When talking about Performance Marketing, people normally think of online advertising. Pay per Click (or Pay per Action) is the performance model agencies and media typically offer to their advertisers, but this model mainly works at a tactical level. Now, with the increasing importance of data analytics in B2B, a more strategic approach to performance marketing is required from both the client and the agency.

Although a Pay per Action model has existed since the beginning of e-commerce (via “Affiliation Programs”), it only became mainstream when Google launched its AdWords platform and related Pay per Click model.

The Pay Per Click model allowed marketers to pay for what they got and measuring more accurately the return on the investment. Using the same pattern, Pay Per Lead or Pay Per Acquisition models were also offered.

The benefits for B2C are fairly straightforward, you redirect traffic to a site where there’s an economic transaction that gives you the value of your PPC campaign investment, but for B2B It’s a completely different scenario. Brands are unlikely to achieve an immediate online sale and it’s even harder to measure the return on investment of each individual tactic.

As any B2B marketer knows, getting registrations on a landing page has become an increasingly challenging task. A person who registers to download an asset can hardly be defined as a proper lead. They need to be nurtured across each step of the funnel and a PPC campaign works mainly at the top of it.

Recently, platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook have started offering B2B companies a new tactic (lead generation form) to make online advertising more attractive. Those digital leads need to be nurtured and converted in BANT leads with nurturing process that involved different tactics.

Today, 88% of B2B companies say they’re struggling with lead generation and when leads are finally identified, only 5-10% are converted due to ineffective nurturing.

That means the existing performance marketing model limited to online advertising is not sufficient enough to generate leads in B2B.

A new Performance Marketing model is required and should focus on six aspects.

  1. Sales and Marketing departments need to work together to define specific goals and ways of measuring them. Unfortunately, the misalignment between Sales and Marketing persists in the digital transformation of the companies and can create inefficiency in the lead generation strategy. In the new performance model marketing leaders need to recognize that they’re equal contributors, and therefore equally accountable, for sales success. Agencies can help to fill that gap.
  2. Sales and Marketing need to make sure the performance-based model embraces all marketing tactics. It’s not just about clicks and registrations. A 2017 MMAGlobal case study found there is almost no correlation between click-through rate and sales. So, it is necessary to implement an attribution marketing model that measures each single interaction of the buyers with the brand along the marketing funnel.
  3. Since agencies play an important role to help marketing in implementing the performance model, they need to be properly aligned with the same goals as defined by Sales & Marketing and using the same metrics to track success.
  4. Also, agencies’ remuneration must be closely linked to the target, set by the key stakeholders. Usually, agencies are paid no matter how successful a campaign is, but now clients want to see better results and far greater return on their investment. With the number of agencies in the market hitting levels that risk oversaturation, clients are in a position of power where they can say “results or else”.
  5. Every marketing campaign is designed with an attributions model that tracks and measures its success and the relevance of each tactic. The model helps you map the journey from lead to customer, taking into account every touch point and interaction along the way. This detailed insight shows you exactly what works and what doesn’t.
  6. It is important that marketing campaigns managed by the agency reflects the attribution model of the company so that any performance deviation from the main objective is reported in real time in order to make adjustments immediately and optimise the results.

Media and Agencies, by playing an essential role in the last 4 steps, need to become true partners for their clients in order to put Performance Marketing in action and lift their B2B Marketing to the next level.

Expandi has created a performance-based marketing model that defines targets and tactics in a modular and scalable way to further boost the program ROI at its foundation.

performance based model

An effective campaign starts by selecting the best target audience, so that we can identify accounts/contacts active in digital channels and showing an interest in the client’s solution. To identify those contacts, we’ll use different tactics from social listening to buyer Intent.

But this is just the beginning of the customer’s journey, once the target audience is identified, we launch a nurturing phase using a mix of tactics such as emailing, targeted advertising and so on. This way we can identify prospects with a more mature level of interest.

This is when human interaction comes into place, a set of targeted outbound calls to the nurtured contacts will further qualify and identify interest levels within the target audience.  In the final step of the journey, the qualified leads are passed to the Sales Engagement phase where we check the buyer’s budget availability, timeframe, need and decision-making power. The result of this activity will generate Sales Qualified leads to be passed to the sales organisation.

Each step of our model is measurable and aligned with the sales objectives. For each phase we have estimated a cost that may vary depending on the complexity of the offering, the level of awareness of the client, the size of the target audience and other elements.

This way B2B companies can invest their marketing budget more efficiently and boost their ROI.

for any questions about this article please contact Marco Ottonello at marco.ottonello@expandigroup.com