B2B organizations have a range of revenue marketing priorities this year, but none ranks higher than improving conversion rates through nurturing the middle/bottom of the funnel, according to the 5th annual Revenue Marketing B2B Benchmark Report [download page] from Demand Spring.
Asked to rate a variety of initiatives as a “top,” “high,” “medium,” or “low” priority, some 18% of respondents cited improved conversion rates as a “top” priority, the largest share among the 10 choices presented. Another 40% rated it a “high” priority, with the combined 58% rating it as a “top” or “high” priority also representing the broadest consensus.
The most successful tactic for achieving this goal looks to be the use of webinars, per the report. Some 40% of respondents said that over the past year webinars were the most successful for them in terms of generating or progressing leads at the middle of the funnel, with webinars followed by live/virtual events (35%). This aligns with recent research from Demand Gen Report and ON24, in which webinars were considered to be the most successful tactic in converting and accelerating leads at the middle and late stages of the funnel. Virtual events and digital experiences also ranked highly in that survey.
Quality and Quantity Also on Revenue Marketers’ Minds
Beyond the improvement of conversion rates, B2B organizations are also thinking about how to improve lead volume and quality. Some 17% ranked increased lead volume at the top of the funnel as a “top priority” – just behind conversion rate improvement – while 14% ranked a focus on lead quality over quantity as a “top priority”. Although quantity outscored quality in terms of top priorities, when factoring in the share of respondents who rated these as “high” priorities, it was the focus on lead quality that took the lead.
The need for both quality and quantity is echoed in recent research from HIPB2B and Ascend2, in which respondents cited quality as their top lead generation challenge this year, while at the same time saying that they need to increase the volume of leads they generate in order to achieve their goals.
Meanwhile, other efforts rated as either a “top” or “high” by a majority of respondents to the Demand Spring survey include improving marketing and sales alignment, marketing team effectiveness and performance management, building or buying the right content, improving insights into the buyer journey/buyer personas, improving the ability to measure and analyze marketing impact, and optimizing the marketing tech stack.
Marketing’s Impact on Sales and Pipeline
The primary metric on which B2B organizations are measured is revenue, per the report, while separately, 82% say they are measured by the sales pipeline they initiate, a new high in the report’s history. Fully one-third (34%) of respondents say they are expected to initiate at least 30% of pipeline, while two-thirds (66%) are expected to initiate at least 20%.
Meanwhile, with 78% saying they are measured by the sales pipeline they influence, 1 in 3 report being expected to influence at least half of the pipeline.
Encouragingly, about 8 in 10 respondents claim to be meeting their targets, even though only 41% share are actively measuring campaign attribution.
MarTech An Obstacle; Will Get Some Funding
Interestingly, technology is cited by the largest (40%) portion of respondents as a main barrier to driving pipeline and revenue, ahead of budget (37%) and talent (33%). This is the first year in the survey’s 5-year history in which this is the case, with budget the largest obstacle last year and marketing and sales alignment the biggest hindrance the year prior.
B2B marketing teams will be addressing this issue with some investments, although technology will not be the key target for spending. Instead, content creation ranks as the top area of marketing spend currently for these respondents, followed by webinars and search (SEO and SEM). After that come marketing technology services and martech tools in quick succession, followed by events, email and content syndication.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 150 B2B marketers throughout North America and the UK.