OPINION9 March 2022

Good marketing comes down to timing

B2B Opinion Trends

Timing is one of the crucial elements that can dictate whether business-to-business marketing sinks or swims, argues Jon Clarke of Cyance.

Hourglass on laptop

While marketing outreach has evolved in recent years, with insight-driven audience activation tactics, account-based marketing (ABM) strategies and more, buyers are still being hit with a flurry of, often irrelevant, marketing collateral. According to Cyance’s research with Durhamlane, business-to-business (B2B) buyers are becoming numb to the sheer volume of sales and marketing content, with 56% consuming more material than pre-pandemic.

Spreading your messages far and wide may catch one or two prospects that are in the right frame of mind to buy. However, it’s more likely that a wider proportion will be put off and become less likely to want to engage now or in the future.

The pandemic has also resulted in decision makers becoming more cautious, as almost half ( 47%) are at the mercy of budget scrutiny and 60% of purchase decisions are affected by fast-changing business priorities. This presents a significant challenge to the B2B marketer, but there is hope as more than 80% of respondents agreed that they engage with B2B vendors when they are ready to buy. The key being ‘when they are ready’.

Intent data has the power to make marketers outreach more effective and efficient by vastly improving the timing element.

It’s all about timing
Deciding which accounts or type of organisations to target is just one challenge marketers face. When to reach out to them is a whole new challenge in itself. As almost two thirds ( 64%) of B2B buyers believe that vendors do not approach them at the right time, it’s clearly a crucial one.

Add to this that only 21% believe they are given relevant information and it’s a damning indictment of how B2B revenue generation activities are not resonating with target audiences. 

How do you identify when a company is ready to buy and therefore ready to approach? 

Marketers need to strip down their use of data to focus only on the most useful, relevant and accurate insights. By cutting through the data noise, marketers can instead concentrate on getting a clear view of buyers’ intentions and their position in their buying journey.

This is something that needs to work in a collaborative process between sales and marketin, which we’ve seen happening a lot more with an increase in ABM strategies, with 70% of marketers reporting that they use ABM, up from 15% from 2020.

ABM provides a much more targeted approach to buyers, as opposed to a scattergun approach and uses data insights, such as intent data, to analyse where each prospect is in the buying lifecycle.

Accurate intent data uses a multitude of third-party audience identifying factors – including unified IDs, IP addresses, single sign-on apps, email addresses and company-level identification information from form fills or platform/account registrations – to provide B2B marketers with useful insights.

Intent data also tracks content engagement and consumption across multiple websites, providing a much clearer picture as to when is the right time to approach.

The sweet spot
If you know where your customers and prospective customers are in terms of the buying cycle, the next step is choosing the right messages to engage with. As with any marketing and sales campaigns, engaging, insightful and of course, relevant content and messaging is key.

The right message can show that you understand your customers, you’ve listened, you empathise and have a solution that’s worth exploring. Furthermore, the right content not only attracts interested buyers but has the potential to shorten the sales cycle, as 85% of B2B buyers said they share relevant content with other decision makers in the business. Tie this in with the fact, as mentioned earlier, 80% of buyers will engage with vendors when they’re ready to buy, then there is a real opportunity for marketers to capitalise.

When it comes to providing that added value for both your marketing team and as a result, the business as a whole, you can’t go wrong if your marketing strategy is built on accurate and timely data.

The key is to use a wide range of information and tracking behaviours, to understand your prospective audience and be able to target them at the right time, with the right message — ultimately gathering quality leads which result in higher engagement rates.

Jon Clarke is founder and chief product officer at Cyance.