Rethinking familiar approaches to selling and building anew will be critical to the B2B revenue engine
To help B2B marketing, sales, and product leaders align priorities amid unpredictable market conditions, Forrester released Planning Assumptions 2021. As B2B executives build their annual plans for 2021, Forrester’s SiriusDecisions Planning Assumptions will help leaders uncover key trends to prioritize their resources and investments in the year ahead.
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Serving 13 roles — including B2B chief marketing officers, chief sales officers, demand and account-based marketing leaders, and marketing operations leaders, as well as heads of sales operations, emerging growth marketing, customer engagement, content strategy and operations, portfolio marketing, sales enablement, product management, emerging growth sales, and channel marketing — each brief features actionable insights to help B2B leaders capitalize on opportunities in the next fiscal year. Key insights include:
- B2B CMOs must be agents of change, not advocates for a comfortable status quo. Thriving in an unpredictable and continuously shifting B2B climate requires agility and resilience. Proactively challenging assumptions and reviewing risks will help strengthen organizational resilience in the year ahead. B2B CMOs will need to adapt marketing campaigns to endure market volatility and shrinking budgets.
- Chief sales officers must get adept at virtual selling for their sales organizations to address buyer needs. 2020 has forced profound changes in how sales organizations work, plan, and prioritize. Buyers expect, and even demand, that sellers deliver an intuitive and immediate buying experience. Sales organizations should harness technology and data to deliver on buyers’ expectations and deliver personalized experiences for each buyer.
- Demand and account-based marketing leaders must find compelling ways to drive engagement across buying groups. The recent disruptions to the B2B buying process have heightened the focus on how demand marketing and account-based marketing programs can drive growth. The future success of demand and account-based marketing teams will rest heavily on their ability to invest in technology, programs, and content that help to spot, measure, and enable buying groups.
- Marketing operations leaders must enable hyperagility. Marketing operations’ role has evolved to include unfamiliar responsibilities that are and will continue to be required to advance the organization mid- and post-pandemic. CMOs will lean on marketing operations to provide guidance on the best use cases for adaptability and improve processes for a nimbler marketing function.
- Sales operations must improve capabilities to collect and analyze data. Guiding buyers through the purchase decision-making process requires a deep understanding of buyers and customers. The job of the B2B sales representative is no longer to convince customers to buy but rather to help them buy. Sales operations must improve its capabilities to collect and analyze data to provide on-demand insights to reps and sales leaders.
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“Even in the best of times, planning for a new fiscal year can be daunting,” said Monica Behncke, VP, SiriusDecisions Research at Forrester. “The goal of Planning Assumptions is to help B2B leaders be nimbler and adapt to the rapidly changing market forces for long-term success. Looking ahead to 2021, proactive planning, embracing change, and transforming familiar models and approaches will be critical to B2B firms’ success. Leaders across the revenue engine will need to accelerate the shift toward digitization, buyer centricity, and customer obsession.”
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