It often seems to business-to-business (B2B) marketers as if the only people who understand them are other B2B marketers. They feel that salespeople don’t get what they do day-to-day, that friends and family don’t understand what they do for a living, and most of all that the executives to whom they report have no interest in what they do – that is, until the last day of the quarter. Then they require that B2B marketers deliver positive, lead-generating and revenue-producing results in reports that detail how their efforts supported sales in the previous 90 days. And they expect those results to be reported in a format understandable to all.
The B2B marketer’s daily routine also is stressful. Each morning starts with urgent demands from managers and fellow employees in sales, finance and IT as well as partners and customers. B2B marketers have to respond to the array of requests, in each case speaking the language appropriate to the individual, department or account. And if the company relies on siloed applications and an outdated technology infrastructure, the departmental pit can easily appear bottomless and the effort to clean things up endless. Bottom line: The B2B marketer’s business day can quickly degrade into a chaos of reactive tasks that hinder him or her from providing anything of strategic or even tactical value.
Hive9, a software company helping marketing organizations, is familiar with the ruthless challenges these marketers face. Its marketing performance management suite reflects Hive9’s understanding that chaos is the one constant in the marketer’s day.
That chaos prevents strategic plans from being developed, confounds the budgeting process, antagonizes the sales and marketing relationship, stops programs from being thoroughly executed, and prohibits quarterly and annual departmental results from being properly reported. As my colleague Mark Smith has written, it takes more than good intentions to master marketing mayhem. It takes a deliberate effort to abandon manual, time-devouring processes supported by desktop spreadsheets. And it takes the right tools.
Well-designed marketing performance management software can help marketers use marketing data, customer and prospect information and actionable intelligence derived from analytics to do their jobs better and control the chaos. Hive9’s marketing performance management suite, available as software as a service (SaaS), provides marketers with intelligence that allows them to do what’s most important: take immediate action to meet the steady stream of rigorous organizational expectations. The three-module suite covers the fundamental areas of marketing planning, programmatic measurement and performance optimization and does so by integrating with the gamut of related applications: customer relationship management, business intelligence, marketing automation, financial, Web, social media and custom-built. Hive9’s suite stands out in the market by its ability to apply predictive analytics to plan, test and build any needed marketing mix of lead- and revenue-generating programs. The Hive9 Plan module offers visualization of marketing plans and forecasts through a waterfall analysis supported by the inclusion of data on financial investments and budget allocations. The Measure module enables creation of comprehensive dashboards, and the Optimize module applies analytical intelligence to every step of the customer experience, with the aim of satisfying customers’ expectations.
Hive9 should appeal to marketers on two fronts: It’s data-driven software that simplifies complex marketing components, and being SaaS it can be quickly deployed. The three parts of the suite fit well with the marketing processes of organizations today. Given the constant struggle to produce a single orchestrated view of marketing activities, the Plan module is the place to start. In the intermediate Measure module sales leaders and executives will find value at the end of reporting periods by being able to review outcomes of marketing efforts across various customer touchpoints and identify programs that have led to revenue-generating campaigns. The Optimize module supports technically advanced B2B marketers providing the ability to apply decision-making intelligence to every step of the customer’s experience. In its latest innovation is journey mapping which it recently announced that helps visualize the path that prospects are taking through marketing activities. As my colleague and our research have pointed out that journey mapping is essential for optimizing the customer experience.
As the Hive9 product evolves, I would like to see additional functionality that provides insights through integration with critical marketing activities such as sales enablement and content planning, development and usage, product information management, and customer billing, subscription and recurring revenue.
Our benchmark research makes clear that marketing organizations can benefit from capable software that enables them to deal with the pressures executives place on them. According to our marketing analytics benchmark research, three-fourths (76%) of executives view the impact of marketing initiatives on corporate revenue as an important marketing metric, and half or more also cited sales’ use of marketing-sourced leads, the quality of those leads and the conversion of leads into revenue-generating opportunities.
Generating and tracking such metrics requires flexible software. Yet despite the unprecedented performance standards to which marketers are being held, they’re often thwarted by tight departmental budgets, cobbled-together technical infrastructures and incomplete and stale data. And they’ve been expected to perform while short-staffed, locked out of the executive boardroom and buried under distressed timeframes. Experienced B2B marketers know that to be ready for the final day of the quarter, they must overcome roadblocks and make the most out of each of the previous 89 days. Hive9’s marketing performance management suite can help them do that. Marketing performance management software is long overdue, and Hive9’s efforts in the market can help them overcome chaos and establish productive, revenue-generating relationships with sales, executives and other departments.
Vice President and Research Director, Sales and Marketing