6 Insights from the Salesforce State of Marketing Report

 In B2B Marketing, Predictive Intelligence

According to the third annual 2016 State of Marketing Report, which was published by Salesforce Research last month, leveraging predictive intelligence is an indicator of a top-performing marketing team.

This is one of dozens of insights revealed in the comprehensive report, which reflects responses from 3,975 full-time marketing leaders (not limited to Salesforce customers) in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, the Nordics, Japan and Australia. The survey encompassed marketers in B2C (26%), B2B (29%) and B2B2C roles (45%).

Trend Highlight: Nearly 80% of High-Performance Marketers Leverage Predictive-Intelligence Tools

We were particularly gratified to see third-party confirmation of what we (and 6sense customers) already fully embrace – according to survey results, 79% of high-performing marketing teams currently use predictive-intelligence tools, and 49% of those teams report extensive usage of such tools. (“High-performing” is defined by the study’s authors as “extremely satisfied with the current outcomes realized as a direct result of their company’s marketing investment.”)

Specifically, survey respondents gave predictive intelligence tools credit for 1) helping them track customer behavior effectively and 2) providing insights that allow them to create highly personalized interactions.

Top Teams Use Predictive

Other Trends of High-Performing Marketing Teams

In his analysis of the report on The Huffington Post, Salesforce Chief Digital Evangelist Vala Afshar said the results show a clear trend: success as a marketer is defined by data, collaboration and the right technology tools. Here are some of the key findings related to those three elements.

Top performers have a well-defined customer journey.

High-performing marketing teams are 8.8 times more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they have adopted a customer-journey strategy as part of their overall business strategy. Among high-performing teams, 88% say a customer-journey strategy is critical to the success of their overall marketing.

The best marketing teams diligently use CRM.

The best marketing teams find that CRM helps them successfully capture data and foster effective team collaboration. High performers are 3.3 times more likely than underperformers to use CRM tools extensively in order to provide marketing, sales and service teams a single, shared view of the customer. Meanwhile, 35% of underperforming marketing teams say they have no plans to use CRM tools in the future.

Successful marketers are far more likely to be heavy users of technology.

On average, top performers use more than two times the number of tools and technology that underperformers use. (The study puts predictive-intelligence and analytics tools at the forefront of all such technology.) Consider the data:

  • 53% of high performers fell into the “heavy tech adopters” category, compared to a paltry seven percent of underperformers.
  • 72% of high performers plan to increase spending on marketing tools and technology in the next two years.
  • Among this group, 48% plan to increase spending “substantially.”

Customer satisfaction is marketing’s biggest priority (more so than customer acquisition).

The biggest pressure on marketing teams today is not to generate leads. Rather, it’s to move the needle on customer satisfaction. According to the report’s authors:

“Customer satisfaction — historically, the domain of service teams — is the number one success metric for marketers today. This is further evidence of the blurring lines between marketing customer service, and sales. Marketing is more about building and sustaining customer relationships than merely filling the funnel … [the] emergence of customer relationships as a top challenge further illustrates the shift from marketing as a lead-generation machine to marketing as a customer-experience coordinator.”

Customer Satisfaction

Building Partnerships

Digital marketing dominates marketing’s overall budget.

As the report states, there essentially is no marketing without digital today. Digital dominates marketing activities, channels and budgets and represents a full 70% of the average marketer’s budget. The authors of the report predict that we will see a 21% growth in digital marketing spending by the year 2021, as a full 97% of marketing leaders plan to either increase or maintain their investment in digital marketing.

What Will Define Your Success in 2016 and Beyond?

The report also covered a number of trends related to such issues as mobile marketing, social media ROI, and the omnichannel customer experience (we recommend reading Forbes contributor Louis Columbus’ summary of the data: “2016 State of Marketing: High Performing Marketing Teams 4.2X More Likely To Use Analytics”).

As a B2B marketer, your success will be defined by data and collaboration – both of those elements will be heavily influenced by your choice of technology tools. Are B2B marketers already swimming in tools? Yes. However, these tools are clearly worth the investment. As we can see from this report and the responses of some 4,000 marketers, the winners are staying on the cutting edge of adoption and usage.

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