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Marketers’ lead gen and engagement strategies are underperforming, new CMO Council report finds

by | Jan 29, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

It’s been debated whether the sales lead is as important as it was in the pre-digital age, and the resulting consensus is that yes, it’s still important, but they need to be higher quality leads to serve a proportional role in the modern age of sales and marketing. Especially in B2B marketing, the art of acquiring, capturing, qualifying and converting business opportunities is essential to growth and profitability across every industry and geographic sector. 

Marketing is largely responsible for driving this process, but according to a new CMO Council report, nearly two-thirds of lead gen and engagement strategies are underperforming. The new research finds scores of marketers falling behind in lead scoring, account-based marketing, accelerated pipeline, and intention-based marketing.

In B2B marketing, the art of acquiring, capturing, qualifying and converting business leads is essential to growth and profitability. But new research finds nearly two-thirds of lead gen and engagement strategies are underperforming. What’s going wrong?

The Council’s new report, Fire Up Your Revenue Generation Engine, produced in collaboration with WM America, covers critical aspects of lead generation and engagement. This includes models and metrics for tracking and measuring performance, best practice demand-gen execution, ways to score effectiveness, and more.

Key findings from a Q4 survey of 150 of B2B marketing, sales, revenue, growth, demand gen and campaign execution leaders include:

  • 63 percent say marketing must own and optimize a company’s revenue-generation engine
  • 64 percent say their lead gen and engagement strategy underperforms 
  • 78 percent of highly evolved marketers are satisfied with their accelerated pipeline, compared to only 15 percent of lesser evolved marketers 

In B2B marketing, the art of acquiring, capturing, qualifying and converting business leads is essential to growth and profitability. But new research finds nearly two-thirds of lead gen and engagement strategies are underperforming. What’s going wrong?

“In today’s competitive data-driven environment, marketers should no longer be satisfied with paltry returns on their sizable lead-gen and ABM investments,” the report notes. “It’s time to turn the tables on inefficient, ineffective, and outdated practices for anticipating, adapting, and responding to customer needs and opportunities.” 

Based on the research findings, the CMO Council provides a year-end scorecard that ranks proficiencies in critical areas of B2B marketing execution and demand gen operations:

  • Overall ABM effectiveness in finding, winning, and growing big customers         C-
  • Strategic account-based marketing (ABM) practices                                                      B
  • Scoring the most actionable leads and prospects                                                           C              
  • Moving deals more efficiently from contact to closure                                                  C-
  • Finding buyers already seeking your type of product                                                    C                                                                        

“Marketers must climb the evolutionary ladder and leave behind outmoded and dated practices,” said Donovan Neale-May, CMO Council executive director, in a news release. “Using AI-derived, intention-based buyer data and advanced sales intelligence are among the ways growth marketers bring more precision, predictability, and performance to B2B account marketing investments.”

The research revealed the top five skill sets contributing to improved ABM-driven business outcomes:

  • Better segmentation and precision targeting of buyers and influencers
  • On-demand customer business intelligence and personal buyer insights
  • Tighter integration of demand gen, channel, direct sales, and support teams
  • Greater utilization of tools and data sources for richer prospect profiling
  • Proactive and timely pre-sales follow up and cultivation strategies

In B2B marketing, the art of acquiring, capturing, qualifying and converting business leads is essential to growth and profitability. But new research finds nearly two-thirds of lead gen and engagement strategies are underperforming. What’s going wrong?

The researchers uncovered widening gaps in performance between highly evolved marketers and lesser evolved marketers. Gaps are occurring in four core capabilities: lead scoring, account-based marketing, accelerated pipeline, and intention-based marketing.

This report tiers factors that make up a model for better identification, engagement and conversion. The model coincides with the CMO Council and WM America’s thought leadership initiative to advance lead revenue science practices through a certified Lead Evaluation and Assurance Process, or LEAP model. 

“Marketers will need to take a few LEAPs of faith in the coming months, because sticking to the status quo is just not practical or possible anymore. As data becomes more critical than ever before, CMOs need to extend their visions for innovation and forward-thinking strategies,” according to Lee Salem, WM America’s Vice President of Sales.

Download the full report here.

The report is based on a survey of 150 heads of B2B marketing, sales, revenue, growth, demand gen and campaign execution in Q4 2023. It also included content from in-depth interviews with executives from Netline, Autodesk, T-Mobile, NTT, ABM Consortium, TechTarget, IBM, B2B Marketing, Reachdesk, Momentum ITSMA, and Xometry.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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