B2B Marketing Budget Benchmarks

How Much Should You Spend on Marketing?

This question is a bit like how long is a piece of string. To help you answer this question, here is a compilation of recent data on B2B Marketing Budget Benchmarks.

B2B Marketing Budget Benchmarks Sources

According to Gartner

Survey results show that budgets have recovered somewhat, with the average marketing spend increasing from 6.4% to 9.5% of company revenue across almost all industries.

The typical marketing budget as a percentage of revenue for a $2 billion dollar company can vary widely depending on the industry, business model, and marketing strategy of the company. According to Gartner, the average B2B marketing budget as a percentage of revenue is around 11.2%.

According to BDC

A common rule of thumb is that B2B companies should spend between 2 and 5% of their revenue on marketing. For B2C companies, the proportion is often higher—between 5 and 10%. This is because B2C companies typically need to invest in more marketing channels to reach various customer segments.

According to Hubspot

B2B product industries allocate, on average, roughly 7.8% of revenue to marketing. This is similar to B2C services (6.5%) and B2B services (5.9%). B2C Product allocates the highest amount at 15.1% of total revenue. Small businesses are also spending.

According to The Marketing Spend Decision:

Benchmarks for B2B Companies survey by the CMO council, B2B companies spend on average 7.5% of their revenue on marketing.

According to a Leading VC Firm

Companies in their portfolio with >$100mn in revenue spent 23% of revenue on sales and marketing. Companies with 25% YOY growth spent 29% of revenue on sales and marketing.

A Deeper Dive on the Gartner Report

Gartner’s The State of Marketing Budget and Strategy 2022 is well worth getting hold of. You can download it here.

Some Highlights

  • Marketing budgets have recovered post-pandemic, increasing from 6.4% of revenue to 9.5%. This is still below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Tech Product CMOs reported the largest increase in budget year over year, jumping from 5.0% in 2021 to 10.1% in 2022.
  • FYI, another Gartner study that surveyed 500 hardware, software, and service companies reported average tech marketing as 8.5% of company revenue.
  • Digital accounts for 56% of marketing spending, but offline channels rebound as CMOs balance awareness and performance.
  • Most (61%) of CMOs report that their in-house teams lack the capabilities to deliver their strategy.

Spending Allocations

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So if you work for a tech company with $10 million in revenues, your marketing budget should be $1 million, according to Gartner (i.e., 10%). This would break down as follows:

  • Agencies and Services: $240,000
  • Paid Media: $260,000
  • Labor: $250,000
  • Marketing Technology: $250,000

I am very curious to know if this benchmark makes any sense. To be honest, the labor cost seems too low.

Leave a comment or email me (adam@healthlaunchpad.com) with what you think.

Drive More Website Traffic With An SEO Content Audit

In selling to healthcare clients, your website is the single most important marketing tool at your disposal. But it’s not uncommon for firms to spend tens of thousands of dollars building a website – only to find it’s not delivering the leads they expected. Does this sound familiar? If so, it may be time for an SEO content audit.

What is an SEO Content Audit?

For $2700, we will help you increase your search-driven traffic by optimizing some of your key web pages.

At healthlaunchpad, we’re outspoken advocates for the power of search engine optimization (SEO). Implementing an effective SEO program has been critical to our own growth, helping us boost organic website traffic by more than 150% within 6 months. For that reason, developing an SEO marketing strategy is always at the top of our list of recommendations when a client is looking to drive more (and better) traffic to their organization’s website.

However, we also know that implementing a full SEO strategy for your business can require a significant upfront investment. That’s why we developed our SEO Content Audit process.

The healthlaunchpad SEO Content Audit is designed to be a fast, simple, and affordable way to quickly optimize your website – helping you make subtle content changes that can produce a measurable difference in organic traffic.

What’s Included in an SEO Content Audit?

There are four elements of a healthlaunchpad SEO Content Audit:

  1. A Snapshot of Organic Traffic: Our SEO expert will conduct a high-level audit to provide an overview of your website’s organic search traffic. During the audit process, you’ll learn about search keywords already associated with your current website’s top three pages. Then, we’ll let you know which pages have the most potential to boost organic search traffic – and which pages will benefit the most from SEO optimization.
  2. Competitive Analysis: Provide our team with the names of your top three competitors, and we’ll let you know how their websites stack up against yours. After our audit is complete, you’ll have more insight into how your competition is using online marketing to drive online traffic.
  3. SEO Keyword Recommendations: After reviewing your audit results, you choose three web pages to optimize for SEO. Then, the healthlaunchpad team will recommend targeted SEO keywords for each page. These keywords will be selected based on their ability to drive the right type of traffic to your website.
  4. Content Optimization: To help optimize your website, a member of our content team will then integrate the SEO keyword recommendations across these three pages. For each of these web pages, your current web copy will be edited to improve your SEO ranking – while maintaining a natural writing tone and style. We’ll also provide best practices on SEO tactics such as URL names and meta descriptions.

What are the Benefits of an SEO Content Audit?
By working with healthlaunchpad for your SEO Content Audit, you can significantly improve the return on your website investment. The benefits include:

  • Improved Website ROI: You’ve already spent a lot of time, money, and effort building your organization’s website. Our SEO Content Audit helps you maximize the impact of that investment.
  • Low-Cost Implementation: Our SEO Content Audit is priced to fit any budget. For only $2,700 you can generate a quick marketing win, or demonstrate the value of a future SEO investment.
  • Better Sales Leads: After optimizing your website for SEO, you won’t just get more traffic to your website. You’ll get more of the right traffic. The result? Better leads for your sales team.

Maximize Your Website Investment

Interested in learning more about how you can quickly and effectively optimize your website for SEO? Schedule a call to learn more about the healthlaunchpad SEO Content Audit today.


Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash

How Language AI and ChatGPT can Help PR Professionals Thrive

The Role of AI and ChatGPT for PR Professionals
Guest post by Erin Farrell Talbot, Founder and President, Farrell Talbot Consulting

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last 30 days, you have probably heard of the latest advanced technology solution called Language AI, specifically ChatGPT. And chances are, you have probably tried it and have an opinion about the technology. In this post, I will cover some ideas of the role of ChatGPT for PR professionals like me.

