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.

Here's what Houston company scored the No. 2 spot among the fastest-growing private companies in the Southwest. Photo via Getty Images

Houston companies snag spots on regional Inc. 5000 list

by the numbers

Revenue growth is on fire at Houston-based Simple Solar.

Revenue at Simple Solar, a provider of residential solar installations, soared 8,007 percent from 2019 to 2021, putting it at No. 2 among the fastest-growing private companies in the Southwest. It leads the list of 25 Houston-area companies appearing in the new Inc. 5000 Regional rankings for the Southwest.

Between 2019 and 2021, the 165 private companies on the Southwest list posted an average growth rate of 557 percent. In 2021 alone, they added 16,116 jobs and nearly $5.5 billion to the Southwest’s economy.

“This year’s Inc. 5000 Regional winners represent one of the most exceptional and exciting lists of America’s off-the-charts growth companies,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. magazine. “They’re disruptors and job creators, and all delivered an outsized impact on the economy. Remember their names and follow their lead. These are the companies you’ll be hearing about for years to come.”

Here are the 25 Houston-area companies that made the Inc. 5000 Regional list for the Southwest, including their regional rankings.

  • No. 2 Simple Solar, Houston-based provider of residential solar installations, 8,007 percent growth
  • No. 6 Medical Edge Recruitment, The Woodlands-based health care recruiting and staffing firm, 2,980 percent growth
  • No. 8 Specialty1 Partners, Houston-based provider of surgical support services for dental practices, 2,921 percent growth
  • No. 15 Magnolia-based online women’s clothing retailer Jess Lea, 1,471 percent growth
  • No. 36 Houston-based accounting and advisory firm EFS Group, 458 percent growth
  • No. 39 Blackbuck Resources, Houston-based designer, builder, and operator of water infrastructure for the oil and gas industry, 432 percent growth
  • No. 48 Leveled Concrete, Houston-based provider of concrete and foundation repair services, 298 percent growth
  • No. 52 iCRYO Brands, Houston-based franchisor of cryotherapy centers, 269 percent growth
  • No. 53 TAXA Outdoors, Houston-based retailer of camping trailers, 268 percent growth
  • No. 58 Proxima Clinical Research, Houston-based contract research organization, 243 percent growth
  • No. 64 Ledge, Katy-based seller of in-pool and backyard furniture and accessories, 234 percent growth
  • No. 66 TekRevol, Houston-based software developer, 226 percent growth
  • No. 79 Finish Line Tax Solutions, Houston-based tax relief firm, 194 percent growth
  • No. 82 Incfile, Houston-based provider of services for small businesses, 192 percent growth
  • No. 99 Flocknote, Magnolia-based provider of technology that helps churches boost attendance and foster connections, 152 percent growth
  • No. 125 Onit, Houston-based developer of workflow and AI software, 104 percent
  • No. 137 InterLinc Mortgage, Houston-based mortgage lender, 85 percent growth
  • No. 140 Classy Art, Houston-based supplier of wall décor, 83 percent growth
  • No. 145 Zulie Venture (Cellpay), Sugar Land-based provider of prepaid wireless services, 78 percent growth
  • No. 149 Total Pump Solutions, Houston-based distributor of fire suppression equipment, 75 percent growth
  • No. 155 Construction Concepts, Houston-based commercial construction firm, 67 percent growth
  • No. 157 Energy Ogre, Houston-based service that helps consumers find electricity plans, 63 percent growth
  • No. 164 Garrison Construction Group, Houston-based commercial construction firm, 60 percent growth
  • No. 165 Technocrats Domain, Houston-based provider of IT services, 60 percent growth
  • No. 166, G&A Partners, Houston-based professional employer organization, 60 percent growth
Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

New Houston venture studio emerges to target early-stage hardtech, energy transition startups

funding the future

The way Doug Lee looks at it, there are two areas within the energy transition attracting capital. With his new venture studio, he hopes to target an often overlooked area that's critical for driving forward net-zero goals.

Lee describes investment activity taking place in the digital and software world — early stage technology that's looking to make the industry smarter. But, on the other end of the spectrum, investment activity can be found on massive infrastructure projects.

While both areas need funding, Lee has started his new venture studio, Flathead Forge, to target early-stage hardtech technologies.

“We are really getting at the early stage companies that are trying to develop technologies at the intersection of legacy industries that we believe can become more sustainable and the energy transition — where we are going. It’s not an ‘if’ or ‘or’ — we believe these things intersect,” he tells EnergyCapital.

Specifically, Lee's expertise is within the water and industrial gas space. For around 15 years, he's made investments in this area, which he describes as crucial to the energy transition.

“Almost every energy transition technology that you can point to has some critical dependency on water or gas,” he says. “We believe that if we don’t solve for those things, the other projects won’t survive.”

Lee, and his brother, Dave, are evolving their family office to adopt a venture studio model. They also sold off Azoto Energy, a Canadian oilfield nitrogen cryogenic services business, in December.

“We ourselves are going through a transition like our energy is going through a transition,” he says. “We are transitioning into a single family office into a venture studio. By doing so, we want to focus all of our access and resources into this focus.”

At this point, Flathead Forge has seven portfolio companies and around 15 corporations they are working with to identify their needs and potential opportunities. Lee says he's gearing up to secure a $100 million fund.

Flathead also has 40 advisers and mentors, which Lee calls sherpas — a nod to the Flathead Valley region in Montana, which inspired the firm's name.

“We’re going to help you carry up, we’re going to tie ourselves to the same rope as you, and if you fall off the mountain, we’re falling off with you,” Lee says of his hands-on approach, which he says sets Flathead apart from other studios.

