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You Are What You Measure: The New Reality For B2B Marketers

An emphasis on measurement is hardly a new trend in marketing. The explosion of web analytics, followed by the rapid adoption of marketing automation, made reporting and analytics a core part of the day-to-day lives of B2B marketers.

However, the expression “you are what you measure,” will become especially true in 2017, as expectations to not only track, but also forecast, key pipeline performance indicators become an imperative for all growth-oriented companies.

We’ve seen and heard anecdotal evidence of this trend in our conversations with B2B marketers, but a sneak peek into our 2017 Demand Generation Benchmark Study uncovered how much of a game changer measurement is going to be over the next 12 to 24 months.

Consider the following data we’ve seen in our preliminary research:

  • In 2016, 34% of marketers ranked improving their ability to measure and analyze marketing’s impact as a top priority. Based on the early responses to our 2017 survey, that number almost doubled — with 67% ranking measuring impact as a top priority.
  • Only 24% of marketers reporting to the survey in 2017 indicated they don’t have performance quotas in place. Of that group, more than two-thirds said they plan to put those metrics-based goals in place this year.
  • The ability to measure pipeline impact is becoming more precise, as nearly 30% of respondents said they are tracking against account, lead and revenue goals.

So what trends are causing B2B organizations to put more emphasis and investment towards measurement and forecasting tools? Here are a few dynamics we see contributing to the rising tide toward tracking influence and other KPIs:

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The maturation beyond MQLs: The first few years after marketing automation systems are adopted, most organizations are satisfied with the ability to track and report on an increase in the number of interested prospects entering the top of the funnel. However, when many companies struggled to convert marketing qualified leads (MQLs) into opportunities and revenue, sales teams and boardrooms started to look for deeper and more accurate reporting and forecasting.

Increased pressure for profits and performance: Just a few years ago, the venture capital community was rewarding companies for driving revenue growth at all costs, and putting a secondary focus on profitability. That has shifted in the past two years, as the pressure to prove business models can be sustainable has increased. In this climate, the ability to hit quarterly targets is imperative. Therefore, insights into all contributing factors on the pipeline (especially marketing) could mean the difference in your next round of funding.

Insights equal competitive advantage: Agility is crucial in marketing today, as companies constantly analyze their mix of channels and content to see which tactics and programs are connecting with their target audience. B2B organizations are realizing the faster they can analyze their spend and adjust their investments, the more likely they will be to meet goals and hopefully gain an edge over the competition.