Modern demand generation is responsible for more than just customer acquisition. Success depends on balancing both the quantity and quality of leads and maintaining customer relationships through timely, relevant experiences.
Demand generation marketing nurtures the customer across the entire sales cycle from end to end. For B2B brands like Acquia, there are increased challenges to manage lead sources across long sales cycles and understand the contributions of every source of content from webinars to paid ads to live events. The responsibilities and goals of today’s demand gen teams haven’t fundamentally changed, but the number of customers and the ways they’re engaging evolve and expand every day.
With more channels appearing every moment across the rapid adoption of the Internet of Things and more competitors emerging and entering the field, demand generation needs to work much harder to reach their audience.
As the senior director of Acquia’s demand generation team, I need access to accurate and relevant data to attract, score, engage and retain valuable leads. Without good data health and a centralized way to manage data across sales and marketing, it becomes difficult to continually build a strong customer pipeline.
In order to reach more customers with better experiences at faster speeds, our demand generation program has leveraged the power of a customer data platform (CDP). Here’s what we’ve learned from applying the power of a CDP to reach more customers with better experiences at faster speeds.
1. More: Unifying All Data Sources Creates More Lead Opportunities
The sheer quantity of prospects online is exploding as each generation grows more digitally savvy. Today’s customers are also more research-driven, preferring to watch webinars, read multiple blogs, download different assets across your site before ever interacting with a salesperson. What all these extra touches mean is that our demand generation team is inundated with more and more data points to sort through in order to identify valuable information.
Before using a CDP, our demand generation team was keeping track of dozens of different data sources and reports across marketing channels and sales systems. These scattered data silos left a lot of room to miss interactions and incorrectly score a customer. This resulted in discrepancies between sales and marketing over which leads to prioritize. However, a customer data platform unified all of these data sources in a single, easy-to-interpret view.
Our team has also been able to solve issues of duplicated records across channels by leveraging identity resolution within the CDP. This feature cleared up any confusion when the same customer would engage on their smartphone and later on their laptop. Identity resolution can configure that customer’s IP under a single person and ensure that all related data points flowed into that one person rather than reporting duplicate customers. This clarity helped us work more effectively to qualify valuable prospects and pass those leads to the sales teams.
2. Better: Machine Learning and Customer Insights Produce Better Personalized Experiences
Understanding and designing the best experiences for millions of potential customers and reaching people at instant speeds is an impossible task for a few people to complete alone. There’s a need for automation to marry the right content with the right data points and orchestrate all of these experiences into the desired customer journey.
Rather than manually parsing through contact lists that are millions of names long, we’ve accelerated our workflow through a machine learning framework that automates the process. Machine learning interprets billions of data points in seconds and creates predictions about what certain audiences are interested in. With machine learning, we’re able to work smarter at scale and not sacrifice the quality of our interactions as the quantity of prospects grows.
By aggregating data sources from our marketing automation platform, website, Salesforce instance and other tools, our team was able to gain greater context into the full relationship each customer had with our brand and deliver messages to them across multiple channels and applications. The 360-degree customer view provided by the CDP also lets our marketers be more granular in their segmentation and targeting efforts as needed. By having more identifiers and data points on each lead, we were able to focus more on account based marketing (ABM) campaigns and hyper-segmented audiences.
Focusing on smaller audiences with certain campaigns and getting these campaigns to market faster has led to amazing increases in our conversion rates. Before Acquia CDP, we delivered an average conversion rate from marketing qualified lead (MQL) to sales accepted lead (SAL) of 76%. On the campaigns where we’ve been targeting a smaller audience based on more detailed information from the CDP, the conversion rate from MQL to SAL jumped to 94%!
3. Faster: Data Democratization Speeds Up Time to Market
Together with a personalized, meaningful experience, customers expect convenience and speed in all aspects of their lives today. However, collecting, cleaning and analyzing the mountains of data coming in every moment can be a long-winded and frustrating process. Before using a customer data platform, every new campaign required our team to put in a ticket asking marketing operations to pull data across multiple systems, enriching these reports and making sure it was actually the data we needed. Frequently, we were pulling millions of records, and fulfilling the request took between multiple hours or a few days. Acquia’s marketing ops teams would often need to let separate servers and computers run all night to pull reports needed for a campaign.
And once this data was eventually pulled, the barriers across different departments and systems often meant that the records themselves were incomplete. It was frustrating when we’d go through the entire data collection process only to realize that we actually needed data on a different segment or wanted to compare one list to another from a previous quarter. Every time a campaign changed direction, we’d need to file another ticket, and the process would start all over again. This process was inefficient and frustrating for both our marketing team and Acquia’s customers. The lag between gaining the data and actually bringing the full campaign to market made it harder to seize sudden opportunities or pivot based on new customer insights.
A CDP simplified and shortened the path from strategy to execution with real-time, self-service access to data. The unified database and intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface of a central platform meant that anyone on the demand gen team could go into the CDP to get the insights they need. Putting data in the hands of our demand gen marketers also meant that our IT and data analysts could keep their focus on more valuable tasks. We were now exporting the data we needed in 30 seconds rather than three weeks, and getting campaigns to market in a few days.
Rather than be at the whim of technical teams to provide data, a CDP democratizes data across all areas of the business and allows us to build our own segments and discover the essential insights that help us reach customers with the right moment at the perfect time.
Learn more about how making data accessible and actionable will benefit your entire organization in our e-book: Data Democratization: Giving Employees and Customers What They Want.