B2B enterprises are failing to provide adequate support to their front-line sales forces, finds the CMO Council [download page] in an audit of 230 senior senior marketing executives conducted in Q3. One of the biggest deficiencies pertains to real-time delivery of sales intelligence and breaking news, with fewer than 1 in 10 definitively agreeing that their current customer information system acquires and delivers real-time account-related news, social insights and customer-related developments to the sales organization.
Other key competency areas in which B2B enterprises were given an “F” for their performance:
- Service and support teams having access to the right intelligence directly within the systems they use, with just 14% agreeing that’s the case, compared to 30% saying the teams do not;
- Accuracy, reliability and comprehensiveness of customer data, with just 16% saying the data is of that quality, with a further 79% saying it needs improvement; and
- Remote, mobile user interface to customer data, with only 16% claiming to have a universal customer intelligence system that can be accessed on-demand through multiple interfaces.
While the CMO Council graded those competencies with an “F” on their scorecard, that doesn’t mean that other key areas fared much better. Only 1 in 5 respondents professed to having a total picture of the customer relative to industry insights, financials, related entities, reporting structures, departments and lines of business. Even fewer (17%) said their systems have intelligence built in to help sales advise, guide and direct to relevant account opportunities, with 46% flat out saying their systems do not have these capabilities.
Given all of that, it’s perhaps not so surprising that just 14% of respondents are satisfied with their current levels of conversion and prospect closure. As the authors remind, “while public attentions have turned to marketing’s relationship with other functions across the organization, the real importance lies in marketing’s ability to drive opportunity into sales – with sales closing and capitalizing on those opportunities.”
Apparently, there is much room for improvement.
About the Data: About one-third of respondents are with organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue.