Get Ready For The B2B Marketing Forum In October

Peter O'Neill

"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.

Read more

Has L2RM Now Become A CMO Imperative?

Peter O'Neill

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. 

Read more

Three Use Cases Illustrate the Power of Predictive Analytics In B2B Marketing

Allison Snow

There are a number of predictive analytics firms dedicated to helping B2B revenue leaders examine their own successes and losses to inform everything from account selection to next-step action analysis and recommendation.

Last year, Laura Ramos introduced them to us in her report, New Technologies Emerge To Help Unearth Buyer Insight From Mountains Of B2B Data. Laura concluded this report with a recommendation to prepare to take the predictive analytics plunge.

Well, many of you have "taken the plunge," or are about to. Nearly two thirds of marketing decision makers plan to implement or upgrade predictive analytics solutions during the next 12 months. Since I joined Forrester a few months ago, I've spoken to many of you that wonder what lessons early adopters have learned and how to consider predictive marketing analytics in the context of your specific go-to-market strategies and organizational goals.  

In my first Forrester report, What’s Really Possible With Predictive Marketing Right Now, Laura and I collaborated to look more closely at the trends driving predictive marketing and the common attributes among early successes.   

What we found is that three categories of use cases dominate the current landscape, not only laying the foundation for more complex use of predictive marketing analytics, but also supporting the full scope of the customer lifecycle, from net-new prospect identification to account expansion: 

Read more

M&A in the Predictive Marketing Space: eBay Acquires SalesPredict in an Unexpected-But-Perfectly-Logical-Move

Allison Snow

It’s not infrequent that a merger or acquisition takes place in a particular coverage area and, as an analyst, I’d typically expect to be ready to discuss the event at a moment’s notice.  

Not so when it came to last Monday’s news about eBay acquiring predictive analytics startup SalesPredict.

There are a little over 20 vendors vying to provide predictive modeling solutions to B2B marketers and sales professionals. It’s a “new-ish” technology, and one might reasonably expect consolidation or merger activity. But for most folks, this particular collaboration was an eyebrow raiser and I needed to talk to some people first.  

Founded in 2012, SalesPredict builds predictive algorithms that help B2B firms identify correlative relationships between the presence of various attributes and/or buyer behaviors to positive or negative outcomes. I had met with Yaron Zakai-Or, CEO and co-founder, and Sahil Mansuri, VP of Marketing, several times in my role as analyst. I imagine Sahil’s background in marketing helped them to grow their base within 6 months to 60 customers. But it didn't hurt that at SalesPredict, it was always about powerful technology without bounds. Co-founder Kira Radinsky, a self-proclaimed “data scientist at heart,” says that that founding SalesPredict was part of her vision “to bring about a major change in how business is conducted by unifying micro- and macro-economic predictions.”

This didn’t go unnoticed by eBay, with its own goal of increased sophistication in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science to support its structured data plan. In fact, that is exactly how eBay described the acquisition - frankly reminding me of how broad the use cases of predictive technology really are.

Read more

Marketing Automation Can Be Made In Europe

Peter O'Neill

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.
Read more

Confronting The Stigma Surrounding Sales

Peter O'Neill

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.

Read more

Hedgehogs, Foxes, And Third-Party Data: What Sellers Need From Marketers

Steven Wright

In Isaiah Berlin's most popular essay, “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” the famous Latvian-British social and political theorist quoted a fragment of ancient Greek: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Since its publication in 1953, this concept has become an intellectual parlor game (something Berlin said himself) that those with a binary view of the universe have used to divide writers, politicians (Kennedy: fox; Nixon: hedgehog), and executives into two neat categories.

What’s forgotten is that Berlin used this ancient aphorism as a way to evaluate Leo Tolstoy. His conclusion? Tolstoy was actually a fox, despite many declarations that would indicate Tolstoy wanted to be a hedgehog. In short, Tolstoy was both — a fox by inclination, but a hedgehog by choice.

B2B marketers want sellers to know lots of things, and they use third-party data providers as part of that desire. At a recent Forrester event, I asked a marketer from a large financial services firm how may data providers they used; she casually replied: “77.” Seventy-seven separate data providers! If only a fraction of this data is provided to sellers, they must feel overwhelmed.

The consultative seller needs both the characteristics of the fox – knowing many things about the buyers, their companies, competition, and industry – and the hedgehog – knowing the one big thing (or maybe a few) that will lead to a sale.

Read more

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

Peter O'Neill

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.”

Read more

Open The Door To Sales Enablement Success

Steven Wright

Open The Door To Sales Enablement Success

After seven months as a Forrester research analyst, with scores of vendor briefings and customer inquiries under my belt, I've seen certain patterns to unlocking sales enablement success emerge. Five Keys To Sales Enablement Automation Success brings together lessons learned from vendors and practitioners to show where B2B marketers should focus their attention. Some considerations to keep in mind – especially when it comes to content: 

  • Design content for conversation. B2B marketers naturally focus on outwardly focused content (PDFs, white papers, videos, third-party, etc.) and use sales enablement automation to make that content visible and easy for sellers to use to engage with buyers. But sellers need more – they need information on how to use content to best engage not with emails and links but in conversation. That’s where the real connection is made.
  • Keep it concise and consistent. Shorter is better. Fewer is better. Whether that’s the amount of content or the places to discover it, less is more. Using analytics, marketers can see what content is used, how often, and by whom. That unlocks insight into how to improve quality, not quantity.
  • Build in collaboration to improve customizing. Sellers will always need to personalize and customize content, whether it's an email, a presentation, or – most frequently – any sort of proposal. Analysis can show what is most frequently changed, and marketers can use that to better understand how to improve content.
Read more

Your B2B Prospects Don't Want You To Call Them

Steven Casey

So this makes it official: the rite of passage for every new analyst. My first research report, How Self-Service Research Changes B2B Marketing, has just been published.

I covered the premise of this report in my first blog post — but I’ll summarize it here again: multiple Forrester surveys have shown that B2B buyers strongly prefer to conduct their own research, without ever speaking with a sales rep. Forward-thinking B2B marketers will embrace this change and enable the customer-directed research journey with self-service technologies such as contextual help solutions and virtual agents.

Many B2B marketers may feel that this is a risky move — giving up control and resisting the urge to email or call every prospect who lands on your site and guide them along a carefully crafted content path — but after more than a dozen conversations with vendors and their customers to create my report, I’m more convinced than ever that this is the right thing to do. This is true for lots of reasons, which I cover in the report, but the most important one is that we’re all digital consumers now. So the self-service habits we have all learned over the last decade or so are now preferred behaviors — even for B2B buyers, who now just want to be left alone to find the content they need.

Read more