As the country continues its reopening and recovery, soaring consumer spending, stock market values and the labor market are triggering an economic boom with significant growth opportunities for B2B companies. Given the post-pandemic context, Delia Associates, a leader in B2B branding and digital marketing, commissioned the study, “Insights and Opportunities: Breaking the Role of the B2B Sales and Marketing Leader,” into the new business environment better understand and what lies ahead.
This data, detailed in a new report released by Delia Associates, is based on an independently conducted survey of senior sales and marketing executives in April 2021. Respondents were asked about priorities in four key growth areas: leadership, marketing, branding and sales . The attendees represented a variety of B2B industries, company size, longevity and geographic location.
Despite the pandemic and initial fears of an ongoing economic slowdown, an overwhelming 57 percent of businesses updated or were about to update their brand in 2020. “Forward-thinking companies are seeing the pandemic as an opportunity to reposition their brands for future growth,” noted Ed Delia, president of Delia Associates. “To grow in a boom, you have to be willing to accept growth, and that requires a brand that is properly positioned and used to unlock that potential.”
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On the outcomes detailed in Insights & Opportunities: Breaking Down the Role of the B2B Sales & Marketing Executive:
Leadership: In this role, mainly sales and marketing managers were hired into the company and were new to this role. They generally believe they are doing a good job in leadership, with only a third reporting the need to have leadership skills to excel in their position. However, significant opportunities have been identified for improving their skills in terms of leading their teams.
Branding: More than half of those surveyed have updated their brand since the beginning of the pandemic. Another half recognize branding and marketing as equals in supporting business sales and growth initiatives, while 47 percent say customers pay a premium for their company’s products and / or services based on brand image and reputation.
Marketing: Marketing is the most important function for sales success; Metrics include new lead generation, ROI, and positive reviews. Under sales, marketing, and branding, 40 percent of the budget should go to marketing, most of which is done through digital marketing tools and channels.
Sales: An overwhelming majority recognize the role of brands in helping sales. More than a third named sales the most important skill required for success after marketing. About a third of the total sales and marketing budget is typically allocated to sales in line with desired budget allocations, slightly behind marketing (42%).
The survey results highlight several competitive opportunities for B2B companies. While most B2B executives identify marketing as critical to sales success, some fail to implement the broad branding initiatives needed to support those efforts. Conversely, marketing efforts backed by robust branding initiatives create recognition, build loyalty, and increase positive sentimentality. Successful leaders recognize how leadership, marketing, branding, and sales work together to create a symbiotic relationship that strengthens market position, drives the sales pipeline, and drives B2B business growth.
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