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Survey by Independent Research Firm Reveals Top Priorities of B2B Marketers

What’s top of mind for marketers this year, and how is the marketing technology landscape changing? Leading analyst firm Forrester Research recently surveyed 270 B2B marketing leaders to take a pulse on their priorities — and on the direction of enablement, channel & partner marketing, and account-based marketing. Below are the three top trends from the research.

1. Automation

89% of survey respondents have already invested in Sales Enablement Automation Systems or are evaluating new investments. According to Forrester, marketing and sales enablement teams are looking to SEA providers to act as strategic partners in managing seller-focused content and measuring sellers’ and buyers’ engagement. Asked about areas where the connection between sales and marketing is weakest, 44% identified “sharing knowledge about customers’ buying processes,” and 38% reported “identifying decision-makers to pursue inside of accounts” and “identifying the issues and concerns to address in outreach.”  Sales Enablement Automation Systems help fill these gaps by delivering content management, prescriptive recommendations, engagement analytics, and usage reporting.

2. Shifting Investment Toward Customer Acquisition

Marketers are investing more money this year on new customer acquisition than in existing customer enrichment. With this in mind, respondents ranked these as the top 3 challenges their sales teams face with regard to engaging new buyers:
– Buyers have multiple stakeholders involved in the decision process with multiple agendas (78%)
– Buyers are taking longer to make their decisions (49%)
– Buyers won’t take sales phone calls from reps (28%)

Sales Engagement Platforms such as ClearSlide can help sales teams address these tough challenges. Engagement analytics provide reps with actionable insights to help improve engagement and keep deals moving. They enable sales to identify decision-makers, what they’re focused on, and deliver content across channels to yield the highest engagement — including in online meetings, email, in person meetings, and social.

3. Personalization

With B2B buyers becoming more sophisticated and deals more complex, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has become a hot topic — according to the survey, 92% of B2B marketers are planning/executing on an ABM strategy. ABM enables marketers to treat accounts as markets of one and personalize every step in the buyer journey. Respondents report some of the top value drivers of ABM include:
– Tighter alignment and coordination between marketing and sales (35%)
– More efficient use of marketing spend (38%)
– Increased upsell and cross-sell within target accounts (40%)

With such high demand for ABM solutions, the market is flooded and many marketing teams have lost direction. How can you identify solutions that will help you deliver against your ABM goals from those that will just clutter your tech stack? To make smart ABM investments, Forrester recommends tying them to the four key components of ABM success.  Read how Sales Enablement solutions that provide engagement analytics can help support ABM efforts across all 4 components.

Before investing in new tools, clearly define goals and initial use cases for ABM and leverage your existing marketing and sales technology. As you plan for the future, consider how a complete Sales Engagement Platform can support ABM — and help your sales and marketing teams deliver against their other top priorities this year.