After spending the past two decades in consumer marketing and sales, I couldn’t help but view SD Summit through B2C-colored glasses. It’s great to see B2B starting to utilize the scientific approach in the sales cycle, it’s part of the reason I made the switch. Along these lines, here are a few observations from the show.
Power to the People
On day two, a brief power outage, reminiscent of the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, didn’t stop SiriusDecisions’ Lisa Nakano and Julie Ogilvie from delivering an inspiring and enlightening keynote that explained why branding, customer engagement, and employee engagement must be viewed holistically in order to deliver the best experience for customers – and, yes, customer experience does matter to business buyers.
According to SiriusDecisions’ own research, 80 percent of B2B buyers rate customer experience with the brand – either their own or that reported by peers – as the most significant driver of the purchase decision. As Nakano said, brand experience and customer experience are two sides of the same coin. B2C brands have known this for a while now, so it’s great to hear that the same realization is taking place in the B2B realm.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, the marketing technology landscape is unbelievably varied and complex – 6,800 solutions from 6,400 providers at last count. It’s not hard to imagine why 85 percent of SD Summit attendees either don’t have a basic tech stack or attended the show to grow their tech stack. There is a huge demand for technology that will give marketing and sales teams the edge over the competition.
Yet, as Erin Bohlin and Laura Cross of SiriusDecisions addressed in their day three keynote on nurturing, even with the perfect tech stack and a huge spend on AI to nurture leads through the pipeline, it may not be enough. Despite all that technology, if you’re not nurturing the right individuals associated to the right buying group, nothing you do will be effective. The old staying garbage in, garbage out is absolutely applicable here.
According to a recent Salesforce State of Sales report (1), “Sixty-eight percent of sales professionals say it is absolutely critical or very important to have a single view of the customer across departments/roles. Yet, only 17% of sales teams rate their single view of a customer capabilities as outstanding.”
A SiriusDecisions report (2) found that, on average, 25% of B2B marketing database records are inaccurate. Bad data impacts top line and bottom line performance. It’s no wonder that 62% of marketing decision-makers cite improving data quality as their number one objective.
That’s why I am excited to be part of the SaleScout team. While others work hard at discovering who the right contacts are, we use AI, exclusive data sources, and human verification to deliver the most accurate and qualified B2B data solutions in the market today. Our data is 100% human verified before it ships.
As Peter, one of the visitors to the SaleScout booth observed, “Everyone in this space is using a firehose and we’ve got to get more targeted.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
1) Salesforce State of Sales 2017
2) SiriusDecisions, State of Marketing Automation Study, 2016