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A Customer-First Approach Depends on a Data-First Strategy

Spring launch: More productive B2B digital customer engagement

Over the past two years, the pandemic brought about several changes in our day-to-day experiences that seem to be here to stay. In the B2C world, businesses have adapted to consumer needs in ways that make our experiences safer and more efficient. For example, online ordering and curbside pickup have become standard options at supermarkets, stores, and restaurants. And as more retailers were forced to shift their focus from in-person, in-store channels, the pandemic highlighted the importance of having more robust personal online experiences.

B2B evolved — and continues to evolve — as well. Our recent survey of sales, marketing, revenue, and data leaders found that, during the pandemic, attitudes toward the digitalization of the B2B buyer experience shifted from a belief that it’s “nice to have” to general agreement that it’s urgently needed. But are B2B organizations equipped to digitalize their buyer’s journey, and more importantly, can they get it right?

While some may view COVID-19 as the catalyst for the rush to digitalization in B2B, the change has actually been brewing for some time. The pandemic was an accelerator, not the catalyst, that forced the B2B community to make significant changes to our processes, perhaps faster than many of us would have liked.

Striving to become more data driven

B2B buyers continue to favor a self-service approach, going through the buying journey online, anonymously, and choosing not to reveal themselves to marketing and sales teams until later in their journey. Businesses have a shorter and shorter window of opportunity to introduce themselves and make a pitch, if they even get that chance.

If a business can’t be among the first to make a connection, it risks losing out to competitors who can identify and target those buyers. While intent data is one way to find potential buyers early on in their journey, a successful strategy doesn’t stop with intent signals. It also includes having robust data and insights about who customers are, how they move through their journeys online, and when and where to engage them.

Buyers — Who? Where? What now?

Identifying and reaching buyers became more complicated as workers were forced to adopt remote and hybrid working environments, placing them in non-traditional workspaces. Weekly team calls and product research while sitting on the beach? That was the new normal for many of us.

This forced shift to remote work — with many employees using personal IPs, cellphones, and homes as their permanent work address — and the need to engage buyers through digital channels made it more difficult to separate professional from personal personas and to delineate business from personal interactions.

So, how can sales and marketing teams provide a relevant experience when we don’t know if we’re talking to a Director of Operations or a youth soccer coach? Here’s some “tough love” — your customer doesn’t care. That’s your problem, but fortunately it’s a problem that Dun & Bradstreet cares deeply about.

Smart revenue teams must think creatively to identify and then speed the buyer along the digital journey. To do this:

  1. We need to simplify the buying process and make the B2B buyer's experience as seamless and familiar as their consumer journeys. And we need to do it respectfully without making the buyer feel intruded upon or that we know too much about them.
  2. We need a shared view of our customers across our businesses. That means a rich combination of both first- and third-party data, shared across sales, marketing, and customer success teams. The best way to do that is with revtech — that’s the combination of salestech, martech, and adtech — that’s backed by a best-in-class customer data platform, or CDP.
  3. We need to create engaging, account-based experiences across the entire buyer journey, and the only way to do this is with a holistic 360-degree customer view.
  4. We need to once and for all realize we’re not dealing with single buyers anymore; we’re dealing with buying groups and committees. That requires an understanding of an individual’s role so we deliver the right message to the right person.

To address these needs, today Dun & Bradstreet is announcing new solutions and capabilities to drive more powerful ABM programs, helping B2B revenue teams reach the right buyer at the right time.

D&B Rev.Up ABX — for real ‘B2P’ marketing

With more acknowledgment that business-to-business should really be thought of as business-to-people (B2P), D&B Rev.Up ABX, our revtech platform with an industry-leading CDP as its beating heart, now provides even stronger targeting capabilities. By stitching together B2B and B2C identifiers, businesses can gain better buyer insights to create more accurate target audiences and deploy them consistently across all channels. This is thanks to our recent acquisition of ID Graph from NetWise, a Dun & Bradstreet company, and integration with the Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S® Number for a greater holistic view of buyers as people.

