Thank you if you bothered [formerly 'Why Bother']

Caroline Robertson

If you had a chance to participate in our survey, thank you so much.  We have now closed the survey.  

If you didn't get a chance to but are interested in becoming a panel member, please e-mail Matt Camuso at mcamuso@forrester.com and we'll be happy to include you in our panel so you can receive regular updates and participate in our next survey.

Original Blog Post:

We've recently gone live with our most recent primary research panel survey through which we are investigating the progress of ABM, Seller enablement and B2B Branding. If you’ve seen the invitation and completed our B2B Marketing survey, thank you.  

If you haven’t, the biggest question you likely have is ‘Why Bother?’  Here’s what your input helps us do for you;

  • Tune our research agenda to your most important imperatives
  • Give you the context of where you stand in relation to other B2B marketing leaders
  • Create fact-based research to guide your decisions and influence your constituents
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Ironic Discontinuity — Today’s Typical B2B Events Experience

Caroline Robertson

Back in my early days as an industry analyst, one of my first client events was, in essence, a field trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to take a tour of C.S. Longlines (which AT&T’s analyst relations [AR] team arranged). It was the ship from which tens of thousands of fiber optic cable was laid. I was barely over the US legal drinking age and just learning what bandwidth even meant. So as you can imagine at first, I had some serious doubts about how interesting this would be. It was actually fascinating. And that’s something I can say about only a few of the hundreds of events that I’ve attended since.

I was reminded of this trip after editing Laura Ramos’ newest report “Increase The Payoff For B2B Events With Digital Immersion” because the digital best practices that she writes about surprisingly parallel the most memorable attributes of my Longlines visit:

  • I was engaged before I even started. I knew enough about what we were going to see, and it piqued my interest.
  • It was immersive. We were on a big ship in a harbor — enough said.
  • My experience was customized. There was no predefined path throughout the ship. We toured what we wanted to see versus what AT&T’s AR team wanted to show us (though I am sure that the team eventually showed us all of it)
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B2B Buyers Make The Case For Better Marketing And Sales Alignment

Mary Shea

 

Are your marketing and sales teams caught in that endless loop of finger pointing? B2B sellers who complain about lead quality/quantity and marketers who criticize sellers for poor follow up? After years of acknowledging their issues with each other, many B2B marketing and sales teams continue to be at odds. Just “google” marketing and sales relationships and see what you find. I did and I surfaced 98 million results! Titles such as: “The Rocky Road Between Sales and Marketing” and “How to Survive a Soured Sales and Marketing Relationship” show the dissonance and drama still very much in play.

Five years into the age of the customer and the modern B2B buyer has high expectations. They’re more knowledgeable, independent and self-directed than ever. They no longer rely on your sales people for product, pricing and other information. And they don’t want to be told what they already know. As I explore in our recently published report, B2B Buyers Mandate A New Charter For Marketing And Sales, the empowered B2B buyer is neither concerned with how your organization is structured and who’s responsible for the content on your website, nor are they interested in talking to a sales rep simply because they downloaded a white paper. Your buyers want contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic but non-linear journey. And, by in large, they want their experiences with sales people to be high value or frictionless. Think of a 2 or 5-star hotel experience – each has its merits - but 3 and 4-star hotels often disappoint.

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Forrester’s Top 10 B2B Marketing Blogs Of 2016

Caroline Robertson

As the number of days in 2016 winds down, my own days at Forrester are adding up. I recently joined Forrester as a new B2B marketing research director, working alongside Peter O’Neill. I appreciate how your appreciation of the insights and guidance from our team led to the need for more leadership, and I am thrilled to be here. So as I’ve been immersing myself in the team’s work, I thought that it would be as interesting to you as it was to me to see what our top 10 B2B marketing blogs of the year were. There were more than a quarter of a million reads of the team’s blogs in 2016, and I wanted to share the top 10 with you by readership.

10. Your B2B Prospects Don’t Want You To Call Them

Steve Casey, principal analyst, shared a fundamental truth of the post-digital world in this blog post. B2B buyers now strongly prefer to conduct their own research, without ever speaking with a sales rep. He recommends that marketers embrace this uncomfortable truth and spend more time considering how to make information readily available to these self-service buyers.

9. Marketo Goes Private: A New Epoch In Marketing Software May Have Just Begun

This blog by Peter O’Neill provided perspective on Marketo’s acquisition by Vista Equity Partners, which it announced inMay 2016. Lori Wizdo, principal analyst, also predicted this kind of move in April 2016 during an interview with CMSWire.

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Sales Enablement Automation Systems Are Ready To Help B2B Marketers Support The Seller Of Today And Tomorrow

Steven Wright

Just published, The Forrester Wave™: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016 highlights the nine leading vendors in the space using 33 criteria. Following on from the Forrester report Vendor Landscape: Sales Enablement Automation, the Forrester Wave report whittles down 18 vendors to nine of the strongest players in the sales enablement market.

The Forrester Wave evaluation process is rigorous, involving in-depth demos and customer references. As my colleague Lori Wizdo noted in a recent blog post about her report, The Forrester Wave™: Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors, Q4 2016, there’s no hiding for either the vendor or the analyst. The product and marketing teams for all the vendors are passionate and committed in presenting and defending their solution.

