How you can use your data to improve your marketing efforts. Photo via Getty Images

When focusing on revenue growth in business to business companies, analyzing data to develop and optimize strategies is one of the biggest factors in sales and marketing success. However, the process of evaluating B2B data differs significantly from that of B2C, or business to consumer. B2C analysis is often straightforward, focusing on consumer behavior and e-commerce transactions.

Unlike B2C, where customers can make a quick purchase decision with a simple click, the B2B customer journey involves multiple touchpoints and extensive research. B2B buyers will most likely discover a company through an ad or a referral, then navigate through websites, interact with salespeople, and explore different resources before finally making a purchasing decision, often with a committee giving input.

Because a B2B customer journey through the sales pipeline is more indirect, these businesses need to take a more nuanced approach to acquiring and making sense of data.

The expectations of B2B vs. B2C

It can be tempting to use the same methods of analysis between B2C and B2B data. However, B2B decision-making requires more consideration. Decisions involving enterprise software or other significant business products or services investments are very different from a typical consumer purchase.

B2C marketing emphasizes metrics like conversion rates, click-through rates, and immediate sales. In contrast, B2B marketing success also includes metrics like lead quality, customer lifetime value, and ROI. Understanding the differences helps prevent unrealistic expectations and misinterpretations of data.

Data differences with B2B

While B2C data analysis often revolves around website analytics and foot traffic in brick and mortar stores, B2B data analysis involves multiple sources. Referrals play a vital role in B2B, as buyers often seek recommendations from industry peers or companies similar to theirs.

Data segmentation in B2B focuses more on job title and job function rather than demographic data. Targeting different audiences within the same company based on their roles — and highlighting specific aspects of products or services that resonate with those different decision-makers — can significantly impact a purchase decision.

The B2B sales cycle is longer because purchases typically involve the input of a salesperson to help buyers with education and comparison. This allows for teams to implement account-based marketing and provides for more engagement which increases the chances of moving prospects down the sales funnel.

Enhancing data capture in B2B analysis

Many middle-market companies rely heavily on individual knowledge and experience rather than formal data management systems. As the sales and marketing landscape has evolved to be more digital, so must business. Sales professionals can leave and a company must retain the knowledge of the buyers and potential buyers. CRM systems not only collect data, they also provide the history of customer relationships.

Businesses need to capture data at all the various touchpoints, including lead generation, prospect qualification, customer interactions, and order fulfillment. Regular analysis will help with accuracy. The key is to derive actionable insights from the data.

B2B data integration challenges

Integrating various data sources in B2B data analysis used to be much more difficult. With the advent of business intelligence software such as Tableau and Power BI, data analysis is much more accessible with a less significant investment. Businesses do need access to resources to effectively use the tools.

CRM and ERP systems store a wealth of data, including contact details, interactions, and purchase history. Marketing automation platforms capture additional information from website forms, social media, and email campaigns. Because of these multiple sources, connecting data points and cleansing the data is a necessary step in the process.

When analyzing B2B data for account based marketing (ABM) purposes, there are some unique considerations to keep in mind. Industries like healthcare and financial services, for instance, have specific regulations that dictate how a business can use customer data.

Leveraging B2B data analysis for growth

B2B data analysis is the foundation for any sales and marketing strategy. Collecting and using data from multiple sources allows revenue teams to uncover gaps, trends, and opportunities for continued growth.

Acknowledging what’s different about B2B data and tracking all of the customer journey touchpoints is important as a business identifies a target market, develops an ideal customer profile, and monitors their competitors. Insights from data also single out gaps in the sales pipeline, use predictive analytics for demand forecasting, and optimize pricing strategies.

This comprehensive approach gives B2B companies the tools they need to make informed decisions, accelerate their sales and marketing efforts, and achieve long-term growth in a competitive market.

------

Libby Covington is a Partner with Craig Group, a technology-enabled sales and marketing advisory firm specializing in revenue growth for middle-market, private-equity-backed portfolio companies.

A panel of experts discussed decentralized web and Web3 technology — and its potential for impacting communities. Photo courtesy of DivInc

Web3 technology has the potential to bring communities together, say Houston innovators

discussing DWeb

Houston innovators dispelled some of the misconceptions about the decentralized web and Web3 technology at a recent panel, which highlighted the technology’s ability to bring communities together.

DivInc, a Texas-based accelerator focused on helping BIPOC and female founders on their entrepreneurial journeys, hosted a panel to discuss the benefits of transitioning to DWeb for entrepreneurs, personal success stories of using Web3 technology, and promoted its inaugural DWeb for Social Impact Accelerator.

