Marketing automation is Job One among b2b companies. Or not.
Twenty-one percent of b2b marketers said their marketing automation software is fully implemented while 37% said their marketing automation software is partially implemented, according to “MarketingSherpa’s 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.”
However, 21% of respondents indicated that they had no plans to implement a marketing automation software solution.
What’s more, the report showed an apparent disconnect among some b2b companies between a lengthening sales cycle and the structural changes needed to improve pipeline from demand-to-close.
According to the survey, 26% respondents said their sales cycle was seven months to a year and 24% said their sales cycle was four to six months. Overall, the length of time in sales cycles cited by respondents ranged from less than a month to more than a year. Nevertheless, 22% of organizations indicated that they had not yet defined a formal sales funnel.
Given a list of metrics designed to track the marketing-sales funnel, 71% of respondents checked Registered Lead; 48% checked Sales-Ready Opportunity and 48% checked Sales Outcome.
The report, which was generated from insights from 935 b2b marketers, focuses on three key areas of the buying cycle: Generating Interest and Attracting Prospects, Qualifying and Nurturing Sales Leads, and Maximizing the Lifetime Value of Each Customer. This year MarketingSherpa added a fourth section, Closing the Loop,” which examines marketing analytics.
A few points:
- The hunt grows fiercer: Generating high quality leads/high volume leads are the two biggest (and growing) marketing challenges for b2b organizations. Surprisingly – given the growth in purchasing-by-committee – marketing to a growing number of people involved in the buying process was at the bottom of the list among the marketing challenges.
- Web site design, management and optimization and social media get the lion’s share of budget: 69% of respondents said they were increasing budget this year to improve their Web sites while only 5% said they were decreasing budget; 69% said they were boosting budget for social media and 4% said they were decreasing investment.
- Social media quickly comes of age: The initial skepticism about the effectiveness of social media as a business tool seems to be on the wane. Two-thirds of respondents indicated that social media was either “very effective” or “somewhat effective” as a marketing tactic, compared with 93% for Web site design, management and optimization.