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How to Create Story-Driven B2B Marketing

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How AI Influences B2B Software Procurement

Change is constant in the business technology arena. In an era where innovation evolves at breakneck speed, Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands out as a transformative force reshaping various commercial processes. One of the most significant impacts of Generative AI (GenAI) is in the software technology sector, particularly in how it influences the behavior of today's software buyers and the procurement process. The 2024 Buyer Behavior Report by G2 provides an in-depth analysis of these changes, revealing critical insights into spending expectations, buyer trust, and the evolving dynamics of software procurement. The New Landscape of Software Procurement The software procurement landscape is undergoing a seismic shift, driven by the rapid adoption and integration of AI technologies. According to the report, 52 percent of software buyers expect their spending on software and technology to increase in the upcoming year, with AI playing a pivotal role in these budget expansions. This

Customer First: Evolving B2B Tech Go-to-Market

Major change is needed in the business-to-business (B2B) procurement arena. It's long overdue. Traditional sales and marketing approaches have proven inadequate in a dynamic marketplace.  Buyers are more informed and empowered than ever before, and their purchasing journeys are no longer linear. To keep pace, technology vendors need to fundamentally transform their go-to-market (GTM) strategies by prioritizing customer-centricity at every touchpoint. The 'Forrester Opportunity Lifecycle' framework offers valuable insights into this paradigm shift. It emphasizes the importance of aligning sales and marketing efforts with the customer's buying journey, ensuring an aligned and value-driven experience. B2B Opportunity Lifecycle Assessment Commercial buyer expectations have evolved significantly. They now conduct extensive research online, rely on peer recommendations, and expect personalized interactions throughout their procurement decision-making process. This necessitate

How GenAI Enhances Product and Service GTM

A recent Gartner report, "Product and Services Strategy for Tech CEOs," provides guidance for business technology vendors looking to capitalize on emerging trends and drive growth through effective go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Tech CEOs ranked “customer-led” as their top change driver (46 percent), and 82 percent of those saw an improvement in their business because of it. Other top drivers included “new market provides higher growth” (44 percent) and “competition is changing the value proposition in the market” (48 percent). These findings clearly indicate the importance of assessing customer needs, market dynamics and the competitive environment. One key trend that stands out is the increasing application of Generative AI (GenAI) in ongoing market research, competitive intelligence, and customer business outcome value creation. Augmenting Market Research with GenAI The Gartner market study highlights how some forward-thinking leaders are leveraging GenAI tools to fast-track

Lessons Learned from Go-to-Market Pioneers

Are you prepared to compete in the GenAI-powered, omnichannel future? For senior leaders steering their teams through today's turbulent economy, a harrowing question looms: Are we doing everything required to master B2B sales excellence before Generative AI (GenAI) disrupts our strategies? New research from McKinsey reveals sobering realities about the modern sales capabilities separating global organizations. GenAI breakthroughs have created profound changes to how B2B companies must engage buyers through hyper-personalized and intelligent customer experiences. Make no mistake, this disruption demands thoughtful planning and bold actions to transform people, processes, and technologies. McKinsey's latest global B2B Go-to-Market (GTM) survey provides valuable insights into the inevitable change. They reveal five key tactics outperforming companies are leveraging together for significant market share gains: Deploying Advanced Sales Technology Tools Delivering Hyper-Personalized

The Power of GenAI to Transform B2B Sales

The rapid pace of advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies over the past decade has been astonishing. From beating humans at complex strategy games like Go to churning out remarkably human-like conversational text, AI abilities are approaching a stage where machine cognition looks increasingly comparable to our own. Generative AI Takes Center Stage Generative AI (GenAI) represents the leading edge of this advance, with models like DALL-E for image generation and GPT for natural language tasks exhibiting creativity, insight, and judgment conspicuously reminiscent of human practitioner competencies. GenAI offers transformational potential across industries, but few stand to benefit more profoundly than B2B sales teams aiming to improve productivity, gain insights, and boost revenue growth. As a B2B management consultant focused on business technology strategy, I’ve been closely tracking GenAI's capabilities as they relate to enhancing enterprise performance. A new in

The Unification of Buyer and Sales Enablement

I’m now anticipating a radical reset of the legacy IT vendor go-to-market mindset for B2B SaaS. Why? A recent survey by Gartner found that 60 percent of  buyers involved in decisions to renew or expand “as-a-service” agreements regret nearly every purchase they make. The Evolving Landscape of Procurement In the world of B2B SaaS procurement, the traditional dynamics between buyers and IT vendors are undergoing a significant transformation. Today, buyers are no longer passive recipients of sales pitches. They conduct SaaS solution assessment through self-directed online research. It’s why vendors need a unified approach that combines Buyer Enablement and Sales Enablement — an approach that recognizes the intrinsic connection between these two critical go-to-market skill sets . The Power of Buyer Enablement Buyer Enablement, while often overlooked, has become an essential part of the modern business technology buying process. Teams of buyers now demand empowerment in their purchasing jou

Creating a Tech-Enabled B2B Buyer's Journey

What is a Technology-Enabled B2B Buyer's Journey, and why does it matter? Gartner has identified the top technologies that Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales and Marketing leaders can adopt to boost buyer engagement. The technologies on this list prioritize buyers’ value of real time collaboration, provide them with the help required to influence consensus, and allow them to use digital tools for purchase guidance. "While our research indicates buyers have a preference for a rep-free purchase experience, they also report that their interactions with sellers are the most valuable parts of the buying process," said Dan Gottlieb, senior director analyst at Gartner . The Top-Rated Buyer Engagement Solutions The B2B buyer's willingness to work with sellers via technology presents a compelling opportunity to experiment with new ways to engage digitally. The top technologies that sales and marketing leaders can use to boost buyer engagement include: AI-Sales Email : Gartner pr