I think it is a valuable tool, and I look forward to continuing to utilize the technology, but my recommendation is to proceed with caution.  

Since the launch of the technology, writers, journalists and PR people have been debating its usefulness. We witnessed the death of newspapers and hard-copy publications and watched everything move online, creating 24-hour global news cycles. We figured out how to utilize social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and TikTok to share messages, raise visibility, and communicate with the right audiences. We have embraced data analytics and media database tools. And now, we will learn how to collaborate with language AI tools. 

The consensus seems to be that the powerful language model has the potential to revolutionize the field of public relations and become one of the best co-workers and PR partners. And, as the technology continues to evolve, it will become increasingly adept at understanding and communicating with targeted audiences. Here are some of the ways I have been using the tool and how I believe it will have the ability to make the most positive impact on the PR industry.

  1. Using NLP: One of the most significant ways that ChatGPT can impact public relations is by using natural language processing (NLP). This technology allows ChatGPT to understand and respond to human language in a way that is like how a human would. We have spent years learning how to speak like computers, and now they are learning to speak like humans. This can be used to create more engaging and personalized interactions with audiences and quickly and accurately respond to media inquiries or clients.
  2. Content Creation: Another area where Language AI can have a big impact is in the area of content creation. The model can generate high-quality written content, such as press releases, blog posts, social posts and articles. This can save PR professionals significant time and effort and ensure that the content is tailored to the audience and on-brand. 
  3. Social Media Support: ChatGPT can monitor and analyze social media conversations, providing insights into what people are saying about a brand, product, or industry. This can help PR professionals stay on top of trends and quickly respond to any negative sentiment.
  4. Contact Search: Tools like PRAI.co can be a great productivity force multiplier for PR professionals. It can help us identify and reach out to the right reporters. As we all know, this is one of the most time-consuming tasks for a PR professional.
  5. Measuring ROI: Demonstrating the measurable value of what we do in PR is always challenging. Tools like PRAI.co have the potential to help us do that more effectively.

Language AI and ChatGPT have the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public relations by automating repetitive tasks, supporting the creation of high-quality content, and providing deep insights into audiences. There are not many downsides to the tool, but there are some things to consider if you want to utilize the AI platform.

  1. Lack of Creativity: AI can’t completely match all human skills– creativity being one of them. Deciding what makes a good story and how to bring it all together is something only humans can do. And, if everyone in the industry is using the same algorithms, everything will start to appear generic and certainly less creative. The tools are great as thought starters, but infusing a unique human voice and creative flair is meaningful.
  2. Develop Editing Skills: Language AI can become an important tool, but proceed cautiously as it spits out some generic content. PR people will need to develop their editing skills to create a unique final product and targeted to their respective audience and/or client. ChatGPT gave me a decent first draft every time I tried it, but every draft needed some customizing and editing. However, I will admit it was certainly better than starting with a blank screen.
  3. Use as Support: Language AI should be viewed as another supporting tool in the toolbox. PR tools have evolved through the years, and we have learned to adapt and incorporate them. For example, you would never stand at a fax machine and fax a press release to every reporter you know. (which is what we used to do in the early 1990s). 

PR professionals who can learn to leverage this new advanced technology solution and figure out how it fits into the toolbox to help augment their workload will be well-positioned to succeed in the future and to quickly meet the needs of clients and the press. I look forward to seeing it evolve.

Guest post by Erin Farrell Talbot, Founder and President, Farrell Talbot Consulting

Photo by DeepMind on Unsplash

Resources for Healthcare Rookies

Starting work in healthcare is like entering a parallel universe. Nearly everything is different. The business dynamics, the purpose of the organizations, and the economics are alien to anyone who, like me, has spent a career in other industries.

Stranger in a Strange Land

After a couple of decades of marketing for companies in financial services, consumer goods, retail, and technology, I started a company in the healthcare market.

I remember going to my first meeting with the leadership of a hospital. As I walked into the building I realized I had not been in a hospital for twenty years, and that was for the birth of my son.

The meeting might as well have been in Spanish. I could understand some of the words, but I wasn’t sure what was being said.

What was I thinking?

Fortunately, my founding partner was a physician. He translated for me and became my guide. After about six months, I started to get the hang of healthcare. After a year, I felt almost confident.

We Hope You Find This Useful

Over the last couple of years, we have written several posts and articles that we hope will be helpful to anyone on your team trying to get to grips with healthcare.

US Healthcare Market Segmentation

This post breaks down the US healthcare market with a heavy focus on the provider market. It’s our most popular post and, as far as we know, one of a kind. You can download a companion presentation here too. We plan to do an update on Payers soon.

Why Selling to Healthcare is so Hard

This post goes into detail about why healthcare is so different and why selling to healthcare is so much tougher than other markets.

Barriers to Market Entry

In this post, we review the top eight reasons why starting a business in healthcare is so challenging and what you will have to overcome to be successful in the US market.

Why Healthcare Sales Cycles are so Long

The first thing anyone in sales and marketing will tell you about healthcare is sales cycles are sooooooooo long. This post explains why.

Healthcare Technology Buyer Insights

Late last year, we ran a webinar with HIMSS where four healthcare technology executives spoke about the realities they face in 2023 and beyond. It’s a sobering look with many insights about healthcare buyers.

Healthcare Marketers’ New Realities

Five leading healthcare technology marketers talk about how they market to healthcare buyers. This is a really lively group, and they share perspectives and ideas on how to market in this industry.

Why ABM Matters in Healthcare

Given my obsession with ABM, I could not not include this post on why ABM can be effective in the long and complex sales cycles faced in healthcare.

Hope you enjoy these and they are helpful to you and your team.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

A B2B Social Media Masterclass with Simon Rost, GE Healthcare

Social Media has long been the domain of big consumer brands. It’s a medium that many in the B2B space still struggle with. Late last year, I had the pleasure of speaking with Simon Rost, from GE Healthcare for an episode of the Healthtech Marketing Podcast with HIMSS. It was a master class in B2B Social Media Strategy and Social Media Marketing at scale.

