Are you on track to meet your business’s marketing goals? What adjustments need to be made to your current plans in order to hit your numbers? How are your peers adapting to today’s sales and marketing challenges?
To answer these important questions, ViB is proud to present the findings from our first-ever 2021 State of Marketing Industry survey. Learn the top challenges and trends from over 1,000 of your B2B technology marketing peers. Use this info to improve your results and advocate for the programs and tools you need to achieve success in 2021 — and beyond.
Get keys to success
Tom Riddle, director of survey and research solutions at ViB, reveals actionable findings on key topics, including:
- Top 2021 challenges
- What marketing strategies, initiatives, and techniques will address these challenges
- KPIs leading marketers plan to use to measure success
- Top marketing and sales alignment strategies
- New trends to stay on top of this year — and beyond
Learn from findings based on strong methodology
Survey findings are only as good as the methodology used. Tom explains that to generate accurate, high-quality results, the ViB survey employed “the industry-leading Qualtrics survey platform with its advanced AI stats capability.” He goes on to add: “It’s important to note that we follow industry best practices at every step of the way.”
Valuable insights are further guaranteed by surveying “a very even distribution between small, medium, and large companies” and respondents at multiple levels. Responses came from CMOs, VPs, directors, and managers, as well as non-management staff.
“There’s something in this survey that’s going to appeal just about everybody in the audience,” Tom says. Findings run the gamut from “some things that you expected to see, some things that confirm your suspicions, and some things that are new and interesting that we wouldn’t expect.”
Find out the top marketing challenges
To improve marketing solutions, first you have to identify which challenges stand in the way. The survey showed that the top challenge leading marketers point to most often is attaining enough qualified sales meetings.
About 40% of respondents labeled it an “extreme challenge” to get as many sales meetings as they could in 2021. “That challenge was pretty stable across all three company size segments.”
Other challenges are shifting. For example, the survey revealed that “MQLs have gone down in importance as a meaningful KPI, and revenue and sales meetings and sales-ready leads have gone up.” This shift reflected what ViB is hearing from their own customers.
“Customers are still dedicated to and invested in lead nurturing,” Tom explains. “But what they really want to be able to do is short circuit that process as much as possible because the bottom line is you need sales opportunities to increase revenue.”
In regard to sales-ready leads, “the challenge level was pretty similar.” 42% of respondents saw getting enough sales-ready leads as extremely challenging, while only 7% felt that it wasn’t challenging at all.”
Companies and marketing departments want to increase the number of sales-ready leads they’re delivering to their sales teams — and increase revenue.
Uncover the emphasis on revenue
The survey showed a strong KPI emphasis for 2021: revenue. More and more marketing leaders are opting to be measured by revenue, which is the “ultimate metric.”
“People are trying to consolidate the amount of KPIs that they look at,” says Tom, “because if the dashboard is too crowded, it’s really hard to analyze your business.” As a result, companies are prioritizing the key metrics.
Meetings scheduled as a metric is showing decreasing emphasis — but it’s still a need in order to achieve related goals. Other KPIs are also still important to the overall mix. But “there’s compelling, significant statistical proof about the trend towards focusing on revenue.”
Discover the ABM, industry segmentation, and content marketing trends
The ViB survey proved the move toward ABM as a key B2B marketing trend. “We’re also seeing that in our customer base on the solutions that we sell, the targeting that they’re asking us to do,” says Tom, particularly for medium and large-sized companies.
When it comes to segmentation, “we’re seeing that now that people are segmenting by industry” more than by role. One reason for this is “because people take roles for granted,” says Tom. “They know who their influencers are. They know who the decision-makers are by solution category.”
One of the survey’s most surprising findings, according to Tom, was “how highly people rated the increase in content marketing.” This is likely due to the large impact of content marketing across channels. The survey emphasized the continued importance of content marketing to organizations of all sizes.
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See an increased focus on sales & marketing alignment
The survey results showed an increased emphasis on marketing and sales integration. Tom explains this finding shows why “it’s so important to be able to meet those sales and revenue-based KPIs that marketers are increasingly held to.”
One way sales and marketing teams are working more closely together is shared technology and integrated workflow tools. “Virtually everybody has automated email capability,” Tom explains. “CRMs are a very mature category. And what you’ll see is there’s various levels of marketing workflow automation — some of that are built into individual tools or cobbled together at the higher level.”
The findings also show an increase in the amount of people using a sales engagement tool. Many companies are now investing in purpose-built tools for ABM. “More and more people are starting to invest in BI and analytics solutions” at smaller as well as larger companies.
Stay on top of new trends
Other key trends include areas that may be new to even the most experienced marketer. “A hot is buyer enablement,” says Tom. Buyer enablement involves “teaching buyers, helping them buy from you rather than selling to them.”
Another trend to watch is AI-infused marketing. Many CMOs will be asking themselves and their teams: “How are you embracing AI?”
Marketing metrics may soon depend how you decide to leverage AI. It’s time to start considering “what specific use cases that will help you in terms of infusing some artificial intelligence and machine learning, its cousin, into marketing going forward,” says Tom.
Keep up with your peers and hit your marketing targets
Learn how your peers are addressing today’s B2B marketing challenges. Find out more by watching the entire episode, “The 2021 State of the Marketing Industry Findings.” Make better decisions, adopt the relevant collaboration tools, and pivot to the right metrics. Hit your targets — and help your company continue to grow.
If you are interested in learning about ViB and our effective marketing programs, contact us.