B2B Marketing Audit: Best Practices and Examples

Don't let your marketing strategy fall short. Find out how a B2B marketing audit of your sales and marketing can improve your results over the long term.

POST UPDATED:

May 20, 2024

B2B Marketing Audit

As a B2B marketer or CMO, the pressure to drive growth is relentless. You know you have a powerful brand and compelling solutions, but somehow, the needle isn’t moving. Digital marketing campaigns fizzle out. Leads stay cold. And your budget feels like a bottomless pit.

Worse, internal communication is a battlefield. Sales, marketing, and service seem to operate in their own galaxies.

This blog post is your lifeline. In it, you'll uncover the power of the B2B marketing audit. An audit is the pathway to higher ROI, lower expenses, and better teamwork.

Key highlights:

Hidden growth opportunities lurking beneath the surface of your existing efforts.

Glaring inefficiencies that are draining your marketing budget and sapping your momentum.

Actionable insights to optimize campaigns, nurture leads, and close deals faster.

Strategies to bridge the gap between teams to create a seamless customer experience.

Table of Contents

    Defining a B2B marketing audit

    A B2B marketing audit takes a close look at a company's marketing initiatives. It covers everything imaginable including the digital marketing strategy, lead quality, and results. You'll review branding, messaging, lead generation, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and email campaigns. The aim is to assess whether these are helping or hurting your effort to meet business goals.

    The audit provides clear insights that help improve your B2B company's strategic plan. You'll also optimize the marketing budget and identify friction in the customer experience.

    How often should a company conduct a B2B marketing audit?

    Companies should perform a a B2B marketing audit annually. An audit helps match strategies with market trends and business goals. Audits also help companies make quick adjustments, keeping them agile in the changing B2B landscape.

    The key components of a marketing audit

    Here are the main areas of focus for a B2B marketing audit:

    • Goal alignment: Do your marketing goals support your business strategy?
    • Target audience analysis: Are you targeting the most profitable customers? If so, is your strategy designed to make an emotional connection with them?
    • Unique value proposition: Is it strong and does it differentiate your brand?
    • Content review: Does your content marketing align with audience interests and needs?
    • Channel performance: Are marketing channels like SEO, email, PPC, and social media optimized for ROI?
    • Competitor benchmarking: Are you prepared to compete with your main competitors? How can you be sure?

    A B2B marketing audit will answer these questions and help you develop an improvement plan.

    Customer-Centric Strategies Driving Business Excellence with Segmentation (Click to expand)

    B2B marketing audit best practices

    In this section, I'll walk you through the steps of a B2B marketing audit. We'll start at the beginning—setting clear, measurable goals—all the way to measuring results. But first, let's look at a few best practices.

    Goal alignment

    Your B2B marketing audit won't be successful if you don't set clear, specific goals. These goals act as signposts. They help you focus your audit on what matters most.

    Clear goals also make it easier to evaluate the audit's success. Goals give you a starting point to measure everything against going forward. It's best to set audit objectives that align with your business strategy. Sometimes, this isn't always obvious. For example, you may be getting traffic to your website, but you aren't making many sales. Based on this finding, you might think it's time to redesign the website. But the real problem might be with the site's blog posts and other content.

    Goals should also be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Such an approach adds clarity and direction to the audit process.

    B2B Value Pyramid
    IMAGE: B2B Value Pyramid (Source: Bain & Co.)

    Comprehensive data collection

    A successful B2B marketing audit relies on thorough data collection. The more information you have, the clearer your understanding of marketing efforts becomes. It's no longer about guessing based on instinct. Instead, you'll be able to make decisions backed by data.

    Collect information from every source available. Website analytics, social media stats, email campaign performance, and sales figures are examples. Study this data to spot trends and identify outliers. The aim is to find insights that reveal the true story behind the numbers.

    Make sure your data collection process is well-organized and consistent. Organized data helps the audit team deliver more accurate results. Advanced tools and software are available for a deeper analysis. The extra cost for these tools is money well spent.

    B2B marketing audit tools

    Here are some examples of premium audit tools:

    SEMrush

    • SEMrush is a comprehensive suite of SEO and marketing tools. It gives you extensive data on your website's organic traffic and search results performance. You can also use it to find keyword opportunities and conduct competitor research.

    Ahrefs

    IMAGE: Ahrefs backlink profile example (Click to expand)

    SimilarWeb

    SpyFu

    • SpyFu is designed for competitive analysis, particularly in the realm of paid search. It lets you uncover competitors' most profitable keywords. You can also see their ad variations, and track their PPC strategy.

