B2B Advertising: Strategies for Overcoming Key Challenges

Illustration of two decision makers signing off on a deal.

In the world of B2B advertising, marketers, agencies, and consultants alike are under constant pressure to connect the dots like never before, squeezing every ounce of value from their marketing budgets. 

But here’s the catch—there are too many variables in the B2B equation. The B2B buyer’s journey isn’t a straight line, but a winding path with twists and turns. Decision making is a team sport, with multiple stakeholders pulling the strings. 

Navigating this landscape requires a deep understanding of the entire journey, from initial awareness to final decision, and the ability to tie every touchpoint back to tangible return on investment (ROI). 

It’s not enough to host another webinar and hope for the best. Marketers need to understand the multifaceted strategies that drive engagement and ultimately, sales.

As we address 3 key challenges of B2B advertising, remember: it’s about connecting every dot, influencing every decision maker, and aligning every piece of the marketing and sales machinery to overcome the complexities of today’s buyer’s journey.

1. Reaching the Right Decision Makers

This is a common scenario: a sales representative meets the VP of Sales of a prospective client, who, despite having the final say, doesn’t pull the trigger without getting a nod from a whole committee spanning various departments. 

The challenge for this rep, then, is to identify and engage the correct individuals across these departments. 

But decision-making processes vary significantly from one company to another, depending on factors, such as company size, industry, and corporate culture. Decision makers and influencers can range from technical experts in IT to financial gatekeepers in accounting, not to mention the strategic overseers in executive leadership. 

Engaging with this diverse group requires a nuanced approach, one that recognizes and addresses the specific needs and pain points of each stakeholder.

How do you navigate this complexity? I suggest two solutions: B2B data graphs and account-based marketing.

Advanced Targeting Strategies Using B2B Data Graphs 

Companies can gain deep insights into the professional relationships and networks that exist within their target accounts leveraging B2B data graphs. 

These data graphs go beyond basic demographic information, providing a rich tapestry of connections, job roles, and influence levels. 

Utilizing programmatic advertising, businesses can then target their messaging with precision, ensuring that it reaches the decision makers and influencers across the relevant departments. 

This approach increases the efficiency of advertising spend and enhances the likelihood of your message resonating with the right people.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) for Personalized Engagement

ABM enables companies to craft highly personalized marketing and sales efforts tailored to the specific context and needs of a select group of high-value accounts. 

This personalization extends across various touchpoints, from customized email campaigns to personalized web content, ensuring that each interaction addresses the unique challenges and opportunities of the target account. 

ABM’s strength lies in its ability to foster meaningful engagements, building a solid foundation for long-term relationships with key stakeholders.

These solutions pierce the veil of complexity surrounding the identification and engagement of the right decision makers, paving the way for more successful B2B transactions.

A great example is Centerline, who partnered with StackAdapt to open up new avenues of advertising and leveraged multiple B2B targeting tactics to accurately reach their client’s B2B IT decision-maker audience. Centerline implemented different B2B targeting tactics, including ABM lists, Page Context AI, 3rd-party segments and Intersection Segments to hone in on their target B2B user. They were able to significantly increase their video viewership and engagement while decreasing average CPA costs.

2. Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

The second key challenge in B2B advertising is the perennial misalignment between sales and marketing teams. 

Despite both teams playing for the same side, their paths to victory often seem divergent, leading to frustration and missed opportunities. 

Many times the cause is diverging goals and a notable lack of transparent communication. 

Marketing teams might be crafting targeted ads, and engaging the right audience, yet these efforts don’t always translate into the sales outcomes that the sales team is vigorously pursuing. This discord creates a murky gap between marketing’s perception of success and the reality faced by sales on the frontline.

This gap isn’t merely about differing objectives; it’s also about the challenge of converting advertising initiatives into tangible sales results. The intricate dance of leading a prospect from awareness to a decision often gets lost in translation, with crucial insights and opportunities slipping through the cracks. 

The solution lies not in pointing fingers, but in building bridges—both metaphorically and practically. Here are two solutions:

Develop Unified Goals and KPIs 

One of the first steps towards alignment is establishing a common set of goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that resonate with both sales and marketing. 

This shared scoreboard fosters a sense of unity and collaboration, guiding both teams toward mutual success. It’s about transitioning from a mindset of “your objectives” and “my targets” to “our goals.”

Let’s say, for example, that your company is launching an advertising campaign, where sales and marketing have a unified goal: increase customer engagement by 25%, leading to a significant increase in both sales qualified leads (SQLs) by 15% and closed deals by 10% in the second quarter. 

This objective is supported by a set of aligned KPIs that serve as a roadmap for both teams, including increasing lead generation through digital advertising, improving lead quality and engagement rates, reducing sales follow-up times, boosting customer satisfaction scores, and achieving revenue growth from new customers.

The campaign strategy involves targeted advertising efforts focused on addressing specific industry pain points and producing content that resonates with the intended audience, coupled with a rapid sales response strategy to engage leads promptly. 

