Each new year brings new B2B marketing technologies, trends and surprises, but one thing remains constant: engaging the right prospects and finding and converting leads into revenue is always a high priority. But other related challenges – such as budget constraints, long sales cycles and shifting roles and responsibilities – can create hurdles to success. Chief Marketer’s 2019 B2B Marketing Outlook Report points to the top challenges B2B marketers can expect in the coming year. My takeaways and tips for overcoming these challenges include:
- Email is the top source for lead generation, nurturing and ROI: Once again, email proved to be the best channel for generating leads for B2B marketers – 44% of those surveyed in the Chief Marketer report ranked email as the top source for creating leads. Other popular marketing mediums for the respondents included search (43%), live events (41%) and content marketing (36%). In addition, email was the most valuable method for lead nurturing, garnering 62% of responses. Finally, email delivered the highest ROI, as selected by 49% of those surveyed, followed again by search and live events. The key takeaway here is this: when it comes to generating and nurturing leads in 2019, B2B marketers should have a solid email marketing program in place – or establish one with guidance from leading email platform and data providers.
- Finding the right leads is a challenge: When it comes to the biggest challenges in generating new leads, top answers from marketers included getting targeted prospects to engage (57%), finding leads that convert (55%) and locating qualified names (39%) in the first place. Here, identifying the right target customers and segmenting them based on certain criteria can create more relevant messages and offerings, and of course using quality email data can significantly minimize these roadblocks.
- Informative content is most effective for advancing leads: According to the report, the best content for moving prospects through the sales funnel includes articles or blog posts (45%), reviews/customer testimonials (45%), whitepapers (32%) and videos (31%). It’s important that B2B marketers take a consultative approach to assisting their prospects in overcoming their challenges by presenting helpful, educational content that properly frames the challenge, presents potential approaches, and illustrates how other similar companies have successfully addressed the challenge.
- Budgets are increasing, but proving ROI remains a tough sell: The good news for B2B marketers is that marketing budgets are increasing for the majority (42%) of them, or at least staying the same for most (40%) of the rest. At the same time, the biggest hurdles to gaining C-suite approval for marketing expenditures include budgets focused elsewhere (46%), the inability to prove spend ROI (39%) and convincing executives of the need to spend (33%). As a result, in an effort to prove ROI, top tech investments include marketing automation (45%) and email marketing itself (40%). The takeaway here is that marketers need to invest in systems that can enable them to report on their progress, successes and return on investment, and focus on the channels – such as email – that deliver the highest ROI.
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to know that investing in systems, content and channels that deliver proven results should put you on the right track for success in the coming year. Remember, today more than ever, marketers are measured by their contributions to revenue. Let that sink in as you build out your budget for 2019.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI by targeting your best prospects – including top-level executives -- and, ultimately, converting more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.