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Integrating Sitecore into your B2B digital strategy

05.03.2017

What type of experience are you delivering to your B2B customers?    

We speak to many marketing teams working for B2B organisations and regardless of the vertical they all seem to have broadly similar objectives:

1. How to increase customer engagement

2. How to increase leads

3. How to prove the value of digital to sales and the wider business

And something else also emerges

How can we use Sitecore to achieve these objectives?


For the majority of marketers, they are familiar with the content management elements of Sitecore but are only aware of the potential of the platform to drive personalised content journeys, build rich nurture plans and spin up optimised landing pages.  

Sitecore has grown over the past 15 years from being a robust and scalable content management system into a true digital marketing platform with a set of marketing tools covering; analytics, personalisation, landing page management, campaign tracking, advanced list management, and marketing automation.

So which parts of the Sitecore Experience Platform can be used to support B2B marketing?

Experience Profile (xProfile)

From version 8 onwards, Sitecore has included a new feature called the Experience Profile. In essence, it’s a website version of a CRM contact record and it forms the foundation layer for managing B2B experiences.

As with a  CRM contact record, you are able to store data in a structured format which enables marketers to identify actionable information such as:

  • Who they are – name, email
  • Content consumed
  • Which persona they’ve matched
  • Pages viewed
  • Campaigns interacted with
  • Which channels they’ve interacted with


Driving anonymous visits to known 


As we all know – the majority of visitors to a website are, for the most part, anonymous i.e. we’re unable to link a visit to a named individual.

A powerful feature of the Experience Profile is the ability to track anonymous visitors – enabling marketers to target individuals based on how they have interacted with your website.

But with greater potential, it enables anonymous visits to transition to a known visitor, once they have identified themselves, by for example completing a web form.

It is the data held within the Experience Profile which allows marketers to design 1:1 journeys to engage and nurture visitors based on the information a business holds on them. It is this information which allows marketers to design personalised content journeys and deep marketing automation plans. 

Sitecore Experience Profile
 

Personalising each visit

Knowing who comes to your website Is meaningless unless you are driving a positive action. 


Sitecore offers a powerful rules-based personalisation engine which enables marketers to create personalised scenarios which are triggered based on the interactions of visitors.

In the context of a B2B organisation there are several types of personalisation targeting which are specifically relevant:

  • Account based – optimising content such as headlines and experiences based on the company a visitor belongs to, typically based on their IP address.
  • Persona-based content journey – based on profiling each visitor and building a profile of the segment they belong to based on the content they have engaged with
  • Sector/industry based personalised - similar to account-based targeting but based on a sector they belong to and building a content journey around their sector
  • Marketing campaign – personalising the on-site experience based on the marketing campaign which has driven them to the website

Sitecore’s personalisation engine provides B2B marketers with approximately 100 out of the box personalisation rules from which to start building different personalised scenarios for your different segment.
 

Sitecore personalisation

Nurturing prospects with marketing automation

Sitecore calls its email and marketing automation tool, Email Experience Manager (EXM) and Engagement Automation. Anyone familiar with marketing automation will be comfortable with the process with which this works.
You have the ability to create rich email plans to nurture prospects from first engagement through to reactivation.
Automation is a powerful technique if you’re looking to move away from batch and blast emails to a model where you’re deploying emails based on profiling visitors and understanding the context of each visit such as:

  • What channels have driven them
  • What content have they engaged with
  • What pages have they viewed
  • Is this their first visit
  • Are they a new prospect or an existing customer

For B2B marketers the power of using Sitecore’s marketing automation tool revolves around the native integration into the rest of the marketing platform, providing marketers with a single view of how customers are engaging with them across both web and email. 

Here’s a link to an article covering in a little more detail how to nurture prospects with Sitecore.

 Sitecore email automation

Lead scoring

When is a lead a lead?


Defining what a lead remains a perennial B2B challenge. As part of the Sitecore platform, a useful (as well as much under-used feature) is something known as Engagement Value.

It’s the ability to apply a points based system to different touchpoints. As a visitor interacts with different elements of your website they will be assigned Engagement points with the points accrued being logged against their Experience Profile.

The collection of points by itself doesn’t provide B2B marketers with any value, the real value is achieved by how you choose to use this such as:

  • Passing leads to sales once a prospect has accrued a set number of points

The value in this approach, which can be tweaked based on feedback and analysis is the ability to filter your leads into several camps. Simplistically put:

  • Hot leads
  • Warm leads
  • Requires further nurturing  

 Digital goals

Sales reports – CRM integration


One area that many B2B marketers struggle with is with proving the value of digital to the wider business and specifically to the sales department. 

Whilst, not an out of the box feature, Sitecore at its core is a framework which allows for integration with other systems to extend its use.

By integrating Sitecore with a CRM system you have the ability to combine digital and sales data to provide a richer view of how prospects are interacting across the funnel from marketing through to the sales stage.

Some of the data points we normally recommend combining with CRM data include:

  • Marketing campaigns interacted with
  • Content consumed such as pages viewed or documents downloaded
  • Frequency of engagement
  • Points accrued 


Sitecore CRM integration  

Agile landing pages with Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA)

Coming up with ideas is just what marketing teams do. The challenge is translating those ideas into practical reality. The ability to spin up landing pages to promote content without resort to the IT department is a key pain point for marketing teams.

Sitecore Experience Accelerator available in version 8.2 allows marketing teams to dynamically design landing pages from a series of pre-built components.

For marketers working for B2B organisations, the ability to shorten the turnaround for landing pages enables teams to launch landing pages quickly and to focus their energies on driving traffic and engagement. 

 

Sitecore Experience Accelerator