“Marketing is still often seen as an expense, although it should be seen as an investment,” says Helen Agering, Head of the Revenue Science division at Nortal. Her division helps companies grasp and unlock their growth potential by using data to understand their customers’ behavior and buying journeys.
“There’s just so much you can do with the data,” Agering says, explaining that if a company knows how customers buy, they can align marketing efforts to facilitate sales. “Data can make you understand your target group and how they behave.”
Customers’ buying journeys have changed forever, quite often companies don’t even know that there’s a customer interested in their service or product before someone actually arrives at their doorstep, pointing out what they want to buy.
Superior marketing and sales capabilities can help companies outperform others in their sector
“Using data to facilitate this new way of buying will deliver a huge advantage,” Agering explains. “Most of our clients have seen significant growth; we’ve really seen some amazing results. It makes us very happy to see our clients growing and finding revenue in places they maybe didn’t even knew existed before.”
In many B2B business cases, customers may be conducting research for more than a year before they actually contact a vendor and there are different people involved in the decision-making. If a company doesn’t know that and just get a phone call one day that they have been shortlisted for a project, they may jump to the conclusion that the purchasing journey is very short.
“But if you know how long it takes and how many perspectives are involved, you understand there’s a need for different content in different phases of a customer’s research to point them in your direction,” Agering says. “If you have the data, the conversation between marketing and sales is completely different. You can be much more agile and successful.”
A McKinsey&Company research recently showed clearly that companies with better marketing and sales capabilities grow faster. The findings of a study involving 15,000 employees at 150 leading B2B and B2B2C global businesses were clear: revenue growth at companies with more advanced marketing and sales capabilities tended to be 30 percent greater than the average company within their sector. That means in an industry growing at 4 percent annually, a company in the top quartile of marketing and sales capabilities typically grows by around 5.3 percent.
“So the question really is whether you want to grow or not,” Agering says, adding that introducing automation, machine learning and using artificial intelligence, can really turn company results around. “When you can use data and leverage on that in a way that you hadn’t done before, it is going to have a major impact.”