When we look at our own planning and the planning of many of our customers there was a rush to finish 2013 goals and then a slow down over the holiday. Now most organizations are starting to really get their sales and marketing efforts geared back up. The clock and quotas have been reset and there is a fresh start towards new and loftier goals. The Wall Street Journal has been posting many reports on increased optimism amongst CEO’s of large and small businesses.
The questions we posed to ourselves and some of our customers were the following:
If you are increasing your demand generation budget what are you going to spend it on? The most feedback we have received so far has been around improving Technology (CRM, Marketing Automation Efficiencies and Database migrations and integrations) and events. We also heard that they plan on investing further in SEO and increasing their demand generation and appointment setting initiatives as well now that budgets may be unthawing.
How can you improve your databases in 2014? We always here talk of this but little action. So we asked some of our customers what they plan to do. Many are still dealing with data integration issues and are still struggling to identify APAC and EMEA databases that are accurate. Some are helping to support their Enterprise teams by developing out very targeted and very accurate top 100 type lists with multiple buying personas.
What is your weakest conversion point when it comes to new business? By far the most common theme we hear still today is around sales acceleration and progression in the middle of the funnel. Many tell us how many leads that have coming into the top of funnel but conversion is still a challenge. Lead Nurturing is still immature and simply consists of email blasts with more opportunities for content digestion and less detailed follow up like telephone conversations. The final challenge we still see is a sense of urgency to keep pace with more and more companies looking to grow in a stronger economy we believe there will be more need to stay on top of pursuing new logos more aggressively since their competition will be as well.