    Team collaboration during a B2B marketing audit

    A B2B marketing audit requires teamwork. Any team in your company that can contribute to the audit's success should be a part of it. Everyone should pitch in with their own insights and feel comfortable doing it.

    Turning an audit into a team project means everyone is more likely to act on the recommendations. Plus, working together helps build a culture of transparency and accountability.

    Auditing and analyzing competitors

    A B2B marketing audit should look at your competitors to assess what they're good at and what they're not. You can use what you learn to improve your own brand and business processes.

    Explore how each competitor attempts to position themselves. Also take note of their branding and how they communicate. Anything you can learn about your competitors can help you improve.

    Competitor analysis helps you determine where your marketing fails. You'll find new opportunities to gain market share and revenue. You'll also find out how to improve products and develop stronger differentiation.

    Keeping tabs on the competition keeps you up-to-date with industry trends customer expectations. All these help you make smarter, efficient moves.

    AI technology in B2B marketing audits (Click to expand)

    The B2B marketing audit process

    The B2B marketing audit process happens in four main stages:

    • Preparation
    • Evaluation
    • Reporting
    • Implementation

    Each step has each its own set of objectives and actions. This methodical approach to conducting an audit helps you avoid missing critical insights.

    Preparation

    The preparation phase gets everything ready. In this step, you'll set clear audit goals, expectations for results, and a timeline for the audit. It's also a time to figure out who the main players are, including who's in charge of the audit. At this point, you may decide to create an in-house audit team, or hire a third-party marketing audit firm.

    Think about the resources, tools, and tech you'll need to gather, handle, and data to review. Collect all the marketing materials you can find. Materials include marketing plans, strategies, campaign summaries, and analytics reports. Solid preparation makes the next steps smoother and prevents delays.

    Evaluation

    This phase focuses on examining and assessing everything. You'll start with the data from all marketing efforts. These will vary from one company to the next. Examples are website statistics, social media interactions, email campaign results, and sales data. Other companies might need to review digital advertising and CRM insights.

    During evaluation, look for patterns, trends, and outliers. These will provide insight into your overall performance. This enables you to assess how well your current strategies are working. Then, you can compare them to your goals.

    Explore every aspect of your marketing, including promotional tactics, products, and pricing. Distribution channels are also important. You must dig deep, challenge every assumption, and understand what the data is telling you.

    Reporting

    In the reporting phase, you'll present the findings from the evaluation phase. Audit reports should include performance analysis, insights, and recommendations.

    The report should start with an overview of the audit process, comprised of:

    • Objectives
    • Methodologies
    • Critical results

    Provide details in the report to highlight what is working well. But it's helpful to provide more information on the improvements needed. All recommendations should be actionable and measurable.

    Once you've finished developing the report, you'll share it with key stakeholders. After they have reviewed it, host a debriefing session to explain the findings and address questions.

    Implementation and optimization

    In the implementation phase, you'll put your recommendations into action. This involves addressing weaknesses that didn't meet expectations. You'll also refine successful strategies to make them even better.

    Provide teams any training or resources they need to carry out the improvement plan. Set up checks and balances to ensure these changes are successful over time. Getting feedback during implementation lets you keep up with how changes are performing. It's much more efficient to make small adjustments as you go.

    Remember, an audit isn't a one-time event. It's a tool that continues to strengthen your B2B marketing efforts. So, consider conducting audit reviews every quarter, or at least once per year.

    Digital transformation process (Click to expand)

    Tangible results: What a B2B marketing audit can deliver

    You've invested time, money, and effort into your marketing, but are you getting the results you need? Here are some of the concrete outcomes you can expect:

    Hidden revenue streams

    Audits often reveal overlooked customer segments, untapped content opportunities, or underused channels that can lead directly to sales. Imagine an audit revealing that your buyer personas have shifted. Targeting this new demographic with tailored messaging opens up a previously untapped market segment.

    Marketing budget optimization

    An audit will help you find areas of wasted spend, whether on underperforming campaigns or inefficient tools. Then, you can reallocate resources where they will give you the most bang for your buck. For example, during an audit, you may find that a lot of money is being spent on keywords that don't bring in many customers. By moving that money to better keywords, you can get more valuable leads for less money.

    Supercharged lead generation

    Does your lead pipeline feel anemic? An audit can diagnose the problem. It might be your messaging, outdated website design, or a lack of focus on the right audience.

    Let's say your website traffic is high, but form submissions are low. The audit might uncover that your calls to action are weak or the form design is too complicated. Simple adjustments can dramatically increase lead capture.

