B2B Marketers Go-To-Market Top Priorities [Survey]

B2B Marketers Go-To-Market Top Priorities [Survey]

According to the recent The State of B2B lead Management 2022 report from LeanData, Sales Hacker, Heinze Marketing and Outreach, B2B marketing and sales leaders found it more challenging to generate sufficient pipeline last year than to pivot go-to-market approaches amid changing conditions or sell virtually with a remote team. Per the study, those same leaders will be focused on generating pipeline this year.

B2B Sales and Marketing Top Priorities

Not only was pipeline the top challenge for 2021, but it’s the leading priority (among 5 listed) for 2022, according to the survey’s more than 1,700 respondents. Almost half (48.8%) named pipeline growth their top priority for their go-to-market organization this year. That’s more than double the share who said that building/staffing teams (22.4%) is their top priority. Other initiatives such as expanding their addressable market (18.3%), accelerating digital transformation (7.1%), and new tech stack investments (3.5%) were lower on the priority list.

The attention paid to pipeline growth, at least for marketing respondents, is understandable given the extent to which marketing is expected to contribute to the sales pipeline. In a recent study, 82% of marketers said they are measured by the sales pipeline they initiate, and 78% reported being measured by the sales pipeline they influence. The good news is that almost 6 in 10 respondents agree to some extent that their sales and marketing are aligned to deliver growth this year.

Although a slight majority agree that their organization’s lead management systems and processes help them deliver an ideal customer experience, more than one-quarter don’t feel that way. Moreover, one-quarter disagree that their current lead management system will support revenue goals this year. And, although almost 2 in 3 feel that they are somewhat effective in achieving their conversion goals with their current lead management strategy, only around 1 in 4 (27%) are very confident in this area.

Lead Routing Issues

The survey indicates that B2B organizations are at times assigning leads to the wrong owner, with 6 in 10 admitting this sometimes happens and another 7% claiming that it happens half or more of the time.

2 in 3 are able to match leads to accounts and are happy with the process. Unfortunately, this leaves many for whom lead matching occurs but is slow or error-ridden (24.3%), and a small fraction who simply aren’t matching leads to accounts despite a desire to do so (4.3%).

Issues with speed may be the result of outdated processes: the #1 method for routing leads is manual, as opposed to other methods such as using marketing automation platforms or native assignment rules in the CRM.

Looking forward, the top lead management capability that respondents would like to have but currently don’t is more automation and fewer manual processes.

About the Data: The results are based on a December 2021 global survey of 1,732 B2B sales, marketing, and operations professionals, with technology the most heavily represented industry.


Need assistance with your go-to-marketing strategies, and sales and marketing automation? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in marketing and sales automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

 

How Marketers Are Using Marketing Automation Tools [Report]

How Marketers Are Using Marketing Automation Tools [Report]

Per an Ascend2 report, marketers mention several advantages of using marketing automation, chief among them are improvements in the customer experience and better use of staff time. And automation has also been linked to a stronger ability to prove ROI as well as increased coordination between marketing and sales teams. With these benefits, almost one-third of marketers surveyed by Ascend2 say they’ll be shopping for a new solution in the coming year.

Some 31% said they’ll be shopping for a solution, versus 26% who won’t be in the market. (The remaining 43% are unsure.) The results are interesting in light of a 2021 report indicating that 2 in 3 marketers had replaced a martech tool in the previous year, with marketing automation the most likely to have been replaced (by 24%).

Marketing Automation Usage

Automation Usage Trends

The Ascend2 study suggests that there is some room for improvement in automation of the customer journey. While close to 1 in 3 respondents say their customer journey is either fully (9%) or mostly (22%) automated, for a majority – 47% – the overall customer journey remains only partially automated. In fact, for 1 in 5 (22%) the customer journey isn’t automated at all.

Looking at the areas in which automation is being deployed, the report finds that email marketing (55%) is the most widely used, much as it is the most broadly used for personalization. This was the only area for which a majority of marketers reported using automation.

Following email is social media management (44%), which was also the second-most utilized area for automation after email last year. However, after that content management is the third-most this year, as opposed to paid ads last year. Landing pages remain relatively high on the list, as do paid ads, while SMS marketing jumps up this year. Relative to last year, there seem to be fewer marketers putting automation to use in their lead scoring.

Using AI with Automation

While automation can improve efficiencies, adding artificial intelligence (AI) can help to further improve the customer experience.

