Achieving B2B digital marketing growth: Building a solid foundation and rising to new heights

Unlocking the road to B2B Digital Marketing growth begins by empowering three essential pillars: customer, business, and technology. Explore the strategies for attaining digital maturity in the B2B landscape.

What steps can be taken to attain digital maturity in the realm of B2B?

As your organization's marketing capabilities evolve, reaching greater levels of digital maturity becomes evident. Within the realm of digital marketing, three pillars—the customer, the business, and the technology—must harmonize and thrive together to enable growth. In practical terms, B2B companies progress through two stages of digital marketing maturity: the foundation and the acceleration. These stages determine the specific challenges, goals, and areas of focus. Which stage does your organization currently reside in?

At the core of digital marketing lies the customer, as comprehending their needs allows for optimal alignment with your products or services. By excelling in this area, your company generates greater value. Technology plays a pivotal role as the facilitator bridging the gap between business and customer, shaping the entire process. It enables crucial functions such as collecting and analyzing customer data, as well as facilitating efficient and seamless delivery of your products and services.

The essence of digital maturity lies in the intricate interplay between the customer, business, and technology pillars. However, identifying the weakest link is essential. For instance, you may possess a strong understanding of your customers but struggle with ineffective channel selection. Alternatively, your services may suffer due to numerous silos that hinder a seamless customer journey. Outdated technology might limit your team's capabilities, lack organizational alignment, or result in an incomplete customer view.

In practice, B2B companies typically undergo two phases of digital maturity: foundational and acceleration. Each phase presents its own set of common challenges, necessitating specific solutions viewed through the lens of the customer, business, and technology pillars. To illustrate, I will provide a customer example from daily practice.

1st Phase

Establishing a solid foundation in the absence of essential "building blocks."

As your marketing team prepares to embark on the journey of enhancing your digital marketing capabilities, they face challenges such as limited resources and the intricate nature of B2B digital marketing, which demands significant time and effort. The constraints may prevent proper mentoring opportunities for team members. At this crucial stage, the key question arises: What areas should you prioritize to effectively manage your digital marketing efforts? How can you maximize growth in terms of results and opportunities? In practice, you will primarily encounter the following challenges:

  • Marketing and sales are not well aligned. Lead generation is difficult for the organization;
  • Current customer data is not fully utilized. They are not centralized, or they are of low quality which slows down progress;
  • You're struggling to convince management to invest in new marketing resources;
  • You want to provide data-driven, customer-centric experiences but that seems too complex;
  • You struggle with internal silos that get in the way of organizational change.

How to create a strong base

The initial step in this scenario involves establishing a robust groundwork. When translated into the three pillars of digital maturity, the following objectives come into play:

The customer

  • Get to know the customer better and understand customer needs. Build and gather customer data and analytical capabilities. In doing so, focus on data quality over quantity;
  • Find the right channels on which to reach your customers. Expand through different digital channels and test their potential.

The business

  • Break through organizational silos to enable customer-centricity through a CRM solution; Enable every department around the CRM;
  • Create an agile marketing team that collaborates optimally, a small team that has the capabilities to drive marketing initiatives from end-to-end.


  • Deploy all relevant channels optimally;
  • Deploy or further leverage CRM as the basis for all marketing and sales communications.
  • If you’re comfortable with CRM, you may start moving into the first use cases to enable a Marketing Automation solution.
  • Deploy analytics and data gathering solutions to start getting to know your customers.

Example: a mountain of valuable data, left untapped

Due to the conventional practices prevalent in the apparel industry, an international B2B manufacturer encountered challenges in effectively engaging with its diverse customer base. Although the manufacturer had implemented a CRM system to gather customer data, its utilization remained minimal. Consequently, the accumulated customer and account data remained untapped, failing to provide any substantial value to the company. The data suffered from inadequate quality and consistency, impeding its effective utilization. Furthermore, the company had yet to leverage digital marketing channels like social media, paid advertising, and email marketing to reach out to customers.

