Overcoming the Top Two Barriers to Better B2B Marketing

80% of B2B marketers rated their marketing efforts as only slightly or somewhat effective. The two biggest things holding them back? Lack of resources and inadequate data. Here's how to overcome the two biggest barriers to effective B2B marketing.

In the “2015 B2B Lead Generation Report” published by BrightTALK, B2B marketers indicated that generating high quality leads is the top challenge they face.

In the same survey, 80% of B2B marketers rated their marketing efforts as only slightly or somewhat effective. Yet 58% expect their lead generation budget to increase in the coming year. 

Diving deeper into the survey results, respondents indicate that the top two barriers to better results are:

  • 61% of respondents cite a lack of resources (staffing, budget or time) as a primary barrier to B2B marketing results

  • 42% of respondents cite a lack of high quality data / lists to drive campaigns as a top barrier to their marketing efforts

Since budgets are increasing and we have some insight into the barriers preventing greater results, let’s attack the top two issues head-on.

Lack of resources (staffing, budget or time)

A successful B2B inbound marketing campaign will take a minimum of 120 hours to implement. If that sounds unbelievable, download our Inbound Campaign Planning Template we developed to help breakdown all the elements of executing an effective inbound lead generation campaign. 

If you’re doing monthly campaigns, 120 hours is a full time job. To add to the complexity, effective inbound lead generation campaigns require multiple skill sets to implement. You’ll need, at minumum, a team of seven people, including:

  • A strategist who can develop personas and create a content strategy that actually aligns with the needs of your target market

  • An SEO expert to do keyword research and ensure the content aligns with persona search habits and search volume opportunity
  • A strong technical writer to develop though leadership content (ebooks, whitepapers, blog posts and email campaigns)
  • Someone with social media acumen to promote the content effectively across multiple social channels
  • A graphic designer to package up the ebook or whitepaper in a professional, compelling format
  • A developer or platform expert to create landing pages and automated lead nurturing workflows
  • A paid media expert to drive traffic to your campaigns from Adwords and LinkedIn

It’s no wonder so many B2B marketers feel that a lack of resources is crippling their results.

The first step to solving the resources issue is to develop a detailed campaign execution plan, so you and the primary stakeholders can fully appreciate all of the time and types of skill sets required for each campaign. Don't know where to start? Download our free Inbound Campaign Planning Template. Then compare that document to your current resources. The gaps you discover are your obvious areas for investing in additional resources.

Not to get salesy here, but the most efficient option is typically to work with an agency who can bring many skill-sets, eliminating all of the skills gaps for a fraction of the cost of hiring seven people.

Lack of High Quality Data / Lists to Drive Campaigns

This is typically a technology and process problem more than a “lack of high quality data” problem.  Most B2B marketing and sales teams fall into these two groups:

“We have a CRM, but we aren’t sure how valuable our contacts are.”

The solution for this group is to develop personas so marketing and sales efforts can be aligned with your buyers’ needs and interests.

Only 44% of B2B marketers use personas, yet buyers say they are 48% more likely to consider solutions providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues. (Source: ITSMA

Once you’ve identified your personas, invest the time to get everyone in your CRM assigned to the appropriate persona. This sounds like a painful process (it is) but the results will be worth it. 

While you’re at it, audit the customer lifecycle stages and make sure you know which contacts should be getting general marketing communications and which ones should be actively sold to via the sale team.

“We don’t have a CRM tool so we aren’t sure exactly how many contacts we have." 

For this group, the solution is probably a little easier. GET. A. CRM TOOL. (Consider HubSpot’s FREE CRM solution).

A CRM is probably one of the most valuable systems that any business can implement. It is as important as your people and will have a more significant effect long term than any one employee. Here’s why:

  • It’s a centralized location to store all of your customer and prospect information
  • Every member of your team will be able to see all communications with clients to ensure consistency and avoid contradiction
  • Get instant metrics on various aspects of your business—including sales and marketing

Once you have a CRM implemented, you’ll be surprised how many valuable lists of contacts are fragmented throughout the organization. Lead an aggressive initiative to consolidate all records for one major import into the CRM (and don’t forget to assign personas).

Ultimately, there are many ways to get more results from your B2B marketing program but if you don’t have the proper resources, personas and customer relationship processes in place, you’re missing fundamentals upon which you can build even greater results.