The panelists included Giorgio Villani, founder of Spindletop Digital; Akeel Bernard, community development manager of Impact Hub Houston; and Ayoola John, co-founder and CEO of Astronaut. The discussion was moderated by Cherise Luter, marketing director of DivInc.

With the application for the DWeb 12-week accelerator program live, announced earlier this year, Luter says the panel was initiated to help explain the links between impact entrepreneurship and DWeb, two areas that people may think are very separate.

“This is our first time hosting a social impact accelerator here in Houston and we’re really excited about it. We added this extra piece of Web3, DWeb – how social entrepreneurs are utilizing this new technology to push forward their vision and bring about their startups,’” Luter says.

Villani, a founder of multiple companies that employ Web3 innovation, defined this technology as a tool of decentralization in which users are responsible for their own data and transactions are kept transparent by being publicly accessible. Villani contrasted this setup to the modern internet, known as Web2, in which users entrust third parties with encrypting their personal data, allowing them to mine and profit from this information.

“Web3 is a flipping of the script a little bit – it’s where we’re focusing primarily on the individual, where the individual is being empowered. Everybody manages their own keys and you don’t have to trust a third party to do anything within the system … you don’t have to cede your power to third party entities – it’s really an empowering thing to do,” Villani explains.

Villani addressed the misunderstanding that the decentralized web is too complicated for the average person to use by highlighting his partnership with multimedia Houston artist J. Omar Ochoa. Ochoa is incorporating Web3 technologies like AI and NFTs into an exhibit, allowing him to interact directly with buyers.

“The misconception is that (Web3) is difficult or too technical and it’s really not. There’s some stuff that takes a little bit of work but once you’ve done that the whole world of Web3 opens up in front of you,” Villani says.

For Villani, Web3 technologies are about the opportunity for connection.

“When you look around you, a lot of people these days are lonely and it’s funny because we have these platforms like Facebooks, Instagrams, WhatsApps, Snapchats and they’re all designed to bring us together but if you really look around you we’re not together,” Villani explains. “For me fundamentally, we have to reimagine how we build social networks, how we connect people.”

Web3 technologies are not all inherently about decentralization of the internet so much as rethinking how to rebuild the web to bring people together based on shared interests, adds John, co-founder of a social impact company that uses Web3 to help brands build online communities.

In contrast to much of the tech world, John also says that NFTs and cryptocurrencies, both of which are considered Web3 tools as they operate on blockchains, are not components of DWeb because they are tied up by monopolies. As the majority of NFTs are sold on one website and Bitcoin continues to dominate the cryptocurrency market, John explains they can not qualify as decentralized.

“I believe I can make an argument that crypto at its core is not about decentralization. What I believe crypto is and the Web3 movement is about reimagination,” John shares.

Bernard, who works directly with social impact entrepreneurs at Impact Hub Houston, says he anticipates founders looking to secure investors for their DWeb related companies will struggle, at first, because they must concisely explain the technology and business model at play. Bernard says he previously coached entrepreneurs on how to explain to investors that investing in social impact companies is not charity but a typical investment that will pay returns. Bernard expects DWeb focused companies will face similar uphill battles of getting investors to understand their concepts.

“I think with DWeb because it’s a newer network it’s going to require social impact entrepreneurs to educate investors and also users on the benefits of DWeb,” Bernard explains. “You’re going to have to be able to explain to them in a clear and consistent way especially to the investors, folks that have the means but don’t understand what DWeb is, how it can be utilized for success.”

Photo courtesy of DivInc

P97 Networks has again raised $40 million to support its growth. Photo via Getty Images

Houston e-commerce company raises another $40M round to support growth

money moves

For the second time in just over a year, a Houston business that provides mobile commerce and digital marketing to the mobility and fuel industries has raised $40 million.

P97 Networks, which has developed a cloud-based mobile commerce platform that helps brands securely do business with customers, announced that it has closed its series C round at $40 million. The equity financing round was led by Portage and included participation from existing investors. The fresh funding will go to support growth strategy.

"In this highly connected world, retail brands are looking for new ways to increase consumer engagement — the power of network effects in the digital world will be a key contributor to revenue growth and margins," says Donald Frieden, CEO of P97 Networks, in a news release. "With consumers of all ages further adopting mobile payment solutions, we are proud to have built the leading connected commerce and digital marketing platform for the convenience retail, energy marketing, and transportation industry."

In January of 2022, P97 raised $40 million, and, according to Crunchbase, the company has secured a total of $109 million in funding since its founding in 2012.

