Lack of Data Structure a Problem in B2B: Forrester

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Many B2B companies lack a consistent data structure to link systems, making it tricky to run campaigns in a scalable way, according to new research from Forrester Consulting.

Eighty-two percent of respondents cited managing data across the business as a challenge. In addition, 80 percent of respondents cited managing the volume and velocity of data was an issue for 80 percent of the 500 respondents to the survey, conducted by Forrester on behalf of Dun & Bradstreet in March.

“B2B customers are looking to have more consumer-like experiences and take more control of their buying processes,” said Derek Slayton, general manager of the sales and marketing line of business at D&B. “To meet those demands, sales and marketing organizations must ensure they engage consistently with informed, relevant content. Accessing, analyzing and activating data across their efforts is the key to delivering a seamless customer experience.”

Less than 53 percent of respondents have adapted data-driven success factors like establishing systems of insight and expanding their abilities to source quality external data reliably. The study showed organizations with data activation maturity were more likely to report increases across marketing/sales and customer metrics, with 73 percent reporting more rapid sales cycles, 73 percent reporting a higher marketing ROI and 77 percent reporting increased customer retention.

In contrast to what one might think, data-based decision making isn’t the preference for all B2B marketers. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed are of their decisions based on intuition or personal/company experience, rather than on quantitative information. Why? The reasons vary. For example, one director at a U.S. pharmaceuticals firm felt account based marketing is relationship oriented, so intuition and experience made more sense. A finance director in the U.K. said his company “lacks the culture and confidence to rely on fact-based marketing.”

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