Do more with less: Harnessing disruptive forces

Apr 18, 2024

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by | Apr 18, 2024 | Strategy

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2024 is yet another year of change and disruption for B2B marketers. Continued economic uncertainty, transitioning buying groups and technological advancements are forcing marketing leaders to rethink their strategies. At Forrester’s B2B Summit, North America we’ll be contributing to this dialogue, providing ways to enable you to align, reinvent and win in 2024.

At the summit we will be hosting a spotlight session on how 3 leaders transformed marketing performance despite experiencing flat budgets, bigger targets and a bleak economic outlook. 

The key behind their success lies in optimising processes, scrutinising data and redefining your target audience, all with the help of technology to enhance your strategy and do more with less.

If you’re unable to make it, here is a snapshot of the key themes, challenges and solutions we will provide insight on.

 

Disruptive forces

The economy remains uncertain and unfortunately for marketers this means budget cuts and a heightened scrutiny of performance and spending.

In Modern’s Digital Connections 3.0 research, it is evident that CMOs are having to demonstrate the financial impact of investments with a clear focus on delivering ROI. 

To achieve this, some are concentrating on process efficiency, audience refinement, data driven decision making and upskilling teams – leaning on technologies like AI to provide additional support.

Here is how you can do so too.

 

Improve processes for growth

Before adding anything new, such as technology, you first need to look at potential blockers across key engagement points with customers whilst also evaluating your current processes. 

In particular, the lead management process can often be neglected over time.  A tightening and shake up of the status quo can lead to improved customer experience,  increased SQLs and faster lead velocity through the funnel. 

The first step is to address the blockers. Modern conducted this exercise with a client, determining the first obstruction being the number of form conversions. This led to a web optimisation exercise, not only examining the lead generation forms but the whole website to maximise conversions. As a result, the conversion rate increased by 50%. 

Now that more leads were entering the pipeline it was clear that significant delays during qualification were hindering marketing performance. Now the focus turned to lead management and qualification, decreasing the time from lead conversion to BDR first conversation. Through tighter processes and rethinking flows and automations, this reduced the lead to SQL stage from 7 days to just 1. 

Once the groundwork was laid, the use of technology to automate nurture sequences and keep prospects warm then dramatically improved the client’s growth trajectory. Specifically, their pipeline value doubled within 6 months following the above refinements.

 

Redefine target audiences

In 2024, focusing on your customer is more important than ever, yet many factors are causing a rethink on buying groups and audiences. A key theme at Forrester’s B2B summit addresses the inflection point we have reached with buying groups. 

Gen Z and millennials have now superseded boomers in both number and influence with differing motivations, interests and behaviours altering how marketers should target them effectively.  

Another factor, closely tied to mid-market organisations, is the shift internally from broad demand to a focused ABM approach, targeting high value, high retention and high converting audiences. 

This involves defining long-term goals, obtaining buy-in from both a team and C-suite level, in addition to careful reconsideration of the go-to-market strategy. 

Modern embarked upon this approach with a client by first focusing on aligning sales and marketing teams. By co-defining the overarching strategy, both teams were invested in its success, amplifying the results.

Workshops with leaders from both sales and marketing teams led to the alignment  of account groupings and prioritisation, identifying those with the highest intent. This then led to a shift in messaging propositions and campaign strategies. 

Internally, marketing operations shifted their focus to support the new strategy, including transition to measuring sales-engaged accounts and pipelines using the prioritisation identified.

The common theme to both factors is the necessity to know your audience inside and out. In 2024, it’s no longer enough to be customer centric, you need to be customer obsessed. Building effective customer profiles, researching their behaviours and course-correcting messaging to remain relevant is key. 

 

Leverage data and insights

As marketers, we’re all too familiar with data-informed decision making, but what does this look like in practice and how can it lead to pipeline?

With high growth targets and potentially vigilant investors, many organisations are finding themselves needing to tighten marketing performance and maximise returns. 

One of Modern’s clients did just this across their demand channels by using a diagnostic framework that enabled them to identify opportunities and optimise across media channels. 

Through a spend analysis, opportunities for value and wastage were identified. For example, when considering the customer first over the channel, duplicate spending across channels was removed.

Finally, the marketing maturity and the future desired state was established. In doing so, more advanced strategies were able to create further cost efficiencies. In total, 32% of the media budget was reclaimed and released back to the business with a 68% decrease in cost-per-opportunity achieved through higher quality leads and efficient demand programme structures. 

Economic volatility in this instance, prompted a highly effective cost saving exercise, in addition to a strategic change that brought with it efficiencies. 

 

Utilise technology and AI 

Technological possibilities, such as AI, are opening new paths to ways of working that can improve customer insights, analyse data and speed up processes. 

Modern’s Digital Connections 3.0 research revealed the extent to which marketing leaders are leaning on AI to support their function in 2024.

A staggering 72% of CMOs identified that AI is influencing their strategies. Of this, 28% are putting AI at the core of their marketing initiatives. 

This is despite concerns already arising over potential spiralling maintenance costs, the reliability of outputs and the integration of AI with current business systems and workflows. 

But when an effective plan is built out, ownership of the technology is accounted for and teams are trained appropriately, then AI will prove to be a disruptive force for good. 

Drive transformation

Forrester’s B2B Summit, North America is a catalyst for change. Data, technology, the economy and buyer profiles are all altering the way marketers are driving growth for their organisations – stay ahead of the curve and use it to your advantage. 

We’ll be hosting a spotlight session on how you can harness 2024’s disruptive forces for success.

If you’re not attending, but are curious about making your budget deliver improved results, get in touch

We can help you build out a plan using demand diagnostics, maturity models and a tech evaluation to set you on the right course. 

Further reading

The impact of the strategic skills gap in marketing technology

When conversion tracking goes wrong, everything gets shaky

Leading change: Unpacking the Forrester B2B Summit, North America