B2B: Know Your Roles
When providing services such as Search Marketing strategies to large B2B tech firms you will find that there are several levels of management to please (this is the case for many large corporations).
With above average sales cycles and the focus to produce quality leads it’s important to establish the right metrics to satisfy all levels within the company.
It is also important to understand the objectives of each of the stakeholders at the B2B Company as well as their roles/responsibilities within the business. Products and solutions in B2B Tech frequently cost several thousands of dollars, causing the customer to stay within the research phase of the buying funnel for an extended period of time. As a result, success measurements for marketing programs are different for various positions within the organization therefore it is important that you define custom metrics and performance dashboards appropriately, so that they are meaningful to that stakeholder within their role.
Roles and Goals
Although there are many levels of personnel at B2B Tech organizations there are 3 that I would like to focus on for today: CEO, CMO and Director of Web/Electronic Marketing. Each individual has different needs and goals but they all want to see their business succeed, and online performance is a significant component of that success. It is important to understand all of their needs so that custom solutions for the site can be developed to address them.
CEOs are visionaries and are not concerned with more granular issues with the website; instead they want to focus on items such as the company’s market share in the competitive space, profitability and consistent ROI. The CEO reports to a Board of Directors, who along with the CEO has created a set of objectives that the company must achieve. The last thing any major corporation’s CEO wants to do is lose the confidence of the board of directors and investors therefore it’s important for CEOs to understand their company’s unique competitive advantage and leverage it to stay successful.
CMOs are focused on the company’s direction as well, but more specifically the marketing direction. While having a keen interest in the company’s market share, CMOs want to see the company develop strong brand image as well as understand the ROI behind all marketing initiatives. The CMO reports directly to the CEO therefore needs solutions to show visible measurable results quickly. The optimum SEM vendor for a B2B tech CMO would be one who understands the B2B tech marketplace.
As we progress a little bit further into the organization we notice the objectives having an increasing tactical focus rather than strategic. The Director of Web Marketing is the person in the organization given the responsibility to find tactical ways to use the web site specifically, to accomplish company goals shared by the CMO and CEO. This person is also interested in ROI but want to see that data at a more granular level. Being involved in the actual implementation of the strategies this person will need to understand factors like resource allocations and ease of implementation. The Director of Web Marketing wants a proven winner within the SEM industry so case studies and research within B2B tech are useful to them.
Metrics That Matter
When selecting reporting metrics it is important to remember that B2B Tech companies are often lead generation sites and have considerably long sales cycles, however this is not to rule out that these websites could also serve purposes such as customer support or communication. Another consideration is that you should define metrics that are appropriate to each level within the organization because a CEO will not necessarily want to see the same data as the Director of Web Marketing.
Metrics that are important to the CEO are very high level and include things like revenue and market share. Revenue is difficult to measure through regular web analytics because it is hard to calculate revenue on a B2B lead generation site whose leads are often closed after a long sales cycle. In this case a third party solution like Siebel would be best to extract the data out of and present to the CEO. Siebel provides the ability to analyze and measure revenue/leads for both offline and online marketing efforts. Market Share also requires a third party solution and in this case I recommend HitWise, which is a great tool for measuring competitive intelligence. HitWise is very useful in benchmarking online performance between you and your competitors, specifically: website rank, time spent on site, online audience, search terms and referring sources.
The CMO wants to see the same performance reports the CEO does plus a few metrics more. The CMO is interested in analyzing ROI by all the various company marketing efforts which includes PPC, Contextual Advertising and Organic referrals. This helps the CMO determine the best marketing mediums to direct the company’s resources towards.
The granularity increases as we move onto the Director of Web Marketing. This position is interested in all the specific web site performance details which include: conversion rates by campaigns/referring sources, percent new visitors, sales cycle length, time spent on site per visitor, and effectiveness of landing pages to keep visitors engaged.
It is important to understand the stakeholders of the B2B tech organization and their main objectives and how the web site contributes to those goals. This is the only we can define performance metrics that are important to each position at the company. The metrics that are important to each position should be presented in a consistent format at predetermined intervals, for example: to CEOs monthly and to Directors of Web Marketing weekly. Try using formats such as PDF or excel dashboards for each of your clients on a company extranet. B2B tech firms want SEM companies with proven track records so also use appropriate messaging, case studies and research to help them make their decisions when you are making site marketing recommendations.
Manoj has been working in the search engine marketing industry since 2002. He started out as a software developer but now provides in-depth web site analysis using web analytics.
Manoj is also the author of Web Analytics World. Web Analytics is an essential component in developing a successful
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