Over the past few years, the face of B2B marketing has transformed rapidly. Every day, new marketing trends and challenges emerge – whether it is rapid automation or the shifting focus on effective demand generation – marketers are always on their toes.
Now, as we gear up for 2023, B2B marketers are yet again left to navigate the unpredictable marketing landscape in the coming year. But to achieve higher marketing ROI, staying on top of these challenges is critical.
Here are the top B2B marketing challenges marketers can expect to tackle in 2023.
1. Predictable Pipeline Generation
Today, when the marketing function has moved from being lead-focused to creating demand, companies need a robust demand-generation process that drives a strong pipeline. But it is easier said than done. According to our 2022 CMO survey, 80% of marketers see predictable pipeline generation as their top B2B marketing challenge to overcome in 2023.
From misaligned data systems to inaccurate understanding of the buyer’s journey, these roadblocks have made pipeline generation quite complex. For most marketers, the goal is to forward highly qualified and predictable leads to the sales team. But unless they get a better understanding of the buyer’s journey, they won’t be able to predict this opportunity accurately.
And this is where the need to align the sales and marketing teams arises. It is vital to plan the pipeline, starting with the marketing team understanding the buyers’ intent and identifying the audience segments they need to focus on. Marketers can use historical data to determine which accounts are likelier to convert and prioritize them based on their position in the buyer’s journey.
Marketers can then work with sales to target messaging based on the buying intent signal and pass on the lead at the right time to sales.
Additional Read: Better Pipeline Planning for Predictable Pipeline Generation
2. Aligning the Go-To-Market Teams
For long, the alignment of the marketing and sales team has been deemed the most important for a seamless pipeline process. While the picture hasn’t changed, just these two teams aren’t enough to drive quality leads. To gain a competitive advantage and generate higher revenue, it is critical to align the functions of the go-to-market teams, including sales, marketing, operations, product management, and customer success.
One of the biggest B2B marketing challenges in 2023, these teams often work in silos. However, now is the time to work together to understand the B2B marketing pain points, identify high-quality accounts, and target the right messaging at the right time. They must have equal access to the customer data and track macro metrics together (like win rate and total revenue) – this will ensure that the teams aren’t disconnected and have a shared goal to work towards.
3. Understanding Individual Buyer Journey
41% of marketing heads rate lack of clear visibility into the buyer journey as one of the greatest B2B marketing pain points for the team.
The non-linear and complex nature of the buyer journey makes it difficult to track it. Not to mention, the involvement of numerous stakeholders prolongs the purchase decision, and marketers can often miss out on conversion opportunities.
But gaining a better idea of the individual buyer journey can help marketers identify the buyer intent at every stage and determine which parts need to be optimized. And not just that. Having complete visibility into the customer journey is the key to a predictable pipeline, as marketers can precisely prioritize opportunities and communicate more effectively.
4. Data-Driven Marketing
Data is the most important and reliable asset available to a marketer today. Accurate data is the key to identifying your target accounts, getting a deeper understanding of the audience, and implementing customized marketing campaigns. Data availability makes you sure of marketing success because you know which channels and activities will work.
Yet, many fail to achieve the desired results. And all because of the inability to utilize this data effectively. In fact, 17% of senior marketers claim the inability to gain useful insights from the data as one of their top B2B marketing challenges. Why? The end of third-party cookies has posed a significant hurdle; companies need to find alternative ways to get access to valuable customer data.
Adopting a data-driven marketing approach is also helpful in building a predictable pipeline. Without useful insights, it can be challenging to view a buyer’s journey or identify buying patterns. As a result, B2B companies need to shift their focus to customer data management. It must concentrate on capturing and analyzing key account data at various stages of the buying journey to ensure marketers have the right insights for ultimate success.
5. Delivering Higher ROI on the Marketing Budget
With digitization and increased data analytics, measuring the overall Return on Investment across activities and channels is much easier. But this also leads to the challenge of delivering higher ROI on the available marketing budget.
20% of senior marketers in a survey rate justifying the ROI on marketing budget as one of the top B2B marketing challenges they face. ROI is a critical metric as it helps CMOs assess the effectiveness of their marketing activities. And use that as the basis to plan and implement campaigns moving forward. However, the inability to prove the ROI of individual campaigns is a major B2B marketing challenge, especially if they don’t result in sales.
Until they can prove the value of marketing activities, the ROI on the budget will always seem inefficient.
The Bottom Line
From aligning the go-to-market teams to achieving predictable pipelines and generating demand effectively, 2023 will come with greater challenges for marketers. However, adopting a customer-centric and data-driven approach can help you face these challenges head-on.