Last updated on February 28th, 2020 at 10:18 am
Each fall, B2B marketers assess the performance of their prior year’s marketing program and plan for the year ahead. They look at past performance metrics, business goals, competitor initiatives, industry trends, and areas of improvement. The 2020 B2B Marketing Mix Report, published annually by Sagefrog Marketing Group, surveys B2B marketing professionals to uncover the top strategies and tactics they plan to incorporate into their 2020 marketing plan. The top B2B marketing objectives for 2020 include:
- Converting leads into customers
- Increasing sales leads
- Increasing brand awareness
- Producing thought leadership
- Increasing website traffic
With the top two “marketing objectives” actually being “sales objectives,” this data reveals a few fundamental shifts happening in the B2B marketing landscape, including increased—maybe even achieved—harmony between marketing and sales departments, after their history of siloed activity. Indeed, developing a cohesive B2B marketing strategy requires various business functions to operate in tandem to deliver the best possible results.
Achieved Harmony Between Marketing and Sales
While the objectives are ranked, they’re as intertwined as ever. Objectives one and two are sales objectives, yet top this year’s list of marketing objectives.
Friction between marketing and sales departments is not a new concept—yet we’ve been seeing these two teams break down their barriers little by little over the years, including through HubSpot’s shift from the traditional marketing and sales funnel to the integrated flywheel in 2018. This shift was a major change from marketing and sales teams working through a siloed and sequential process to working in harmony to achieve a common goal: customer acquisition, delight, and retention.
With this year’s top B2B marketing objectives being sales objectives, we’re seeing yet another major demonstration of continued harmony between marketing and sales.
Marketing and Sales Collaboration on Thought Leadership
In the B2B versus B2C sales cycle, especially, customers take their time deciding what businesses will make the best partners and provide the most effective solutions to their problems.
Sales and marketing teams are collaborating more to identify the topics that provoked prospects to pick up the phone, and conversely, the topics that caused them to walk away, to develop thought leadership that addresses their needs and alleviates their concerns. The most effective thought leadership is no longer generated in a vacuum by marketing or sales; instead, it’s a concerted effort.
Consistently produced, high-quality thought leadership content does a few things:
- Increases brand awareness
- Instills trust in a brand
- Drives website traffic, form fills, calls, emails
As people read, share, and discuss content that provokes original thought, they build trust with the published company and begin to regard them as the subject-matter expert—the authority on their needs. Educational, evidence-based content that addresses readers in an authoritative tone without promoting or selling any specific product has the greatest effect.
Personalization Throughout Marketing, Sales, and Service
Personalization is integrating with every instance of customer contact. Marketing departments are personalizing website user experiences, social media, and ads, while sales departments are personalizing emails with videos and lead-nurturing content. And, personalization isn’t stopping there. Personalization continues once the lead is a customer, with personalized customer delight initiatives such as special promotions, birthday greetings, anniversary emails, holiday gifts, and so on (another nod to HubSpot’s centralized customer, flywheel concept).
A steady flow of personalized content continuously increases website traffic and brand awareness, generating more leads, and turning leads into customers. This cycle of collaboration between marketers, salespeople, and account managers shows that it’s as essential as ever for teams to understand each other and work together towards a common goal.
The top B2B marketing objectives revealed in this year’s report are interesting. Not only do they show achieved harmony between marketing and sales, but it demonstrates the top strategies and tactics these departments will leverage. With marketing and sales harmony at the top of the list—it’s obvious the strategies and tactics won’t be executed in siloes. Rather, they’ll be executed with input from both departments and incorporate personalized touches to have the greatest impact. For more B2B marketing insights to guide your 2019 marketing plan, including budget and partnership trends, get a copy of the 2020 B2B Marketing Mix Report.