Mastering the B2B Marketing Audit: A Step-by-Step Guide
Don't let your B2B marketing strategy fall short. Find out how to audit your sales and marketing to improve your results for the long term.
April 14, 2023
You’re sitting at your desk, sipping on a cup of coffee, staring at your computer screen. The marketing campaigns you’ve been running for the last few weeks simply aren’t working. You’re feeling stuck and frustrated. What’s worse, you’re not sure what to do next.
You could hire a marketing agency to help, but how do you find the right one? You can’t afford to waste time or money on the wrong agency. Besides, you need some answers now.
That’s where a B2B marketing audit comes in.
An audit is like a check-up for your sales and marketing processes. It’s a thorough assessment of your current approach that looks at everything from target audience analytics to automation to ROI. It’s a chance to identify what’s working, what’s not, and what you could do to improve.
A B2B marketing audit can also expose existing gaps in your current growth strategy. You may discover your marketing content misses the mark or that your sales and customer service processes don’t align. By pinpointing these issues, you can make the necessary adjustments and get back on track.
But it’s not just about fixing what’s broken. A marketing audit also helps you uncover opportunities for growth. Maybe there’s a new customer segment you haven’t explored, or a chance to expand your current offerings to generate more company revenue. When you conduct an audit, you’ll find several ways to take your business to the next level.
The ultimate goal is to maximize ROI on your marketing, sales, and service processes. Using the insights from an audit, you’ll be able to make data-driven decisions that lead to better results. You might even reduce the marketing budget.
So, if you’re feeling stuck and need your marketing to generate better results, keep reading to learn how to audit your B2B marketing strategy.
Using Audit Insights to Accelerate Lead Generation: A Case Study
I’d like to start by giving you an example of an actual B2B marketing audit we performed for a client and how the insights from that project helped them (a SaaS company) completely renovate their growth strategy.
The client had been in business for over a decade. When they reached out to us, they had several digital marketing campaigns in place—a website, social media profiles, and email marketing. They were also preparing to launch paid advertising campaigns. The company had no real online authority or consistent lead generation campaigns in place.
The client requested an audit because they wanted to get more qualified leads with consistency. They asked us to provide details that would help their website attract organic traffic with potential MQLs (marketing qualified leads) and improve their B2B content strategy to build brand awareness.
However, during the audit, we discovered that the problem with their lead generation strategy had little to do with the website or current content. Instead, the anemic results stemmed from a weak customer journey experience.
Many companies understand how important it is to build a positive customer experience. But developing one is difficult. Channel insights from the marketing audit—and subsequent recommendations—provided our client with a step-by-step plan for building out a strong brand and buyer’s journey designed to attract higher-quality leads.
Fast-forward one year. Now, the client’s website is ranking for the exact search terms we identified in the keyword strategy. The client’s customer profiles created after the audit have given them more focus on who they’re serving and exactly what those prospects need to make a buying decision. As a result, the client has developed a better content strategy that brings quality organic traffic to the website.
This is just one example of how B2B companies can audit and improve their revenue-generating processes.
An audit examines existing marketing practices, sets growth targets based on KPIs, optimizes campaigns with real-time data, leverages marketing assets, and tracks results against benchmarks. The result is a current snapshot that shows marketing teams to adjust and fill in the gaps—all while saving time and money.
What Is a Brand Audit?
A brand audit helps organizations uncover strengths and weaknesses, improve target audience quality, become more competitive, and reduce marketing expenses.
What Does an Audit Include?
The goal of a strategy audit is simple: identify areas of improvement and develop a plan to optimize marketing efforts for maximum ROI.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But what does that entail?
An audit typically includes a review of the company’s website, social media presence, marketing automation, paid advertising, and content (i.e., a B2B marketing blog or white papers). Any weaknesses in these areas can have a negative impact on the number of deals closed and, ultimately, the bottom line.
The website audit will assess the company’s website—its usability, design, and functionality. This includes an evaluation of the site’s navigation, page speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall user experience. The auditor should also review the site’s content to make sure it is SEO optimized and provides value to visitors.
Social media is another critical component of B2B marketing. The audit will evaluate the company’s social media presence, including the platforms used, frequency and quality of posts, and engagement levels.
Email marketing is a highly effective tool for B2B companies. Many marketers struggle to get results because decision-makers are inundated with email solicitations. So, a review of the company’s email marketing campaigns, including the design, messaging, and targeting, should be part of the audit process. The goal is to determine how the company can increase email open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
Content marketing is another critical component of a B2B marketing strategy. The audit will assess the quality and relevance of the company’s content, including blog posts, white papers, case studies, and other resources.
