In January, Salesforce Marketing Cloud released their exhaustive 2015 State of Marketing report, which catalogued insights and responses from more than 5,000 marketers across the globe. This month, they’re back with their 2015 State of B2B Marketing, a more concise look at the marketing industry as it applies to B2B marketers.
After surveying more than 2,100 B2B marketers, the Marketing Cloud report identified the following as the top three challenges faced by B2B marketers in 2015:
1. New business development (33%)
2. Quality of leads (32%)
3. Demand and lead generation (27%)
Interestingly enough, creating personalized, cross-channel customer experiences and original content — two notable areas that marketers often struggle with — did not rank high on the list of top challenges for this year.
The good news about the top three items on this list is that they can all be addressed with a single tool: marketing automation. Let’s take a look.
Challenge 1: New Business Development
First and foremost on our list of challenges is “new business development.” At many organizations, generating new business is primarily associated with sales, but the reality is that marketing has a huge role in generating revenue as well. By running integrated campaigns that fill the funnel with high-quality leads (more on this in the next section), marketing can contribute its own source of revenue to the company’s bottom line.
Marketing automation gives marketers the ability to track these revenue sources and attribute closed deals back to the campaigns that created them. Not only can marketers run campaigns that help bring in new business, they can also get credit for their work — and track the overall impact of marketing and sales efforts on their revenue.
36% of B2B marketers ranked revenue growth as their number one metric for digital marketing success. Another 24% rank return on investment in their top five. Tweet This.
Challenge 2: Quality of Leads
This year, the focus continues to shift away from lead quantity and toward lead quality. As we’ve covered on our blog before, eschewing lead quality in favor of lead quantity can often do more harm than good. You may be sending your sales reps more leads to work, but the likelihood of any of those leads turning into closed deals greatly decreases.
Instead, B2B marketers can implement a lead scoring and grading system to better qualify leads. With such a system in place, you can ensure that leads that get assigned to sales meet a minimum threshold, i.e. that their interest level is high enough to warrant follow up, and that they fit your ideal prospect profile. This gives sales more confidence in the leads that are coming from the marketing team, and can go a long way toward putting these two departments on the same team.
Challenge 3: Demand and Lead Generation
The third challenge on marketers’ plates is demand and lead generation, which goes hand in hand with the first two items on our list. Before leads can be qualified and passed to sales, and before they can turn into closed deals and get attributed to marketing’s campaigns, they need to be generated.
Lead generation is actually one of the primary uses of a marketing automation platform, and can be facilitated through landing pages and forms. According to the 2015 State of B2B Marketing, 66% of marketers are currently using their corporate website as their primary digital marketing channel (and 61% of those marketers consider this to be an effective means for lead generation).
With landing pages and forms, marketers can turn their websites into lead-generating machines. Gating content behind forms allows marketers to place conversion opportunities across their websites, allowing them to collect valuable information from site visitors that go on to become leads. Landing pages extend this capability to your other digital channels, such as display advertising, third-party email blasts, and social media.
See how other companies are putting landing pages to work in our B2B Landing Page Inspiration SlideShare presentation.
According to Marketing Cloud’s study, 66% of B2B marketers who plan to increase their marketing spend this year will be focusing their budget on marketing automation, making marketing automation the number one planned investment for B2B marketers.
If you’re interested in learning more about how marketing automation can solve your business’ pain points, take a look at our Salesforce for B2B Marketers e-book by clicking on the banner below.