In an absorbing conversation, Simon told me how his group within GE Healthcare adapted to the pandemic by creating a very successful and highly compelling brand campaign driven by social media. What impressed me most is that GE Healthcare is doing what you would typically expect from a small, nimble digital health startup globally and at scale. It’s impressive!

Rather than tell Simon’s story for him, here are short excerpts where Simon describes their strategy.

#1 Why B2B Social Media Is Increasingly Important

In this first clip, Simon explains how the pressure on budgets has meant that many B2B firms are looking to digital marketing, especially Social Media, to do more with less.

Why LinkedIn is THE B2B Social Media Platform

Simon explains why LinkedIn is their primary B2B Social Media Platform and why it’s such an effective way to reach their buyers.

4-Part B2B Social Media Strategy

Over the last couple of years, Simon and his team have developed a 4-part approach to building their brand and demand through social media.

Strategy 1 – Create a Big Social Media-Driven Campaign

The GE Healthcare team developed a compelling storytelling idea that turned their social media channels into news channels. The campaign is called Care with Confidence.

You can see this campaign here. It’s brilliant! Wonderful storytelling about how GE Healthcare’s solutions make an impact.

I love the campaign’s authenticity. Watch this Youtube video between Mike Kay, the campaign’s presenter and GE Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer.

Strategy 2 – Create Snackable Content

Simon and the team were incredibly resourceful in developing short videos that were highly shareable across their B2B social media network.

They have tried many different ways to make the content available for audiences to consume how they want to when they want. This includes their own podcast.

Strategy 3 – Master Influencer Marketing

This approach is typically associated with consumer brands, but influencer marketing is just as effective in B2B Social Media. The GE Healthcare team had a deliberate and granular approach to getting content into the hands of influencers.

One of their own leading influencers is their Chief Medical Officer, Mathias Goyen, Prof. Dr.med. You can see one of his articles here. Simon is also a big influencer, as this feed shows.

This strategy included peer-to-peer idea sharing via social media. Here are three excellent examples:

Strategy 4 – Reverse Mentor Senior Executives

The last piece of the puzzle has been to turn the GE Healthcare senior leaders into influencers and prominent voices across LinkedIn. Simon and his team developed a clever approach where younger social media natives trained their bosses on how to be effective in B2B Social Media.

I want to thank Simon for sharing these insights with candor and transparency. It was a ton of hard work for Simon and his team. In my view, this is a best-in-class example of how to do B2B Social Medis at scale.

SDRs and ABM – It’s Like PB&J

In B2B marketing, one of the primary roles of marketing is to bring prospects to the door of your house. The role of the demand generators (we will call them SDRs for convenience) is to open the door and bring them into the house. The role of sales is to close the deal.

SDRs and ABM are a magical combination. In this article, we will dive into how ABM can boost the SDR team’s effectiveness and how intent data can improve SDR’s life.

I want to give a massive shout-out to Ben Person, martech entrepreneur and the former CMO of Nuvolo, for his insights in writing this post. Ben has forgotten more about this topic than I will ever know.

SDRs and ABM – Your Secret Weapon

In an account-based marketing model, SDRs are critical. Marketing resources are focused more on a narrower set of targets. Each lead is even more likely to be a good fit than traditional B2B marketing, as the account has been targeted more precisely with personalized content based on their interests and current activity. Each lead is even more precious, so getting these leads over the metaphorical threshold is even more important.

A strong alignment between marketing and sales is the key to a successful ABM program. And more importantly, marketing and the SDRs need to work seamlessly together. In many organizations that have embraced ABM, the SDRs are part of the marketing organization to ensure complete alignment between the group.

Using ABM can also be transformative in how effectively your SDRs perform. Let’s look at life for SDRs with and without ABM, and let’s start with the situation without ABM.

Being an SDR Without ABM

What’s the day like for an SDR that comes into a new SaaS company that is not using ABM?

To start with, they have poorer intelligence in their outreach activities besides the traditional tools like social media and data sources like Zoominfo. The challenge is how to make the SDRs’ jobs easier and make them more successful in increasing those conversions from marketing leads into opportunities and revenue.

And so, let’s start with a little bit of a story from Ben Person, the former CMO of Nuvolo.

 “So before ABM, what did we do? We had a team of SDRs, and they would define the target market, and the ideal customers we wanted to call into, and then they would start their outreach. They’d go into Salesloft and begin their outreach and targeting. The challenge with that is all of those outreaches, for the most part, are completely cold. They would use templated email and phone scripts written by product marketing and polished by marketing writers. But even with those standard talking points, they were sending those messages to potentially a non-engaged buyer. We don’t know if they’re in a buying cycle or currently looking for information that the SDR is sending. We don’t know what that buyer is currently using, evaluating, or even interested in. For us, that is as cold as outreach gets. They don’t even know our company exists in many cases.”

How ABM Changes The Way an SDR Works

In a situation where ABM has been implemented effectively, the life of an SDR looks very different. When is ABM running, it will feel like you are delivering automated awareness and movement to get buyers interested based on the topics they’re investigating and getting them to convert into a lead. For the SDR, this means that SDRs spend more time calling into a person with interest and intent, and they’re calling in with real data about that buyer.

For example, the SDR will know what content the prospect is engaging with, what topics they are researching, how long they are on your website, and what competitors they’re looking at.

Once you have ABM up and running, your SDRs will be armed with the key intel to set them up for success in their outreach. If the marketing team has done its job well, the buyer will have been targeted with content that is relevant to that particular buyer. So when a phone call or email comes into that potential client, they already know the company exists and why they are reaching out. They have already seen relevant information they have been researching, which was valuable to them.

As a buyer, you are more likely to be ready to speak with an SDR, and when an SDR does reach the buyer, the buyer is better informed and more engaged.

SDRs have much more control over the process. It feels like a more deliberate 5-step approach.

  1. Start by building targeted brand awareness.
  2. Get the best-fit accounts engaged through digital channels
  3. Use intent data to determine who is in-market
  4. Score them based on engagement with your content
  5. When they show enough intent, have your SDRs pursue them using the intent data gathered throughout the process.

