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Posted by Kenneth Connolly on 06-Feb-2012 13:51:00

We’ve just received the fifth wave of the ‘state of the nation’ study for B2B marketers which is based on interviews with industry professionals. And, the good news is that things are looking up - 55% of B2B marketing agencies reported a greater number of enquiries in the past 6 months and 38% reported that the quality of enquiries has improved.

However, it may come as a surprise that online advertising is to take a smaller budget share in the next 12 months. In these sorts of studies we’re all used to seeing graphs shooting upwards showing the rise of social and digital. Yet over the next 12 months, B2B client-side marketers expect to spend 34% of their B2B marketing budgets on digital channels, falling from 41% in January 2011. This does seem to mainly refer to a fall in spend on online advertising though, from 11% to 6%. Indeed, spend on website development is expected to rise. This is something that rings true with us – there is little point in investing in online advertising if the website you’re directing them to isn’t hard working enough to convert the visitor to an enquiry in the first place.

So, where are these budgets going? B2B client-side marketers say that they expect to spend more over the next 12 months on trade shows and CRM/database management.

For our clients, measurability matters. We only recommend that they invest in trade shows or online activity for example, if the leads are going to be followed-up correctly. If not, what’s the point? You may as well invest in more measurable activity.

And of course, there’s the classic discussion around the relationship between sales and marketing. For most client-side marketers, sales and marketing misalignment means wasted resources: wasted time, wasted budget and wasted leads and 91% say that alignment is an important priority. Yet 79% of B2B client-side marketers feel their sales and marketing could be better aligned. Despite the attitude that alignment is important, misalignment has increased, rising from 70% in November 2009.

What’s your experience with sales and marketing alignment and do you have any tips? We’d love to know.

In the meantime, we advise our clients to get sales involved every step of the way. What does a 'good' lead look like? What is a 'sales-ready' lead and which leads need to be further qualified by marketing? How would you like these prospects to be passed to you and what information do you need? If you have faith in your sales team and your CRM, and review processes regularly, the relationship should become more fruitful for all parties.

Topics: B2B Lead Generation, b2b sales leads, B2B marketing, Inbound marketing, B2B marketing barometer