The company's unique platform is used by a majority of the retail fuel market in North America, per the release, with the intention of expanding further into the fleet, connected car, and EV charging markets. The technology also enables engagement and secure transactions, using tokenized payments and personalization.

"P97 has quickly established itself as a dominant mobile commerce solution for the North American retail convenience and fuel market," says Dan Ballen, partner and co-head of Portage Capital Solutions, in the release. "The company will continue to benefit from accelerating consumer adoption of mobile payments, while also leveraging its best-in-class technology to capitalize on compelling opportunities in adjacent verticals."

Toronto-based Portage is focused on the fintech and financial services sectors, and its investment derives from the recently launched Portage Capital Solutions strategy.

"We are thrilled to partner with P97 on our first Portage Capital Solutions investment and look forward to helping Don and the team drive their long-term vision," says Adam Felesky, CEO of Portage, in the release.

FanReact is now Truss, and the company will be able to reach a greater audience. Photo by PeopleImages

Exclusive: Houston sports tech company rebrands to attract a wider range of clients

Name change

A Houston company that's specialized in digital sports fan engagement is reinventing itself to grow its client base.

FanReact, which earlier this year spun off its esports business into a new company called Mainline, is now known as Truss. The transition opens doors for the company to reach new clients that aren't in the sports industry — but that maybe want to take a page out of the fan experience's book.

"Our team has done an incredible job creating great digital experiences for our customers in the sports and athletics space," says Patrick Schneidau, CEO of Truss, in a news release. "At the same time, we have heard from organizations outside of sports that they want to create a similar 'fan experience'' for their customers, employees, partners and volunteers by providing content and connections the same way that athletic teams do."

According to Schneidau, there's also some market dissatisfaction that has left Truss with this opportunity for growth.

"Those organizations and their audiences – while not wanting to sacrifice great user experience and engagement – don't trust current options that host their communities at the expense of a loss of privacy," he adds. "All of these organizations focus on the need for a privacy-focused community platform."

The rebranding ties into some technological expansions Truss now has to offer, including branded digital web and mobile experiences, verified user profiles, community-defined moderation standards, and person-to-person and group chats.

"With our new mission to serve people who share a passion for any organization, our customers can now create the same level of engagement already available with your favorite sports team," says Schneidau. "Whether your organization supports critically ill patients, service men and women, university students or people of faith, Truss can create the communication, collaboration and connections that so many organizations desire for their community."

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston family's $20M donation drives neurodegeneration research

big impact

Neurodegeneration is one of the cruelest ways to age, but one Houston family is sharing its wealth to invigorate research with the goal of eradicating diseases like Alzheimer’s.

This month, Laurence Belfer announced that his family, led by oil tycoon Robert Belfer, had donated an additional $20 million to the Belfer Neurodegeneration Consortium, a multi-institutional initiative that targets the study and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

This latest sum brings the family’s donations to BNDC to $53.5 million over a little more than a decade. The Belfer family’s recent donation will be matched by institutional philanthropic efforts, meaning BNDC will actually be $40 million richer.

BNDC was formed in 2012 to help scientists gain stronger awareness of neurodegenerative disease biology and its potential treatments. It incorporates not only The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, but also Baylor College of Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

It is the BNDC’s lofty objective to develop five new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders over the next 10 years, with two treatments to demonstrate clinical efficacy.

“Our goal is ambitious, but having access to the vast clinical trial expertise at MD Anderson ensures our therapeutics can improve the lives of patients everywhere,” BNDC Executive Director Jim Ray says in a press release. “The key elements for success are in place: a powerful research model, a winning collaborative team and a robust translational pipeline, all in the right place at the right time.”

It may seem out of place that this research is happening at MD Anderson, but scientists are delving into the intersection between cancer and neurological disease through the hospital’s Cancer Neuroscience Program.

“Since the consortium was formed, we have made tremendous progress in our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of neurodegenerative diseases and in translating those findings into effective targeted drugs and diagnostics for patients,” Ray continues. “Yet, we still have more work to do. Alzheimer's disease is already the most expensive disease in the United States. As our population continues to age, addressing quality-of-life issues and other challenges of treating and living with age-associated diseases must become a priority.”

And for the magnanimous Belfer family, it already is.

3 Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to a handful of Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes a podcast with the founder of a new venture firm, a former astronaut and recent award recipient, and a health care innovator with fresh funding.

Zach Ellis, founder and managing partner of South Loop Ventures

Zach Ellis explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast that South Loop Ventures plans to invest in promising companies from across the country and bring them into Houston's ecosystem to grow and scale. Photo via LinkedIn

Houston has a lot of the right ingredients for commercialization and scaling up companies, so when Zach Ellis moved to town to stand up a venture capital firm that made investments in diverse founders, he decided to go about it in an innovative way.