The survey asked respondents in which areas they are currently testing or utilizing AI in conjunction with their marketing automation. The areas that emerged at the top were paid advertising (32%) and personalizing email messages/offers (32%). Not surprisingly, AI is being leveraged in areas where automation is more broadly used.

Meanwhile, about 1 in 5 report using or testing AI in conjunction with automation for product/content recommendations, email subject line personalization, predictive analytics, and account identification.

Other Findings:

  • Price (58%) and ease of use (54%) are the most widely cited primary factors driving the purchase decision of a marketing automation tool, much as they have been in years past.
  • Marketers are more likely to describe the success of their marketing automation at achieving important objectives as “very successful” (22%) than “unsuccessful” (14%). For the majority (64%), their marketing automation has been “somewhat successful” in meeting their goals.
  • 7 in 10 respondents report that it is either extremely (11%) or somewhat (59%) easy to measure the success of marketing automation in meeting their objectives.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey conducted in February 2022 among 393 marketers, half (52%) of whom count B2C as their primary marketing channel. The remainder primarily target B2B (22%) or B2B and B2C equally (26%). Some 43% of respondents work at companies with at least 50 employees.


Need assistance with marketing automation platform selection, onboarding and/or optimization? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.
Also, check out our agency listing on Design Rush.


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in marketing and sales automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

 

Most Important Martech Features [Report]

Most Important Martech Features [Report]

As companies continue to increase their investment in martech, especially in North America, making use of all these technologies as well as having them work together efficiently is a hurdle many firms are still working on. Two-fifths (39%) of the 265 marketing professionals surveyed for a Ascend2 report say they are currently working on implementing a martech stack strategy, while 1 in 5 (19%) are still developing such a strategy.

Most Important Martech Features

When creating a martech stack optimization strategy, improving marketing efficiency is a key priority for more than half (55%) of those surveyed. Marketers are also hoping that optimizing their martech stack will help with improving customer experience (51%), which is an area for which more than one-third (35%) of retail marketers feel their marketing technology is currently doing “very well.”

Although many marketers set increasing marketing ROI (45%) as a martech optimization priority, fewer cite improving marketing personalization (29%), improving attribution of revenue (27%) and improving data management & security (26%).

Notably, improving marketing efficiency is not only the biggest priority for marketers when it comes to martech stack optimization; it’s also their most challenging barrier.

Important Martech Stack Features

Beyond the priorities and challenges of optimizing their martech stack, what features are marketers looking for in their suite of tools? One of the most important features for implementing a martech stack is data insights and analysis (51%). At the same time, finding people with skills to properly analyze the data provided has been an issue for companies for some time.

Marketers also place importance on features such as real-time processing (40%), data centralization (34%), scalability/flexibility (31%), multi-channel experience (30%) and, to a much lesser extent, artificial intelligence (14%).

Systems integration was cited as one of the most important features for implementing a martech stack by 46% of respondents. That said, integration of disparate systems was low on their list of priorities, with only one-fifth (19%) citing it as a key priority to be achieved by a martech stack optimization strategy. It is also considered to be a challenging barrier for more than one-third (36%) of those surveyed.

In fact, many marketers feel that to optimize their marketing, the technologies in the stack need to improve ease of use (52%) and integration with other technologies (38%).

Martech Investment

Only 14% of marketers say they are not planning to invest in their martech stack this year. Conversely, 7 in 10 say they will continue to invest moderately (49%) or significantly (22%). This comes after earlier data from Ascend2 found that 2 in 5 marketers are investing in more martech on a quarterly basis.

Separately, research from Merkle has found that larger companies (those making at least $200 million in pre-tax annual revenues) are outsourcing about 43% of their marketing technology operations. In this latest study close to two-thirds (62% share) of marketers said that a combination of outsourced and in-house resources is the most effective for implementing martech optimization tactics, with few (24%) preferring to rely on in-house resources alone.

Downloaded the full report.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 265 marketing professionals from B2B, B2C and B2B/B2C equally companies. The survey was fielded in January 2020.


Is your martech investment delivering what you need? For assistance with your tech stack, schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.

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BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

The Future of Content Marketing [Research]

The Future of Content Marketing [Research]

Marketers predicted that they will use more content-driven campaigns and audio and emerging formats in 2020, according to new research from World Media Group.

About 80% of marketing professionals worldwide surveyed in October 2019 said they expect content-led campaigns to grow over the next two years, with 19% saying they expect they would stabilize. Only 2% of respondents said there would be a decline.