You can’t just turn on an ABM campaign and expect that SDRs can start calling tomorrow. You need to warm up the buyers and filter out the accounts not currently in a buying cycle. First, you see intent; then, you start to put ads in front of them for an entire month. As the intent increases and there’s more interest, your SDRs should begin their follow-up. And you will need to cycle through different topics and segmentations to engage unresponsive target accounts. Below is a visual of what an ABM and SDR combined plan could look like.

As a marketer, your objective is to ensure that you have enough of the right accounts with the right information at the right time so that when your SDRs are outreaching, they have an improved hit rate.

SDRs are typically compensated based on their ability to create new customer meetings and generate opportunities and a sales pipeline. By introducing ABM to your SDR, you positively affect their ability to make more commission and increase the company’s bottom line revenue.

A Quick Way To Introduce ABM to Your SDRs

One of the simplest uses of intent data is to provide in-market reports to your sales team, especially SDRs. This can be achieved by integrating the source of intent data with your CRM. This can become a critical dashboard for the SDRs. A well-designed dashboard combines intent surge data with company website engagement. It creates a “Spike Heat” signal that indicates which companies are most actively in-market and engaging with them. Ideally, your ABM dashboard will aggregate and visualize all the data to allow marketing, SDRs and Sales to operate from the same playbook as they prioritize their targeted outreach.

In a recent project with a client, we used Zoominfo intent data with a client and saw positive results within a week. Their SDR team was researching current customer intent for a relatively new service that they were offering, e.g., Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). The head of the SDR team saw that a very large current customer was showing intent for RPM but still needed to purchase it from them. She alerted the account team, and within a few days, they reached the right person at the customer, who said they were about to start an RFP process and would be included.

If you are thinking about piloting intent data with your SDRs, let us know how we can help. We have a ton of experience in this area and a real passion for helping them get working with it.

Photo by Freddy G on Unsplash

ABM Platform Requirements – What to Look For

Last week, we asked, do you need an ABM Platform? If you came to the conclusion that you did, the obvious next question is what to look for in an ABM Platform. This post is designed to help you formulate your ABM Platform requirements.

(I want to give Ben Person a big shout-out for his help in writing this. The guy is a fricking ABM Jedi Master)

When you review the leading ABM platforms, from Demandbase, Terminus, 6Sense, Triblio, Rollworks, and others, they have several functions in common. The biggest thing is that they help you take the guesswork out of marketing.

Let’s break down the functions of an ABM Platform. We suggest you build an ABM Platform Requirements checklist with these main functions.

1. Account Intelligence

Account intelligence is the foundation of ABM. Your ABM platform should simplify your ability to find the right accounts in the market and look for solutions, engage with those accounts, close those deals faster and measure it all.

This will require bringing together different types of buyer behavior data, including your first-party intent data from your website analytics and third-party intent data. The key thing is that whatever sources you use should help you understand which accounts are in the market for your category of products before they raise their hand.  In addition, your ABM platform should help you identify accounts that are coming to your website anonymously.

The more sophisticated platforms use artificial intelligence to provide even greater insight into what customers and prospects are interested in. Some also include firmographics, including industry revenue, employee and account location, financials, etc. Check if they include account hierarchies with parent and child account mapping.

Some even help you discover new accounts and expand your total addressable market. Their recommendation engines will show you which accounts you should focus on and help you easily add those to your CRM.

Typically, third-party intent data only provides account-level info so you will need a way to source contact information for key buyers for target accounts. This should include privacy-compliant contact data that helps you identify and contact decision-makers across the buying team, including name, title, role, email, mobile, phone, and social.

All this account insight must appear in several key places to make this actionable. In addition to being in the ABM platform, the most important information should also feed into your marketing automation system and your CRM. Why? So that you can use it to run campaigns and so that your sales execs and SDRs get that insight into the platform where they do their work. This is important. You will be more successful by minimizing disruptions in how the sales team works.

When you evaluate, these platforms have multiple use cases and scenarios mapped out so that when the ABM platform vendor demos, you can ask them to slice and dice the data to create account lists in a way appropriate for your organization.

2. Account Prioritization and Predictive Analytics

One of the most important ABM Platform requirements is using account intelligence to prioritize target accounts. A good ABM platform will make it easy for you to find and prioritize your ideal accounts. First, you should be able to easily create customer lists and segments for your accounts and the people at those accounts that are part of the buying process. This includes choosing from the most common attributes like company size, revenue, industry, geography, and technologies.

Some ABM platforms include qualification scoring that uncovers your best-fit accounts and allows you to rank and segment your total addressable market easily. This will enable you to prioritize your time on the best opportunities. Some even include a predictive model that can quantify the chances of an account becoming an opportunity.

They use machine learning to find patterns that precede opportunities, e.g., a spike in intent or engagement, and then automatically and continuously look for similar patterns at other perspective accounts and your current customers. This lets sales teams prioritize outreach on accounts with a higher probability of converting.

A key ABM platform requirement is to track where an account is in its buyers’ journey. This is critical. You will implement campaigns partly based on where an account is in its buyer journey. The journey stage will be the core of your campaigns, allowing you to know what and when to market to an account.

3. Orchestration & Personalization

ABM campaigns are about engaging intelligently with your accounts at the right time and in the right way as efficiently as possible. As you design your ABM platform requirements, you need to include how the system allows you to orchestrate interactions across channels and systems and use targeted advertising and website personalization to attract and engage the right people in the correct accounts.

The dashboard should allow you to create target audience segments, for example, taking all accounts in the awareness or problem definition stage and putting them on a campaign list. Or take all buyers group members engaged with vendor evaluation-oriented marketing content and push them into a direct mail or gifting campaign.

You will want to sync your account and people list to third-party advertising destinations like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so that you can orchestrate a multi-channel advertising approach. This way, your ads can update automatically as accounts move through the journey or enter new segments.

