Advanced B2B Marketing

This was a great session given that there is so much emphasis on eCommerce at these online marketing events. Thinking of B2B marketers and their specific needs (eg. lead gen, dealing with the organization, making a case for SEM) made for a well-attended session.

Jeffrey Rohrs, Vice President, Marketing, ExactTarget

Barbara C. Coll, CEO, Inc.
Patricia Hursh, President & Founder, SmartSearch Marketing
Adam S. Goldberg, Chief Innovation Officer, Clearsaleing


Use search to reach prospects early in the buying cycle – data from Forrester shows that search is particularly useful at this stage. For this reason it is important to look at the search history of a person. Often conversion occurs on a brand term, but there can be many other terms used before this to lure the prospect during the research phase.

For paid search, you can pre-qualify clickers with the ad text. You will take a hit on quality score (your CTR will often drop), but you’ll see better ROI – the traffic you receive is of a higher quality. Think about aligning copy across the buying cycle, eg. information and reviews can be useful at the early stages.

Use A/B or multivariate testing constantly to see how the site performs. Test what names you give your assets: ‘product tour’, ‘virtual tour’, ‘white paper’ can all perform differently. Add secondary (ie. additional) conversions to bolster the conversion rate. When it comes to registration, think of the value of the offering compared to what you are asking in return. Is the form too long for a white paper? All this can be tested.
Implement a lead qualification process to only pass ‘warm’ leads to sales.


SEM and the salesforce
Dealing with an enterprise B2B business, particularly with an entrenched sales force, has it’s own unique challenges. Marketing goal is to fill the pipeline with good leads. However most enterprise sales reps believe they will only get good leads through direct contact.

Marketing offers Free Trial, Downloads, Whitepapers although often trials are the biggest conversion points from a sales perspective. High leads also come through online demonstrations.

Sales want campaigns to deliver either a prospect that closes the deal OR another name in a key prospective account. These needs can conflict with site usability. For instance, the sales process wants the long form, but this might not always be the best course of action.

Knowing what keyword a visitor used can help decide whether a lead is an A lead. Educate reps on the value of SEM by showing them paid search numbers. Furthermore, check to see whether the reps are following up on leads.

When it comes to keyword research, sales can be particularly useful. Listen to the terms used by the sales force – their language has been honed over time to be resonanant with prospective clients.
Follow up to find out exactly which leads turned into sales and feed this data back into the SEM process.


Looking at revenue is much more effective than looking at the cost per lead. Profit is obviously an even better metric (although not always available). You should tie web analytics to the CRM so you know which ads are the ones that work well.

In the B2B space, attribution management is needed to calculate which touch points (search, email, banner, etc) should be given credit in a sale, given that the buyer has probably had various marketing touch points prior to the sale. How exactly you work out an attribution model is open for debate.