5 B2B Marketing Insights from The State of Inbound 2015

Sales and Marketing—it’s time to align, especially when “speaking to salesperson” is last on the list of “sources of information used for making a purchase decision on business software.” This and other insights gleaned from nearly 4000 B2B marketers in The State of Inbound 2015 report raise an important question, one that we discussed only last week during my session at B2B Sales and Marketing Camp: Who owns the customer experience?

1. Demonstrating ROI is the biggest challenge

In last week’s post we shared that 60 percent of marketers struggle to identify ROI from social marketing, and the results of this report are no different. Twenty-two percent of marketers reported that proving ROI of marketing activities was the top marketing challenge of 2015. Fourteen percent of those surveyed indicated securing enough budget and finding an executive sponsor were the top challenge.




2. Finding an executive sponsor jumped from 2% to 14%

Fourteen percent of marketers indicated that finding an executive sponsor was the top marketing challenge of 2015, up from two percent in 2014. Brands that align sponsorships with overall brand positioning and business objectives not only find an executive sponsor faster but optimize the funds received from the sponsor more effectively.

3. Aligning sales and marketing is critical



All companies surveyed indicated that increasing the number of contacts and converting leads to customers were top priorities.

Twenty-four percent of sales teams surveyed indicated that their company did not use a CRM, and 46 percent of salespeople are not exclusively using dedicated technology to store lead and customer data. Of those companies using a CRM, manual data entry was the #1 problem for salespeople. By aligning sales and marketing technologies, marketers can more effectively measure results and track ROI.

Marketing’s involvement in sales software decision-making process leads to higher ROI

Marketers involved with sales-software decision-making were 13 percent more likely to see a positive ROI, and 11 percent more likely to receive an increased budget.



4. Sales trends favor marketing channels over sales people

Further evidence of the importance of sales and marketing working together: only 18 percent of executives relying on a salesperson for information when making a purchase decision, compared to 60 percent who rely on word of mouth, friends, and social media referrals.


5. Tracking and proving ROI leads to a higher budget

It is important to have tools in place to measure your marketing efforts because proving ROI gets 67 percent of marketers a higher budget.



It is refreshing to see industry leaders advocating the alignment of sales and marketing efforts as marketing becomes more responsible for building a pipeline of highly qualified leads and sales interacts with buyers across multiple touchpoints. Given that marketing “owns” the the brand/product story as well as many of the customer-facing platforms, it seems that marketing should “own” the customer experience, from discovery to customer success, to ensure simplicity, clarity and alignment across story, strategy and systems.

Who owns the customer experience in your organization?


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