Current challenges in marketing and sales
- It’s no surprise that generating quality leads remains a top priority for most businesses, with 50% of respondents revealing it to be their greatest challenge.
- Closing more deals by turning opportunities into sales is also high on the agenda for 46% of businesses.
- For around a third of firms (31%) raising awareness for their business remains a struggle, while a fth (20%) say hiring top talent is a challenge.
- And of course, proving the return on investment (ROI) of marketing activities remains a headache for many, being highlighted by 28% of businesses.
Golden opportunities in 2018
- 47% Growth into new markets
- 40% Retaining customers
- 39% Increasing awareness in the marketplace
- 34% Growth with the same products in the same territories
- 28% Diversifying products and services
- 22% Streamlining for improved efficiency
- 18% Emerging technologies and automation
- 13% Alignment of marketing and sales
- 5% Acquisition of other businesses
- 4% Being acquired
- Nearly half (47%) of the businesses we surveyed aim to grow and expand into new markets.
- Businesses also appreciate the importance of retaining their existing customers with 40% saying it’s their biggest opportunity in 2018.
Actively working on streamlining their processes in order to increase e efficiency is the ambition of 22% of businesses.
What will sales and marketing teams be focusing on in 2018
- 39% are aiming to increase awareness in the marketplace, while 34% believe their biggest opportunity is growing their existing products in the same territories.
- 72% of sales teams will be busy identifying new leads in 2018, while 68% plan to work on developing long term relationships as their main tactic.
- Businesses want to leverage their existing customer database with 62% saying sales teams will be working on generating customer referrals and 55% focusing on upselling and cross selling to existing customers.
The strongest and most successful teams around today know one of the best ways to generate results is to work together - to pool knowledge and ideas to achieve a shared goal. Marketing can do a much better job of bringing in high quality leads, if sales is involved in the process and that leaves sales to concentrate on only the best leads. The end result being more sales in less time.
Sales and marketing under the microscope
40% of B2B sales and marketing teams operate as one department with shared targets and budgets. Research shows that B2B businesses in which sales and marketing teams are aligned and work towards shared goals achieve 38% higher sales win rates.
30% of businesses say their marketing and sales teams are perfectly aligned, while 44% say they are aligned for the most part.
However, for 7% of firms team alignment is proving a challenge.
- The majority (54%) of businesses we surveyed are ambitious, sales-driven organisations. 27% are striking a balance between sales and marketing, while only 19% say they are marketing rather than sales-led.
- While nearly half (49%) of businesses expect their sales and marketing teams to remain the same size in 2018, 37% are planning to expand their sales team and 28% are considering growing their marketing team.
Marketing channel spend
High performing teams are using the latest and best marketing tools available, to drive positive ROI at a channel level.
As technologies evolve, so too are the channels and opportunities on o er for marketers. So, where are teams investing their time and money?
More established methods, such as email marketing, telemarketing and event marketing, continue to stamp their authority, as does social media. Meanwhile, traditional PR, along with TV and radio advertising, has taken a serious hit.
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- 17% of businesses plan to spend between 50-80% of their budget on email marketing.
- Almost a third of businesses (30%) >will be investing between 30-60% of their budget in content marketing.
- A fifth of teams plan to spend 20% of their budget on events and exhibitions.
- 30% of B2B marketers will not be investing in paid search (such as pay-per-click) and 38% will not be using PR.
Since marketing automation tools first blasted onto the scene, they have been a gamechanger for many businesses. The most successful teams have become masters at using marketing automation and integrating it within sophisticated digital strategies.
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Counting the future cost
We’re living in a world where getting results and hitting the numbers really matters. And whether budgets are going up or down, to stay ahead of the game businesses need to be innovating and investing in all the right places.
How will budgets change in 2018?
The good news is, in 2018 the majority of businesses (56%) will be increasing their sales and marketing budgets compared to the previous year. For 40% of businesses, budgets will stay unchanged and only 4% expect their sales and marketing budgets to decrease.
How much will teams have to play with in 2018?
- Around a third of the businesses (34%) plan to invest in a CRM in 2018
- 30% plan to use lead generation software, such as Lead Forensics, and 24% will invest in marketing automation technology
- Interestingly, for 10% of firms virtual meeting tools are on the agenda.
Who's been talking?
We spoke to over 100 UK businesses, ranging in size and coming from a spectrum of different industries, to get them to spill the beans on what’s going on in the world of B2B marketing right now.
The businesses we spoke to came from a variety of industries, including IT, construction and hospitality.
The majority of businesses (86%) were small to medium-sized enterprises, with less than 250 employees, while just over half (57%) had 25 employees or less.
Size of sales force
80% of businesses we surveyed have less than 10 people in their sales team and 89% under 25. It was a similar picture for marketing teams, with 94% being made up of between 1 to 10 marketing professionals.
Almost 40% of the businesses we questioned are yet to break the £1M mark, while 39% have a turnover of more than £3M+.
Who took part?
Size of marketing team
Why wait? Take the free demo and trial today...
More than 30% of B2B companies we surveyed will invest in lead generation tools in 2018. Get ahead of your competition and start planning your 2018 success today with a free trial of Lead Forensics.
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