B2B marketing has never been a simple affair, and recent events have not made it easier. Many B2B buyers claim their purchase timeline has increased, and B2B salespeople are finding it harder to close deals. So, what are the biggest challenges B2B marketers are facing with buyers? Here’s what a report [download page] from Demand Gen Report and Folloze reveals.
Understanding buyers’ changing needs and business requirements is one of the challenges B2B marketers are currently facing — identified as one of the top three challenges by 63% of the B2B marketing executives surveyed. And, with an increased emphasis put on digital channels, close to 6 in 10 (57%) also find one of their top difficulties to be engaging buyers at the right time in the right channel.
Previous research from Activate Marketing Services in partnership with MarketingCharts shows that the effectiveness of content varies depending on the stage of the funnel buyers are in. For about one-quarter (23%) of respondents to the Demand Gen Report and Folloze’s survey, arming sales teams with the right content to engage and accelerate target buyers is one of their top three challenges. Separately, one-third also report that the greatest challenge they face when working with their sales counterpart is orchestrating digital campaigns that incorporate the sales team across different stages of the customer lifecycle.
Personalization has resulted in outcome improvements in areas such as loyalty, revenue and customer retention. However, this report indicates that personalization is still a challenge, with half (49%) of respondents saying that creating the personalized campaign and content that will engage buyers is one of their top three challenges when marketing to today’s B2B buyers.
Despite the challenge they are experiencing with personalized content, nearly all respondents consider personalized content, messaging and journeys to be important (74%) or somewhat important (25%) in engaging their buyers this year and in the years to come. Moreover, one-third regard higher account engagement as the greatest benefit of personalized marketing.
Challenges to ABM and Data-Driven Personalized Campaigns
When it comes to executing ABM or any data-driven personalized campaign, only one-quarter of marketing executives claim they successfully drive growth across the entire customer lifecycle. A little more than two-fifths (43%) say they successfully drive pipeline growth during the early stages of the customer lifecycle.
Although driving growth across the entire lifecycle is ideal, internal barriers exist that may be impeding it. At the top of the list of challenges respondents face when creating and executing ABM or data-driven personalized campaigns is a small or limited budget (49%; top 3 choices). Others are faced with challenges in operationalizing and scaling programs (38%) and lack of the right resources with the specialized skill sets (35%).
About 2 in 5 (38%) say that poor data quality (including first- and/or third-party data) is one of their top three internal challenges. In fact, better data and insights is the one thing the largest share of respondents (26%) say they would change within their marketing team if they could.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on an April 2021 survey of 104 B2B marketing executives and professionals from a range of industries and company sizes.