B2B Sales Leaders Embrace Value-Selling

B2B sales and marketing are being transformed by the adoption of new technologies that help to communicate value. Gartner has identified seven technology disruptions that will impact sales organizations. These disruptions will drive significant go-to-market changes, as well as in the way businesses approach sales development and build customer relationships. Are you and your organization prepared for these disruptions? B2B Sales Process Change Management The first disruption identified by Gartner is the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in sales. AI can analyze large amounts of data quickly and accurately, allowing sales teams to identify key trends and insights that can inform their strategies. Most important, AI can also be used to automate routine workflow tasks, freeing up time for salespeople to focus on more high-value activities. Another disruption is the rise of customer experience (CX) as a key differentiator for businesses.  Companies that prioritize CX are more

Leading B2B Tech Storytelling Transformation

Within the highly competitive business technology marketing and sales arena, the unique skill of a superior commercial storyteller is essential. Those leaders who can quickly weave together a customer-centered narrative are in high demand. In fact, 83 percent of chief communication officers (CCOs) have reported that their C-Suite influence is growing, according to the latest comprehensive market study by Gartner. Their survey of Business Communication leaders in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, and UK markets found corporate communication team influence has grown as organizations become more interdependent. Leading Internal and External Communications CCOs also largely reported that their influence is greater than other function heads’ at their organizations, with 75 percent saying they have slightly or much more influence than their non-communications counterparts. Only 5 percent said they have less influence.  “Companies are placing a larger emphasis on stakeholder communications a

B2B Tech Procurement: The Post-Pandemic Reality

Given the realities of the current Global Networked Economy environment, why do so many business leaders report wanting a ‘return to normal’ ASAP? That’s very puzzling to me. As an example, changes within the commercial procurement arena demand radical new thinking. Forrester’s “2021 B2B Buying Study”, with more than 950 respondents from around the world, reveals significant changes in business-to-business buying behavior. Their study findings show how buyers navigated the transition of remote working, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, while seeking information about vendors and their offerings -- long before making a purchase. With most B2B buyers working remotely, global market disruption from the pandemic has pushed the ‘buying group’ to the forefront of the decision-making process. Independent buying scenarios, in which only one or two people are involved, are much less likely in a complex sale. Today, 63 percent of B2B purchases have more than four people involved -- versus jus

Overcome Data-Driven Agile Marketing Shortfalls

Many CMOs will proudly tell you that their organizations are data-driven -- meaning they make their marketing investment decisions based upon the data that's captured and reported in one or more analytics platforms. But there are significant consequences from the application of this approach. Let's consider the findings of a recent market study and look at the implications. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing rapid change on brands. Marketing leaders believe that a lack of agility and flexibility negatively impacts their marketing execution, according to a Gartner study. To remedy this, the study uncovered that 38 percent of marketing leaders report “developed scenarios for planning purposes” as one of the top operational steps they’ve taken to manage a business disruption. Study the Data, React to the Trends "One key element of effectively building and planning scenarios is data," said Lizzy Foo Kune, senior director analyst at Gartner . "Marketing lead

How B2B Marketers Fuel Predictable Sales Growth

There was a time when vendor marketing executives could choose to focus their attention on branding and related advertising campaigns. From the company's sales leadership perspective, if that eventually resulted in generating new business opportunities, that was a welcomed bonus. But as time went on, the bar of expectations was raised and marketers were asked to more closely support meaningful new sales growth. Now it's already commonplace. More marketing leaders are expected to directly influence the acquisition of new customers and associated sales revenue. Besides, they're given the challenge of optimizing their marketing efforts to ensure that they fulfill the customer's fundamental need for helpful information and guidance, during the buyer's journey. Exploring the Marketing Impact on Growth Meanwhile, industry analysts that support the technology sector are researching and analyzing the relative performance of these marketing activities. To gain a dee

Demand for Hybrid Sales and Marketing Skills

 “ How do we sell our complex solutions to increasingly demanding customers in order to meet rising organizational growth goals? ” -- That's the question that Gartner considered in its recent market study that explored the key challenges they hear most often from chief sales officer (CSO) clients. Gartner's latest research demonstrates the IT industry buying reality. As business-to-business (B2B) buying behavior continues to change, the traditional IT vendor go-to-market approach will fail to meet expectations. Therefore, Garner analysts now believe that for CSOs to deliver constant revenue growth, they can’t simply improve their traditional selling skills from a bygone era. They have to evolve and adapt into multiskilled generalists that demonstrate their business and technology acumen. Deep Analysis of The B2B Buyer's Journey Meanwhile, as IT vendor content marketing capabilities grow, they produce more information resources than ever before. Yet, buyers ar

The Yin-Yang of Marketing Innovation

The goal of many organizations is to become more customer-centric, so it should come as no surprise that marketing is being tasked to generate substantive digital growth via meaningful innovation. Moreover, creating improved customer experiences tops the list of corporate goals for marketing-driven innovation efforts. The possibilities for enhancing the B2B customer experience are vast, but the path to progress is problematic. Let's explore the available evidence. According to the latest research insights from Gartner, marketers need to focus more on the few high-potential ideas that can really show value for the customer and the rest of the business. They must also raise the profile of the marketing organization as a key innovation partner. Marketing Innovation Investments Some Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have embraced the challenge and are committing financial resources and staff headcount to help drive successful 'digital growth' initiatives. Marketing budge