Throughout the SiriusDecisions Summit this year, the message of “sales and marketing alignment” resonated loud and clear. That, in fact, was the theme – B-to-B Sales and Marketing: Forging a New Alliance.
If you’ve been following closely, this theme has been a recurring one on my blog as well. Last summer, I wrote about connecting the dots between lead generation, sales and CRM. Around the same time, I offered a quick summary of inbound marketing trends and adoption of best practices for lead generation.
Coming back to the Summit, speakers, John Neeson (co-founder of SiriusDecisions) and Megan Heuer (as service director with the company) shared some interesting statistics:
- Average spend on technology in 2011 is 4% of marketing budgets, nearly double what it was in 2009.
- Approximately 74% of the B2B organizations SiriusDecisions polled have adopted CRM technology, and 46% have adopted marketing automation technology.
Despite these promising statistics, companies are struggling with marketing automation. Less than 20% of B2B marketing teams have sufficient skills training for their marketing technology environment, said Heuer. The main reason for this struggle is the lack of alignment and integration or the absence of assets such as a marketing data warehouse and/or inbound marketing platform.
Automation – Boon or Bane?
I will also add that companies look at a suite of sales automation tools as a magical elixir. They expect that it will cure all their ills when in fact it can be one of their biggest inhibitors of success. How? If the implementation is not supported by a sound lead generation and progression process, their program will fail.
Do I sound like a broken record? Yes I do, as I am convinced that sooner or later this message will get through. I will be happy to report that from where I sit, companies are getting more realistic when it comes to the type of output automation tools can bring to the party.
74% of companies have adopted CRM technology and I would venture a guess and opinion that a very small percentage of these are happy with the results. Automation answers a need in the day of under resourced marketing departments but falls short on offering meaningful solutions – at least for now, or until such time that companies pay attention to their process first and foremost.
What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment below.