As the first Forrester Wave to cover the sales enablement automation market for B2B marketers, this report also offers a clear definition of just what is needed to be a successful solution. While there are many functions that are consistent across the solutions, such as CRM integration (mostly Salesforce) and various levels of back-end content management, there are clear differences as well. The solutions tended to be either/or:

  • Synchronous solutions that focus on the live presenting and meeting experience, whether face-to-face or virtual.
  • Asynchronous solutions that target engagement with content via email.
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L2RM Automation Is Powering A B2B Marketing Transformation

Lori Wizdo

Forrester just published The Forrester Wave™: Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors, Q4 2016.  Our research uncovered a robust market in which Act-On, Adobe, IBM, Marketo, and Oracle lead the pack; bpm'online, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Salesfusion offer competitive options; and CallidusCloud and Right On Interactive are Contenders.  Forrester’s Wave ™ process is comprehensive (we evaluated the products across 36 different criteria); rigorous (the process comprises executive briefings, detailed product review and demo, all validated with customer references); and completely transparent (each criteria is graded on a 0-5 scale with the scale explanation openly published).  There’s no hiding in the Forrester Wave ™ process – for the vendor, or for the analyst.  As the lead analyst on this research I want to thank the marketing and product marketing teams of the vendors who participated in the Wave research process.  

Our last Forrester Wave ™ analysis on L2RM platforms was published in 2014 and we found significant differences in:

  • Practitioner motivation: 
    B2B marketers are moving beyond revenue performance to life-cycle customer engagement
  • Platform maturity:
    Support for advanced B2B marketing practice is the differentiator with marketing practitioners looking for their marketing operating system.
  • Marketplace adoption: 
    There’s a lot of runway in the L2RM Platform Market.
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Forrester’s Predictions For B2B Marketing Professionals In 2017

Peter O'Neill

Just like many other research groups at Forrester Research in the past weeks, our team has gotten together, discussed, and agreed on a series of predictions for 2017 that will affect business-to-business (B2B) marketing professionals’ work. Forrester’s clients can review these in full detail in the published report, but here are some of the highlights. We have grouped our predictions into three sections.

Part 1: Account-Based Marketing Will Come Of Age In 2017

In 2016, vendors and consultants seriously hyped account-based marketing (ABM) — such that B2B marketing interest in it skyrocketed. In 2017, marketers will seriously consider new customer-obsessed approaches that team up marketing and sales to grow long-term highly engaged revenue relationships with key clients. ABM is a retro idea with revolutionary impact — especially when B2B marketing pros apply it to deepen relationships with the right customers at scale. And in 2017, we predict that ABM will:

  • Make the lead funnel (or waterfall) essentially obsolete.
  • Give marketing more ownership over post-sale customer experience (CX).
  • Drive advocate marketing as a key process.
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What You Missed At The B2B Marketing Forum — If You Weren't There

Peter O'Neill

Wow! It may have taken place seven days ago, but I am still exhausted — and exhilarated — from our inaugural B2B Marketing Forumin Miami last week. Here is a short recap of what we covered during the two days. And you can even watch this video of me opening the event (20 minutes of your time).

Day 1: Obsess On Customers; Orchestrate A Relationship; Conduct An Engagement

The opening main session began with Forrester’s James McQuivey, who inspired us all to understand both how to understand customer obsession and how to drive the necessary organizational, process, and even cultural change. Molly Murphy, from Eaton Industries, presented a best practice example of doing exactly that in her marketing organization. Forrester’s own Laura Ramos then explained how an account-based marketing strategy enables a full commitment to customer obsession in both marketing and sales. Amanda Kahlow, CEO and founder of analytics vendor 6Sense, rounded off this topic by telling her very personal story.

Then we broke out into the first of three repeated track agendas (so that all could attend each session of interest and not make sacrifices because sessions were competing):

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Speed Dating In Miami — Or What I Learned At The Forrester B2B Marketing Forum

Steven Casey

Now that I’m back from Forrester's B2B Marketing Forum in Miami last week, I thought I’d share a few observations. This was my second Forrester event as an analyst, but my first at a B2B Marketing Forum. 

It’s worth noting that my perspective as an analyst is completely different from that of an attendee, because so much of our time is consumed by one-on-one meetings. This means that I didn’t see much of the mainstage proceedings other than the first-day opening and part of one presentation over a hurried lunch on the second day.

If you’ve never been, a big part of the value of Forrester's events for attendees is these one-on-ones, which provide various opportunities: to sit down across the table from analysts with whom you may speak regularly but have never met face-to-face, to make first-time introductions, or to simply reconnect with old friends. The one-on-ones are set up speed-dating style — 20-minute conversations scheduled on the half-hour, starting at breakfast and stretching throughout both days of the conference. And maybe I’m bad at time management or just get caught up in interesting conversations, but just about all of my meetings ran into each other. So it was a whirlwind experience, exciting and exhausting at the same time.

I did my best to take notes, and here’s a few of the major themes I observed, based on my interactions with dozens of B2B marketers throughout the entire event:

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Categories:

Account-Based Marketing Will Elevate, Not Eclipse, Lead-To-Revenue Management

Lori Wizdo

The explosion of interest in account-based marketing has created uncertainty for business-to-business (B2B) marketers who have invested in marketing automation to optimize their lead-to-revenue processes. It’s not surprising because the vendors that market ABM-badged wares – and many pundits -- generate attention with controversial proclamations, like: “ABM is the death of demand generation”; “ABM replaces inbound marketing” and “Lead to Revenue Management (L2RM) is only a suitable strategy for selling products and services to small businesses”.  

While these arguments might help hawk new technology, they create confusion about both ABM and L2RM. It’s not surprising that 73% of B2B survey respondents agree that, as an industry term, ABM lacks specificity and gets applied to many different approaches inconsistently.  In my most recent report, Account-Based Marketing Will Elevate, Not Eclipse, Lead-To-Revenue Management (subscription required), I set out to rationalize the concepts of ABM and L2RM.  

Key takeaways:

  • B2B marketers should use ABM to accelerate the pivot to customer obsession.
  • B2B marketers need to decompose ABM into its component parts: strategy, tactics and technology.
  • Forrester's Go-To-Customer Strategy Matrix helps B2B marketers fine-tune their ABM strategy.
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