Ask the vendor how you can use their platform to orchestrate campaigns across all of these channels:

  • Social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook)
  • Display ads
  • Email
  • Direct mail
  • Video
  • In-person events and conferences
  • Blogs
  • Webinars
  • Mobile

Several of these platforms also provide a demand-side advertising platform (DSP) to automatically manage ad impressions’ delivery. This may be one of your optional ABM platform requirements. Ask the vendor how they can maximize your programmatic spending.

Also, how do they handle brand safety so ads are only served on a publisher whitelist?

In more advanced campaigns, you should be able to connect to streaming services like Hulu, Spotify, Disney+, etc., so that you can reach the buyer wherever they are with personalized ads.

You will want to know how the platform measures ROI and can determine the impact of a campaign. This is one of the most important ABM platform requirements.

Most importantly, you need to understand how each platform handles personalization.  How will the platform improve how your accounts receive a relevant experience when they visit your website, are driven by an ad, or arrive organically? Can it help you personalize the website based on their journey stage and create tailored experiences that will improve conversion?

4. Improving Sales Conversion

Account intelligence needs to be at the fingertips of your sales, right inside CRMs like Salesforce. Getting marketing, sales, and customer success alignment is among the highest priority ABM platform requirements.  Having these groups in the same CRM system, they use today and not requiring they go into another system for ABM will be a key to the adoption and success of the ABM program.

Ideally, your ABM platform will automatically populate account info in the CRM with information that will make the sales AE and SDR better informed, e.g., account hierarchies, news alerts, social alerts, and buying intent signals.

This will help your sales team reach out more reasonably and make it easier to impress them with knowledge about leadership changes, financial results, and other key news that may drive a compelling event.

More importantly, the sale team should have a single view that displays intent signals from third-party intent data and engagement insights such as website visits, email interactions, etc. Ideally, the ABM platform or your CRM will aggregate email, phone, and in-person communication history. Ask them how the platform empowers the salesperson through better insights.  A strong Revops (revenue operations) or Marops (marketing operations) person will be a key resource to making this successful.  Hiring the right operations person for this job will be key to your ABM program.

Some platforms offer web plugins so that when a salesperson is prospecting on LinkedIn, they get more complete contact details, including email addresses and direct and mobile phone numbers.

Suffice it to say that the ABM platform should also have customizable alerts for important information, such as highlights to the most engaged accounts with the highest pipeline predict scores, top intent, keywords, and key engagement signals from your open opportunities.

Lastly, how can the platform help customer success managers? This is one of the ABM platform requirements that is often overlooked. They should also be able to see changes within their accounts and quickly respond to opportunities or threats, such as the loss of a champion, expansion into new markets, rising or falling profits, etc. The platform should also help identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities for growth or help you know when a customer might consider a competitor.

5. Measurement

The last important ABM platform requirement is how it allows you to measure your ABM activities. In this post, we reviewed the ABM Measurement Framework.

At a basic level, you need to see which accounts are visiting which pages of your website with account identification and associated demographics. Ideally, this can feed into other platforms you might be using.

You need to show how you are driving demand, how you are driving the right types of traffic, and where your target accounts are coming from. The systems should help you understand the behavior of individual accounts, personas, and buying groups, all at a granular level as well as at an aggregate level. In addition, how does the platform display engagement?

You want to see across a buyer journey, measure engagement across your accounts, and track how they move through the buying journey with conversion rates and velocity metrics to understand where they get stuck.

For advertising campaigns, you need to be able to see where every impression was served and which ads have been most successful. In aggregate, how your programs and campaigns across all your marketing channels are performing.

Conclusion

ABM Platforms can do a great deal that is hard or impossible with other marketing platforms. Marketing Automation Systems like Hubspot and CRMs do some of these but not as well as the ABM Platforms.

In formulating your ABM Platform Requirements, it is important to have a sound strategy in place first. You don’t want to invest the time and budget in buying an expensive platform like with unless you are sure that you are ready to scale up ABM.

Maybe the most important of all the ABM Platform requirements is how it helps you operationalize your strategy. If you are looking for ideas on how to create an ABM strategy, this post will help.

B2B Healthtech Marketing Podcast – Use of Social Media at Scale – Simon Rost, Marketing Executive, GE Healthcare, Europe

Effective use of social media at scale for large B2B healthtech organizations is a big challenge. In this podcast, Simon Rost, a Marketing Executive with GE Healthcare explains how this global healthcare technology firm has mastered this.

Simon Rost is an insightful marketer with a brilliant perspective on the use of social media at scale. In the below video podcast which is brought to you in partnership with HIMSS, he talks to Adam Turinas, the CEO and founder of healthlaunchpad.

Key Podcast Insights:

  • What GE Healthcare does
  • How GE Healthcare Markets Their Healthcare Solutions
  • How GE Healthcare adapted to the pandemic
  • Approach to Exciting Content Development & Social Media Program
  • How you can scale your marketing globally
  • Simon Rost’s Piece of Advice

Podcast Video: B2B Social Media at Scale – Rose Simon, GE Healthcare

Podcast Summary with Timestamps

01:16 – Introduction – Simon Rost & GE Healthcare

The podcast begins with Simon Rost sharing about his role as the Chief Marketing Office at GE Healthcare and the firm’s global mission as a digital healthcare service provider.

02:38 – Managing & Resources from a Global Perspective

In explaining how their firm manages resources from a global perspective, Simon points out that:

  • They deal with countries based on their country-origin clusters, such as the US, Canada, and China.
  • He sets his team to play four main roles, namely advisory to commercial teams, leadership, customer & business intelligence, and industry relationships
  • He is also responsible for product marketing and value proposition, including content management systems and other sales tools.
  • Apart from a global marketing level, they have a regional level to support their 4-pillar roles.

4:33 – Global Brand Strategy

Further in the podcast, Simon Rost discusses their global brand in terms of:

Global thought leadership and global content that is adapted and translated to suit different marketing regions.

Simon talks about their marketing differentiator strategy, which guides them in distinguishing their value proposition

5:27 – GE Software Marketing Portfolio

In the podcast, Simon also talks about their Software portfolio and some of the problems their firm is solving through the timely provision of relevant healthcare data.

Simon points out that their firm focuses on ensuring that their customers spend time where it’s most valued by providing the right and relevant healthcare data.

