What you’ll learn
- What insight challenges B2B organisations are facing.
- The four critical analytics processes and their underlying capabilities.
- How successful B2B analytics teams effectively drive insights.
- How to create an insight driven advantage for your business.
- Bridging the gap between insights and improved performance includes assessment, knowledge and action before improvement.
- Insight-mature businesses grow faster than their less insight-driven peers.
- The ultimate goal of analytics is to guide performance - beyond describing, explaining or predicting performance.
- The gap for B2B marketing transformation and insights needs to be bridged by both insight creators and users.
Effective marketing today is all about analytics. Data is the new gold in the digital marketing world. The more you know about your market, your customers and the influence of your products, the more engagement and revenue you can generate.
However, B2B organisations are struggling to become insight-driven, and knowing information is not tantamount to enhancing your business. This issue was tackled in Forrester’s Driving Aligned B2B Marketing Transformation presentation at the 2022 Forrester B2B Summit in London, UK. They detailed a process any B2B business can follow to become more analytically aligned and more effective.
We’ve detailed our key takeaways from the presentation in this blog, capturing the important points so that you can implement Forrester’s approach. With the information presented below, you can align your business with effective analytical B2B marketing, today.
The Great Gap
Before we go into how you can align your B2B business with analytics, it’s important to understand why most organizations struggle to become insight-driven in the first place. In a world where there are a multitude of data tools, services and solutions it may appear to be a mystery why this is the case. However, both insight creators and users still encounter a consistent set of challenges, every day.
Insight creators, such as data scientists and analytics experts often cite:
- Too few resources
- A stringent workload
- Lacking the proper skills
- Unspecific success criteria
- Lack of focus
While insight users, such as sales and marketing teams claim:
- The volume of data is too much
- Limited access to specific data
- Lack of relevance for received data
- Unuseful data
- The data they receive is not actionable
As we can see above, data and information does not always directly constitute enhanced business performance. While both creators and users have valid reasons for their challenges, they all boil down to the underlying problem that there is a ‘great gap’ between accumulated data and actionable insights.
This gap has very serious implications for businesses. As Forrester claims, 68% of advanced insight-driven B2B and B2B2C businesses see over 10% year on year revenue growth when compared to beginner insight-driven businesses. In short, it costs real money in failing to funnel your insights into positive business performance change.
Bridging the insights gap
Bridging the gap between development of insights and impact on business should be a primary objective for organizations who want to align their teams towards marketing transformation. Forrester outlined the following steps that need to be undertaken by both users and analytics teams to help.
Development > Assessment > Knowledge > Action > Impact
Assessment - Determine meaning and relevance
Once data teams have acquired information, they need to determine what it means in the context of their business and how it is relevant to the rest of the organization.
Knowledge - Consensus and conclusions
It should be generally accepted and verified as to what the data means, and conclusions should be drawn as to what can be done with it.
Action - Insights applied to actions
However, simply knowing data won’t result in a positive business impact. The data needs to be applied with actions to make a difference for an organization.
The catch? The above process almost never happens organically. If it did, organizations would simply thrive on the amount of data they collect alone. What organizations need is a framework that helps them facilitate the process. In the presentation, Forrester presented their own framework that they used to help clients such as Siemens and Autodesk leverage insights for greater success.
The Forrester B2B Insight-Led Analytics Ecosystem
The Forrester B2B Insight-Led Analytics Ecosystem is Forrester’s own framework to bridge the insights gap. It highlights four key analytical processes that contribute to developing organizational analytics capabilities that stimulate positive business change.
Process 1 - Analytics Development
Many businesses gather immense amounts of data and have a dashboard or report for every aspect of their operation. However, they’re not generating actionable directives, or even insights at all - only information. To get to actionable insights, businesses need to develop their analytics to a point where it helps guide their actions, rather than simply describing them.
The first process involves processes and tools to help organizations do just this. It outlines four stages of analytical development that data must proceed through before reaching its potential:
- Describing performance - reports and dashboards.
- Explaining performance - exploratory hypothesis.
- Predicting performance - predictive models.
- Guiding performance - next best action, scenario modeling.
Most businesses need this balance, yet instead focus on simply describing performance. A mature insights-driven organization will have the right tools and processes to turn data from describing performance all the way towards guiding their next moves and objectives.
Process 2 - Insight Interpretation
Data is complicated and needs to be explained from an analytical perspective. In Process 2, your analytics team should be focused on how to get the insights of data across to users. Forrester believes this process should be broken down into four steps:
- Exploration - investigating data in search of answers.
- Hypothesis - forming and testing theories on what’s happening and why.
- Story shaping - structuring communications in a relevant way for other teams.
- Guidance - developing a series of actions based on this data for business improvement.
This same process can be cycled for further insight generation. Process 2 is especially useful for creating a partnership between insight creators and users, enabling users to use data and insights to solve business challenges.
Process 3 - Insight Activation
Insight activation addresses how analytics teams prepare uses to work productively with data insights. This process involves two fundamental components.
Data creators need to engage users and the organization as a whole to invest in and leverage data. They need to make the case for analytics through advocacy, awareness and influence to build trust with users. If they do not engage users, then their efforts will go unused and underappreciated.
The second component is to actually train and help users use the insights the team provides. Once users buy into the concept of analytics, they need training and support to help them make the most of it. This should be a core responsibility, equal to that of engagement, for the data science team.
Process 4 - Performance Management and Optimization
The previous three processes come together in Process 4: Performance Management and Optimization. In this stage, an organization must ensure that their insights are consistently applied to create positive business impact across multiple departments.
Forrester sees this process being supported by three essential activities, namely:
- Cadence management
- Process tracking
- Objective setting
Forrester also noted that both creators and users should play a role in this step, with responsibility being equally shared between the two. Users need to buy in, use the data and provide feedback, while data creators have to make the case, provide relevance and consistently improve their insights.
Level up your analytics
If there’s one major takeaway from the presentation, it’s that driving insight impact for a business is not a single-player game. Leveraging B2B analytics is a shared responsibility across an organisation, from data scientist to digital marketers. Only together can we cross the insight value gap, and begin to use insights to improve our businesses, day by day.
If you would like some guidance for your own digital marketing and insight generation, contact LeadFabric today. We’ll examine your needs, set up a solid plan and get you on the road to success in no time.