Last week, Forrester published my research about how to deepen engagement engagement with programs focused on your best, most active customers. I think social software and activity will play a huge role here in 2010. Why? Because engaging business customers requires contact.
While attending Dreamforce last month, I took a walk around the show floor to see which firms were exhibiting. It wasn’t surprising to see a raft of new companies talking about sales-support additions to the AppExchange family with lead generation and pipeline health hot issues in this economy.
Thanksgiving is next week, and it marks the start of the mad dash to
the end of the year. As I look towards 2010, I see B2B marketers, in
the tech industry and elsewhere, face increasing pressure to reach
decision-makers, justify spending, and deliver high-quality leads to an
increasingly dissatisfied sales organization. Compounding these demands
is a lingering recession and increasing pressure from product
commoditization, new business models, functional outsourcing, and a social groundswell where buyers turn to peers to validate purchase decisions.
Last week, the Customer Strategy Group is
held its inaugural summit on customer engagement – an intimate,
executive conference designed for B2B marketers who manage customer
reference programs, advisory boards, and the emerging area of online
communities. I spoke to about 75 marketers and sponsors about “Understanding the Value of Customer Engagement”.
Lead management automation requires a degree of process maturity
many B2B firms don't possess. The result? In the market overview
report about this market, published today,
I found underachievement by vendors and users alike. While the benefits
of adopting lead management automation are clear -- successful
implementations enjoy more predictable deal conversions, faster sales
cycles, and real alignment between marketing activity and sales results
-- market penetration is low. We estimate that only 2% to 5% of B2B
firms have invested in full LMA functionality to date.
With economic recovery still distant, business marketers look to 2010
and wonder what’s in store. How do you do more with less resources is a
common question I hear from CMOs, VPs of Marketing, and marketing
directors with whom I speak daily. Modern marketing can not scale effectively without automation.
A worldwide recession and social media have swept up B2B marketers
in a perfect storm, tossed between tighter budgets and the demand to do
more online without guideposts or established benefits. Opportunities
and challenges abound for marketers targeting other businesses through
a direct sales force or channel partners. Before 2010 planning -- and
the push to pump up the pipeline to make year-end revenue goals -- hit
full stride, now is an excellent time to step outside your daily
routine, tune up B2B marketing strategy, and learn new best practices.
Sound intriguing? If so, have I got a deal for you! (Oh, c'mon, you suspected a pitch was coming, now didn't you?)