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Why B2B Marketers Should Benchmark Themselves For Optimization

September 23rd, 2019 Andrew Warren-Payne

This post is the latest in our series on B2B marketing optimization and how to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

As part of the first articles in our B2B marketing optimization series, we covered why you should optimize for the entire customer journey and common barriers to optimization success.

In this post, we’ll explain why you should benchmark your company’s own performance (using both internal and external sources of data) before starting out on your optimization journey.

Benchmarking helps to negotiate success tactics

All marketers have heard the adage “what gets measured, gets improved”. In that case, having at least a baseline of measurement helps to set goals for optimization.

However, understanding the degree to which something can be improved is critical. It allows you to determine what is realistic and achievable. It also helps you to prioritize efforts where the greatest impact will be.

Using external industry benchmarks and figures are often highly valuable in this regard – and also act as baselines if you aren’t able to access historical performance because it hasn’t been measured previously.

If you are looking at optimizing areas that need help from other teams, benchmark data will help demonstrate the potential impact of working together. Likewise, if marketing is set targets which are unrealistic, benchmarking helps to have conversations to negotiate over goals and expectations.

Benchmarking can identify bottlenecks across the customer journey

The typical B2B customer journey has many steps before a sale is even made. Inevitably there is drop-off at each stage of the process.

Benchmarking can help to identify where the bottlenecks and drop-off points are compared to the average. For example, if on-page conversion rates are lower than industry norms, this presents an opportunity for optimization. If the time between a lead being marketing qualified and sales accepted is excessive, optimization can work on improving that.

If there is excessive drop-off after initial sales meetings have been booked, marketing can look to provide content and campaigns to keep prospects at this stage engaged, with the aim of reducing lost opportunities.

Benchmarking helps to prioritize what’s important

There is potentially a huge amount of data available to B2B marketers today to help them gauge effectiveness. However, such a long list of metrics can easily become overwhelming.

Having benchmark data available allows marketers to identify where the quick wins and biggest levers are. Other areas of improvement can be put on to a longer-term list that can be actioned depending on resources later down the line.

Benchmarks from external sources can also be valuable in this regard because B2B marketers can all to easily pursue paths that might not pay off in the manner expected.

For example, NetLine’s 2019 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report found that while marketers often target their content at the C-suite, individual contributors are downloading the most content – suggesting that marketers could benefit from prioritizing efforts on a wider buying unit.

Where to find benchmark data to plan your optimization efforts

The first place you should look is within your own systems to identify what data you have at your fingertips. Once you have this, you can look for external sources to identify what good performance looks like.

For webinars, ON24’s annual Webinar Benchmarks Report contains figures across a whole range of metrics, while our previous post on How to Measure Webinar Success contains some ideas on optimizing each.

Industry surveys and analyst reports are also a good place to turn to find data on anything from content preferences for B2B buyers through to lead generation figures.

Whatever metrics you choose to investigate, remember to keep in mind the customer journey as a whole. By doing so, you’ll avoid gaming singular metrics and make sure your efforts enhance the entire customer experience.

For more information on where your webinars stand in relation to your peers, download ON24’s Webinar Benchmarks Report for details on performance across the webinar journey – from registration and attendance through to always-on viewing.