Forrester’s Planning Assumptions Reveal Key Trends That Will Impact B2B Marketing, Sales, And Product Leaders In 2022

Aligning priorities across these functions will be critical to accelerating the B2B revenue engine in today’s climate of continued uncertainty

To help B2B marketing, sales, and product leaders align priorities and make well-informed strategic business decisions amid continued uncertainty, Forrester today released Planning Assumptions 2022. As B2B executives build their annual plans for 2022, Forrester’s Planning Assumptions will help them understand the key trends that will impact their respective functions in the year ahead and recommend actionable steps to accelerate growth.

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Select insights from Planning Assumptions 2022 include:

  • B2B CMOs and marketing executives must unlock the doors of cross-functional alignment. Improving marketing alignment with other functions is the number one action required to support marketing’s priorities. B2B marketing executives must ensure that their strategy and action plan synchronize with the business strategy, the revenue plan, and the sales and product functional plans.
  • Chief sales officers and sales executives must build insights-driven sales systems. Today’s B2B buyers are digital-first, and the data available from digital interactions can predict which companies, opportunities, and actions are most likely to yield the best outcome. Sales leaders must embrace an insights-driven selling system to achieve business outcomes.
  • Product management leaders must leverage customer data and feedback to identify new service opportunities. Understanding customer pain points is more important than ever. Product management leaders should analyze customer data and use customer interviews to understand the broader needs and challenges that stand in the way of customers achieving outcomes.

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  • Customer engagement leaders must manage value milestones to develop advocacy and become customer-obsessed. Eighty-four percent of respondents believe learning from current customers is valuable to prospects making buying decisions. Customer engagement leaders should plan to use value milestones such as implementation and training completion to establish regular customer interactions and make advocacy more consistent and scalable.
  • Demand and account-based marketing leaders must shift to real-time buyer enablement. With more than 94% of B2B buying decisions now being made by a group of three or more, marketers have greater access to interest and intent signals than ever before. Demand and account-based marketing leaders should sense and respond to buying signals in real time and use those signals to target, trigger, and tailor messaging.
  • Marketing operations leaders must determine their organization’s optimal path to revenue. Typical B2B customer retention rates stand between 76% and 81%. With the widespread adoption of recurring revenue models, marketing must maintain a focus on existing customers. Leaders should optimize the B2B Revenue Waterfall and work together with sales operations and customer success operations to maximize customer lifetime value.
  • Sales operations must get a broader perspective to improve sales efficiency. Ninety percent of operations decision-makers say their organization has some form of revenue operations capability, and 40% of those decision-makers have already implemented a centralized revenue operations function. Leaders should first agree on the problems the revenue operations function is designed to solve, then clearly define the scope of the proposed organization.

“For B2B leaders, anticipating shifts in market and customer dynamics can feel particularly daunting right now,” said Monica Behncke, vice president and group research director at Forrester. “Our research has shown that companies with a strong commitment to aligned planning are in the best position to adapt during times of uncertainty. Forrester is 2022 Planning Assumptions will serve as a guide through this uncertainty and help B2B marketing, sales, and product leaders align their priorities to drive predictable revenue growth.”

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