B2B companies have a long way to go when it comes to becoming insight-driven businesses. In fact, many B2B marketers are not even data-driven yet.
A new study published by Dun & Bradstreet and Forrester Research found that nearly half of B2B marketers are relying mostly on intuition and experience rather than data. The B2B Data Activation Priority report surveyed 500 B2B professionals and found that 52% are letting data guide their marketing decisions.
Today’s consumers are savvier than ever, and so are B2B buyers, so if your goal is to improve customer engagement, it’s time to trade your intuition for insight, even if it means a difficult transformation.
Managing volume, variety and velocity of data
Lack of data is not the problem for B2B marketers. Most companies, in fact, are drowning in data. The study found that 80% of businesses “struggle to manage the volume, variety, and velocity of their data.” However, the study also notes that many of the available data and analytics capabilities are focused on B2C, which leaves B2B marketers stuck with data that resides in insolation across the organization. For example, managing multiple CRM systems and data across technology silos is moderately to extremely challenging for 72% of respondents.
80% of businesses “struggle to manage the volume, variety, and velocity of their data.”
A separate study reiterates how hungry B2B marketers are for data. Separate research from InsightSquared and Heinz Marketing found that the number one thing B2B marketers are looking for in their marketing vendors is actionable analytics and reporting. Sadly, only 41% of B2B marketers are satisfied with the analytics and reporting they receive from their current vendors.
Sharing data and insight across business areas
The lack of a B2B mindset in analytics and reporting tools is compounded by company culture—there’s a clear need for better alignment.
The B2B Data Activation Priority report concluded it’s hard for a marketer to put data to good use if they don’t have the executive support and have trouble establishing “alignment across teams and departments on specific, shared business outcomes.” This lack of cohesion may even prevent companies from figuring out what data they need to collect in the first place.
The report offers important advice for B2B companies that want to become more data-driven in their marketing efforts. One key recommendation is to make good use of third-party data and analytics services and establish an insights center of excellence.
It’s time to trade intuition for insight
Clearly, B2B companies have a long way to go when it comes to being data-driven if they’re to raise the quality of customer engagement, and they must go further than that—as a marketer, you need to trade intuition for insight, and bridge the insight-driven competency gap. Mastering the competencies of insight-driven companies will transform your business.
Leading consumer brands have already realized that having heaps of data at their fingertips isn’t enough. B2B marketers must follow in their footsteps and invest in the tools, talents and processes so they can gather the right data that provides a unified view of their customers and supports more authentic relationships.
Insight-driven businesses are on pace to grow 8 times faster than the GDP, so B2B companies need to make the transformation soon. Understanding the competencies of what makes an organization truly insight-driven is a good first step for B2B marketing leaders.