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A national study [download page] of the online marketing strategies of 100 B2B companies has uncovered a significant disconnect between what those companies identify as their primary marketing targets and how they allocate their resources to those targets and the qualifications they use for lead scoring. The study, conducted by Demandbase among the Ziff Davis network, found that of the 6 target types identified, named accounts scored highly in importance, but fared worse in budget allocation, and was last in lead scoring consideration.

Other targets showed similar misalignments. In another example, 48% said they use a prospect’s department as a key lead scoring qualification, but just 34% focus their resources on this target type, and only 26% say it’s among their top 2 targets.

Similarly, despite coming in a close third (of the 6 targets) in lead scoring consideration (45%), just 25% said that company size was among their top-2 resource-consuming targets (5th), and only 22% said it was among their 2 most important targets (also 5th).

Some targets saw a better allocation, though. Targeting companies by industry or vertical was the top-rated in terms of importance and resource allocation, a fairly unsurprising result. It was also the most likely qualification to be used for lead scoring. Interestingly, though, while targeting by prospect title was the second-most important and resource-consuming target, respondents were less likely to say they were using this as a lead scoring qualification (4th).

The researchers suggest that the “disparity between answers suggests either a failure to create a coherent lead scoring strategy or a significant need for a more careful selection of tactics.”

B2B Marketers To Focus on Buyer Personas

Further details from the study, “Account-Based Marketing in 2013,” indicate that a plurality (29%) of respondents say that their primary long-term focus for online marketing is increased attention to individual prospect types and buyer personas. Another 25% will be looking to increase their focus on industries or vertical markets. The researchers caution that an engaged prospect that fits title and department criteria may be worthless if that individual works at a company that does not fit the likely buyer profile. As a result, the study recommends that B2B companies always include account profiles into their strategy.

Interestingly, a study released in October by LoopFuse (not limited to B2B respondents) found that problems with low quality online leads aren’t always tied to buyer personas or the qualifications of the lead itself. Instead, the most common complaint about low-quality leads was that they had no defined timeline to make a purchase decision.

About the Data: The Demandbase survey was conducted from August 7 to August 27, 2012.

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