Bumps in the B2B digital road

In a report released yesterday, Accenture Interactive revealed that many US B2B executives still view themselves as struggling to compete in the digital age, while recognizing the importance of digital channels. Three out of four businesses did not consider themselves digital leaders, and many viewed digital traffic rather than digital sales as a KPI.

The latest in Accenture’s Point of View series, “Organizing for Success” surveyed more than 200 US-based executives for companies with revenues ranging from one to 75 billion dollars across a wide range of verticals. Among the key findings were:

  • Digital channels are becoming more important in the B2B sector, with one in four companies reporting that more than half their revenues flow through digital.
  • Even in large companies, staff numbers devoted to digital can vary from a few people to teams of hundreds.
  • Although revenue is the leading KPI for digital success, traffic is a more widely measured indicator than units sold.
  • Customer acquisition and retention were reported as the greatest digital challenges.

Among the other obstacles B2B companies are still struggling with in the digital environment are governance and control; recruitment of staff with appropriate skills; and organizational structure and alignment.

Significantly, one in four respondents identified the CMO as responsible for digital growth within the business; otherwise, responsibility is divided among a wide range of job titles (10 percent identified IT). This underlines the strong connection between marketing and digital technologies, and the need for CMOs to be conversant with tech strategy and developments.

The main priority over the next twelve months will be content-based marketing. In conclusion, the report states: “Most digital organizations recognize the internal and external challenges they face, and are pursuing additional investments to address key obstacles to growth. Among market leaders, there is an acute awareness of the need for investments in digital strategy and other areas that can help the organization resolve governance and process issues as well as customer-facing concerns.”

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