Another thing that's differentiating Flathead Forge from its competition — it's dedication to giving back.

“We’ve set aside a quarter of our carried interest for scholarships and grants,” Lee says.

The funds will go to scholarships for future engineers interested in the energy transition, as well as grants for researchers studying high-potential technologies.

“We’re putting our own money where our mouth is,” Lee says of his thesis for Flathead Forge.

------

This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.

Houston-based lunar mission's rocky landing and what it means for America's return to the moon

houston, we have a problem

A private U.S. lunar lander tipped over at touchdown and ended up on its side near the moon’s south pole, hampering communications, company officials said Friday.

Intuitive Machines initially believed its six-footed lander, Odysseus, was upright after Thursday's touchdown. But CEO Steve Altemus said Friday the craft “caught a foot in the surface," falling onto its side and, quite possibly, leaning against a rock. He said it was coming in too fast and may have snapped a leg.

“So far, we have quite a bit of operational capability even though we’re tipped over," he told reporters.

But some antennas were pointed toward the surface, limiting flight controllers' ability to get data down, Altemus said. The antennas were stationed high on the 14-foot (4.3-meter) lander to facilitate communications at the hilly, cratered and shadowed south polar region.

Odysseus — the first U.S. lander in more than 50 years — is thought to be within a few miles (kilometers) of its intended landing site near the Malapert A crater, less than 200 miles (300 kilometers) from the south pole. NASA, the main customer, wanted to get as close as possible to the pole to scout out the area before astronauts show up later this decade.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will attempt to pinpoint the lander's location, as it flies overhead this weekend.

With Thursday’s touchdown, Intuitive Machines became the first private business to pull off a moon landing, a feat previously achieved by only five countries. Japan was the latest country to score a landing, but its lander also ended up on its side last month.

Odysseus' mission was sponsored in large part by NASA, whose experiments were on board. NASA paid $118 million for the delivery under a program meant to jump-start the lunar economy.

One of the NASA experiments was pressed into service when the lander's navigation system did not kick in. Intuitive Machines caught the problem in advance when it tried to use its lasers to improve the lander's orbit. Otherwise, flight controllers would not have discovered the failure until it was too late, just five minutes before touchdown.

“Serendipity is absolutely the right word,” mission director Tim Crain said.

It turns out that a switch was not flipped before flight, preventing the system's activation in space.

Launched last week from Florida, Odysseus took an extra lap around the moon Thursday to allow time for the last-minute switch to NASA's laser system, which saved the day, officials noted.

Another experiment, a cube with four cameras, was supposed to pop off 30 seconds before touchdown to capture pictures of Odysseus’ landing. But Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s EagleCam was deliberately powered off during the final descent because of the navigation switch and stayed attached to the lander.

Embry-Riddle's Troy Henderson said his team will try to release EagleCam in the coming days, so it can photograph the lander from roughly 26 feet (8 meters) away.

"Getting that final picture of the lander on the surface is still an incredibly important task for us,” Henderson told The Associated Press.

Intuitive Machines anticipates just another week of operations on the moon for the solar-powered lander — nine or 10 days at most — before lunar nightfall hits.

The company was the second business to aim for the moon under NASA's commercial lunar services program. Last month, Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Technology gave it a shot, but a fuel leak on the lander cut the mission short and the craft ended up crashing back to Earth.

Until Thursday, the U.S. had not landed on the moon since Apollo 17's Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt closed out NASA's famed moon-landing program in December 1972. NASA's new effort to return astronauts to the moon is named Artemis after Apollo's mythological twin sister. The first Artemis crew landing is planned for 2026 at the earliest.

3 female Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Welcome to another Monday edition of Innovators to Know. Today I'm introducing you to three Houstonians to read up about — three individuals behind recent innovation and startup news stories in Houston as reported by InnovationMap. Learn more about them and their recent news below by clicking on each article.

Emma Konet, co-founder and CTO of Tierra Climate

Emma Konet, co-founder and CTO of Tierra Climate, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast. Photo via LinkedIn

If the energy transition is going to be successful, the energy storage space needs to be equipped to support both the increased volume of energy needed and new energies. And Emma Konet and her software company, Tierra Climate, are targeting one part of the equation: the market.

"To me, it's very clear that we need to build a lot of energy storage in order to transition the grid," Konet says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "The problems that I saw were really on the market side of things." Read more.

Cindy Taff, CEO of Sage Geosystems

Houston-based Sage Geosystems announced the first close of $17 million round led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. Photo courtesy of Sage

A Houston geothermal startup has announced the close of its series A round of funding.

Houston-based Sage Geosystems announced the first close of $17 million round led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. The proceeds aim to fund its first commercial geopressured geothermal system facility, which will be built in Texas in Q4 of 2024. According to the company, the facility will be the first of its kind.

“The first close of our Series A funding and our commercial facility are significant milestones in our mission to make geopressured geothermal system technologies a reality,” Cindy Taff, CEO of Sage Geosystems, says. Read more.

Clemmie Martin, chief of staff at The Cannon

With seven locations across the Houston area, The Cannon's digital technology allows its members a streamlined connection. Photo courtesy of The Cannon

After collaborating over the years, The Cannon has acquired a Houston startup's digital platform technology to become a "physical-digital hybrid" community.

Village Insights, a Houston startup, worked with The Cannon to create and launch its digital community platform Cannon Connect. Now, The Cannon has officially acquired the business. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The integration of a world-class onsite member experience and Cannon Connect’s superior virtual resource network creates a seamless, streamlined environment for member organizations,” Clemmie Martin, The Cannon’s newly appointed chief of staff, says in the release. “Cannon Connect and this acquisition have paved new pathways to access and success for all.” Read more.