Nine in 10 respondents said they planned to use audio/podcasts in 2020, and a similar percentage said they would use emerging technology like augmented reality and voice. This indicates that marketers are experimenting with formats beyond traditional social media posts and editorial-style content.

As content marketing becomes increasingly nuanced and evolves away from merely being a lead-generation tool, a holistic content strategy becomes key to brands engaging with their audiences. A holistic content strategy includes not only content creation—which can include white papers, podcasts, webinars—but also mapping of dissemination, which shows how content gets distributed through the various channels, reaching people at various stages of the customer journey.

Brands are looking to establish themselves as trusted experts and give customers a reason to come back to their websites. That allows them to convert more visitors into leads down the line. A robust content marketing strategy encompasses both content creation and a plan for multichannel dissemination.

And many executives agree that it’s an important strategy to invest in: According to an August 2019 report from The CMO Club, 86% of US CMOs surveyed said that content marketing is the most important area to invest marketing dollars.

About half of US local advertisers surveyed by Borrell Associates between April and July 2019 said they planned to increase ad spend in content marketing, though a larger majority indicated they would increase ad spending on traditional venues like digital video, social media and search.

“Content, when produced strategically and with regularity, can be the backbone of a marketing and advertising plan,” said Jillian Ryan, principal analyst at eMarketer. “It should be created for a specific audience and shared in the most relevant channel to reach the intended audience. Brands are starting to realize that content strategies can inform and provide fuel for most of their other marketing and advertising initiatives.”


Need help with your content marketing? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.

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BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Email Marketing

Two of the key email marketing strategy priorities marketers hope to achieve are to increase sales revenue (59%) and to boost the number of leads generated (49%). But these are only two factors in marketers’ quest to make email marketing more effective, according to the latest Ascend2 report.

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020

3 Key Takeaways:

1. Marketers Are More Focused on Improving Engagement Than Boosting List Size

Increasing sales revenue and generating more leads aren’t the only goals marketers are looking to accomplish with this year’s email marketing strategy. About 39% say they will work on improving email engagement, which makes sense given increasing competition for attention in the inbox. Moreover, it appears that more marketers will be focused on engaging their current subscribers as opposed to adding to their email list, with only 21% of respondents saying increasing their email list size is a key goal for the year.

This isn’t to say that respondents think that improving engagement will be simple. 45% say it is also a challenging barrier to the success of their email marketing strategy – making it the biggest obstacle cited in the survey. This challenge is nothing new to marketers as increasing email engagement has been a challengethey have faced for several years.

2. Almost 1 in 3 Marketers Say That Email’s Effectiveness is Declining

Last year Ascend2 found that email marketing campaigns were considered less effective than other tactics such as social media marketing, content marketing, and search engine optimization. When respondents of this most recent survey were asked to what extent effectiveness is changing for email marketing, slightly fewer than one-third said that effectiveness is actually decreasing, either marginally (24%) or significantly (7%).

Other data from DemandMetric and Return Path from Validity has found that more than 43%of marketers believe their email effectiveness remained unchanged last year, with only 28% seeing a slight improvement. Combined with that result, the relatively large number of marketers who report a decrease in effectiveness in this latest survey is significant as the majority of marketers still consider email to be one of their most important marketing channels.

3. Marketers Focus More on Response Rates Than Conversions

When looking at the metrics used to measure the health of their email programs, respondents emphasized click-through-rate (CTR, 55%) and open rate (48%) first among all. This is understandable considering marketers’ wish to increase engagement, especially at a time when open rates and CTR are declining.

With the majority of respondents setting increasing sales revenue as a key priority this year, it is somewhat surprising that fewer (43%) say that one of the most effective metrics used to measure their email marketing strategy’s success is post-email conversions.

Other Findings

  • Better content (66%) and more personalization (65%) are considered the best tactics for improving the effectiveness of email programs.
  • Relatively few marketers feel they can improve effectiveness with more video and animation (22%) and more testing (12%).
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of marketers plan to continue their investment in email marketing either moderately or significantly, while 16% say they have no plans to invest at all.
  • About half (49%) of organizations use a combination of outsourced and in-house resources to implement their email strategy, with more than one-third (37%) saying they keep it all in-house.

Check out the full report.

About the Data: Ascend2 surveyed 287 marketing professionals across B2B (37%), B2C (43%) and B2B/B2C equally (20%) sectors during the week of December 9, 2019.


Need help with your 2020 email marketing strategies? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.

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BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.