May 3, 2018

Sales and Marketing Teams See Higher Returns with Effective Data Activation, According to Independent Study Commissioned by Dun & Bradstreet

While use of data and analytics is number one priority in coming year, organizations struggle to activate data to address rising customer expectations

SHORT HILLS, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 3, 2018-- A commissioned study released today, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dun & Bradstreet has shown that, while sales and marketing teams put a high priority on using data and analytics to improve their business, most are not doing it effectively and lack a consistent data structure to link systems, making it difficult for teams to activate campaigns in a scalable way. The study surveyed 500 B2B business professionals with responsibility over customer/prospect data strategy or management at their organization and included 268 leading firms (those with above-average scores across the 15 competency areas the survey measured) and 232 lagging firms (those with below-average scores).

Although only 52 percent of decisions are currently based on data, the survey showed that the number one priority for sales and marketing teams over the next year is to increase their use of data and analytics to better meet business needs.

“Expectations are changing in the B2B buying process and sales and marketing teams need to adapt,” said Derek Slayton, General Manager of the Sales and Marketing Line of Business at Dun & Bradstreet. “B2B customers are looking to have more consumer-like experiences and take more control of their buying processes. To meet those demands, sales and marketing organizations must ensure they engage consistently with informed, relevant content that guides and informs buyers where, when and how they want it. Accessing, analyzing and activating data across their efforts is the key to delivering a seamless customer experience that drives growth.”

People, Process, and Technology Challenges Stand in the Way

Businesses are still struggling to share data and insights across the organization, resulting in a siloed effect that leaves customers with choppy and incomplete communications. Eighty-two percent of respondents cited managing data across the business as a challenge. In addition, 80 percent of respondents cited managing the volume and velocity of data as a challenge, making it difficult for most businesses to pull actionable insights from the data in order to take action and turn it into scalable customer engagement strategies.

The study found that the silos of data across technologies and the lack of a consistent data structure to link systems make it difficult for teams to activate campaigns in a scalable way. As campaign efforts become more diverse and sales and marketing teams become more integrated in various activities across each campaign, attribution can become muddled and create issues and inconsistencies across teams. This makes it difficult to determine what is working, what is not, where budgets should be designated, and where efforts should be focused.

In order to overcome these data challenges, it’s imperative that they re-wire their organizations for data activation success. To date, only 53 percent or less have adapted data-driven success factors like establishing systems of insight and expanding their abilities to source quality external data reliably.

Opportunity for Leading Firms

The study showed that organizations with data activation maturity were more likely to report increases across marketing/sales and customer metrics, with 73 percent reporting more rapid sales cycles, 73 percent reporting a higher return on marketing spend and 77 percent reporting increased customer retention and loyalty.

Mature organizations were more likely to engage with external partners for data and analytics services and have established systems of insight. Mature firms also set themselves up for success in the future. Over the next 12 months, they are more likely to prioritize efforts focused on improving key marketing and sales objectives, including digital selling, campaign attribution and account-based marketing efforts. They are also more likely to increase spending on systems of insight and on partners to help them optimize their data and data initiatives.

Partners and technology were found to be essential in helping companies along their data maturity journey. Respondents say that access to solutions with reporting/analytics, CRM integration and prospect research would be especially helpful in their efforts to improve their data activation practices.

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

To download The B2B Data Activation Priority study, visit: http://www.dnb.com/marketing/media/b2b-data-activation-priority.html

Note to Editors

This study was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dun & Bradstreet in March 2018. The quantitative study polled 500 B2B business professionals from 268 leading firms (those with above-average scores across the 15 competency areas the survey measured) and 232 lagging firms (those with below-average scores) with responsibility or influence over customer/prospect data strategy or management at their organizations. Regions surveyed included North America and Europe.

About Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) grows the most valuable relationships in business. By uncovering truth and meaning from data, we connect our customers with the prospects, suppliers, clients and partners that matter most, and have since 1841. Nearly ninety percent of the Fortune 500, and companies of every size around the world, rely on our data, insights and analytics. For more about Dun & Bradstreet, visit dnb.com. Twitter: @DnBUS

Source: Dun & Bradstreet

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Cari Zoch, +1 512-795-6462
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Kathy Guinnessey, +1 973-921-5892
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