EO + 6: The B2B Marketing Playbook Has Launched!

At Forrester, “EO + 6” is code for the publication status of a playbook. It stands for Executive Overview plus six reports – at which point, we formally launch the playbook with its special links and landing page on Forrester.com. Playbooks are designed to help clients succeed with complex programs, such as organizational transformation.

Get Ready For The B2B Marketing Renaissance

The next wave of competitive advantage for B2B companies will come from deepening customer knowledge and taking action based on an obsessive desire to deliver what their customers want before their competitors do. This fundamentally changes the role of B2B marketers; they need to evolve from brand stewards, lead generation machines, and sales supporters to architects of customer engagement across the customer life cycle. The B2B marketing playbook provides practical guidance for B2B professionals who are leading and living that transformation. 

The Playbook Report Titles Tell The Story

Executive. Overview:  Turn B2B Marketing Into A Customer-Obsessed Organization

Landscape:  Get Ready For The B2B Marketing Renaissance

Tools And Technology: TechRadar™: B2B Marketing Technologies, Q3 2016

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Get Ready For The B2B Marketing Forum In October

"At my mid-year marketing summit, when I was pontificating on our transformation to customer obsession, I looked out at the sea of nodding heads and spotted my direct reports each mentally stepping up to the challenge of getting customer-obsessed in their product, industry, channel, and geographic silos. And I realized the problem was not vision, but strategy."

(CMO, global technology vendor)

 

We know you B2B marketing execs are not in denial. You get that 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase — and that 59% of those same business buyers prefer not to interact with a sales rep as their primary source of information. You need to transform from an inside-out (company, product service) perspective to an outside-in (customer, outcome, context) view. Like all transformations, this is brilliant in theory but daunting in practice.

Well, come to the Forrester B2B Marketing Forum on October 18 and 19 in Miami, Florida to learn how to do this.

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Has L2RM Now Become A CMO Imperative?

Last week, my colleague Lori Wizdo and I were discussing our most recent advisory engagements on the topic of lead-to-revenue management (L2RM). Lori is kicking off the latest research for her next Forrester Wave™ evaluation of L2RM automation, and we were considering how we should modify the evaluation criteria from the previous Forrester Wave published in 2014.

As we wrote three years ago in the Forrester playbook on this topic, L2RM is not “demand gen on steroids”. It is marketing's chance to catch up with an already evolved buyer. Lori noted that we are observing the transformation of B2B marketing from a

"supplier of leads to the load-bearing sales force to the architect of customer engagement across the life cycle”.

Initially, we discussed L2RM, our playbook, and the associated Forrester Wave with marketing ops staff and with the marketing executives responsible for demand generation. But in recent months, we have noted a step change in our engagements. We are currently working with three chief marketing officers (CMOs) on this topic. They are using L2RM to transform their organization and culture.  

And our L2RM playbook is not just high-level strategy advice (I remember a B2B marketer telling me at a conference this year “We see you analysts at Forrester as the high priests of B2B marketing”). Heh! We do details as well - here is one of the graphs from the playbook, where we leverage the concept of that business school classic, the results chains. 

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Marketing Automation Can Be Made In Europe

Many new marketing automation solutions are now available to help B2C marketers manage customer engagement, B2B marketers manage leads, and marketers of all ilk manage other marketing processes, such as campaigns and digital asset management.

European marketers are traditionally more hesitant about investing in technology projects, leading to a perception that they are late adopters. But in 2014, we observed a new European propensity to invest, and this trend continues with an increasing sense of urgency. In Forrester's Global Business Technographics® Marketing Survey, 2015, 50% of 248 European markers even named "don't have the right technology" as their most important organizational concern related to achieving their marketing priorities — and European firms now have stronger investment plans than their North American peers in almost every marketing category.  

As well as having to deal with a more complex regulatory environment, marketing and sales disciplines are also markedly different in Europe. The survey showed that European businesses tend to:

  • Have federated marketing organizations.The fragmentation of the target markets that European firms sell to means they need to use many more channels, languages, and messages to be effective.
  • Rely more on channel partners.Nearly one-third of the European marketers we surveyed stated that their channel partners were their primary sales channel, compared with 11% in North America. The result? Marketing and sales enablement projects are quite different, with a stronger need for through-channel marketing in Europe.
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Confronting The Stigma Surrounding Sales

Never having been an analyst that thinks he knows it all, I periodically attend external conferences as a mere delegate (no speech) to learn something new and network. I was at last week’s conference of the Association of Professional Sales (APS) in London with over 400 other marketers, sales enablement professionals, sales training companies and even sales executives to discuss

“The New Era Of Differentiation”.  

What you sell is not enough but how you sell it is everything: What you say, what you do, what you offer and who you hire into sales.

The APS was formed two years ago by enterprise sales executives at EMC, EY, SAP, Wipro, WorldPay, and Royal Mail, and now has well over 1000 members. Its objective is to raise awareness of sales as a profession (one speaker opined that hairdressers and butchers are more appreciated than salespeople) – by providing accreditations, training, certifications and codes of conduct.  The word “profession” is usually attributed to occupations like lawyers or doctors in the English language so these aspirations are high.

One of the sponsoring partners for this initiative is Corporate Visions Inc. – kudos to Tim Riesterer, their Chief Strategy Officer in recognizing the potential of the Association. Tim was a keynote speaker and, as usual, he presented eloquently about effective sales conversations.  Neil Rackham, most famous for the now 30-year old book “Spin Selling” is also involved in the APS and he spoke too; as did leaders from Royal Mail, IBM, EY, CPM, Wipro, SAP, EMC, Clarify, F5 Networks, and Ciena. The other sponsor of the event was LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

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Marketo Goes Private: A New Epoch in Marketing Software May Have Just Begun

Lead-to-revenue management automation player Marketo has certainly been in the news recently. First, in May, it held its annual Marketing Nation Summit in Las Vegas and announced plans to provide a marketing automation system, powered by a new architecture, which will enable marketers to engineer a great customer experience across the entire customer life cycle. 