To ensure these efforts are in harmony, sales and marketing hold weekly meetings to review progress, exchange feedback, and adjust tactics as necessary, all while monitoring a shared dashboard that tracks real-time advancements toward their KPIs.

Implement ABM Reporting and Customer Journey Mapping 

To illuminate the once opaque areas between sales and marketing, adopting ABM reporting and customer journey mapping is invaluable.

ABM reporting allows for a granular analysis of how marketing efforts are impacting key accounts, offering insights that both sales and marketing can act upon. 

Similarly, customer journey mapping provides a detailed visualization of the customer’s path, highlighting touchpoints where sales and marketing efforts can be synchronized for maximum impact.

Examples of Tools and Strategies for Enhanced Alignment and Transparency 

Tools such as CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and ABM software are critical in facilitating this alignment. 

For instance, integrating CRM and marketing automation platforms ensures that both sales and marketing have access to real-time data on customer engagements and behaviours. When conducting programmatic advertising, StackAdapt can quickly synchronize with large sets of CRM data and produce lookalike audiences based on multiple identifiers.

Furthermore, leveraging tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator for social selling, or StackAdapt for ABM, can enhance targeted efforts, making it easier for sales and marketing to jointly identify, understand, and engage high-value prospects. Strategies, such as regular cross-functional meetings, shared dashboards, and joint strategy sessions help improve transparency and can encourage ongoing dialogue and collaboration.

It’s important to have the right reporting and measurement to create transparency and alignment for paid media from brand to demand. For example, teams need access to account-level media metrics as well as aggregated audience metrics across programmatic buys.

StackAdapt’s brand reporting offers this superior level of access, with built-in brand-lift and incrementality measurement.

These solutions allow companies to effectively narrow the gap between sales and marketing, ensuring that both teams are aligned, informed, and equipped to collectively drive towards shared business objectives. Having a variety of reports and tracking, from ABM to brand lift, brings alignment and transparency to sales and marketing.

3. Addressing Increased Buyer Journey Complexity

Lastly, the buyer’s journey has become a complex web, thanks to shifting digital landscapes like the fading away of cookies and device IDs. 

This complexity is compounded by the need for identity resolution amidst this signal loss, making it harder to connect the dots across a buyer’s path that now involves, believe it or not, up to 87 touchpoints before becoming a sales qualified lead. 

Buyers are on the lookout for content that resonates with them and only reach out once they’re good and ready.

B2B companies can address the increased complexity of the buyer’s journey through a comprehensive strategy that includes a full-funnel approach, advanced technological solutions, and contextual targeting. 

Embracing a Full-Funnel Marketing Approach

Recognizing and engaging with potential buyers at each stage of their journey is crucial. A full-funnel strategy ensures that marketing efforts are not just focused on generating leads, but also on nurturing these prospects through the entirety of the buying process. 

This approach requires a blend of targeted content, strategic outreach, and continuous engagement, tailored to meet the buyers where they are and guide them towards making a decision.

Investment in Technologies for Enhanced Tracking and Analytics 

As the digital landscape evolves, so too must the tools we use to navigate it. Investing in technologies that offer robust tracking and analytics capabilities becomes paramount. 

These tools should be capable of piecing together disparate data points into a coherent picture of the buyer’s journey, even in the absence of traditional identifiers like cookies. Solutions like customer data platforms (CDPs) and advanced analytics software can help bridge this gap, providing deeper insights into customer behaviour and preferences.

Using the Power of Contextual Targeting

Content remains king in B2B marketing, but it doesn’t always have to be content you create.

With contextual targeting, you can reach decision makers as they are consuming relevant content across the internet. 

Contextual advertising targets ads based on the page in which the ad appears. In other words, ads are shown to users based on the content they are consuming at that moment. 

You can identify keywords and topics based on the buyer’s journey of your targeted decision makers and use the contextual targeting feature in StackAdapt to reach them.

The Future of B2B Advertising

The future of B2B advertising is undeniably geared towards continuous adaptation and innovation. 

Marketers must remain agile, ready to pivot strategies in response to new data, trends, and technologies. The emphasis on understanding and engaging with the full buyer’s journey, coupled with the necessity for alignment between marketing and sales, highlights a shift towards a more integrated, customer-centric approach. 

This evolution requires not just the right tools and technologies, but also a mindset that values collaboration, transparency, and the pursuit of shared goals.

At StackAdapt, we are innovating to offer you the tools to reach decision makers through the different phases of the buyer journey, while giving you access to data and insights that will keep marketing and sales on the same page. Interested in finding out more? Request a demo today.

Kenny Ginnap
Kenny Ginnap

Director, Emerging Verticals


Kenny leads the sales and GTM for key verticals within StackAdapt. With over 10 years of AdTech experience, he’s focused on partnering to solve customer challenges and building customer-obsessed sales teams to bring solutions to market.