B2B Marketers Waste a Lot of Time and Resources

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B2B marketers are wasting millions of dollars every year on misguided spray-and-pray campaigns, the CMO Council pointed out in a new report.

And while most B2B marketers say they should be driving the customer-acquisition machine, including identifying, prioritizing, nurturing, converting, recovering, and requalifying leads, more than half are failing at it, the research found.

“Marketers must climb the evolutionary ladder and leave behind outdated ways in order to get moving,” the CMO Council said in the report. “We’re giving marketers a grade of C- for moving deals from contact to closure, a C for scoring actionable leads, a C for finding buyers already seeking your type of product, and a C- for [account-based marketing (ABM)] effectiveness.”

Among marketing and revenue leaders, 62 percent say their lead generation and engagement strategy underperforms.

The differences are very evident when comparing highly evolved and lesser evolved marketers. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of highly evolved marketers say they’re satisfied with their accelerated pipeline, compared to 21 percent of lesser evolved marketers, and 44 percent of highly evolved marketers say they’re very satisfied with ABM, compared to only 3 percent of lesser evolved marketers.

“How can large-scale primary research still show that 75 percent of ABM practitioners can’t create the impact they thought their programs should?” Mark Ogne, founder and CEO of ABM Consortium, asks. “For far too many, ABM scales the wrong approach and scales bad outcomes.”

Given advancements in analytics, artificial intelligence, automation, and customer data tools, marketers can and should be doing much better, the CMO Council said.

Not all marketers are falling behind, though. According to CMO Council research, about one-third of marketers are performing well, having distanced themselves from other marketers in core customer-acquisition functions like ABM, lead scoring, accelerated pipeline, and intention-based marketing.

The CMO Council said there are three sets of factors that comprise the model for better identification, management, and conversion: Better tracking and management of performance, ways to compare yourselves to peers, and strategic demand generation initiatives.

Most important in the CMO Council’s model for success are the following:

  • Segmentation and targeting of buyers and influencers
  • Business intelligence and personal buyer insights
  • Integration of demand generation, channel sales, and support

Those factors are what the CMO Council considers the first tier; the next tier includes these:

  • Tools and data for richer prospect profiling
  • Timely pre-sales follow-up and cultivation
  • Customer-centric marketing themes

And here’s the CMO Council’s final tier:

  • Visibility into touchpoints and the customer journey
  • Adaptive lead scoring and prospect prioritization
  • A consultative approach to customers
  • Pre-disposed prospects with verified purchase intention

There are challenges, the CMO Council acknowledged. “To improve performance, marketers have to identify their deficiencies and work to overcome them. The goal is to cultivate capability and capacity in the wanting areas. It’s time to tackle outdated practices for anticipating, adapting and responding to customer needs and opportunities,” the council said in the report.

“Marketers need specialized resources for telemarketing, social media, data mining, forensic and predictive analysis, etc.,” the report said further. “They might have to augment their internal marketing teams with outside digital/data skills and technological capacities and move away from media-driven ad agencies to intention-based marketing ones.”

The report added: “On the buyer side, there are more people involved, from influencers and decision makers to implementers and users, more sourcing, more bidding, more contractual requirements. Hence the need for more behavioral insights and actionable intelligence.”

Marketers, it went on to say, “should concentrate their efforts on precision prospecting practices that cull value from existing customers, whether they be loyal, under-penetrated, inactive, defecting, at-risk, and/or referral sources. It’s time to move on from outdated, ineffective ways of drumming up demand. Greater urgency is needed to act on leads that age quickly, languish, or are lost in the hand-off to pre-sales, direct, or channel sales organizations for cultivation.”

The CMO Council added: “If marketers want to fire up and accelerate their demand-generation engine, they’ll need to embrace a more intelligent model. Such a model can help marketers target B2B buyers in line with their ideal customer profile, scale ABM programs, drive augmented actionable intelligence, compress engagement and selling cycles, and ultimately improve win rates.” 

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