Although the majority of B2B marketers see themselves as playing a role in driving revenues, their peers in sales aren’t as upbeat about marketing’s impact here. A study [download page] of more than 200 B2B marketing and sales decision-makers by Turtl and Forrester Consulting notes that while 85% of marketers feel that marketing is seen as a key driver of business growth and buyer acquisition, only 65% of sales professionals feel the same.
Sales professionals also believe that while marketing provides outcomes, data and insights to help the sales team during the early-stage prospecting (65%), qualifying leads (71%) and nurturing leads (71%), they are not as helpful during the last stage of the sales cycle. Two-fifths (40%) of the 70 sales B2B sales decision-makers surveyed say that marketing either sometimes, rarely or never provides content and insights for handling objections and questions, while about half (51%) say they rarely receive this kind of assistance from marketing for closing the sale.
Having the support and insight provided by marketing throughout the entire sales process and across all channels is important, as noted by previous research that illustrates world-class sales organizations emphasize the importance of consistent positive interactions with customers throughout the journey and on every channel.
So, what can be done? More than half (56%) of the total respondents say that marketing could improve their position as a key driver of business by providing sales with better insights to qualify sales, identify cross-sales opportunities and understand buyer motivation. A similar percentage (52%) of respondents say that marketing could better position themselves as business drivers by generating rich and reliable insights into the business’ prospects and buyers.
Of course, alignment between marketing and sales is another touchpoint that organizations are still struggling with. Some 45% of respondents say that marketing could improve its position as a key driver of the business by being a reliable and consistent partner to sales when it comes to content and assets. Indeed, from the buyer’s position, there are many ways in which B2B content could be improved, particularly as around one-third of professionals want content relevant to where they are in the buying process.
The Struggle to Deliver Insights
B2B marketers and sales professionals say they expect to benefit from insights into buyers’ behavior on interactions with content in a myriad of ways. These include the ability to connect marketing activities to business impact (49%), improve lead generation processes (48%), increase customer lifetime value (46%), elevate marketing’s role in closing business (46%), improve and accelerate lead nurturing (45%), prove ROI of marketing activities (44%) and achieve higher conversion rates.
That being said, two-fifths (40%) of respondents say that they struggle to deliver insights against past buyer behavior to a predictable model of future buyer behavior. Others struggle to gain insights from user behavior on content to support the selling process (39%). They also find it a challenge to determine which content assets were most impactful in the buyers’ journey (36%) as well as to connect a buyer’s early interest to a specific product need (35%).
Misaligned Focus on Insights
The report found that the challenges marketing has with delivering buyer insights to sales is because they are not focusing on insights that help close business. While marketers rank motivations that are driving the buyer’s research process (49%) and relative interest of the buyer in the business proposition (48%) lower on their top 5 most using buyer behavior insights, sales leaders listed these insights as two of the top 3 most important to closing business.
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 214 B2B marketing and sales decision-makers in the UK and US who are knowledgeable about or responsible for their firm’s content needs and strategy.