17 Nov Reshaping your marketing strategy – Your marketing budget and a possible looming IT vendor crisis
Like the vast majority of industries, the tech sector has been rocked by challenge after challenge over the course of the pandemic, but while a number of firms may have floundered, a select few have flourished. What is it that some know, that others don’t?
John Bancroft, Managing Director of Incognate shines a light on the obstacles and opportunities that these businesses have grappled with, and provides cast iron strategies for growth during uncertain times.
In this blog John discusses the impact the pandemic has wrought on some B2B tech sector firms, and how a number have responded to financial pressures by slashing their marketing budgets.
What challenges and opportunities have B2B tech firms faced over the past 18 months?
Budgets have been strangled, marketing teams have shrunk, but outsourcing will continue to grow
By September 2020, 40,000 UK marketing managers had been made redundant. Of those that remained, 20% had taken a pay cut, and 17% had been furloughed. This CIM survey reflects our own experiences of the recent brutality of the B2B marketplace.
Yet with these industry-wide marketing manager layoffs and more potential budget cuts, could IT vendors be heading for crisis? After all, it was the marketing departments leading the charge on lead generation while sales were busy with proposals and meetings. So, if not marketing, and if not sales, then who is left to tackle outbound sales lead generation?
Some B2B tech firms are being savvy at this juncture and choosing to outsource. The allure of fixed cost, third-party marketing services provides predictable outgoings and, more importantly, a more predictable pipeline. While the job cuts may well continue, expert B2B tech marketing firms like Incognate can support what are now smaller marketing teams.
But for those considering this option, time is of the essence. The first question that must be asked is what is the timeframe of driving prospects from point A to close, as this will represent a lag that impacts on cash flow.
At Incognate, many clients have told us of their need to identify new leads to fill up depleted pipelines – as their prospect base has shrunk. And all in all, the sales pipeline of 2020/2021 may look quite unlike anything pre-pandemic. For many marketing teams, the task of identifying new leads is not to be underestimated.
During uncertain times, the marketing budget often comes in for cuts before other departments. How can companies bolster ROI and more effectively deploy their budget?
“Marketing budgets have fallen to their lowest recorded level, dropping to 6.4% of company revenue in 2021 from 11% in 2020”
Budget cuts have meant less money is being spent – staff are being made redundant, third-party agencies are being cut loose. Businesses are trying to do more work with fewer people. Sales and marketing, along with many other departments, are under pressure. Many simply no longer have effective sales lead generation capability.
At the same time, expensive, and perhaps less effective channels are being cut back, such as Google Ads, in favour of targeted direct marketing campaigns.
The result of all of the above has been a huge slowdown in marketing leads, massive short falls in sales targets and pipeline gaps going forward. The savvier sales and marketing leaders are now looking for outside help in generating qualified B2B sales leads that are capable of accelerating the growth and certainty of the sales pipeline.
Our three month campaigns have never been in more demand. Why? Because the pipeline gaps that have emerged are recognised as being a serious and pressing issue that must be dealt with.
Marketing strategies must now evolve if a business is to grow. This new environment demands more time, not less.
How are B2B marketing teams spending their time? What additional pressures have recent times brought for these professionals that have taken them away from lead gen?
Marketing teams face a myriad of pressures. They are scrambling to get delayed projects up and running working in smaller teams and with fewer resources There’s also disruption to the sales cycle, fast-paced marketplace changes and diminishing sales pipelines that need building fast.
Incognate has stepped into the breach for a number of marketing departments, but we too have had to adapt our own strategies to the ways the world has changed.
The saying that you need to speculate to accumulate is so relevant in times like these. At Incognate, if something isn’t working, we pivot. We don’t press ahead with a strategy that isn’t delivering. Being able to turn-on-a-dime has never been more critical than it is now.
Which is exactly what we look at in in our next blog, as we answer the question: how can B2B tech firms hone in on the most effective marketing methods for today’s world?