How To Stop Draining the Budget: Implementing a Data-Driven Approach Step by Step
In a data-driven approach, all decisions made within an organization are anchored on accurate and relevant data. Such an approach can offer a variety of measurable advantages for businesses across all industries and mediums. In a nutshell, it lets you get rid of the guesswork and rely on hard information and facts — no business can rely on gut instinct when making significant strategic decisions.
This becomes especially important in marketing. Without leveraging a data-driven approach, businesses risk draining their marketing budgets in vain. But how do you utilize this approach yourself?
Although the idea behind data-driven decision-making is pretty simple, adopting this approach isn’t a piece of cake. But the Belkins team will gladly assist you! In this article, our experts will tell you everything you need to know about the data-driven business approach and share actionable steps on how your company can leverage it.
What Companies Need This Approach, and When Exactly Do They Need It?
Modern consumers get inundated by tons of marketing messages every single day. All kinds of brands reach out to their prospects and existing customers daily, competing for their attention. As a result, overwhelmed modern consumers have become much more selective about which channels they will interact with. Now getting through to your prospects is harder than ever, and that’s where becoming a data-driven business can have plenty of benefits.
Adopting a data-driven approach to marketing will let you know what your audience craves and predict how they will engage with different marketing messages. As a result, you will be able to ensure better outcomes for your campaigns while saving a lot of money. Therefore, companies across all industries need to make data-driven decisions in order to keep their businesses up and running.
This becomes especially crucial for brands in the B2B sector. The thing is that the B2B model implies reaching out to more complex, high-profile clients who are responsible for decision-making in their companies. Getting them interested is much harder compared to regular consumers. To succeed, people engaged in B2B marketing must know exactly what their target clients need and deliver it to them. Respectively, collecting and utilizing data-driven insight is pivotal for driving new business leads in B2B.
What does it provide?
We’ve already said that every business must leverage data-driven B2B marketing concepts for success. But why is data-driven analytics of interest to companies?
This approach offers the following benefits in particular:
1) Better targeting
There is no secret that targeting plays a crucial role in marketing. Even with the right message, achieving your marketing goals would be impossible if you don’t know for whom it’s meant. From this perspective, data can provide more clarity to businesses regarding which audiences they should target.
With a data-driven strategy, marketers can predict their target audiences’ behaviors better and achieve greater results.
2) Better content
The media and information industry is snowballing. According to Harvard Business Review, the amount of blog content has increased by 800% in the past 5 years, whereas social sharing decreased by nearly 90%. According to another research, 74% of consumers find it annoying to see irrelevant ads of brands. These stats suggest a massive disconnect between what messages businesses deliver and what is actually valuable for consumers.
With the help of big data and data-driven analytics, brands can figure out what really resonates with their audiences. As a result, the quality of their content will increase significantly. Suppose you are running B2B lead generation blogs or sharing content on other topics. If you want to ensure that your content will bring real value to your audience, you have to leverage big data to understand your readers’ needs better.
3) Better customer experiences and relationships
Another reason big data is among today’s most powerful business trends is that it allows you to create better customer experiences and, thus, build stronger relationships with your clients. When you know more about your target audience, you can deliver the right content and personalized marketing communications. This will offer you higher ROIs, better brand credibility, and greater customer retention.
4) Optimized marketing spend
Lastly, it’s worth saying that data-driven B2B businesses also receive chances to optimize their marketing budgets. By becoming more reliant on data, companies can easily identify the right audiences, content types, promotional channels, and other key elements of their strategies. This way, they can focus their investments and efforts on tactics that really work. As a result, there will be no waste of time and money on irrelevant or inefficient marketing techniques and, at the same time, there will be higher ROI.
Deploying a Data-Driven Marketing Approach Step by Step
Now that you know the importance of data-driven B2B marketing, let’s move to the most exciting part: how to build a data-driven B2B business gradually.
1. Determine if the company has everything it needs
Before you engage in data-driven marketing, you need to ensure that your company has everything it needs to get on the right track. This requires the right human resources as well as the right tools.
As for human resources, you might want to hire proficient data scientists to help you collect, organize, interpret, and leverage the right data for your business’s success. As far as tools, you should define your tech stack and equip your teams with everything they need to succeed in data-driven decision-making. First, integrate a centralized data corpus that is accessible to all your teams and departments. Additionally, you might find suitable automation tools that will make data scraping seamless and effective. And, of course, you will need a solid LMS solution with robust analytical and reporting features.
2. Choose an implementation model
Without a doubt, data lies at the core of implementing your B2B data-driven approach. But it’s not all you should focus on. When choosing the right implementation model, businesses should shift their focus toward identifying desired business opportunities and determining the model that can improve performance and bring a competitive advantage.
The implementation model should allow your employees to predict and optimize the outcomes of their marketing efforts. Such hypothesis-led implementation models enable companies to achieve faster results and create more meaningful data-use practices.
When selecting a suitable implementation model, simplicity is vital. Some organizations choose models that are too complex to be practical. As a result, their initiatives only exhaust the company’s capabilities and don’t lead to the desired results. So the two key questions to ask when deciding on your implementation model are “Is it simple enough to implement?” and “How can it improve our overall performance?”.