We’ve deepened the capabilities of the CDP embedded in D&B Rev.Up ABX, which ingests and unifies first- and third-party data and uses advanced modeling to build and prioritize audiences, giving you greater confidence that you’re reaching the right people. And our open architecture enables you to quickly and easily send those audiences to your existing salestech, martech, and adtech platforms.

Enhanced reporting helps you unmask anonymous web visitors to drive more precise audience identification, activation, and conversion. Deep, session-level data can drive improved website personalization, and form-fill capabilities can reduce user friction, leading to increased conversion rates. And with the addition of Eyeota, another Dun & Bradstreet Company, those audiences can now be activated globally and in a privacy-friendly way.

New native DSP capabilities give you the power to build, launch, and coordinate full-funnel ABM ad campaigns. Additionally, Targeted Event integration can replicate in-person engagement to deliver highly personalized, connected virtual event experiences at every stage of the buyer journey.

The bottom line is full-funnel, full-journey business-to-people marketing! Buyer demands have finally met their match. Learn more about all the ways we’ve made Rev.Up ABX, the intelligence platform for digitally savvy revenue teams, even stronger.

Data, the common denominator

For effective digital and account-based strategies to succeed, businesses need a pillar of comprehensive, quality data. This is the only way that a customer relationship management (CRM) database, for instance, will generate real value — compiling complete, deduped data enhanced with rich insights.

Sales, marketing, operations — they are all interacting with leads and customers, and they all must use that same data in concert, even if they are not using the same platform. Data is the common denominator, requiring alignment of revenue platforms and teams. (Again, revtech driven by a CDP is currently the best way to get the most useful insights out of customer data and to integrate them into other pieces of the business’s tech stack for effective results.)

So, what is preventing our marketing campaigns and sales plays from firing on all cylinders? Quite simply, bad data that is outdated, incorrect, duplicate, improperly formatted, or just outright missing. Let’s face it — we’re all to blame. We’re just not good about keeping our data up to date and refreshed. We don’t even do a good job entering the right data in the first place. This may be due in part to subjectivity, in part to laziness, and in part because there’s just not enough time in our day to be thorough enough.

Even the most meticulous, well-intentioned teams are up against a mammoth obstacle — data turnover. Each month in the U.S., 3 million–4.5 million employees quit their jobs. Additional research from Dun & Bradstreet shows that every hour:

  • 6,254 businesses change addresses
  • 3,008 new businesses open
  • 259 CEO/ownership changes occur
  • 286 companies change their name
  • 110 phone numbers change or are disconnected
  • 467 businesses have a suit, lien, or judgment filed against them
  • 9 businesses file for bankruptcy

Again, that’s every hour! That’s a lot of change. No wonder Salesforce estimates that, on average, 70% of CRM data decays annually and 91% is incomplete. That’s another challenge Dun & Bradstreet is working to solve.

Introducing D&B Connect for Salesforce

New D&B Connect for Salesforce simplifies the complexities of data management to inspire greater confidence in CRM data. D&B Connect for Salesforce solves the dilemma of incomplete and stale data through automated upkeep that prevents duplicate records and identifies out-of-business accounts. Users can also enrich records with insights from 1,600+ data elements to meet a range of use cases including assignment models, diversity information, credit scores, and more.

With more accurate, actionable CRM data, businesses can make more confident decisions, identify more cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and target with greater precision. That’s the foundation for strong account-based strategies and digitalization. It’s the foundation for a stronger business, period.

Winning with a modern digital-first strategy

B2B today needs to focus on understanding the target audience and personalizing experiences at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Additionally, organizations are finally realizing that sales, marketing, and operations teams can no longer function in silos; they all need to work in concert with the same data, albeit on different platforms.

Successful customer-first digital B2B strategies start with data — capturing better data to generate useful insights, and activating that data for integrated, cross-channel engagement. Dun & Bradstreet is uniquely positioned to connect business and consumer identities across digital and physical worlds, with solutions that enable organizations to maximize the data potential in and out of adtech, martech, and salestech systems.

Welcome to the new buyer’s experience.

Learn more about our latest solutions for today’s sales and marketing teams.

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