Clearly, this was a financially ambitious plan, reviving age-old speculation about a potential acquisition of the vendor. Candidate Marketo suitors included SAP, which has a glaring marketing automation hole in its portfolio as enterprises increasingly compete on customer experience, not operational excellence; Microsoft, which has a large base of CRM customers ready for the "prequel" of marketing automation; and even Google, which could boost its reach with midmarket business customers and enhance its overall cloud software and infrastructure business.

But Principal Analyst Lori Wizdo provided another point of view, saying: “Executing on that ambitious vision would take some investment. A private equity investment could provide the equity and the sight screen to enable that steep investment.”

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Planning Your Digital Reboot For A Go-To-Customer Strategy - Upcoming Webinar

There has been quite a response to my comment in the last blog on planning a technology-focused track at our October B2B Marketing Forum. Thanks for your inputs. I am glad you are looking forward to it. I have the luxury of being able to invite many different experts to the Forum, not just the B2B Marketing analysts; so that track in Miami will focus on how to deal with the current marketing-technology offerings as an enterprise: how to architect, compare and procure, and manage the business case – through the full life cycle.

I’ve recently enjoyed Ajay Agarwal’s article in TechCrunch “Marketing Tech’s Bumpy Road”. Ajay talks about the trends from the investor point of view of course; but his comparison of B2C being weighted 10:1 in marketing and sales resources compared to B2B being the other way around is succinct -- that is why sales enablement is so important in our B2B Marketing research portfolio. But that ratio of 1:10 will swing more and more across to marketing each year of the Age of the Customer, as empowered buyers engage with suppliers digitally and redefine their expectations of face to face meetings.  Andy Hoar is just starting his new survey of business buyers, a project he does with eRetailer each year, so expect to see us updating our sales archetypes forecast, as reported here by Mary Shea, later this year.

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Look Forward To The B2B Marketing Forum In October

For the past six years, Forrester has held its Sales Enablement Forum for B2B marketing professionals in March, the first two years in San Francisco and then down in Scottsdale (see here for my debrief from the successful 2015 event). I've already had a few calls and emails asking me about this year’s Forum: What is the agenda? Where and when is it being held?

So, here is a timely reminder that we have reconfigured our events calendar this year and the 2016 B2B Marketing Forum is now scheduled for October 18 and 19 in Miami, Florida. Planning is well underway: We are recruiting guest speakers and planning the track sessions. Without giving too much away, I can report that our current thinking is to set the overall agenda across these five themes:

1.  Go-To-Customer  - How to inform and configure your marketing, channel, content and sales plans so that they are customer obsessed.

2.  Blending Art And Science - Use data to set sales and marketing activity based on the ultimate predictive metric: propensity to buy.

3.  Contact In Context - Use voice-of-the-customer/social listening/predictive analytics to be able to speak to customer issues more directly and authentically.

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Content Marketing Rules, But We Should Not Call It “Marketing Content”

At Forrester, Research Directors do many things around the research process. We help analysts to establish a research agenda and keep them current for the next 12 months – we negotiate the report outlines, edit the drafts, and share the research and reports around other parts of Forrester to ensure consistency. Then, we often create or edit “blurb” text for promotional efforts (tweets, blogs, newsletters). I was sent a proposed blurb (written by our own marketing group) announcing our new report “Make Sales Conversations An Integral Part Of Your Content Marketing Plans”. The blurb said

“Getting Sales to be the content concierge for marketing content.”

I stared at the sentence for a long time. Is that we mean? Do we want to force-feed marketing content to our sales colleagues? Calling it “marketing content” sounded demeaning and confusing; is that Sales’ job – distributing what marketing wants them to distribute? No, of course not. But their job is certainly to share and provide content to their conversation partners that is compelling and interesting and useful – stuff that helps the buyer to proceed down their journey. And the content is usually created by marketing (unless the salesperson cannot find it in which case it is made up on the fly).

So the blurb that ended up in next week’s “Forrester 5” promotional email to be sent to all clients is:

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Vendors: Take Advantage Of European Marketers' High Propensity To Buy Technology

Wake up, B2B marketing and sales enablement automation vendors — especially those of you in North America. Many of you have not yet seriously set up shop in Europe because you consider firms there to be late adopters of marketing and sales automation.

Well, they are perhaps late from your point of view, but they have now caught up. Forrester’s Global Business Technographics® Marketing Survey, 2015 reveals the proportion of B2B companies intending to buy or expand their automation projects for, among other things: content management; sales; online marketing; and marketing automation. In each case, European firms’ propensity to buy is actually much higher than that of their North American counterparts. For example, 53% of European firms plan to adopt or expand their use of marketing automation software, compared with 37% of North American firms.

But remember, the marketing and sales disciplines are also markedly different in Europe than in North America, with local differences apparent within Europe as well. In our survey, 64% of European marketers described their organization as federated compared with just 40% in North America. This reflects the fragmentation of the target markets that European firms sell to: They need to use many more channels, languages, and messages to be effective.  

European B2B sales organizations are also more complex: 33% see their channel partners as their primary sales channel, compared with 11% in North America; in contrast, 34% of North American firms see direct sales as their primary sales channel, but just 10% of their European peers do. The result? Sales enablement projects are quite different.

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