, sales departments, demand generation, sales development, etc.) can examine data from the campaign and, if necessary, take action to ensure that the campaigns are achieving their goals.
Here’s what this sprint could look like in a series of steps:
- Hold short, frequent meetings (in tune with the rhythm of the campaign sprint) to examine execution, funnel metrics, and attribution data, and uncover outliers for further investigation.
- Evaluate the progress in relation to the project objectives and determine the performance status of the campaign, ie whether the project KPIs are exceeded or not achieved.
- Let marketing review lead volume, speed, and conversion rates, and let sales review lead quality.
- Complete each meeting by clarifying questions and assigning action points for issues that could not be resolved during the meeting.
The measurement sprint process is repeated at specified intervals for the duration of the agile project sprint.
Standing up for a single source of truth
If you are considering further investing in B2B martech while increasing your focus on agile methodologies, finding a single source of truth about data is critical to ultimate success – whether you’re running an optimized martech stack or not one with dozens of point solutions that produce huge amounts of data.
If you put all the data from your Martech stack in the CRM, you can credibly measure the campaign impact. You create metrics that make sense to the sales team, and you and your cross-functional teammates can make better decisions about campaign iterations and investments.
So keep agile in mind when considering B2B martech investments. We are still assessing the long-term impact of the pandemic on business activities, but it is clear that digital outreach will stay.
If you can add back personal events, that data needs to be integrated too, and the CRM is the ideal place to aggregate it along with digital data.
By using the right measurement tools and establishing a single source of truth, you can maximize the returns on a B2B martech investment.
More resources on B2B martech and agile marketing
The Three Critical Steps to Building a Modern Marketing Stack
The Martech Buying Process: How Buyers Rate Suppliers
Three agile marketing tips for the post-pandemic economy