9:02: Time Spent in Growing Business with Existing Customers

With their massive global footprint and multiple divisions, Simon explains how:

  • He spends a significant amount of time fueling their firm’s growth engine
  • He spends about 60 to 70%) of his marketing time growing business and adding value to existing customers.
  • They have different stakeholders with specific but well-coordinated roles
  • Their buying differs slightly from others

12:26 – Simon Rost – Pandemic Impact & Use Social Media for Expansion

In the podcast video, Simon shares their experiences and journey during COVID and how social media became a critical part of their marketing strategy.

He explains how the digital space has changed and points out how LinkedIn and other social media platforms have proved important for their advertising, creating and sharing engaging content in different formats, and building their network.

21:29 – How GE Healthcare Approach Account-based Marketing (ABM)

Further in the podcast, Simon Rost provides valuable insights on how GE Healthcare approaches ABM and how they use tools to identify their key accounts.

In the podcast discussion, it becomes clear that when it comes to ABM implementation, health tech marketers out to think crawl, walk, and run!

27:58 – Simon Shares One piece of Advice

Finally, in offering his final advice based on lessons learned, Simon states that half of the battle is just showing up rather than wasting the challenge.

Simon ends by quoting Woody Allen:

“90% of success is showing up.”

Podcast Subscription

You can subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Spotify, or any of your favorite podcast applications.

If you have got any ideas, please, let me know through Adam@healthlaunchpad.com.

And if you like this podcast, share it with a couple of people so they can listen and learn.

Thank you!

 Other Relevant Links:

Do You Need an ABM Platform?

The choices of Marketing technology are overwhelming. At the last count, according to Scott Brinker of https://chiefmartec.com/ there were over 9,000 technology solutions to consider, arrayed across dozens of different categories. This is ever-changing, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the available options.

If you are serious about account-based marketing, you will be thinking about what technology you need and when you should consider an ABM Platform. Let’s start with the different types of technology you will need to consider and the role of an ABM Platform.

Where Does an ABM Platform Fit in Your Tech Stack

Let’s cover the fundamentals. Here are the different types of technologies you will need to consider:

  1. Intent Data: This provides buying signals about target accounts. There are two types: First-party intent data, e.g., tools like Leadlander and Leadfeeder can tell you which accounts are visiting our website, and third-party intent, e.g., Bombora and Zoominfo’s intent data. This post covers intent data in more detail.
  2. Contact Data: As intent data typically only provides account-level data, you will need a supplemental source of contact data, such as Zoominfo, to build a contact list when an account appears on your radar screen.
  3. CRM: You most likely have this already. CRM platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho are where your sales team works. This is usually where accounts and contacts are stored and accessed. While ABM campaigns are not managed here, it will be important that you create ABM dashboards in your CRM. This is critical to engaging the sales teams in your ABM and ABX programs.  As your SDRs start work in the morning, you want them to look at a dashboard and be able to see which accounts are showing what intent to focus on. This will help them prioritize whom they will outreach to. It will show buyers’ research topics and make it easy to personalize SDR, sales, or customer success activities.
  4. Marketing Automation: This is a platform you most likely have in place. Platforms like Pardot, Marketo and Hubspot enable you to run automated marketing campaigns easily and measure the impact. While many of these include more ABM-like capability, this is limited. Often, you can get started with ABM by integrating third-party intent data into your marketing automation system, e.g., Bombora and Eloqua, but you will struggle to scale to an entire ABM and ABX model without an ABM platform.
  5. ABM and ABX Platforms: We will cover this in-depth below. This includes companies like 6sense, Terminus, DemandBase, and a handful of others. These multi-function platforms allow you to run your ABM program at scale. One of their most important functions is to help you drive better-informed sales and marketing decisions based on customer behavior. They are your ABM program’s automated workflow delivery engine and are increasingly the ad platform used to run your digital display campaigns.
  6. Personalization: These additional tools make it easier to personalize messaging, ad creative, and landing pages dynamically and at scale. These include Folloze, Uberflip, and Pathfactory.
  7. Sales Outreach: Your sales and SDR team may already use tools like Salesloft and Outreach.io to automate and measure outbound email and social media prospecting programs.
  8. Integration Tools: You will need to integrate the tech stack. These platforms are designed to work together, and integration tools like Zapier facilitate this.
  9. Project Management: You will want to have a marketing project management solution to track your campaigns, projects, and tasks.  This will be key to tracking progress on cross-functional work for creative, content, and social media.  Solutions like Workfront, Asana, and Monday.com.

Do you need an ABM Platform?

 Eventually, yes.

Why? You can do 1:1 ABM without an ABM platform and pilot 1:1 Few and 1:Many ABM without an ABM platform. However, without an ABM platform, you will be limited in the business impact you can have.  You won’t be able to scale your ABM program due to the lack of automation and manual, labor-intensive processes required to perform the work.

The other thing is that you will also miss out on some amazing capabilities that will change how you generate demand in your business.

Let’s start with the age-old problem of how generating new prospect leads.

In a traditional, broad-based approach, you use various tactics to get prospective buyers to put their hands up and indicate some interest in what you do. Typical tactics include conferences, trade show booths, webinars, syndicated content, Google ads, and targeted LinkedIn ad campaigns.

These all work and have their role in an ABM scenario, but they can be hugely wasteful. In the words of John Miller, a longtime ABM executive and Chief Product Officer of Demandbase, this is like fishing in an ocean vs. fishing in a narrow stream.

This diagram summarizes the problem you are trying to solve by Demandbase:

The issue is that when a prospect is active in a buyer journey, they only engage with you in the latter stages. If you are lucky, you might be able to identify them early in the process if they download some gated content from your website or register for a webinar that you are running, but the fact is that buyers spend most of their time avoiding you.

The value of an ABM platform is that makes it easier for you to identify in-market accounts earlier through intent data, monitor the buyer collective at these accounts, and orchestrate more precisely targeted campaigns to them, personalized to who they are and what stage they are in the buyer journey. It gives you the visibility and power to move a buyer through the journey with you. Or at least allows you to move through the buyer journey with them so that when they are ready to talk to a vendor, there is a greater chance that you will be one of the vendors they consider, and they will be better educated about you by the time you speak with them.

