You Can't Wish Numbers Into Being

Wishful thinking won't produce numbers, a new study warns B2B marketers. Conducted by CRM and database marketing solutions provider Extraprise, the report states that while the vast majority of B2B marketers believe that they have assumed an increased responsibility for sales activities and results, a much smaller percent has invested the time and money into developing practices and integrating solutions to acquire these metrics. Although many marketers talk about keeping their fingers on the ROI pulse, the study uncovers that few are actually coming through on this claim. The study surveyed B2B sales and marketing executives from 60 Fortune 2000 companies, finding that 80 percent of marketing departments have accepted a greater level of accountability for ROI results. However, only 14 percent were confident in their customer data. Sixty-six percent were found to be somewhat confident and 20 percent reported that they are not very confident at all. This lack of confidence is almost certainly tied to an absence of tools and methods to cleanse and leverage this data. The survey found that only a little over half (56 percent) of B2B marketers have a formal process to prioritize sales leads. Without a process in place, much less a technology implemented to back it up, it follows that a large number of marketers cannot place confidence in their numbers. "We've been hearing a lot about how B2B marketers are really starting to have more of a say in what's going on on an executive level," says Chad Gottesman, CMO at Extraprise. In response to results exposing that one fifth of respondents are unsure of their customer data, he says, "it's just incongruent with the statement that as a CMO or vice president of marketing, 'I have a much more elevated role at the organization.' They're visionary, but [they do not take action]." Only 12 percent reported that their company was very aggressive when it comes to adopting new sales and marketing technology. Sixty percent said they were somewhat aggressive and 14 reported their company is not very aggressive. Gottesman understands the central problem in marketers' slack to be that they have so much customer data, they aren't sure where or how to start shaping it into metrics they can use. "We haven't heard, 'We don't have enough information about our customers,'" he says. "The problem is: 'We have an abundance of customer data and it's a mess.'" An additional roadblock is that many marketers are ineffectively measuring these results. Only one third (32 percent) of respondents stated that they measure the success of their marketing program through looking at response rates, qualified leads, and closed business loops. Twenty percent stated that they do not measure these results at all and the remaining 48 percent only look at one of these measurements. Gottesman says that B2B marketers must step up to the plate, acquire better technologies and practices, and more closely measure sales and marketing results in the future. "CMOs are on a very short leash now," he says. "Talking hard numbers about the positive impact they've had is becoming a matter of survival. Every other C-level executive is responsible for his results. It's a matter of them keeping their job." Related articles: The Maturation of MRM
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