As a B2B Sales or Marketing Leader…Where do YOU edge your bets?
Data and Creative are like warring siblings – always trying to show their parents who the favourite should be.
Creatives don’t want to be told what to do, and data analysts don’t want to worry about fonts. ‘Data-driven creative’ sounds like paint by numbers, and ‘creative data’ sounds like you’ve cooked the books.
But just like siblings, these two seemingly opposed forces really have far more in common than they’d like to admit. And perhaps most crucially, they really do need each other.
Nowhere is that clearer than in B2B lead nurture.
As we’ve discussed before, nurturing is all about generating trust and building relationships with individual leads. And to do that, you must bring Data and Creative onto the same team.
Data lets you play a different game
Traditional B2B sales approaches were based on crude approximates and salespeople’s intuition. Leads were segmented into very broad groups (if they were segmented at all) and approached in essentially the same way.
Aside from being extraordinarily inefficient, this made it difficult to ever know whether the content you were putting out was relevant to individual leads. And research shows that irrelevant content is the number one reason B2B buyers refuse to engage with sellers.
As businesses generate more high quality data about their customers though, their capacity to understand who they are speaking has changed.
You can now use complex Machine Learning systems to analyse customer interactions and produce rich, detailed insights. You can understand the moments that matter most to your prospects and target your communication to those specific instances. And that means you can start playing a very different game.
Suddenly, it’s possible to understand individual leads in terms of complex psychographic traits and rank-order them in various ways. When do they want to hear from you? What kind of content do they respond to best? What are their biggest pain points? And how close are they to making a sale?
High-performing sales teams are 1.5x more likely to act on these kinds of data-driven insights. According to McKinsey, simply using a lead-scoring algorithm produces a 15-20% improvement in lead-conversion rates.
Such results are incredible, and help explain why Gartner projects that 60% of B2B sales organisations will be data-driven by 2025. But there is some danger in jumping head-first into data.
Data in-itself is not enough to produce an effective sales strategy – especially not when it comes to nurturing leads.
If you play favourites and focus solely on data, you will never have the impact you deserve. Because data will never hold the attention or delight your prospects – that is something only creative can do.
Data can tell you exactly what kinds of messages your leads want; what information they need; and what format they want to receive it in. But in order for your leads to absorb that information and care about it, there needs to be that extra element of creativity.
We live in an age of information overload. Your leads probably receive hundreds of messages everyday, which means they actively tune out anything that doesn’t capture their imagination. This is not something they think about consciously: the decision over what to tune out is made in virtual microseconds.
Creative execution is therefore about tapping into that unconscious filtering process and making what you do stand out. Whether it’s the design, messaging or delivery method – there needs to be something that surprises and excites the lead. Otherwise why would they care what you have to say over any of your competitors?
We often imagine B2B buyers as hyper-rational and unfeeling. But they really are just people like the rest of us. That means their time is scarce, and they want to spend it consuming engaging, imaginative content that genuinely feels like it was created for them by another human being who cares.
The ultimate partnership
The reason creativity and data are seen as opposing forces is because we look at them as limiting each other. But an alternate approach is to see data as empowering and enriching creativity.
With a granular understanding of the specifics of their target audience, creatives can produce far more detailed, idiosyncratic work that is relevant to the particular moments they are creating content for – and appeals to the particular psychologies they are communicating with.
This opens a world of possibilities, allowing the creative team to go far beyond the generic content they might produce for an unspecified ‘B2B Buyer’. The most personalised and human the content, the more impactful the nurturing.
Pretty soon, you’ll have a virtuous cycle in place, as data is generated about the creative – enabling you to further sharpen your approach and finetune the creative to maximum effect.
Integrating creative and data may take time – and face resistance. But the benefits are clear. And as research from Mckinsey has shown, it is B2B sales teams that are willing to shake up their sales models and embrace next-generation capabilities that are growing their revenue fastest.
Ampli are able to harness effective machine learning powered data, impactful thought provoking creative and the latest 21st century technology to ensure your b2b lead nurture has the best possible chance of success. To understand how we do this, get in touch today.