At a time when most marketing and sales executives are searching for ways to accelerate the speed of their pipelines, the SiriusDecisions Summit once again helped to provide some direction on how best-in-class BtoB organizations are still driving demand and closing deals.
The Summit, held last week in Scottsdale, AZ, drew a packed house of leading executives from both sales and marketing teams, and helped to introduce several new concepts and terminology which will help to shape the priorities around sales and marketing alignment.
Providing a look ahead to the changing needs and priorities for sales and marketing over the next five years, SiriusDecisions Managing Director and Co-Founder John Neeson introduced the concept of a ‘Demand Center,’ which will bring a more integrated “portfolio approach” to demand creation. As evidence of this trend, Neeson pointed to the following research and trend data:
- Investment in demand creation has increased every year for the past 8 years, according to SiriusDecisions data, and is expected to continue growing through 2015;
- With metrics for best-in-class companies showing almost 50% improvement in conversion rates, and significantly decreasing their cost per lead on closed deals, SiriusDecisions projects the penetration of marketing automation systems will expand dramatically over the next five years from less than 10% in 2005 to more than 50% of BtoB marketers by 2015;
- As the marketing mix continues to shift at BtoB organizations, SiriusDecisions expects web-based marketing initiatives will drive more than 70% of inbound leads by 2015, growing from 55% of leads in 2009.
Neeson predicted that these changing dynamics will force BtoB organizations to migrate from single, “one and done” marketing tactics to an “integrated, multi-dimensional” model. “As companies move to having more of a digital relationship with prospects and customers, new resources and skill sets will be required in order to be successful with a portfolio approach to marketing,” Neeson said.
As an example of the new approach, Neeson pointed to the need to design campaign and “message maps” which match the “demographic triggers” and “buyer journeys” of specific markets.
To respond to this new portfolio approach, Neeson predicted a “leveraged services models,” will evolve, providing a centralized point for BtoB organizations to share “skills, infrastructure and process,” throughout a global BtoB organization. “Ultimately, the demand center model will evolve as a company grows and increases in complexity,” Neeson said.
In a separate presentation titled “The Dynamics Behind the Demand Waterfall,” SiriusDecisons VP of Research Tony Jaros offered insights into accelerating the later stages of the pipeline. Jaros suggested companies avoid turning to financial levers and discounts too quickly and look at “information voids” which may be causing deals to stall. He pointed to tools such as online configurators, gap templates and feature/functionality side-by-side comparisons as stimulus offers which can successfully match the desire of the prospect.