B2B Marketers Shift Priorities From Generating Leads to Converting Them

October 27, 2017

B2B marketers this year are more interested in converting leads to customers than in generating more leads and demand, a reversal from last year, when the opposite was true. That’s according to the latest annual State of Pipeline Marketing Report [download page] from Bizible, which surveyed 350 marketers, 92% of whom work at B2B organizations.

Sales and marketing alignment trails distantly as a top priority, perhaps due to progress in this area. This year almost half (46%) rate their company’s sales and marketing relationship as a top-2 box score on a 5-point scale, up from 39% last year.

Recent research from Televerde finds similar optimism on the sales side: more than 6 in 10 salespeople surveyed feel that the marketing and sales functions are aligned at their companies.

Meanwhile, as B2B marketers prioritize conversions over demand generation, more this year use customers and deals as their primary metric.

Even so, opportunities/pipeline overtook revenue as the primary metric used to measure marketing performance among survey respondents, who this year display much more confidence in their ability to measure performance.

There are indications, however, that using revenue as a metric might help with budgets. Fully three-quarters of respondents who use revenue as their primary metric when planning their marketing expect their marketing budget to increase next year. That compares with 59% of respondents overall, as the report’s authors link the use of down-funnel metrics to the likelihood of expecting bigger budgets.

Marketers planning and measuring using revenue also are more likely than average to display confidence in hitting their revenue goals, be more aligned with the broader business, and report sales and marketing alignment.

Other Highlights: Attribution, Content Marketing, and More

More findings from the report follow.

  • B2B marketers are more likely to be using single- than multi-touch attribution models. Just 1 in 4 believe their organization is using the right attribution model, and the use of multi-touch models is linked to higher budget expectations.
  • About half are confident in the quality of their CRM and marketing automation data. However, more are lacking confidence (42.7%) than highly confident (6.6%).
  • More than one-third of B2B marketers who know their ROI say that it’s greater than 2x.
  • Email marketing continues to be the most frequently used marketing channel, while word-of-mouth/referrals again provide the highest revenue impact. Compared to last year, there seems to be a growing consensus that content marketing is a revenue driver. More than 7 in 10 respondents plan to increase their amount of content marketing in the next year.
  • The vast majority (74%) of B2B marketers say that less than half of their marketing is account-based. Among those engaging in account-based marketing, perceptions of its effectiveness are mixed. About half (47%) are neutral on its effectiveness, with almost as many finding it ineffective (24.5%) as effective (28.2%).

The full report is available for download here.

About the Data: The report is based on a survey of 350 marketers, of whom 92% classify their organization as B2B. The largest share come from the internet/software/tech (48%) industry. Respondents come from am mix of company sizes and job levels.

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