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When you recommend, build and manage marketing programs for a living, having quality, reliable data to back up your logic is critical. This is particularly true when working with or presenting your ideas to key stakeholders. Two people (and executives are people too) rarely have the same opinions on design or even a clear vision of what they want. In these instances, experience plays an important role in guiding behavior and being able to provide meaningful data to back up your experience is the difference between “Opinion” and “Strategy”.

The value of A/B testing in B2B lead generation is being able to acquire, document and utilize data to improve marketing program results. With the right data you can confidently make recommendations for how and why to do something. More importantly, you can show evidence for why your way is the right way based on the potential value to the business.

What is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is a simple way to test changes to your marketing programs to determine which elements will produce better results. It is a scientific approach to validating changes to your design, copy, incentives and virtually any other element of your campaign. The value of A/B testing in B2B lead generation is its ability to increase lead acquisition while at the same time driving down costs and minimizing missed opportunities.

A/B TestingWhile more widely associated with online customer interactions related to website development, A/B testing can be applied to any form of promotion given the right controls. The key is being able to clearly measure the performance of different variations and having a sample size large enough to validate your findings. This is particularly helpful when planning large campaigns. In these cases, you may do A/B testing of multiple samples to determine which performs better before launching the campaign to the full audience.

Making A/B Testing Work
Two factors will determine if A/B testing is right for you. The first is time. If you struggle to simply get programs built and launched, adding another step to your development process may not be practical. However, asking for input from someone who does regular A/B testing on similar programs still makes sense. The lessons learned from these programs are often transferable. Having access to this knowledge can help you add two or three percentage points to your response rates without adding cost or time.

The second factor is size. If your target audience is small, the trends uncovered from your testing might not be statistically significant. With smaller sample sizes you’re still able to measure performance, but you need to be careful not to make broad conclusions that might adversely influence campaign performance.

The third factor is focus. Implementing A/B testing is a long-term proposition that requires focus. With a large enough sample size and the time to evaluate results; incremental improvements can be compounded to deliver significantly higher program return-on-investment. Achieving these benefits however requires a commitment to measuring your programs results, the structure to present alternative content and the patience to wait until enough data is available to make an informed decision.

Ultimately, the value of A/B testing for B2B lead generation is its ability to take the guesswork out of building your marketing programs by allowing you to quantify the value of each change before and after you make it permanent. This is measured by the lift in sales opportunities captured through your marketing programs.