The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digitization of the B2B buyer’s journey and also how organizations engaged their prospective customers. The changing dynamics created challenges and opportunities for the marketing and sales teams. For B2B businesses and teams that survived and thrived during the pandemic, what competitive advantage did they have? And did their data resources play a role?
Dun & Bradstreet recently surveyed over 600 marketing, sales, RevOps (revenue operations), and data decision-makers across geographies to understand how they approach data quality and stewardship and RevOps. The survey also asked what strategies and tactics they deployed to understand what worked and what did not. A major finding was that aligning the marketing and sales teams has become a key priority for organizations in the current scenario.
See more: The Importance of Organizational Alignment And How To Achieve It
The Importance of Aligning Go-to-Market Teams Has Increased
What is one of the top priorities of the marketing and sales teams post pandemic? About 61% said aligning these teams was a priority for them this year, while 38% said this was already a priority and will continue to be so over this year. Further, 94% also agreed that the need to align the two go-to-market (GTM) teams had increased in importance in 2021 to deliver the best experience to leads and customers and grow the business.
Percentage of leaders who agree they need to align revenue teams
Best Practices of B2B Marketing and Sales Leaders in These Uncertain Times
Marketing and sales teams are facing three major challenges today:
- People want more control over their privacy.
- While buyers are concerned about their privacy, they also want a personalized and efficient experience.
- There is a need for open and flexible solutions that leverage existing investments by seamlessly bringing together tools, data, and workflows.
To overcome these challenges and thrive in an uncertain situation brought about by the pandemic, what are some of the practices leaders are following? One major thing that came out of the survey was that their practices rely on a strong foundation of high data quality and good data governance practices.
Here are a few best practices followed by leaders.
1. Leaders have a strong foundation of high-quality data
About 90% of the study respondents said that data quality affected their marketing and sales performance either positively or negatively. There was also a strong correlation between good quality data and governance policies and weathering business disruptions during the pandemic. For example, 63% of leaders said high-quality data allowed them to identify target audiences for campaigns accurately. As such, about 93% of leaders and strong performers overwhelmingly boosted their investments in data in the last year.
With the impending death of third-party cookies, first-party data is also gaining importance. However, the percentage of leaders prioritizing capturing first-party data this year is still low (only 21%). Those who are capturing this data primarily use it for marketing segmentation (41%), sales outreach (37%), advertising (36%), and analytics (36%).
There are also a few barriers to investing in data quality many teams are seeing, such as financial considerations (36%), knowledge of best practices (32%), support (31%), better ROI in other initiatives (30%), and skillsets (29%).
2. Leaders use an account-based marketing/sales strategy
The study found that more strong performers and leaders (86%) utilize an account-based approach than those who did not see performance improvements (64%). This also shows a strong correlation between a strong data foundation and an account-based strategy’s success as the strategy relies on high-quality data.
For 24% of respondents who did not take an account-based strategy, not having enough data or high-quality data was a major barrier. Other important barriers included not having internal resources and not having enough tools to support an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy.
3. Leaders are aligned with a unified view of accounts
If data is not up-to-date, complete, interconnected across the organization, it is useless or even harmful. And the proliferation of data is making this process harder. So, how are leaders responding to this challenge? About 61% of respondents were confident that GTM teams were completely aligned and worked with a common view of accounts. About 57% of leaders said their GTM teams had complete visibility into what was happening with an account, and 57% said they could track and measure campaign success.
Having said that, many organizations face a challenge in aligning their GTM teams. The top three challenges they face when aligning these two teams are the cost of new tech, disrupting current operations, and gaining executive support. The study also found that too much tech is also a problem as it creates more data silos and less clarity. Many organizations used ten tools in their marketing and sales tech stack, and only about seven of these tools were used regularly each week.
See more: 5 Reasons Why Centralizing Your Marketing Data Should Be A Top Priority
Revtech Promises To Help B2B Companies See Performance Improvements
In a period of uncertainty, Revtech promises to transform the way revenue teams operate. Revtech refers to an open and connected platform that combines data and technology (martech, adtech, and sales tech tools). It promises to break down silos, increase efficiency, eliminate blind spots, and provide deeper insights, thus helping revenue teams integrate quality insights, build audiences, activate campaigns, personalize experiences, and measure results.
An optimal B2B Revtech platform should be open, scalable, interconnected, and fueled by quality data. Such a stack supports key workflows and go-to-market activities. When it is implemented appropriately, it gives a competitive advantage to businesses.
Align Your Marketing and Sales Teams
A key takeaway from the study and the best practices is that aligning an organization’s marketing and sales teams can no more work in silos if they have to survive, let alone thrive in these times of uncertainty. Instead, these two teams (including RevOps) should come together to achieve common business goals. They should ensure that they maintain high-quality data and have good data governance policies in place. Further, their technology solutions will have to work together, powered by a solid foundation of quality and interconnected data or a single unified source of truth. Doing these will help organizations sustain their business and weather the ongoing storm.