In focus: B2B marketing's data challenge

We explore the state of data-driven marketing in B2B marketing teams and what's holding their martech investment and innovation back

Automation potential

Critical to bringing B2C data practices into the B2B realm is the ability to apply automation to tasks that have previously been human-intensive. For managing director at IBM-owned digital solutions agency Bluewolf, Gavin Diamond, that has means bringing together tools such as Salesforce and IBM’s Watson platform to unlock the value of data assets within clients.

“The potential is clear as day for a lot of organisations,” he says. “But there are many organisations who don’t know how to get there and haven’t really started on the journey of integrating insights and analytics into their sales functions.

“Most organisations have mountains of data. The problem is a lot of that data is dark data, and it is very hard to surface. It is sitting across disparate information systems in various ways, shapes and forms. The resolution to that is putting an AI overlay over the top that allows you to make sense of and integrate that data into a single pane of glass.”

One of the more prominent use cases has been with clients wanting sales staff to take on more of a consultative role. That, in turn, requires giving those reps greater information about both the clients they are seeing and the possible sales opportunities represented.

“There are a number of organisations we are working with that are on a mission to turn their sales rep on the road into a consultant, to allow them to arrive on sight with insights that ultimately support their brand positioning,” Diamond says.

He cites one example from within the wine industry.

“Based on the type of menu a restaurant has, sales reps are going to those restaurants and supporting them with insights into what wines they should stock on their shelves to complement the food they are serving,” Diamond says. “That turns that seller into a consultant. It is very much augmenting that point of view and providing insights to the seller so they can better execute their campaign.”

Diamond says Bluewolf is also working with clients to solve the problem at the other end of the process, where sales reps have shown reluctance to upload data back into their CRM systems.

“We are integrating components of Siri into the CRM system, so when a seller walks out of a meeting they no longer have to log into an CRM application and draft the minutes of the meting, they can say ‘hey Siri’,” Diamond says.

“In B2C engagements, all organisations are looking at automaton as much as possible. Why can’t that be the case for B2B environments as well?”

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