Tech and data continue to fuel and operate B2B marketing and sales efforts, but the ongoing challenge of driving ROI — and being able to prove it — leaves many companies still struggling.
I got a chance to check out the latest research from Dun & Bradstreet, which touches on these issues. The study was conducted by Censuswide, an independent research consultancy, and polled two groups: roughly 300 B2B buyers across North America and the United Kingdom, and more than 300 B2B sales and marketing professionals across the same regions. The study touches on many of the challenges B2B orgs face with producing results with their marketing and sales efforts.
Here are three ways I’ve noticed sales and marketing teams struggle to drive ROI, as well as the data to prove it:
1.) All Talk, No Action
I’ve had many conversations where B2B practitioners said, “we all know data is crucial.” The study showed that an overwhelming majority (92%) of sales reps and marketers say they recognize the importance of having the right data to understand each prospect's needs. This aligns with our own research, but what we found was that more than half of marketers stated their data efforts “need improvement” or worse.
The Dun & Bradstreet survey aligns to this, with marketers stating they aren’t seeing the results they had hoped. An average marketing campaign analyzed in the survey had a win rate of just 17%.
It’s vital for B2B marketing teams to make their database a top priority. They understand the importance, but it’s time to act on that understanding and build a database — and analytics process — that they can rely on.
2.) Sales Reps Need More Time
Even with all the different types of technology at a sales rep’s disposal, they continue to struggle with tasks that take up a majority of their valuable time. The Dun & Bradstreet research shows that, while 85% of sellers claim that the right data saves them time, the average salesperson spends over two hours (128 minutes) researching each prospect before contacting them. This leaves little time to reach out to new prospects and sell.
So how do we give reps back the time they need? It’s important that we make the data work for the reps and provide all the insight they need right away to engage prospective customers with relevant, contextual messaging — instead of having to glean the insights manually.
3.) Reps Need To Take It Easy
There’s a quote my family would cite regularly back in the day: “Aggression only moves in one direction — it creates more aggression.” The same can be said about the B2B sales process. The Dun & Bradstreet study showed that 80% of buyers claimed that aggressive salespeople have stopped them from making a purchase.
If you’re a rep that gets aggressive with a buyer, brace yourself to be aggressively ignored and turned down — as well as miss out on high-value deals. It’s important for teams to leverage data and insights in a reasonable fashion and use that insight to enhance the customer experience.
What are your thoughts on the role data plays in today’s B2B marketplace? Anything else holding companies back from driving ROI? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
An avid B2B journalist with a knack for all things trendy in the POS, mobile and social space.