Life With and Without an ABM Platform

Here are three real-life scenarios of selling and marketing with and without an ABM Platform. In this case, it is for a firm selling sophisticated enterprise software with a $1 million+ annual cost.

No ABM Platform and No Intent Data

Before starting its ABM journey, the firm kept missing out on RFPs. Customers did not know this new company existed due to the number of vendors in their market that had been around for a long time with stronger brand awareness, so they were not included in the initial vendor list for consideration. This was painful as buyers only evaluated new solutions every 10-15 years. If you missed a buying cycle, you would unlikely see another opportunity with this customer for a decade. You can see how missing an opportunity that only comes along once a decade will negatively impact the company’s success and longevity.

No ABM Platform but Using Intent Data

To get started with ABM, they tried using third-party intent from Zoominfo. In the first few days of using this, one of the SDRs noticed that a target account they had a good relationship with was spiking for a key topic related to one of their solutions. This signaled that they may be in-market for their solution. The Account Executive (AE) responsible for the account reached out to a contact they knew at that company. This contact put the AE in touch with a more appropriate contact leading this project. This person let them know that they were developing an RFP. This person was unfamiliar with the software firm’s solution in this area and decided to include them in the RFP.

With an ABM Platform

The software firm adopted the Terminus platform. As they became more familiar with the benefits of the ABM platform, the SDR and marketing team could pinpoint an account that was in-market. Rather than immediately have the SDRs reach out to the account, they ran a personalized segment-specific campaign to the account. Based on topics that this account was spiking for, they changed the messaging to address that interest. As the account moved to the next stage in the buyer journey, they refined the message accordingly. The team’s goal was to move the buyers or at least a champion to watch a 15 to 30-minute demo walkthrough video of their solution. At that point, they knew that they had an educated buyer who was interested enough to dedicate 30 minutes to learn the details and value of the solution. At that point, the SDR reached out with a personalized email and phone call. The buyer responded and indicated that his firm was interested in their solution.

Final Thoughts

An ABM Platform is an expensive investment in money and time. When you decide to move ahead with this, you want to be sure that you will get value out of it. The other big issue is to ask yourself if the organization is ready to change. I have come across firms that have purchased an ABM platform but have not changed how they market to embrace ABM. In this case, they have bought an expensive DSP ad platform.

If you are thinking about adopting an ABM Platform, make sure you have a solid strategy in place and a strategic roadmap to get there. You can find the resources you need to work on this in our ABM Resource Center or by reading our extensive articles and webinars.

And if you need some help with this, were offer strategic advisory services to get you started.

Next week, we will cover what you need to consider in selecting an ABM Platform.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

B2B Marketing – A Personal History

I have been involved in B2B Marketing for three decades and lived through multiple waves of change in this industry. Normally, I look ahead rather than backward, so I apologize in advance for a self-indulgent trip down memory lane. Looking back, I saw how B2B Marketing had changed dramatically and fast in a relatively short period. Here is my personal story of living that evolution.

How I Got Started in B2B Marketing

My first job out of college was as a junior account executive at the newly formed DMB&B in London. It was the very tail end of the MadMen Days. It was the late 80s, London was booming, and the UK advertising industry was riding high. And damn, it was fun!

I worked on classic consumer packaged goods brands like Mars and Tetley Tea. I made dozens of TV commercials, including some high-profile campaigns with some big celebrities.

Back then, B2B marketing was a backwater in the industry. DMB&B had DEC (the old Digital Computer) as a client. It was all a bit of a mystery to me. From what I could tell, the agency did the occasional obscure print ad in a few trade mags. There seemed to be a lot of activity without much to show. I knew this was an important client, but I didn’t know why. B2B Marketing seemed to be about doing a little brand awareness building, some direct mail, the annual trade show and not much else.

In 1988, I moved to Houston, Texas, and joined Ogilvy & Mather. The agency had a well-earned reputation as a great place to learn. This was my first exposure to working on a B2B account, as I was hired as an AE on the Compaq account.

B2B was not Boring-to-Boring

Compaq was the insurgent in the computer market, and we were going toe-to-toe with IBM. It was the IBM Charlie Chaplin campaign era, not long after Apple’s 1984 spot. The budgets were huge, and I was impressed with the strategic approach in how we developed campaigns. It was much faster-paced than packaged goods advertising. We produced more TV, print ads, and other tactics in a year than a packaged goods account produced in five years. This was a lot more fun than I expected.

It was exciting, but I was frustrated that we never really knew what impact we were having. Compaq’s business was exploding, but it was hard to directly link what we were doing and their success. And, when their business hit a wall, they fired Ogilvy. Advertising got little credit for Compaq’s success but seemed to get the blame when things went badly.

In the early 90s, I moved with Ogilvy to New York. Initially, I worked on some packaged goods accounts, but this seemed a bit dull. A year or so later, Ogilvy won the IBM account, and I was one of the first account executives on this vast global account. It was exciting to be back in B2B marketing, but the same issues remained.

I had no idea if anything I was doing was having any effect. We were spending millions of dollars on TV commercials and rafts of print ads in the computer trade magazines, but it was still hard to correlate anything we were doing with demand.

The Web Changed Everything

While I was working on the IBM account, I had an epiphany.

My father-in-law had given my family a PC for Christmas. This old 386-chip beige box came with a 9600 baud modem and a Netcom CD. I had never been online, and one evening I thought I would give the new thing called the Worldwide Web a whirl.

At 6 pm, I booted up the PC, put the Netcom disk in the CD Drive, and got online for the first time.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck.

By 3 am the next morning, I finally logged off. There weren’t many websites then, and by the time I went to bed, I had probably visited most of them. It was chaotic and hard to navigate. Most websites were corporate brochures, but it was clear that this was transformative. This could be the biggest thing in my career, and I wanted to get in early.

The Early Days of Digital B2B Marketing

Within a year, I left Ogilvy to join the interactive arm of Grey advertising.  This was a small group, and we had to figure everything out. How to build a website, what an ad banner should look like, and how to advertise.

