Nine B2B sales & marketing predictions (& wishes) for 2013


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We wrote these last year too, and if I had to mix both predictions and wishes for 2013 (to continue the trends we saw in 2012 in both sales & marketing), here’s what would top my list:

1. More video
Video seems to have more momentum and potential with B2B marketers heading into the New Year, and for good reason. There are not only great best practices emerging but also really great tools to help organizations make better use of video throughout their B2B marketing and sales funnel efforts.

2. Intentionally lower acquisition budgets
Smart organizations will continue to reduce their marketing budgets as a percentage of revenue and acquisition costs. This doesn’t mean they’ll spend less in 2013 than 2012, but means the relative spend per new customer will decrease as they get better & smarter at leveraging significantly lower-cost tactics such as content marketing, lead nurturing, social selling and more.

3. Sales reps as thought leaders & subject matter experts
More individual sales reps will proactively position themselves as consultants to their customers and prospects. This follows an emerging trend of companies focusing on aspirational needs early in the sales process (vs. tactical, product-based questions and discussions), and will allow organizations to diversity and significantly accelerate their aggregate leadership and preference-building among current and potential customers.

4. Customer service responsible for cross-sell & up-sell referrals back to sales
Long have organizations tried (and largely failed) to give their customer service organizations a quota or direct sales responsibility. But in 2013, organizations will accelerate and get both smarter & better at leveraging their direct customer-facing teams to identify buying signals and formalize referral channels back to sales.

5. Lead scoring for prospects not yet in your system
We’re getting much better at using marketing automation systems to measure, score and act upon behavior of prospects, both those in our database as well as those anonymously on our Web sites. But what about the buying signals from prospects who have never heard of or yet visited us? That’s the next frontier for lead scoring, and I really hope we start to see technology and experimentation on this in 2013. There are some great stand-alone systems such as Socedo starting to do this in social, for example, but we’ll need it integrated into our B2B marketing automation and CRM systems to help it scale.

6. Events proliferate (fixed, online, vertical, third-party)
Not only will B2B marketers continue to get back into the “physical” event scene, but we’ll see even more virtual and online events in 2013. This will go well beyond webinars, as companies experiment more with virtual conferences complete with multiple sessions, full-day and multi-day virtual summits and more. The ‘virtual conference’ concept has been around for years, but the technology available to us from companies like On24 and others will make this an even stronger and more prevalent part of the B2B marketing mix moving forward.

7. Social proximity selling will become de factor for some organizations
It is a scary step for an existing sales organization to forgo traditional sales territories based on geography and/or vertical industries, and instead assign leads & opportunities based on where the strongest relationship and social strengths lie. But in 2013, I expect we’ll see some prominent companies start to adopt social proximity selling across their sales organizations. Tools such as Reachable, IntroRocket and others will help lead the way.

8. Google will launch a SMB CRM & lead management platform
You can’t create a prediction post like this without take a bit of a step out there, so here goes. I bet Google is working on a complete CRM and lead management platform specifically for small businesses. A few companies are doing versions of this today, but Google has the platform to really make it scale and sing. If nothing else, it would be a Trojan horse for driving more ad sales and revenue from those customers who are driving and managing inbound search clicks & leads through to their Web sites and businesses.

9. Opportunity creation will displace lead production as the primary measure for marketing success
This is starting already, but I expect 2013 will see a large & significant shift in how modern B2B marketing organizations manage & measure their contributions and success to sales and the organization overall. Plenty of CMOs still fear revenue responsibility, but increasingly those marketing leaders will be replaced by those who accept, prioritize and execute on sales opportunity creation.

That’s my list. What’s on yours?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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