3. Conduct an audit of the marketing situation
When you know that your company has everything needed to shift toward a data-driven B2B model and have a specific implementation model in mind, it’s time to analyze your current state of marketing.
First, you should analyze your past and current strategies to see what strong and weak points are there. You should figure out how leads get into your sales funnel and what journeys they make before buying from you. Then analyze your marketing efforts against the backdrop of your current business goals and think about how leveraging data can help you overcome the challenges and improve performance.
In addition, you need to make a careful marketing budget breakdown. Analyze how much you spend on your marketing currently and study the returns you receive. Then think about how you can improve your marketing budget breakdown with the help of data. Replan your budget in such a way that you stop draining it for no reason.
4. Determine what metrics you will be looking at
Choosing the right metrics that will let you track your team’s performance is a powerful way to set everyone on the right track. When it comes to marketing, ROI is often all that businesses focus on. But if you want to implement an effective B2B data-driven marketing model, you want to pay attention to other metrics too.
For example, you could focus on key performance indicators such as traffic, sales, etc. After you choose the metrics that will help you hit your targets, design marketing campaigns that support them. This way you will be able to track and measure the success of your campaigns after their launches and identify areas for improvement in the long run.
5. Examine the dynamics of your business metrics
Apart from identifying the right key performance indicators, you should also define the dynamics of the selected metrics. Simply put, you need to know how fast you want your metrics to grow in order to achieve your goals in the desired time frame.
When determining dynamics, keep in mind your ultimate goals. For example, if you want to generate more revenue, you likely need to grow your traffic, lead generation, and sales metrics. So that’s what you should focus on. But be sure to keep your expectations manageable. Setting unattainable goals is counterproductive and will only hold you back from success, but clear, attainable expectations will be a roadmap to success for your team.
6. Identify your business’s problem areas
There can be many reasons that your organization is having issues with fostering a data-driven decision culture. Some of the most common issues in data-driven marketing in B2B include:
Poor data quality;
Inability to extract the right data;
Lack of the right tech tools, etc.
If you can identify your problem areas early on, you will find impactful solutions and set your data-driven campaigns toward success.
7. Choose your analysis tools
Today, there are plenty of great analytical tools that make data-driven marketing B2B simple. All you need is to choose the tools that will work best for your company by following these steps:
Identify your objectives;
Search for available solutions that match your needs;
Compare the prices;
Compare the available tools by user interfaces, integration, mobility, scalability, agility, and visualization;
Check availability of advanced analytics and reporting features;
This way you should be able to identify the right tools for your team.
Pro tip: Apart from relying on your own needs and objectives, feel free to check out testimonials on data-driven B2B marketing analytical tools. Learning about the experiences of other organizations can help you find the right solutions for your business.
8. Start implementing a data culture
Implementing a data-driven approach is nearly impossible if your employees have no idea how to be data-driven in a B2B company. Thus, the last step to success requires fostering a data culture inside your team.
What does this mean? First of all, it means embracing a data-driven mindset within your team. Your goal is to make data and analytics integral parts of your daily operations. You must also set the right expectations. All successful data-driven B2B companies have their top managers set clear expectations that all decisions must be anchored to data. That’s what highlights the strong data culture in a team.
Finally, providing relevant data-driven instruction and training is important in fostering the right culture. According to studies, an average of 50% of companies lack the crucial analytical skills of their employees, which holds them back from using available data for their success. To overcome this challenge, companies must provide regular training to help their employees acquire and hone the skills they need for efficient data-driven decision-making.
The HADI Cycle Is an Important Part of Data-Driven Analytics
Using the steps from the previous part of this article, you should be able to create a business driven by data. Yet there is one more thing about the B2B sales data-driven approach that you need to know: It would be impossible without the HADI cycle.
The core concept behind the HADI cycle is pretty simple: Pose an idea and then test it to draw data-driven reasons why this idea is or isn’t viable.
In a nutshell, the HADI cycle is a common Agile tool used for filtering out existing hypotheses and conducting data-driven testing to measure the impact and consequences of every hypothesis.
The acronym HADI translates like this:
H — Hypothesis. During this stage of the cycle, you formulate a clear hypothesis that you’d like to test;
A — Action. Here you put your hypothesis to the test;
D — Data. This stage requires collecting and processing the data needed to confirm or reject the hypothesis;
I — Insights. Finally, you evaluate the hypothesis and the test results to collect helpful insights and determine whether you’ve achieved your goals.
What’s the role of the HADI cycle in the data-driven B2B model? Simply put, it offers a practical way to use your data. You can easily build and test hypotheses related to any area of your business by taking this approach. For example, you can use it when making a marketing budget breakdown or when you need to test the effectiveness of different marketing channels. The uses are endless.
The Bottom Line
As you already know, the benefits a data-driven approach is offering in B2B are huge. With its help, businesses can improve their targeting and content. They can also deliver better customer experiences, thus creating more trust and loyalty. Most importantly, data-driven B2B prospecting allows companies to optimize their marketing spending and boost their ROIs.
After reading this guide, you should have a clear idea of how to implement a marketing strategy driven by data on your own. Use the steps and tricks from this article to set your team up for success!
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Julia has been responsible for more than 10 projects of different industries at Belkins. She is now leading the webinar team at Belkins bringing alive special content and initiatives to drive value for our followers, clients, partners, and Belkins team at large.
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