The good news is marketing organizations have doubled technology spending in the last two years, according to new research presented at last month’s 2011 SiriusDecisions Summit. However, while investment has increased rapidly, BtoB companies continue to struggle with implementation and adoption.
Because successful utilization of these new technologies often depends on changes in organizational structure and processes, many organizations are stuck at the starting gate and unable to reap the full benefits of technologies driving the demand generation approach.
According to SiriusDecisions data, less than 20% of BtoB companies said their staffs have the technology skills they need. Further validating the critical training challenge, the survey also found that 70% simply have no budget for technology training.
During the Summit, Megan Heuer, Marketing Operations Strategies Service Director at SiriusDecisions, presented key insights on how BtoB companies should be realistic, patient and measure for success to optimize technology investment
“The biggest challenge of any technology deployment is change management,” Heuer said. “It’s overwhelming when they realize what that change is going to require, but companies who stick with it and make change happen as a result of the technology really benefit.”
Additionally, Heuer discussed the components of developing and embracing a sales-aligned, data-driven and complex multi-channel marketing model.
Heuer noted several action items for marketing and sales teams, including the need to involve other functions critical to data, support and integration success, as well as the need to understand the impact of investments on respective teams.
“It takes time for organizations to develop and embrace a sales-aligned, data-driven, complex multi-channel marketing model,” Heuer told DemandGen Report. “Give marketers training on skills and tools, but also plenty of coaching and positive reinforcement to make sure the skills are used. Make sure managers refer to data on usage and results to ensure technology use and skills are developing and delivering the intended results. Give plenty of praise and show what those good results look like, too. Recognize and reward the effort.”
In addition to effective change management, Heuer noted a continued emphasis on sales and marketing alignment to maximize overall processes. Heuer noted that alignment is the only ongoing problem where marketing and sales have not discovered that their interests are inextricably linked.
“Lack of alignment is also tied to the way marketing is measured,” explained Heuer. “If marketers are rewarded based on activity and volume alone, and are not accountable for their role in supporting revenue growth, then there’s no reason for them to align with sales. Lack of alignment also happens when marketing investment is out of sync with the company’s go-to-market model.”