South Loop Ventures, which Ellis launched two years ago, invests in pre-seed and seed-stage startups across health care, climatetech, aerospace, sports, and fintech. While the first handful of investments, which have already been made, are into Houston-based companies, Ellis explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast that the firm plans to invest in promising companies from across the country and bring them into Houston's ecosystem to grow and scale.

"Any investor wants to feel like they are looking at the best possible investment opportunities in which to deploy capital," Ellis says on the show. "So that's reason No. 1 to cast your net as widely as possible.

"At the same time, you want to give any investment that you make greatest chances of success," he continues. "The biggest factor of success outside of the team and the capital you give them, is the customers that they can call upon. In bringing targeted companies to Houston or connecting them with Houston, you introduce the opportunity for them to achieve rapid scale and work with world-class partners very efficiently." Read more.


Toby R. Hamilton, founder and CEO of Hamilton Health Box

Dr. Toby Hamilton has secured $10 million to grow his company. Photo via tmc.edu

A Houston company that is working on a value-based model for primary care has fresh funding to support its mission.

Hamilton Health Box announced the completion of a $10 million series A funding round led by 1588 Ventures with participation from Memorial Hermann Health System, Impact Ventures by Johnson & Johnson Foundation, Texas Medical Center Venture Fund, and the Sullivan Brothers.

The company, founded in 2019 by Dr. Toby R. Hamilton, will use the funding to fuel its expansion into rural areas to help assist those living in Health Professional Shortage Areas, or HPSAs. Read more.

Ellen Ochoa, former astronaut and center director at the NASA's Johnson Space Center

Ellen Ochoa was recognized for her leadership at NASA Johnson and for being the first Hispanic woman in space. Photo via NASA

Two astronauts recently received Presidential Medals of Freedom from President Joe Biden for their leadership in space.

Ellen Ochoa, the former center director and astronaut at the NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Jane Rigby, senior project scientist for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, were honored at the White House on May 3.

Ochoa spent 30 years with NASA, which included being the 11th director of JSC, deputy center director of JSC, and director of Flight Crew Operations. She served on the nine-day STS-56 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993, and became the first Hispanic woman in space. She flew four more times to space with STS-66, STS-96, STS-110, and more.

“I’m so grateful for all my amazing NASA colleagues who shared my career journey with me,” Ochoa says in a NASA news release. Read more.

Houston health care institutions receive $22M to attract top recruits

coming to Hou

Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine has received a total of $12 million in grants from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas to attract two prominent researchers.

The two grants, which are $6 million each, are earmarked for recruitment of Thomas Milner and Radek Skoda. The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced the grants May 14.

Milner, an expert in photomedicine for surgery and diagnostics, is a professor of surgery and biomedical engineering at the Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic at the University of California, Irvine and the university’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

In 2013, Milner was named Inventor of the Year by the University of Texas at Austin. At the time, he was a professor of biomedical engineering at UT. One of his major achievements is co-development of the MasSpec Pen, a handheld device that identifies cancerous tissue within 10 seconds during surgical procedures.

Skoda is a professor of molecular medicine in the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel, both in Switzerland. He specializes in developing treatments for myeloproliferative neoplasms, which are a group of blood diseases including leukemia.

Other recruitment grants provided by the institute to Houston-area organizations are:

  • $4 million for recruitment of Susan Bullman to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She was an assistant professor at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, where she studied the connection between microbes and cancer.
  • $4 million for recruitment of Oren Rom to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Rom is an assistant professor of pathology and translational pathobiology at Louisiana State University Shreveport.
  • Nearly $2 million for recruitment of Lauren Hagler to conduct RNA cancer biology at Texas A&M University. She is a postdoctoral scholar in biochemistry at Stanford University.

The institute also awarded grants to five companies in the Houston area:

  • $4.7 million to 7 Hills Pharma for development of immunotherapies to treat cancer and prevent infectious diseases.
  • $4.5 million to Indapta Therapeutics for the Phase 1 trial of a cell therapy for treatment of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • $2.75 million to Bectas Therapeutics for development of antibodies and biomarkers to overcome a type of resistance T-cell checkpoint therapy.
  • $2.69 million to MS Pen Technologies for development of technology that differentiates between normal tissue and cancerous tissue during surgery.
  • $2.58 million to Crossbridge Bio for development of an antibody-drug combination to treat certain solid tumors.