5 trends in gaining more customer insight

Umberto Milletti

All trends point to 2020 being more focused on the B2B customer, with data and insights as the key to understanding their needs. Marketing and sales have switched to account-based everything, which crystallizes focus on the customer.

Customers have more power and more information than ever — they know what they want. B2B companies need to switch from a mentality of “here’s what we’re selling” to “we understand what you need.” In this environment, understand­ing each customer and using that insight to better serve their needs is paramount for B2B company growth.

According to a the Forrester Consulting Q3 2019 Global Content Preferences study, 87% of technology buyers said that they want vendors to understand their business, industry or market conditions, and 83% want vendors to understand what’s most important to their job.

Here are five predictions about how the customer is a strategic focus for B2B companies in 2020.

  1. Revenue teams – Companies will move beyond simply aligning sales and marketing toward revenue teams — super teams that include customer success in the same organization as sales, marketing and operations. The alignment of these teams around the customer is the key to deepening customer relationships and increasing revenue growth.
  2. It’s all about your data – B2B companies will increase their focus on customer insights using customer data management investments in ABM, AI and other data-driven sales and marketing programs. The health of companies’ data will become imperative. In its recent “Predictions 2020: B2B Marketing and Sales” report, Forrester says 62% of global B2B marketing decision makers are planning to increase their data management investments. Data integrity (data hygiene, cleanliness, robustness) is becoming crucial to revenue teams and their success.
  3. Sales development reps’ increasing role – Sales development reps (SDRs) will take on a more strategic role as the hub for revenue teams. Companies that are working toward sales and marketing alignment to support the customer journey can look to SDRs as the key integration point, with skills that can bridge marketing, sales, operations and customer success. They can qualify and route leads, engage with existing accounts, and generate pipeline. SDRs are the first human touch with customers, taking the handoff from marketing, refining workflows for ops, and playing a crucial role in identifying and qualifying leads for sales. Next-gen vocational schools like SV Academy are pulling untapped talent into tech by offering sales and business development training that lead directly into SDR roles.
  4. Getting personal – B2B sales and marketing will move closer to the B2C model of personalized selling. B2B companies are increasing their revenue intelligence by analyzing B2B buyer data to address a more complex sales cycle and are tailoring the sales experience by leveraging AI and data analysis technology.
  5. Did I mention it’s all about your data – Insight into the B2B customer will become even clearer with more types of available customer data, including intent data, partner data, information on the customer’s current technology stack, IOT data, social media data and data from systems of engagement such as email, etc. By adding new data types and standardizing customer profiles, companies gain a better understanding of customers and will improve targeting and engagement with their prospects.

Umberto Milletti is CEO of InsideView, provider of an AI-based B2B data and intelligence platform that solves sales, marketing and customer data management challenges. For additional insights from the InsideView team, visit their blog at https://blog.insideview.com.

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