Technology is a funny thing. The way it changes the world we live in is a bit like waking up one morning and looking at all of your most familiar things through a kaleidoscope. Your bed, your favorite chair, the books on your shelf – they’re the same, sort of: the things themselves haven’t changed. But they’re also very different, so different you might not recognize them at first glance. Even though the settings are familiar, you have to change the way you look at these everyday things in order to find the familiarity in them again.
The changing marketing landscape is the same: technology can make it seem as though we’re looking at the buying cycle through a kaleidoscope. Becoming familiar with today’s buyers starts with putting them at the center of your marketing strategy and implementing new technologies like marketing automation and analytics to leverage their data and create a customized customer experience.
But what do you do if your organization hasn’t made the technology you need available to you? What about making sure that your team has the skills you need to manage a complex web of customer data? And what do the highest performing teams – the advanced marketers do to set themselves apart? We wanted to know how B2B marketers were adapting to the lightning changes taking place industry-wide, so working together with the Harvard Business Review Analytics Service, we compiled a report that examines the techniques of B2B marketers across the spectrum to see how they face the challenges of a modern marketer.
Just 15% of survey respondents have widespread use of advanced tools, analytics, and practices to better leverage data in their marketing and sales efforts.
What Makes Advanced Marketers Different
The 15% of marketers who are using advanced tools, analytics, and practices across their organization are considered advanced marketers. These are the teams able to go beyond the immediate buyer-seller relationship and are able to think about how their strategies impact the customer journey. They’re able to develop their processes to cultivate better relationships with customers, and have a much closer alignment with their sales teams to make sure that customers experience the smoothest transitions through the sales cycle.
So what makes advanced marketers different? The report found that these teams were able to implement accessible, easy-to-use technologies across their entire business, allowing them to accurately measure and analyze buyer data, and leverage it to create customized, targeted campaigns. Some success metrics such as revenue are shared by both marketing and sales teams in the organization, fostering collaboration as both teams share responsibility for targets, and greater flexibility so that overall goals can be met.
56 % of marketers surveyed said that technology is extremely important at every phase of the buying process, yet less than a quarter (23%) say they use technology extensively to manage customer relationships, and only 38% say their marketing tools are integrated into their CRM.
Getting The Technology
That said, many organizations face the challenge of implementing the right technology and ensuring that it’s accessible and easy to use. Having access to technologies like Marketing automation is increasingly necessary in an age when the customer cycle is digitally driven, and heavily buyer-focused. Automation means marketers are more efficiently able to collect buyer data and pass qualified leads to sales. The report found that almost half of manual marketers who do not use marketing automation are passing all of their leads to sales – unqualified.
Passing qualified leads is critical to ensuring that your sales teams spends majority of their time closing deals, not chasing up cold leads. Automating your marketing boosts the efficiency of your sales team and your marketing efforts to ensure that you’re reaching buyers when they’re ready to buy.
72% of advanced marketers reported that marketing metrics were easily understood by all users, while only 39% of limited marketers and 30% of manual marketers made the same claim.
Building The Right Team
The report also found that a significant skill-gap exists between manual marketers and advanced marketers where marketing metrics and data analytics are concerned. Marketing teams increasingly need to expand their skillsets to include the ability to “interpret” data. The need is for a marketer who can examine the behavior of clients and prospects and the data collected through their interactions with campaigns, and then understand how it maps to the team’s overall metrics and KPIs.
Technology is still changing the marketing landscape. Being able to keep ahead means that marketers need to adapt new methods, skills and technology, and grow and evolve their teams at the pace of change.
Read the full report for more insight into how the changing landscape of B2B marketing requires a connection between technology and analytics, and marketing and sales.