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In this article:

  • Greatest challenges in 2018
  • Greatest opportunities in 2018
  • Marketing and sales budgets in 2018
  • Marketing and sales software
  • Hottest trends in sales and marketing 

What's this report about?

If you want to know what’s hot in the world of sales and marketing right now and to see how your business shapes up, then you’re in the right place.

We’ve spoken to sales and marketing professionals across a range of industries to see what’s got their pulses racing and what’s keeping them awake at night.

From the greatest challenges they face, to the biggest opportunities they can see on the horizon, we’ve dug deep, examining the latest trends, tactics and channels to see where budgets are being spent and what’s generating the greatest payback.

What all the businesses we spoke to have in common is that they are hungry for success. With ambitious plans for growth, they aren’t afraid to be ruthless when it comes to allocating resources in the areas that really matter.

One of the biggest takeaways of the report is that data-driven, structured approaches are now a must for modern teams. New technologies also continue to in uence and enhance every aspect of the sales process, with CRMs, marketing automation and lead generation software all coming into their own, and investment in these areas remaining high on the agenda.

So, whether you’re starting to think about next year’s strategy, or just want to know what’s happening out there, this report is packed with valuable insight. Enjoy!

Threats, challenges and opportunities

Hot off the press, here’s what sales and marketing teams had to say about the threats, challenges and opportunities they’re facing, and where their focus lies moving forward.

Greatest threats in 2018

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Top takeaways:

  • 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 fifth (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.

Current challenges in marketing and sales

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Top takeaways:

  • 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 

Top takeaways:

  • 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

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Top takeaways:

  • 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.

Hottest trends

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

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Top takeaway:

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.

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Top takeaways:

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.

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Top takeaway:

  • 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.

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Top takeaway:

  • 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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Top takeaways: 

  • 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.

Marketing automation

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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With real-time alerts and automated tasks, Lead Forensics can save your marketing and sales teams time so that they can focus on what’s really important - driving and closing more deals.See for yourself with our free trial.

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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.

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How much will teams have to play with in 2018?

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Getting techy

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Top takeaways:

  • 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.

Industry

The businesses we spoke to came from a variety of industries, including IT, construction and hospitality.

industry.png

Head count

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.

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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.

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Turnover 

Almost 40% of the businesses we questioned are yet to break the £1M mark, while 39% have a turnover of more than £3M+.

turnover.png

Who took part? 

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Size of marketing team

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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.

With Lead Forensics you can uncover who your anonymous website visitors are, identify when they’re ready to buy and access the contact details you need to convert high quality leads faster.

Experience turbo-charged lead generation with a free demo and trial today.

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What can Lead Forensics do for your business?

Imagine if you could take control of your lead generation activity and convert sales-ready prospects, before your competitors even get close? Lead Forensics is the software that reveals the identity of your anonymous website visitors, and turns them into actionable sales-ready leads. In real-time.

Lead Forensics can:

  • Tell you who is visiting your website
  • Provide highly valuable contact information including telephone numbers and email addresses
  • Give insight into what each visitor has looked at, as well as where they came from.

Take a look for yourself with a free, no obligation trial – you can get started today!

Download your copy of the full article

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