BtoB: How is the concept of promotion effectiveness characterized in the b-to-b space?
Jaros: It's certainly not as cut and dried as in the b-to-c world, where you can run a regional ad and measure the uptick in sales in that region almost immediately. In b-to-b, the first hand-raiser hardly ever leads to a purchase; numerous marketing touches are often necessary to even generate a worthwhile lead. Thus, you can't think about how one campaign leads to revenue but rather how that campaign works with others in a portfolio to generate qualified interest, leads and opportunities.
BtoB: So promotion effectiveness depends on excellent nurturing?
Jaros: Quite a bit. Field marketing begins the demand- creation process to drive hand-raisers, most of whom aren't qualified or ready even for inside sales/teleprospecting attention. You need a process to "gate" a set of leads that will continue to be nurtured within marketing until they reach a certain score, usually based on demographics,activity and BANT [budget, authority, need and timeline information].
BtoB: It sounds complex.
Jaros: It is. It requires significant collaboration between sales and marketing to understand what types of leads sales are willing to work on, what handoff processes will look like, how disqualified leads can be recycled back to marketing for further nurturing and how performance will be measured. Marketers who try to push every hand-raiser they generate into sales, for sales itself to qualify, will find much of their output wasted, ignored or incorrectly disqualified.
BtoB: What are the major barriers to effective campaigns today?
Jaros: Improper targeting and messaging, and lots of vendors competing for very little mind share. The average b-to-b executive receives more than 1,000 solicitations per year. You need to target them with precision, link to business issues and position yourself as one of their top two or three priorities in a given year. If you fail to do this, you can forget about driving qualified interest that will convert into an opportunity and hopefully to close.