In the role of a digital partner, SQLI performed an assessment of the existing customer database to evaluate the feasibility of reactivating key audience segments promptly. Subsequently, a comprehensive strategy was devised to engage these customers through a blend of digital channels. By implementing a marketing automation platform, manual tasks were minimized, and the potential for scalability was enhanced. This facilitated the development of targeted campaigns aimed at reaching specific target groups at various stages of the customer journey. The incorporation of lead management rules, scoring, and routing established a solid foundation for the expansion and growth of their marketing endeavors.

2nd phase

Acceleration is the key to scalable growth

Alternative scenario: Your B2B company has already embarked on digital campaigns and implemented a CRM solution to foster internal alignment. However, there is a notable absence of significant progress in effectively connecting with customers. Internal limitations hinder the ability to fully cater to customer requirements. The primary challenge lies in acquiring the capability to adapt swiftly as a cohesive organization in response to evolving customer dynamics and their evolving needs. In practical terms, this challenge manifests in the following scenarios:

  • Transitioning from third-party data to first-party data proves particularly challenging, limiting the ability to leverage valuable customer insights.

  • Sales and marketing departments collaborate, yet customers do not experience a seamless journey across all channels, leading to disjointed interactions.

  • Although some marketing automation is in place, it remains confined to segmented campaigns, resulting in limited personalization opportunities.

  • The Martech stack lacks integration, leading to operational hurdles concerning data, processes, and the deployment of CRM and other marketing tools.

  • The absence of a comprehensive 360° customer view hinders effective alignment between marketing efforts and results. Customer data fails to be adequately transformed into actionable insights.

How to accelerate your growth in digital marketing

Acceleration in your digital marketing is only possible when three pillars are optimally fulfilled:

The customer

  • Enhance customer value by delivering a seamless and effortless customer experience.
  • Stand out from competitors by focusing on end-to-end customer journeys rather than isolated touchpoints.

The business

  • Break down organizational barriers to achieve a truly omnichannel and seamless customer experience across all channels.
  • Establish continuous improvement as a foundational element to enhance team effectiveness.


  • Explore beyond the confines of a CRM solution to gather and analyze customer data, leading to a robust data architecture and potential solutions like data warehousing or a customer data platform.
  • Implement an integrated Martech stack that centralizes data in (near) real-time, enabling personalized and seamless experiences across all channels.

Example: Transitioning from B2B to D2C

A sports industry manufacturer operating in the B2B space faced difficulties in understanding their end customers due to their reliance on dealers and distributors for brand positioning during the point of purchase. Despite having a strong brand and effective marketing channels, the manufacturer lacked a centralized 360° view of their customers and the modern infrastructure necessary for a direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy. The primary challenge was to identify and prioritize the necessary steps to achieve growth at a new level.

We provided support by developing a practical roadmap for digital transformation. A key aspect of this roadmap involved modernizing the infrastructure to enable the manufacturer to gain insights about their customers and establish digital connections. The updated architecture incorporates B2C-focused Martech solutions, such as a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and an advanced marketing automation platform. We are currently assisting them in taking the initial steps towards implementing this roadmap.

Share your digital marketing challenges with our experts and begin the process of overcoming them

The relationship between B2B companies and their digital partners has undergone significant changes. Digital partners can no longer simply be seen as software vendors or SEO specialists. In order to truly assist B2B companies in advancing the maturity of their digital marketing, new roles are required. For instance, there is a need for guides who can navigate through the complexities of the marketing landscape for companies in their early stages, as well as sparring partners who are willing to challenge existing business processes during the acceleration phase. Instead of relying on the digital partner's standard solutions, the starting point should be the specific challenges faced by the B2B company. Only then can a digital partner offer a comprehensive perspective and collaborate on capabilities, organizational design, and shaping customer relationships.

SQLI is the comprehensive digital marketing partner that can assist you in bridging the gap between your organization and customers. We achieve this by leveraging the appropriate technology, data, and strategy to unlock the full potential of your digital channels. Our approach is holistic, pragmatic, and results-oriented, ensuring that we address your digital marketing challenges effectively and generate meaningful solutions. Through close collaboration with your digital marketing team as an agile blended unit, we create tangible value across all your digital touchpoints.

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