HomeUncategorizedSales Enablement and Digital Marketing Lead Sales Budget Increases in 2022

Sales Enablement and Digital Marketing Lead Sales Budget Increases in 2022

After a year of growth through transformation in 2021, 2022 is a pivotal year for chief sales officers (CSOs) as they return to growth through more traditional approaches while facing various unprecedented health, geopolitical and cultural phenomena that affect the entire sales funnel. To this point, a recent Gartner survey o CSOs found that 73% of expect budgets to increase by an average of 17% in 2022. This optimistic outlook was a drastic change from a year prior, when only 28% of surveyed CSOs expected increases heading into 2021.

In turn, it is important for these CSOs to properly invest their budgets throughout the year to make good on higher targets. To optimize their return on investment, the surveyed CSOs have identified the following top investment areas:

Sales enablement: With pipeline generation a recurring top priority for CSOs, it’s not surprising that sales enablement activities are a key investment priority. Of the CSOs we surveyed, 84% are already planning for increased investment of 20% on average over 2021 levels.

Digital marketing: The pandemic accelerated B2B buyers’ exposure to and comfort with using digital commerce platforms for large, complex purchases as well as smaller deals. Gartner research has found that more than 43% of B2B buyers prefer a rep free experience. In addition, when adopting an account-based strategy to engage buyers, marketing and sales collaborate throughout the buying journey and digital marketing is used to drive end-to-end engagement. With this in mind, 83% of CSOs expect increased investment in digital marketing in 2022 through sales budgets.

Sales operations: In 2022, over half of the CSOs we surveyed identified sales analytics – a key element of sales operations programs – as a priority for organizational success. As the emphasis on data-driven sales organizations continues, 75% of CSOs we surveyed expect to increase spending on sales operations by an average of 18%.

While budgets may be increasing, a continuous planning process is still crucial to guide upcoming investments and achieve the greatest commercial impact. Sales leaders should consider the following with the flexibility that an increase in spending can bring:

Understanding major B2B buying and selling trends and how they are changing the path to growth: CSOs must understand how three major trends — digital buying, virtual selling and emerging technologies — are rewriting what it takes to succeed in B2B sales to invest ahead of the curve. Each of these trends creates new challenges and opportunities for CSOs that they must always be adjusting for.

Benchmarking budget against peers’ to strengthen business cases: Effective benchmarking helps sales leaders build business cases, defend budgets and make data-backed strategic decisions that can be justified to other budget stakeholders.

Ensuring sales enablement and operations leaders are equipped to optimize new investments: Many sales operations leaders struggle to allocate time to strategic sales operations planning given their constant pressures to meet nearer-term goals and actively support ongoing sales efforts. Sales enablement leaders need a planning process to assess sales enablement program effectiveness, align the various sales enablement programs to the sales strategy and communicate program results.

Digital buying, virtual selling and the evolution of the sales tech are rewriting what it takes to succeed in B2B sales. CSOs must plan for and execute increased budgets accordingly to ensure a responsive, customer-centric buying experience while managing and sustaining the sales function.

Authors

  • Robert Lesser is a director, advisor for Gartner's Sales Research Practice, where he advises senior sales leaders on sales strategy, organizational transformations, and operational improvements that drive repeatable growth.

  • Betsy Gregory-Hosler is a senior research director for Gartner’s Sales Research Practice, where she guides complex research efforts, addressing challenges facing sales leaders and their teams.

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Paul Nolan
Paul Nolanhttps://salesandmarketing.com
Paul Nolan is the editor of Sales & Marketing Management magazine.

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