    Seamless customer journeys

    Audits uncover the friction points in your customer experience. Maybe your sales and marketing teams aren't on the same page, or your website's navigation is confusing. Identifying these snags leads to higher conversions and customer loyalty. You may also discover your sales team isn't getting timely notifications about hot leads. Integrating a CRM tool ensures timely follow-ups and improves conversion rates.

    Customer Journey Stages

    Competitive advantage

    Through in-depth competitor analysis, an audit reveals their weaknesses and your opportunities to outshine them. This information fuels strategic decision-making. As one example, perhaps your competitor's social media engagement is significantly higher than yours. An audit might show they're using a different content format that resonates better with your target audience. Adapting your strategy gives you a leg up.

    Important metrics to track

    Metrics, also called key performance indicators (KPIs), measure your marketing performance. KPIs help you make smarter choices when planning. But it's important to focus on the right metrics.

    You can track many different types of metrics. Some are especially important because of their wide relevance and significant impact. Key metrics include measurements of ROI and ROAS, conversion rates, and customer engagement.

    Conversion rates

    Conversion rates tell you what portion of your potential leads end up buying from you. This number is crucial for seeing how well your marketing and sales efforts are working. If you have a high conversion rate, it means your marketing is hitting the mark. If it's low, there might be issues with your offer, website, or how your products meet customer needs. Watching conversion rates lets you figure out where you're losing potential customers. Then, you can make the right changes to get better at winning them over.

    Customer engagement and retention metrics

    Given how challenging it can be to get customers, it's crucial to keep them. Thus, you must track customer engagement and retention metrics. Examples of website engagement metrics are page views, session duration, and bounce rate. Shares and comments are examples of social media engagement.

    Here are a few retention metrics to watch:

    • Repeat purchase rates
    • Churn rates
    • Customer lifetime value (CLV)

    These reveal how well your company retains customers. High engagement and retention rates are usually associated with customer satisfaction and loyalty. These lead to sustainable revenue streams.

    Establishing KPI Benchmarks (Click to expand)

    Overcoming common challenges in a B2B marketing audit

    Conducting a B2B marketing audit has its challenges. Many companies have limited resources or tight deadlines. Others have cultural challenges like resistance to change or team disagreements. But if you're able to identify these issues early on, you can address them effectively. Let's look at three typical challenges and how to overcome them.

    Lack of internal resources

    Many businesses aren't able to do an audit because they don't have the resources. Maybe it's because they lack the staff, expertise, or tools and technologies. Here are some straightforward strategies to help you tackle this issue:

    • Use what you have: Tap into your current team's skills. If they need it, give them the right training or tools.
    • Outsource: Get outside agencies or consultants to handle specific parts of the audit.
    • Work together: Let each team (sales, IT, and service) give insights for their department.
    • Tech up: Use automated tools or platforms data gathering and analysis to save time.

    Keep in mind that taking a few shortcuts may reduce the accuracy of your audit, but you'll still uncover important findings that will help you improve your business.

    Resistance to change

    Resistance to change is a problem anytime you try to change how things are done. Employees might anticipate criticism is coming, making them less willing to work together. To overcome this, try to build a culture of openness and ongoing improvement. Explain why it's happening and how it can help, involving the team at every stage. Make it clear that the project is about making positive changes and growth. Also, celebrating small successes can promote support for the process.

    Ensuring data accuracy

    Ensuring data accuracy is a big challenge in a B2B marketing audit. Wrong data can lead to bad decisions that harm your business. So, you must have strict procedures for collecting and handling data.

    To keep key data accurate, use dependable data collection tools. Clean the data and keep databases updated. Also, checking the data against different sources reduces mistakes.

    Are you ready for a comprehensive B2B marketing audit?

    As the B2B marketing landscape shifts, reviewing your strategy can help you keep up and grow. The Brand Auditors specializes in detailed B2B marketing audits that offer clear, actionable advice.

    Partnering with us brings you the clarity and confidence needed for strategic decisions that lead to tangible outcomes. Click the button to get in touch with an auditor.

    Chris Fulmer PCM-Brand Auditors

    Chris Fulmer, PCM®

    Brand Strategist | Managing Director

    Chris has over 15 years of experience in brand development and marketing. He has designed strategies across various industries, such as technology, B2B services, and healthcare. His expertise includes brand positioning, competitive analysis, content marketing, and web development.

    Click to learn more about Chris

    Are you ready to find out how a brand audit can transform your business?

    Our brand audit process is a comprehensive analysis designed to help companies optimize performance.

    • Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
    • Reduce marketing expenses.
    • Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.

    We guarantee satisfaction or get your money back! Schedule a discovery call with a brand auditor to find out more.

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