B2B Sales Teams
B2B sales success hinges on how well your internal teams work together toward collective business goals. Before starting an audit, it’s essential to assess each of your internal teams and how they do things.
Begin by listing all aspects of the marketing plan, such as:
- lead generation
- digital marketing
- field marketing
- sales and service operations
- product marketing
The business world can be a messy place. Departments often operate in their own silos, disconnected from each other and the bigger picture. And when the disconnect occurs with marketing, sales, and service, it can create serious issues for the customer experience.
Picture this: the sales team seals the deal with a big promise. But when the buyer runs into an issue, the customer service team has a completely different approach to issue resolution that doesn’t align with what the sales team guaranteed. Talk about disappointing.
This is exactly why customers jump to a competitor. They want a seamless, consistent experience from start to finish. But, many times, they get shuffled between departments that can’t seem to get on the same page.
It’s often helpful to conduct internal discussions among team members during an audit to determine what each department needs in order to succeed. As a result, companies can improve communication among teams, which makes marketing and sales processes more efficient.
Buyer Personas and The Customer Journey
Like the client I wrote about in the section above, many B2B organizations struggle to define stages of the buyer’s journey. This disconnect may cause miscommunication, difficulty tracking and reporting results, and sales pipeline performance.
In B2B marketing, one of the most important steps businesses can take is to develop ideal customer profiles to gain a better understanding of their customers and potential customers. By pinpointing the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of your target audience, you can create messaging, products, and services tailored to them.
It’s also essential to understand the customer journey—from first contact to conversion and beyond—in order to connect with potential customers in each stage. To do this, collect feedback from all relevant departments that interact with customers on every level.
By digging deep into your buyers’ behavior at every stage of their journey, you’ll be able to deliver more effective campaigns and reach out at the right time with the right message.
Multiple Stakeholders and Decision-Makers
In today’s B2B landscape, addressing the diverse priorities and concerns of multiple decision-makers in a single sale can be difficult. Each person you target has a unique perspective on their company’s challenges, which must be addressed personally. As an example, sometimes, the marketing process doesn’t align with the sales team’s approach.
It’s imperative to review your current buyer personas. By surveying internal teams on how they define your personas and their priorities, you can identify where teams agree and where confusion persists.
Through an audit, you’ll learn more about how customers want to engage with and buy from your brand. This involves understanding their role in the decision-making process for your product or service, as well as identifying what they need at each stage.
Sales and Marketing Campaigns
B2B companies should audit all areas of their marketing to uncover opportunities for improvement. This includes evaluating the effectiveness of each marketing tactic.
One approach is to conduct smaller, more focused audits that address specific areas of marketing, such as individual digital channel campaigns.
Conducting audits regularly can help your marketing team identify problems early on and take corrective action. Document all key objectives and goals of each campaign so that you can measure progress against them. Examples of objectives include increasing brand recognition, website visibility, reducing customer acquisition cost, or boosting market share.
Get a review of your growth strategy, competitors, and target audience.
Determine how your company's internal and external branding impacts its competitive position and marketing efforts.
Tips to Audit Your B2B Marketing
In this section, we’ll explore how to audit your B2B company.
Step 1: Clarify Your Brand’s Value
Your brand’s value proposition summarizes what your organization offers to its customers and plays a critical role in creating an authentic business identity. This summary can help communicate why people should choose your company over competitors.
To clarify your value proposition, consider some key points. Are you targeting a particular demographic? What is the purpose of your products or services? How do you generate revenue?
The answers to these questions can help you create an appealing offer that potential customers will like and will differentiate your business from others.
Consider a Perception Study
Businesses should accurately assess how their brand and offerings are perceived in the market. One way to gain insight is by conducting a perception study.
This study provides a unique opportunity for you to gather unfiltered feedback from stakeholders, including clients, former clients, and industry insiders. By doing so, you can learn what the market really thinks about your brand, its value, and future outlook. This information can be helpful in making informed decisions about your business strategy.
Step 2: Define B2B Business Customers
One of the crucial steps in an audit is to identify and define target customer groups. This entails identifying who exactly your core customer is, how they interact with your brand, and what their specific needs and wants are.
It’s important to understand these aspects in order to develop an effective marketing plan for your business. You should determine if these customers match the demographics and psychographics that you’ve already established. You should also identify the common goals, values, or needs they share. This will help to improve the types of customers you attract.
To effectively market to businesses, it’s essential to understand the different customers that you may encounter. We can categorize business buyers into four basic categories:
Non-profit or for-profit organizations can fall into any of these groups. By identifying which category your target customer falls under, you can better tailor your marketing campaigns to meet their unique needs and preferences.
