Is B2B Performance Marketing the Right Fit for My Team?

It’s an age-old question: How do you prove that your marketing campaigns deliver actual dollar-for-dollar results? To find the answer, marketing leaders are embracing the emerging strategy of B2B performance marketing.

While the term itself is said to go back to the first pay-per-click online ad campaigns of the mid-1990s, the definition of performance marketing keeps evolving. At the same time, the need for marketers to measure their performance keeps accelerating. As a result, marketing budgets now swallow up nearly 10% of company revenue on average, and with many tech companies facing shrinking profits, CMOs are feeling the squeeze.

Could B2B performance marketing help you generate better results and foster more respect among your C-suite colleagues? Let’s find out.

What is Performance Marketing?

You’ll find multiple definitions of this term online, each one with its own twist. At Unreal Digital Group, here’s how we define B2B performance marketing: An intentional, highly measured, return-focused, and sales-aligned approach to marketing strategy.

ROI is the love language of performance marketing. That’s because, when appropriately executed, performance marketing lets you get specific with ROI so you can show, for example, that you achieved a 20x budget in stage 1 pipeline.

Some people believe that this type of marketing is only useful for online advertising. We disagree. While native advertising, social media, and Google ads can be part of a successful performance marketing strategy, so can sponsored content and lead generation campaigns. Basically, any campaign that allows you to put a dollar value on a buyer’s action—lead, click, sale—can be rolled up into B2B performance marketing.

Performance Marketing Vs. Growth Marketing

Before we go any further, let’s get a little more clarity on what performance marketing is… and what it isn’t.

Sometimes people think of growth marketing as the same thing. And they do share some similarities. Both are results-focused strategies, and both rely on data. But they share different end goals.

The primary goal of growth marketing is to help startups achieve rocket-like growth to earn additional funding from venture capitalists. That means growth marketing can include brand awareness, which takes more work to measure. Growth marketing also isn’t always sustainable once a company outgrows its startup phase.

The primary goal of performance marketing is to identify those campaigns that produce the best return. Once that’s done, you can iterate those campaigns to keep driving long-term results. 

Performance marketing also isn’t Revenue Operations. RevOps aims to improve a company’s overall revenue by aligning Sales, Marketing, and Revenue-facing departments. While this type of alignment can help you enhance your marketing initiatives, you can establish a winning performance marketing strategy whether or not your company has a RevOps function.

3 Steps to Achieving B2B Marketing Success

Whether planning your annual marketing budget or restructuring your quarterly budgets, you can start putting the pieces of a winning marketing strategy in place. Three steps to start:

Align your CMO with your CFO

Companies that achieve the greatest success with performance marketing start at the top. That means your CMO and CFO should agree on budgets and goals. For some CMOs, this may mean adjusting their language when talking with your top financial executives. The more you speak in their terms and use specific words that define the real business value of your strategy, the higher the level of alignment you’ll achieve.

Want proof? CMOs who translate marketing metrics to business impact–like tying incremental investment to a specific sales growth percentage year over year–are 37% more likely to report revenue growth.

Get sales on board… and get intentional

There’s no fluff in performance marketing. So, you need to be intentional with your campaigns and marketing spend. That means you’ll need tight alignment with your sales team, too. Sit down with sales leadership, determine which investments you want to measure, and get clear on the outcome metrics you expect to achieve. If you’re struggling to achieve sales and marketing alignment, consider teaching a sales mindset to your marketing team.

In addition, organizations with RevOps teams should get their revenue leaders aligned on marketing.

Where should you begin setting goals? Four of the most common performance marketing metrics are cost-per-thousand-ad impressions (CPM), cost per click (CPC), cost per lead (CPL), and cost per acquisition (CPA), all of which brings a defined result that ties back to revenue.

Execute and measure

This is the easy part, right? Well, only if you have two essential functions on your marketing staff. First, you’ll need a stellar Marketing Operations team that uses the best data hygiene practices and can zero in on the ROI you’re trying to achieve. You’ll also need a top-notch Demand Generation team that knows how to implement and deploy campaigns that convert. 

Improve Your Marketing with UDG

One of the cool things about performance marketing is that it can fit within whatever marketing tactics you’re using right now—account-based marketing (ABM), account-based experience (ABX), SEM and digital marketing, you name it. So as long as you have confidence in your data and some specific ROI in mind, you can make this type of marketing happen right now.

If you need help getting started with performance marketing, just get in touch with Ricky Spiese, our Head of Sales and Marketing, and we’ll get down to business.