How To Balance The Risks And Returns Of Your B2B Marketing Investments

If you’re a B2B marketing executive, you have to fill a number of roles: Leader. Innovator. Brand builder. Recruiter. Coach. In my experience, however, one of the most important is portfolio manager. (And no, I’m not talking about moonlighting as a number-crunching banker.)

While leadership skills are listed in all marketing executive job descriptions, the role of portfolio manager is often overlooked. Just as an investment manager oversees hundreds of investments, however, marketing leaders also manage a diverse portfolio of marketing assets.

B2B marketing risks and returns

How To Balance The Risks And Returns Of Your B2B Marketing Investments There’s no shortage of tools that can help you hit your targets. You have a million and one ways to spend your budget in attempts to move the needle, one lead at a time.

Some marketing investments – such as CRM systems – are low risk and key to doing business today. Other investments are riskier but have the potential for higher returns. For example, sophisticated lead scoring and big data tools are more difficult to get up and running, but they can give you a huge competitive advantage.

Any marketing tool or strategy is only as effective as the marketer who employs them, however, which is why I’m a big fan of mixing more conservative B2B marketing investments with those high-risk experiments to see how they play out.

How do you know when to take risks and which investments will pay off?

Here are five steps you can take to manage your investments and get the most value from every marketing dollar:

1. Do your homework

Before you invest in new B2B marketing technology, consult with other marketers in your network to see what they would recommend and why.

Find out what experiences they have had with the technology, how easily it integrated with their existing systems and whether the vendor offers good support.

Don’t forget to ask how your peers are measuring their success.

2. Set goals for each of your investments

How To Balance The Risks And Returns Of Your B2B Marketing InvestmentsYour goals will help you determine your ROI, so decide what success looks like for you.

For example, do you want your new marketing automation software to increase your conversions or give you more high-quality leads to send to sales?

Also, how long should it take to achieve your goals and which resources are you going to put in place to reach them?

3. Lower your risks when you adopt innovative B2B marketing technologies

Investing in your team’s professional development will bring you higher returns. Keep in mind that it’s not always the tool that’s the problem — often it’s how you’re using it.

Before you adopt a new technology, put systems, processes and expectations in place with your employees to ensure your new program’s success:

  • Encourage your team to take advantage of any free training, consulting and support services offered by the vendor.
  • Train up your staff to ensure they know how to use the technology effectively and strategically, both in the short-term and long-term.
  • Ask your peers from Step 1 to connect your team with mentors like them who have already experienced success using the new tool.

4. Measure the return on each of your marketing investments

Tailors TapeThe best portfolio managers re-balance their portfolios on a regular basis. Take a page out of your carpenter’s book for this one, though: measure twice, cut once.

Review your investments and your goals for those investments at least once a quarter to find out what’s working and what’s not.

Are you getting leads from it? What is the quality of the leads like? Are those leads accelerating your revenue? How is it impacting your brand? How much is it contributing to your goals as a marketing organization or a company?

Asking the right questions and uncovering the information you need to make informed decisions will help you push forward to Step 5:

5. Take action based on your marketing analytics

According to the B2B Marketing Analytics Spotlight Report, only 46% of B2B marketers routinely gain insight from their analytics. This leaves lots of room for improvement in terms of knowing which marketing investments provide you with the most ROI. Your analytics can show you if the technology is helping you reach the goals that you set in Step 2.

When you take these steps, you will reduce your risks when adopting cutting-edge technology and increase your marketing ROI.

Looking for some inspiration? Check out these case studies about B2B marketers who have achieved incredible ROI from innovative marketing technologies.