Data and analytics are at least somewhat influential in more than 8 in 10 B2B firms’ go-to-market activities, per a report [download page] from Radius and Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services. Based on a survey of 189 executives in marketing, customer insights, sales, data and other functions, the report indicates that a broad swathe of companies are investing in data and data analytics to support their go-to-market goals.
Those goals, most typically, are revenue growth, new customer acquisition, and improvements in customer retention rates and customer loyalty.
Many of the survey’s respondents – all of whom come from companies with at least 500 employees – believe that data and analytics can assist them in reaching their goals:
- One-third are already seeing benefits in terms of increased customers, and almost half (46%) see data’s potential in this area; while
- Slightly more than one-third (35%) are currently benefiting from their use of data through higher revenues, with almost half (49%) again seeing the potential.
The leading areas in which B2B executives feel they can benefit from investments in data and analytics, though, are an improved customer experience (61%) and increased customer retention/loyalty (60%).
In a sense, these benefits relate, as an improved customer experience can lead to better retention. In research released last year, for example, a majority of B2B executives surveyed by Forrester Consulting for FPX felt that customers would shift their loyalty based on their experiences.
Data Silos Still the Key Hindrance
Data and analytics might have a lot of potential, but B2B executives are still far from reaching it, and continue to have a key challenge to overcome: data silos.
Presented with 9 obstacles faced in leveraging data to achieve go-to-market goals, and asked to select the top 3, a majority (55%) of respondents pointed to the inability to merge data from disparate sources in a timely manner.
That was by far the most commonly-cited challenge, far ahead of secondary ones that include:
- Lack of data analytics skills among staff (also seen as a key issue in other research); and
- Inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date data;
B2B marketers are tackling data quality issues, in some cases by turning to third-party data providers. But they may not be aware of the extent to which inaccurate data may be costing them: the Radius and HBR survey finds just 17% of companies taking the cost of bad data into account when calculating their marketing ROI.
So it seems that in order for B2B firms’ investments in data and analytics to draw the full extent of the customer experience and retention benefits sought, they’ll need to work on integrating various data sources, having the talent to analyze the data, and making sure that the underlying data is accurate and complete.
The full study is available for download here.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 189 business executives, all of whom are at least somewhat familiar with their organization’s B2B marketing strategy and use of data.
Respondents all come from US organizations with at least 500 employees, and almost two-thirds are from companies with at least 5,000 employees. The majority are VP-level and above, with the leading job responsibilities being marketing (59%), customer insights (49%), sales (45%), analytics (44%), and data (43%).
The technology and manufacturing industries were the most heavily represented.