Forrester: BTB Must Focus on Quantitative

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Forrester Research examines the changing nature of marketing in business-to-business firms in a recently released study, "Making B2B Marketing Work."

The survey of 126 Forrester clients and subscribers to BtoB magazine illustrates the need for marketing departments to emphasize quantitative facts over qualitative perceptions to improve credibility.

Few BTB firms have CMOs unless they are companies with revenue surpassing $1 billion, the study found. In firms without CMOs, the marketing function is often highly decentralized and the top complaint is developing relationships with existing customers. Firms with a CMO struggle to connect effectively with sales.

One way to start moving toward a more quantitative approach is to shift the focus of marketing efforts from products to customers, the study said. Hewlett-Packard, for example, began making marketing executives responsible for crafting the strategy for specific customer segments that are driven by company size and industry.

Having the needed data infrastructure is important for a more quantitative approach. This is why more than half of BTB firms surveyed will sponsor a major technology initiative in the next 12 months to build or expand their customer information systems, the study found. Seventy-seven percent said technology will improve relations with sales.

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