As an executive marketer, it's easy to underestimate the importance of individual B2B marketing campaigns when they don't deliver an immediate ROI. From where you're standing, the B2B technology ROI any one campaign generates in the long-term can be unclear, if not elusive.
Yet, comprehensively measuring ROI can provide you with overwhelming insight into any B2B marketing campaign's health. Without a consistent ROI in view, it's hard to justify your budget in C-suite or explain why certain intangibles, like branding investments, are worth it.
In this article, we'll take a look at why some B2B marketing executives are struggling to measure ROI and specific steps you can take now to fix it.
Measuring ROI Is Critical: The Proof Is in
Sometimes "evidence" may not be immediately visible, leaving room for arguments and blockers in the decision-making process. However, when it comes to increasing profitability, investing in your brand and accurately measuring ROI can give you the insights you need to optimize your marketing strategy and drive value for your B2B tech company.
LinkedIn researchers Les Binet and Peter Field analyzed decades of B2B technology campaign data. They found those who deliver on their branding KPIs have a 4X greater impact on the bottom line. But what's more, they were 50% more likely to be meeting short-term B2B technology marketing metrics like the number of SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) and Lead to Close Ratio.
Measuring the marketing efficiency of your B2B tech marketing efforts is clearly valuable. So why is there difficulty measuring our ROI?
Why Measuring ROI for B2B Technology Is So Hard
Sadly, a lot of it comes down to what we value as leaders and decision-makers. But make no mistake, this value system is shaped by outside forces as much as one’s personal outlook.
It's easier to quantify and move the dial on a short-term KPI like generating more SQLs. With those quantifiers, you receive immediate praise from C-suite. Therefore, you're comfortable focusing on short-term metrics.
The issue is you continue to focus there, even if expanding your metrics could increase SQLs as that would directly improve short-term metrics in addition, as demonstrated above.
Executives are also under pressure to cut a campaign quickly if the ROI isn't immediately evident to avoid wasting a finite B2B marketing budget. If they have to go to the boardroom with underperforming numbers because they focused on branding campaigns this quarter, that's a dealbreaker.
An astounding —- but not surprising —- 77% of marketing leaders say that they attempt to prove ROI within one month of launching a B2B marketing campaign. 52% say they're still easing at three months. Only four percent are looking beyond that three-month window.
If that ROI isn't there, the campaign is pulled or shelved. Yet, the average B2B technology buying cycle is six months, so why expect ROI in 1 to 3 months?
What's more, technology ROI is delivered over time, not just for 30 days like a short-sighted campaign that changes from month to month.
The ROI in B2B technology can grow exponentially if you continue to consistently feed the brand through long-term ROI-generating branding methods like:
- Inbound marketing
- Marketing automation
- Sales funnel personalization
- Marketing-sales alignment
- Sales-enablement content
You're Missing Out When You Exclude Long-Term ROI
Many executives are missing the forest's magnificence as they focus solely on individual trees.
Don't get us wrong. Short-term KPIs are important. But the health of the forest (branding) significantly impacts any one tree (KPI).
As an executive marketing leader, you must appreciate the value of consistent ROI achieved through branding, learn to effectively measure it, and make the case in C-suite about why the ROI achieved through a ROI mindset is worth the investment.
Let's Get Real About Measuring ROI (Next Steps)
First, it's time to change this conversation and recognize consistent ROI. To start, reevaluate your KPIs and ensure those include long-term brand-related ROI metrics.
This change of mindset doesn't happen overnight. But beginning to measure it now will give you much needed data for C-suite conversations you'll have in six months, or so.
Next, get clear on what marketing ROI in B2B technology is. It's not CTR or CPC. Branding MROI doesn't happen per transaction or ad campaign. It happens over the sales cycle and life of your B2B technology brand. Customer acquisition costs go down and the revenues you generate from that expense/investment goes up.
Third, make sure you have the tools to measure long-term ROI effectively and consistently so you — and C-suite — can trust your numbers.
Finally, connect your short-term KPIs to long-term branding ROI. This gives you something to show your boss and peers. You'll have immediate numbers to show you're on track.
Are you struggling to capture your marketing ROI? Do you believe it's holding you back and impacting your bottom line? We've helped B2B tech companies like this one increase their ROI by implementing marketing automation and inbound marketing methods.
If you want to learn how to improve tracking and reporting, then start with an assessment. Relequint’s B2B Balanced KPI Scorecard will help align overall business goals with your preferred strategy to increase your B2B tech company’s ROI. Click here to learn more.