To wrap up 2015, Forrester Research, Inc. published a report looking ahead to what they believe will be B2B marketing’s new mission in 2016. The report highlights new marketing strategies, predictive analytics, marketing automation tools and content messaging. According to Forrester, all of these developments add up to a lot of change: B2B marketers will have to accept a fundamentally different role in the modern enterprise, reimagine their relationship with sales and change their approach to demand generation.
Here is our take on the 3 things you need to keep in mind for the new year:
- Marketing will be involved in the entire customer lifecycle
In the existing model of the B2B lead-to-revenue flow, marketing is responsible for everything up to and including the lead qualification process but nothing after. Marketers concern themselves with conversion rates and MQL quotas, but rarely pay attention to opportunity conversions and client churn and upsell.
As B2B customers increasingly demand a smooth buying experience the Forrester report notes that marketers will have to “engage deeper into the funnel” to provide content and experiences that accelerate the buying process. More than that, marketing will also begin owning the upsell and cross-sell process, working with customer success to create collateral that helps onboarding and implementation.
- Marketing will continue to transform from an art to a science
Context, relevancy and timing will remain the most important variables for B2B marketers in the new year. As B2B customer expectations for customized and helpful interactions continue to soar, those who reach the wrong audience with the wrong message will waste their investment and degrade their brand. The modern buyer is increasingly conditioned to expect relevant content to be delivered to them when they need it most.
Teams that invest in both marketing analytics technology and data science skill sets will positions themselves to execute on true account based marketing strategies and accelerate demand for their products and services. Forrester says this will only happen if predictive analytics “becomes a demonstrated decision-support tool” for marketing and sales and not simply a new layer of marketing technology.
- B2B marketing voice will become consultative and helpful
To this day the majority of B2B content is strident, boastful and laden with jargon. Promises to quadruple revenue, erase costs and optimize highly complex processes abound. Few content marketers focus on providing helpful and supportive information that addresses the most common challenges faced by their target customers.
Marketers who look outside their organizations to understand the needs of their target accounts will outperform their competitors who continue on the promotional route. And those teams who find ways to channel the value they bring to their customers by distilling useful case studies and sales tools from existing relationships will be able to help drive unprecedented value for sales.
If you’re interested in learning more about the future of B2B marketing, save your seat at our upcoming Predictive-Powered Account Based Marketing webinar.