These "Covid disruptors" are here to stay
When it comes to marketing or sales in B2B, adaptation is the name of the game. Savvy sales and marketing leaders must navigate the changing landscape and roll with the punches, whether they’re caused by global events, platform evolutions, the economy, or customer behaviors.
We’ve identified five B2B disruptors that are transforming the way marketing and sales teams are operating.
1) Digitalization is the new normal.
Almost overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people and businesses to do more online.. Ironically, what was once a rushed response to an unprecedented situation has turned into the preferred way of doing business. According to McKinsey & Company, not only had most B2B seller interactions moved to online platforms by the seventh month of the pandemic, more than 70% of B2B decision-makers indicate they prefer the convenience and peace of mind of these digital interactions. This change was noted in go-to-market channels as well; while traditional and in-person interactions have dropped 55%, digital exchanges with sales reps are up 31% for videoconferences and 69% for online chats. While this is certainly a new way of doing business for many, the opportunities are ripe for businesses to capitalize on it and reap the rewards, from lower conversion costs to increased customer satisfaction.
2) Customers are self-directing their own buyer’s journey.
Today, customer expectations are higher than ever. Fueled by an increasing volume of information as well as unobstructed access to it, buyers are coming to the purchase phase with more knowledge and confidence. It’s time for businesses to rise to the occasion with data-driven marketing and personalized customer experiences throughout the buyer’s journey. If not, customers will simply go elsewhere, leaving businesses without the opportunity to engage in the sales process.
3) The third-party cookie is dead.
The logistics of data collection keep changing — and fast. Customers are demanding more control over their privacy, spurring a sharp decrease in the use of third-party cookies and a cookieless world on the horizon. Without these free-flowing data sources, more companies are turning their focus to first-party data collection. In the long run, this could turn out to be a positive shift as this hands-on style of data collection can strengthen customer relationships by improving personalization. But to reap those rewards, organizations must learn how to effectively capture and manage these new data sources.
4) Information overload.
Successful organizations know where to look to glean insights from data, and there is certainly plenty of data to analyze. The global data sphere is expected to hit 163 zettabytes by 2025 — that’s 10 times the amount recorded in 2016. While quality data is a good thing, this rush of new information is sending many marketers into a tailspin as they struggle to navigate the many data sources and integrate them into their existing systems. To succeed, companies must become increasingly data-savvy and learn how to quickly read and manage the information without becoming overwhelmed by it.
5) So many tools, too little time.
Need to automate a task or help your team work together more effectively? There’s an app or tool for that, and revenue teams have been quick to embrace them. Our research indicates that teams use approximately 10 different tools on average in their combined sales and marketing technology stack. While teams are quick to attempt to problem-solve challenges with technology, to be successful they must integrate the new tools with existing processes and team capabilities. According to the 8th Annual B2B Sales and Marketing Data Report, published by Dun & Bradstreet, some of these tools might be redundant as just seven of them on average are used regularly each week. There is clearly a need for open and flexible solutions that leverage existing investments by seamlessly and effectively bringing together these tools, especially their data and workflows.
Factors That Set the Best Apart
Disruptors and uncertainty are two things businesses can count on. While it’s true that these changes can come out of nowhere and throw even the best prepared companies for a loop, why is it that some adapt and thrive better than others?
Our research has identified three best practices of high-performing sales and marketing teams. that set adaptable sales and marketing leaders apart.
Best Practice 1: Data rules!
High-performing sales and marketing teams turn to data to bolster their decision making. Nine out of 10 sales and market leaders agree that their data quality impacted their sales and marketing performance, whether positively or negatively. And leaders (those who reported that their sales and/or marketing performance ‘improved greatly’ in the 12 month period of our study) overwhelmingly boosted their data investment.
Best Practice 2: ABM for the win.
Our survey shows that more leaders are utilizing an account-based strategy compared with those who didn’t see any performance improvements (86% vs. 64%), indicating a relationship between a strong data foundation and account-based marketing (ABM) success.
Best Practice 3: Eyes on the prize.
Data is useless, even distracting or harmful, if it’s not up-to-date, complete, and interconnected across the organization, yet the proliferation of data is making this harder. Revenue teams that don’t get a handle on their data will lose. More than half (61%) of leaders are completely confident that their go-to-market teams are aligned and working with a common view of accounts. The need to align your go-to-market teams is real.
Align Around Data to Adapt and Succeed
While there will always be unknowns, there are also some tried-and-true ways for leaders of revenue functions to succeed.
Looking at both the best practices of our leaders as well as the challenges of B2B sales and marketing today, we get a sense for what works and what doesn’t. To win in a volatile business environment, companies need to empower their sales, marketing, and data teams to act as a unified revenue team aligned around a common and complete view of account data. They need to transform their digital engagement strategies, think differently, and deliver value with every buyer interaction, but they can’t do these things without the right data, tools, and support.
Getting to this point may seem overwhelming but isn’t insurmountable. Businesses are discovering that an open RevTech platform and the power of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) help them target buyers with precision and personalize their engagement across channels. RevTech is the convergence of our MarTech and SalesTech into a foundation that lets revenue teams unify data, build audiences, activate campaigns, personalize engaging experiences, and measure results. In other words, it enables account-based experiences at scale.
Furthermore, with RevTech we can have a rich combination of both first- and third-party data shared across sales, marketing, and customer success teams. D&B Rev.Up ABX is Dun & Bradstreet’s best-in-class RevTech platform that brings together everything a team needs to find and engage the right buyer: customer data, activation, and measurement.
Quality data and unified RevTech — it’s the way forward for sales and marketing growth.
Learn more about D&B Rev.Up ABX