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Marketing and sales teams struggle to use data effectively

Businesses are failing to use data as customer expectations rise

A survey - conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf on Dun & Bradstreet - found 82% of respondents found managing data across the business was a challenge and 80% felt handling the volume of data they had was difficult.

Despite a priority from marketing and sales teams to use data and analytics to guide their content and targeting, many still lack a consistent data structure that can link systems, meaning data is often segmented and hindering campaign scalability.

Currently, 53% have adapted to drive success in using data, this includes sourcing better quality data and developing insight systems.

Rising customer expectations mean businesses need to work harder in using data

Just over half of decisions are currently based on data, but the majority of respondents cited that an increase in data and analytics use was the top priority for the year ahead, due to growing demands from customers.

Derek Slayton, general manager of sales and marketing at Dun & Bradstreet, said the rise in customer expectations was calling for marketing and sales teams to adapt. “B2B customers are looking to have more consumer-like experiences and take more control of their buying process. 

“To meet those demands, sales and marketing organisations must ensure they engage consistently with informed, relevant content that guides buyers where, when and how they want it. Accessing, analysing and activating data across their efforts is the key to delivering a seamless customer experience that drives growth,” said Slayton.

Those with more developed data systems are seeing results

It was discovered those that showed maturity in the use of data were much more likely to see increases in marketing, sales and customer metrics, with 77% seeing higher customer retention and loyalty, 73% noticing an increase in ROMI, and 73% reporting a quicker sales cycle.

Due to this success, mature data organisations are predicted to prioritise efforts that focus around data, and increase their spending in line with this, in the 12 months.

Slayton added: “Customer data, harnessed effectively, can help advance many marketing and sales objectives. Those organisations who have mastered data activation across their organisations are seeing much higher returns than those who are still struggling to harness the power of data and analytics for their businesses.”

However, it is unknown what effect the upcoming EU regulation, GDPR, will have on the trajectory of data usage; research suggests a brief pause in the adoption of data tech is to be expected.

The research surveyed 500 B2B business professionals across Europe and North America.

GDPR: 5 reasons why B2B marketers should embrace it

Far from signalling the end of marketing, GDPR should be seen as an opportunity to rethink your marketing strategy and reposition the function as a source of genuine competitive advantage.

I don’t believe you, let me read it

GDPR: 5 reasons why B2B marketers should embrace it