It’s a tough time to spend money on, oh, salaries or watering the office plants, much less on new software. But that’s what B2B marketers should consider to survive the upcoming tough times, says a recent report from market researcher IDC.

Marketing and sales budgets are projected to grow only about 3.5% this year and maybe less next year – the lowest levels in four years, according to the report. That means sales and marketing need to become more productive, and to show “how their activities and investments contribute to revenue.”

The marketing side of the house is a laggard in using technology compared to the sales folks (note the rise of Salesforce.com), says IDC. One piece of low-hanging fruit is automating what it calls “the routine and repeatable tasks associated with lead management – data collection and management as it relates to lead generation, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and creating and maintaining a marketing lead database.”

By automating activities such as lead nurturing and scoring, and by providing quantifiable proof of which of the leads unearthed by marketers turned into customers, the wise use of marketing automation software can cut costs and boost sales, while proving what the marketing department has done for the bottom line lately.

Full disclosure: This report was sponsored by my software partner Marketo and requires a five-question Web form to download. But it makes for interesting reading if you’re an IT marketer scrambling to stay relevant and to prove your worth as the chilly financial winds gather force. I've developed a complementary white paper that describes how to use software such as Marketo for complex B2B sales. Call at (781) 599-3262 or email to find out if you quality for our free trial of Marketo’s marketing automation software and our marketing writing services.  

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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