B2B Marketers Missing the Boat on Real-Time Data

No sale The results of a recent survey reveal that while B2B marketers are becoming more adept at collecting real time data, they are missing the boat when it comes to converting it into their sales performance. The online survey of more than 230 senior corporate marketers carried out on behalf of the CMO Council, suggests that many businesses lack the systems and organization to deliver sales intelligence to their front line sales and support staff.

A quick look at the CMO’s Customer Sales Intelligence Scorecard soon reveals the areas that the executives perceive as being weak.

The overall grade of D for the Key Competency Areas is both disappointing and surprising; it’s when you drill down into the specifics that a more disturbing picture emerges.

  • Only 9% say that they see real time delivery of sales intelligence and breaking news to the front line.
  • A very poor 14% consider that the front line have access to the right level of customer intelligence.
  • Customer data accuracy, depth and reliability scores at only 16%.
  • Only 16% consider that there is an effective remote mobile user interface to customer data.

Each of these vital sales areas score a miserable ‘F’ and although it’s not a massive sample size, such a resounding thumbs down is indicative of the extent of the problem.

According to the report the problem doesn’t lie with the collection of intelligence about customers and potential leads; after all social media and mobile technologies have ensured that customer management systems have become ever more sophisticated.  The breakdown occurs with real time delivery of real time data to the right place, at the right time to empower sales teams to take advantage of it. The report concludes that many businesses are failing to invest enough time and money in managing the data about customers, both existing and potential, that they collect.

If the trends identified in the survey are reflected across the marketing industry (and based on what we see in the marketplace in general, they are) this is a problem. Marketing executives and their teams will need to adopt a much more flexible and dynamic approach to ensure that customer intelligence data reaches the front line at the right time, whenever that may be.

The greatest challenge? Marketing teams are largely either understaffed or without the necessary budget allocations to make this happen. I see this, and hear these stories, from marketers at every conference I present at.  They know the basics of what they need to do, but they don’t have the knowledge and expertise they need to execute, their teams are running lean and their budgets leaner.

What are your thoughts on this? If you’re a marketer, where are you when it comes to integrating real time data into your sales and marketing tactics? If you’re an agency or a consultant, what are you seeing with regard to your clients’ adoption of real time  data integration?

photo credit: djking via photopin cc

  • http://www.philwhomes.com/ Phil Whomes

    I agree completely, and it’s my belief that the sales/marketing divide is often to blame. Working autonomously sales and marketing will not be effective, when actually the disciplines should be part of the same process. Marketing needs to be seen as a driver of sales and sales leads, rather than

    Many B2B organisations still have a blind spot when it comes to marketing, positioning it as a central department such as accounts or HR, rather than a driver of sales and sales leads.

    Never before has their been so many tools, insight and tactics available to marketers (many of which can be ROI measured if monitored correctly), and until companies understand the benefit of resourcing marketing activities they will continue to waste valuable opportunities to grow revenue.

  • ShellyKramer

    I love this comment so much, Phil, and you are absolutely correct! Marketing is in many cases still seen as an expense, not as a business investment and marketing teams are not associated with driving leads and sales. Which is such outdated thinking. But really, if businesses don’t figure it out, they’ll suffer the consequences in today’s data-driven world. Makes me crazy to see how behind the times so many businesses are in their thinking. And senior leadership is often to blame. (steps down off soapbox)

  • http://brianvickery.com/ Brian Vickery

    You point out an interesting “conflict”. Have the tools and resources so you can react to real-time data…but lack the budget to appropriately staff for effective reaction to that real-time data.

    Enterprise tools and customizations can make the data more readily available and drillable from an analytic point-of-view. They can also integrate with existing CRM tools and even support ease-of-engagement. But they come at an enterprise price tag.

    If the marketing department gets the green light to purchase the tools, then management thinks they are “good to go, so quit your complaining”…without acknowledging that it ultimately takes a HUMAN resource to react to the real time data.

  • ShellyKramer

    Exactly. And it takes human resources to implement the whole processes. Most of the conversations I have with marketers – at the enterprise level and beyond – is a lack of time, resources, training, team ….. and I think that until the concept of marketing moves beyond a department that produces brochures and print ads (over-simplifying, of course) they won’t be able to make significant inroads.

You can also find me on Google+ Real Time Web Analytics