We were helping Sprint’s B2B Marketing team use online ads to get new customers. We were placing banners using a traditional ad exposure-based model. It worked well, and we could measure the impact of what we were doing using direct-marketing metrics.

One day, we had a meeting with the sales rep from Yahoo. He told us about a radical new concept called keyword ads. We could buy out a search word exclusively, and our client’s ad would appear at the top of the page whenever someone searched for that term.  This sounded cool, and we asked if we could buy the terms”AT&T” and “Sprint.” No one had asked Yahoo if they could buy a competitive term before!

Sprint loved that we were sticking it to the big guy, and the ads using the AT&T search term performed well.

Two weeks later, the Yahoo rep called me in a panic. They had to renege on the deal as AT&T threatened to boycott Yahoo for letting us do this. It was frustrating as this campaign had been effective.

BTW, You may notice that this technique is familiar. This was an early instance of what is now Google Ads.

Dell the Pioneer

What Dell did in the 90s was a dramatic example of how the web transformed B2B marketing.

In the mid-90s, Dell was the hottest computer company. They had built an extraordinarily successful business by dominating the PC magazines with direct marketing ads driving to 1-800 numbers.

Michael Dell saw the potential of the web immediately, but even in 1998, their website was a mess. We were hired to fix this. We developed a design that simplified the buyer experience. The results were extraordinary. Within a couple of months, Dell’s online sales reached $1 million per day. This made the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Most of the sales were not transacted online and were closed by a sales rep calling a customer back, but the impact was clear. How B2B goods would be sold and marketed was being changed forever.

The Birth of The Digital Demand Engine

Going into the new millennium, I moved into digital business building. At first as a consultant for an internet consulting firm and then as my first steps as an entrepreneur. B2B Marketing was central to this, and I started two businesses that rode the next wave of B2B Marketing.

This was the early days of the CRM explosion, primarily driven by the rise of Salesforce. My first attempt at a startup was founding a CRM firm. We had our own SaaS CRM platform and positioned this as a database marketing platform. We struggled to get far with this. Salesforce was the platform of choice, and we were undercapitalized. After 18 months, we gave up and sold the assets to a B2B marketing firm.

I then teamed up with a friend, and we started a B2B marketing consulting firm focused on database management and marketing.

We were early in the new wave of B2B marketing. The industry had shifted from being heavily dependent on trade shows and direct mail to creating digitally-driven demand engines.

The “tactic du jour” was the gated white paper accompanied by mass email marketing. It was spray and pray, but it worked.

Over the next few years, these approaches were adopted by the vast majority of B2B marketers. It became the default marketing modus operandi for tech firms.

Getting Social

One of my passions is the use of social media. I was an early adopter of LinkedIn, but to be honest, until the last few years, I never really got the hang of using LinkedIn as a marketer.

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, I became obsessed with the power of social media but mostly as a personal experiment. In this post, you can read about how sailing + social + SEO changed how I thought about marketing.

In 2012, I started a health-tech company, Practice Unite (later renamed Uniphy Health). We never had the capital to market aggressively and depended on owned and earned (i.e., lower cost) tactics to build the business. We found that the combination of good storytelling, amplified with PR and social media, got the word out and built awareness of our firm in a targeted way.

We developed a formula that worked well. Whenever we had a good customer story to tell, our PR partner pitched it to the targeted trade media. We posted about it extensively on LinkedIn, sent out emails, and our Chief Medical Officer used this for outreach in a very targeted and ABM’y way to specific accounts.

While we never had the budget to blow it out, I felt we had an outsized reach for a small firm. I didn’t realize it then but were doing an early version of ABM.

In 2019, we sold the firm, and it was time for the next thing.

A New Mission Driven by Two Passions

I returned to my first passion, B2B marketing, and combined it with my newly found passion, selling to healthcare. My mission was to help address one of the hardest things in sales and marketing: Selling to healthcare. This is why I set up healthlaunchpad.

I felt that I had unfinished business. I was disappointed that I had not marketed my health-tech business as I had wanted to. I vowed to myself that I would not let that happen with healthlaunchpad.

To that end, the first thing I did was learn how to use LinkedIn effectively. I took a course with the amazing Adam Franklin. Adam taught me how to use Linkedin and helped me shape a vision for building this new business.

Over the last few years, I have developed a model that works well for us. There are four corners to how we market:

  1. Content – I create something new at least once per week, and there is a deliberate strategy behind this to build authority in what we do. By the way, I also learn a lot by writing as it forces me to figure things out.
  2. SEO– In my work with Adam Franklin, I was introduced to fellow Texan Karen Finn, PhD, an awesome SEO pro. We worked together to develop an approach that has 10X’d our traffic.
  3. Social – LinkedIn is my medium of choice. I aim to post ten times per week and send 20 invitations daily. I analyze and optimize obsessively. Over the last 2 ½ years, my network has tripled, and engagement is always growing.
  4. Partnerships – The relationship with HIMSS has been a cornerstone of the success of healthlaunchpad. We do webinars, podcasts, and market research together. We have also developed partnerships with Bombora and HITMC.

Account-Based Marketing – The Son of B2B Marketing

The most exciting thing in B2B Marketing is how it is becoming account-based marketing (ABM). This is the future of B2B marketing. For a few companies, ABM is part of how they do business, but relatively few firms have fully embraced this. Many are on the journey, and I am as excited about ABM as I was about my first trip on the internet.

I have written about this extensively, and you can see some of this here.

Why am I so obsessed with the potential of ABM?

It just makes sense.

Rather than casting a wide net hoping to catch a random few accounts, you focus your resources more effectively on accounts that are in-market for what you do. It’s also about tailoring your messages and content to attract accounts that are more likely to be a good fit for you.

Long-term, ABM and its sister ABX are about creating long-term profitable relationships with customers who give you more business and advocate for you.

What’s not to love about that? 

Thanks for humoring me on my trip down memory lane. I continue to be as passionate about B2B Marketing as when I started three decades ago. You can follow my passion by checking out our Learning Center.

What’s your B2B Story?

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

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