Step 3: Do Your Offers Meet Customer Demands?
One of the most overlooked aspects of B2B marketing is creating an interesting offer that caters to the specific needs of your target customers. While having a precise target market and attractive services can fill your sales funnel quickly, it’s crucial to differentiate yourself from competitors by providing an offer that resonates with potential clients.
Effective offers tell customers what they can expect, how products or services are delivered, and pricing. They also show B2B customers how choosing your company over others can truly improve their business operations.
Many B2B marketers spend too much time thinking about perfecting their sales funnel without giving as much consideration to the offer itself. Valuable content, such as case studies or product information, may grab attention but cannot provide the same level of benefits as well-crafted marketing offers.
Step 4: Compare Your Brands Strengths and Weaknesses to Competitors
To ensure the success in today’s competitive market, companies must not only identify their ideal customers but also understand how they measure up against competitors.
Conducting a marketing audit can help you achieve this. By analyzing your competition, you’ll learn all about their strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your own brand. This information will show you where to improve and which marketing tactics are ineffective so you can eliminate them to save time and money.
Step 5: Develop the Customer Experience
The customer experience is critical for selling success, especially in the business-to-business world. An audit of the customer experience involves assessing how your business communicates with prospects—before, during, and after they speak with a rep or visit your website.
Consider key questions such as:
What does my company stand for?
How can I build trust with my target audience?
Is my message relevant to my intended audience?
What value am I providing for them?
Through thorough examination and reflection on these matters, you can work toward creating a marketing plan that delivers an outstanding customer experience that impacts loyalty and retention.
Developing a superior customer experience is vital for any business to succeed, especially in the B2B environment. Customer success can be the deciding factor that sets brands apart from their competitors. In business relationships, it’s essential to do more than expected for customers because:
- There are often more people involved in the decision-making process who need to be impressed.
- The potential value of each contract is higher, making it imperative to deliver a top-notch experience.
Step 6: Do the Sales and Marketing Processes Align?
When examining the sales and marketing operations of your organization for B2B marketing, it’s essential to evaluate how well the sales and service processes align. Aligning these two departments can create a more efficient internal operation with fewer conflicts between teams, ensuring a consistent customer experience at all stages of the funnel.
To ensure lasting success, teams should share goals, KPI metrics, reports, and campaigns. Doing so will reduce misunderstandings or differences by unifying objectives between both sides of the business, creating an effective chain for product delivery and customer satisfaction.
Step 7: Examine the Current Marketing Strategy
One of the key steps in an audit is to survey your current marketing activities. You need to understand the purpose of your strategy and identify the specific customer groups it targets. This is essential for focusing your digital marketing and ensuring that you reach the right audience with your messaging. Ultimately, optimizing your marketing plan will increase conversion rates across all channels.
Here are the primary elements to analyze:
- Company website
- Content marketing
- Social media (i.e., LinkedIn)
- Paid advertising
During the audit, you should also examine whether there’s room for improvement or potential gaps in areas such as product offerings, pricing strategies, promotion methods, and more. By analyzing these marketing components, you can enhance your performance and gain an edge over other businesses.
Step 8: Adjust and Make Improvements
An audit helps you identify areas that need improvement. By analyzing different aspects of your marketing, you can determine whether there are certain elements that need to be adjusted or improved.
For instance, you could consider finding new ways to promote your brand or reaching out to current customers and providing them with a better experience. Whether it’s revamping your social media strategy or optimizing your website’s landing pages, an audit can provide valuable insights into how you can make these improvements and drive more success for your business.
When Should You Hire a B2B Marketing Audit Service?
The decision to get help from a professional auditor will depend on several factors, like the size of the firm or scope and depth of the audit.
A comprehensive audit of your business can be complex and time-consuming. For startups, an external auditor can offer expertise to help the brand identify growth opportunities and areas that need improvement. However, those with experience in the field may be qualified to conduct their own audits. Regardless, it’s best to consider performing a routine audit at least every six months.
Established or mature companies might prefer to work with a B2B marketing auditor for other reasons—to ensure that recommendations are thorough, and that the implementation process runs smoothly.
A professional auditor will bring value when measuring and interpreting results from findings and communicating recommendations while minimizing errors during implementation.
If you want to find out how to take steps toward greater efficiency and growth, consider partnering with The Brand Auditors. Our professional audit team offers personalized assessments to optimize your current strategies while identifying new ways to target leads more effectively.
If you have questions, or want to audit your B2B marketing, email me personally at [email protected].
Until next time,
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