These tailwinds for marketing automation solutions indicate a headwind for marketers, who are actively seeking solutions to help solve an increasingly challenging B2B sales environments.
We have written about some of these challenges for marketers, in the blog post "The End of Marketing as We Know It", and how the next decade in marketing will be defined by:
- Buyers suffering from information overload - with more channels than ever to connect with buyers, and lower cost channels making outreach easier, marketers have been inundating prospects with more marketing messages than ever. The result, more noise and less engagement.
- Internet fueled buying cycles - research by IDC and Sirius Decisions both indicate that sales professionals are being engaged later and later in the buying cycle, if at all. With more information available, and growing skepticism in vendors, buyers have taken control of the purchasing cycle.
- Frugalnomics - in the face of two successive significant economic downturns over the past decade, buyers now demand proof of bottom-line impact and highest value from each and every purchase.
Buyers are increasingly wary of sales pitches
One of the biggest issues sales professionals face when engaging with prospective buyers is a declining level of sales engagement. This is often because the buyer is just getting started on research, overwhelmed with competing priorities and not ready for a sales pitch. Also, when the economy is poor and money is tight, consumers become much more skeptical of sales people making big promises. Compound that with a macro trend away from the phone and toward email and the web. As a result, sales and marketing teams are facing the challenge of selling to buyers who won’t talk to their sales team. Delivering the right content over time is a great way to “warm up” buyers until they are ready to talk to sales.
Desire for marketing accountability
Marketing has traditionally been somewhat of a “black box” expense for businesses. While development could be measured on release cycles and product quality, and sales was measured on performance against plan, It’s tough to track marketing’s ROI on positioning, collateral and brand building. B2B marketers have traditionally gotten off easy in terms of strict accountability, but were often the first budget to get cut and were sometimes looked down upon by more accountable departments. Marketing automation empowers marketing to define its contribution to the sales pipeline, tracking each sale back to one or more marketing campaigns.
Sales cycles are longer in a down economy.
Under adverse economic conditions, buyers are less inclined to purchase – plain and simple. Even when there is a clear business challenge and a solution with real ROI, tight budgets create hesitation on the part of the buyer. Therefore, sales professionals are faced with increasingly risk-averse prospects whose buying time frames are longer. Marketing automation tools supporting drip marketing campaigns and lead nurturing can build relationships with buyers during a longer sales process.
B2B sales processes are becoming “consumerized.“
Marketing channels have changed and grown
Explore Marketing Automation Solutions at: http://www.marketingautomationsoftware.com/blog/b2b-marketing-automation-active-market-map-1121510/
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