Forrester recently held its B2B Summit North America virtual event, an annual conference where B2B experts, analysts, thought leaders and solution providers gathered to share trends and best practices around new strategies and solutions B2B organizations are adopting to accelerate their brand growth and optimize their go-to-market strategies.
“How do you build a post-pandemic revenue engine?” said George Colony, CEO of Forrester, in his opening keynote. “It is absolutely critical to have a strong revenue engine to meet customer needs in 2021. The customer is now more demanding than ever, and B2B organizations will need a stronger revenue engine to better drive revenue and serve those customers.”
The Summit focused primarily on drivers of revenue, and how marketers can be better prepared to engage their buyers and close deals going forward. To that end, Forrester unveiled a new B2B Revenue Waterfall — formerly known as the SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall — as well as new research reports and a new product, to help B2B organizations build customer-focused revenue engines that drive engagement and revenue and build trust.
New B2B Revenue Waterfall Aims To Enable Customer Retention
This new “bar chart” waterfall visualizes account and targeted opportunities and classifies those opportunities as “detected, engaged, prioritized and qualified” to help B2B organizations understand how their opportunities move through the Waterfall and generate pipeline. Kerry Cunningham, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester, explained that B2B organizations need to adopt an opportunity approach to their conversion rates instead of lead-focused approach to drive revenue.
Unlike previous iterations, however, this Waterfall’s won deals segment cycles back to the beginning. Cunningham explained that this encourages B2B organizations to view their closed/won deals as an opportunity for customer retention and repeatable revenue, restarting the buying/selling process with already existing customers for greater revenue generation.
“It’s very important for organizations to focus on retaining customers,” said Cunningham. “Research shows that organizations that invest in customer success and customer marketing outperform their competitors, and now we can see in a visualization of the Waterfall as to why that is the case. Existing customers means retention opportunities.”
Cunningham also explained how the Waterfall helps B2B organizations differentiate between retained opportunities and new acquisitions, as both convert at different rates. Retention opportunities will immediately jump to the engagement stage of the Waterfall, shortening their time as opposed to new acquisitions needing to be prioritized and qualified before deals can be made.
“Opportunities at the engage stage who are already engaging with an organization will convert faster,” Cunningham stated. “Acquisition opportunities will likely only result in 2%-5% conversion rates, but retention opportunities convert faster and more frequently. Ideally, we’d like to convert 75%- 85% or retain more opportunities at the engage stage for a healthy revenue engine.”
New Research & Offerings Tailored To The Buyer
The Summit also held various sessions that explored new research by Forrester from the past year, with insights into buyer behavior, buyer preferences, account-based strategies, customer experiences and more.
One session highlighted some of the significant shifts brought on by the pandemic from Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study. One of the standout stats was that 80% of decision makers were involved in complex buying processes, with 63% involving more than four people in the decision-making process. Additionally, the research revealed that those same decision makers require more interactions with vendors before making a purchasing decision.
Barabara Winters, a Principal Analyst at Forrester, explained that buyers are looking for as much information as possible before making a purchasing decision, as the pandemic has forced buyers to consider their budget, time and needs before agreeing to buy. To meet their expectations, marketers need to meet the buyers with relevant information that help decision makers reach a buying decision.
“B2B buying is complex, and it is important for marketers to understand their buyers’ needs and habits to help them make decisions,” Winters explained. “Every journey is a purchase journey, and marketers need to approach buyers with a decision-making perspective in mind. They need to understand what drives buyers to make a purchasing decision and provide the information buyers need to encourage them to buy.”
Another session explored Forrester’s Global ABM Survey results and how ABM has evolved over the last year. The research showed that 26% of marketers are moving toward a more aligned account-based organization and 32% are planning for greater alignment. As a result, B2B organizations are undergoing an operational convergence, allowing teams to work under a unified account-based strategy through internal collaboration.
According to Steve Casey, Principal Analyst at Forrester, organizations are collaborating more on content creation, workflow measurement and skill-set building to create an organization that drives ABM success through shared knowledge and processes.
“All of this is happening to better engage account opportunities,” said Casey. “We’ve advanced to the point where we can focus on the opportunities by sharing account information within the organization and do it efficiently. We can have insights into what sales is doing, and vice versa, to really engage accounts in a way to drives revenue.”
In addition to the research, Forrester unveiled its new solution Forrester Decisions to help marketing, sales, CX and product management leaders and teams build customer-focused strategies. These research portfolios leverage customer behavior and experience research, proven models and templates and best-practice guide sessions to help users transform their organization to become more customer-focused.
“Forrester Decisions brings together the best of Forrester and SiriusDecisions into one, unified offering,” said Carrie Johnson, Chief Research Officer of Forrester, during a session at the Summit. “We’ve created a portfolio of services tailored to the most critical priorities for senior leaders across marketing, technology, CX, sales and product to empower teams to deliver results.”
For additional insights, check out the full Summit on-demand.