The SiriusDecisions Summit always delivers provocative thinking and research on B2B marketing and sales. This year’s event in Las Vegas was no different.
Here are four notable takeaways from this year’s event.
Embrace a customer-centric strategy now
In their keynote, “Product-to-Audience Transformation: Making It Happen,” Ross Graber and Marisa Kopec of SiriusDecisions said B2B companies need to move from a product-centric to a customer-first go-to-market strategy. For established, mature tech companies, being customer-centric is the only path to revenue growth.
The transformation to a customer-centric strategy can be challenging, said they keynote speakers, as B2B companies are structured to market and sell products. But there are ways to become more audience-centric. Graber and Kopec outlined a model with six elements that can effectively transform a company’s strategy, including an audience framework and a messaging source document that can guide the process.
Use data and insight to sell more
Regardless of how you collect data and insight, it should be used more, according to SiriusDecisions’ 2017 B-to-B Buying Study. Rather than rely on intuition to make better business decisions, marketers should look to data-driven customer insight to build richer buyer personas and eliminate pain points in the purchasing journey.
This means understanding how customers buy. Larger long-term deals, for example, are usually decided by committee and can involve as many as 10 people. Creating data-driven personas help B2B marketers craft more effective strategies and tactics that align with the reality of their own sales cycle.
Leverage agile insight to create an always-on intelligence program
Tyler Kettle, research team lead in market development and insights at IBM, shared his strategy for creating an always-on intelligence program. Research, according to Kettle, needs to engage customers and stakeholders in an ongoing dialogue to create business impact.
One tool in IBM’s intelligence program is an insight community, which Kettle and his team uses to get agile, actionable feedback from customers. In addition to delivering fast insight to stakeholders, the program helps enhance purchase intent. Today, 84 percent of program members are more interested in purchasing from IBM because of their experience with the company’s insight community. The company also uses bi-weekly pulse services and leverages “deep dive” programs to get a more complete picture of its customers.
An important lesson from Kettle is the importance of recognizing when good enough is good enough. In many cases, 80 percent certainty is enough to give directional insight on what decision-makers in the company should do.
Check out our exclusive Q&A with Tyler Kettle to learn more about enabling agile insight in B2B tech companies.
Identify future channel partner superstars
Just as there’s a model to help companies become more customer-centric, there’s also a six-point plan to evaluate the success of channel partner relationships, according to Stephanie Sissler, SiriusDecisions’ senior research director for channel sales strategies. Knowing which partners can to deliver the strongest performance now and in the future is a critical success factor for B2B companies across all industries.
The current model for gauging channel success tends to rely only on current revenue generation as the main criteria for ranking and prioritizing partners, but it’s not an indicator of future success. According to Sissler, just because a partner was a strong performer in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to produce at same level.
Her six-step process for evaluating and segmenting partners is data-driven, and includes segmentation that factors in growth potential, execution based on an analysis and optimization based on reassessments every six months to a year.
Be data driven and agile
The 2017 SiriusDecisions Summit reiterates that agile, data-driven insight is the catalyst required to accelerate intelligent growth. Companies must build programs that support a customer intelligence ecosystem to meet the realities of today’s B2B landscape.