B2B marketing leaders are keenly aware of their organization’s reliance on measurement and analytics to drive superior performance. But when it comes to insight-driven decision-making, too many B2B organizations are simply falling short. So what exactly is the current state of B2B marketing measurement, what do B2B marketing leaders need to look out for, and what can be improved?

Forrester has just released our report on The State Of B2B Marketing Measurement, 2023 (client access only), which summarizes measurement and analytics findings from Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2023. I’ll preview just a few of the observations that stand out for me:

  • An insight gap undermines B2B performance. Advanced insight-driven businesses are considerably more likely to see greater revenue performance than peer organizations that are only beginner-level when it comes to working with insights. But only 6% of B2B organizations can be classified as advanced insight-driven businesses — a lower rate than seen among organizations in non-B2B segments.
  • More reporting can’t remedy the insights gap. Analytics producers consider an insufficient volume of reporting and analytics as one of the top challenges facing analytics users. But analytics users don’t see it that way. Users are far more likely to cite problems such as stakeholders lacking the skills to work with analytics, analytics not being understood, and analytics not being accepted. Understanding and acceptance issues can’t be remedied by creating more reporting that also won’t be understood or accepted. Analytics leaders need to diversify the efforts of their teams away from reporting production and better prepare their user communities to work with insights.
  • Marketing organizations remain too dependent on sourcing metrics. Forty-one percent of respondents report that either marketing-sourced pipeline or marketing-sourced revenue as a performance indicator appear on their CMO dashboards — making them among the most relied-upon types of metrics. As I’ve written in the past, sourcing metrics are no longer aligned with the bulk of the growth strategies that I see B2B orgs leaning on. Especially when organizations plan to generate the bulk of their growth from existing clients and named accounts, sourcing metrics can’t be relied upon to express marketing’s contribution. But too many marketing organizations haven’t let go of sourcing metrics.
  • Metrics covering the post-sale customer lifecycle are now prominent. More than half (53%) of the metrics featured on CMO dashboards describe performance after an initial sale has been made. While marketing leadership dashboards have traditionally skewed toward performance related to an initial purchase (e.g., revenue, pipeline, demand volume, conversion rates), this focus has thankfully evened out. It’s a great sign that marketing leaders are not only appreciating the importance of their role in driving long-term and productive customer relationships, but they now hold themselves accountable for related performance.
  • CMO dashboard metrics remain too internally focused. The Forrester Value Balance Framework categorizes metrics based on whether they describe value for the selling organization or whether the value described is for the customer. Companies that track how their customers perceive and experience value are more likely to achieve their own internal performance objectives. Yet our study shows that organizational value metrics outnumber customer value metrics on CMO dashboards by roughly a four-to-one ratio. Companies will struggle to accelerate the value they create for themselves if they fail to increase their focus on the value created for their customers.

I’ll be sharing more findings from The State Of B2B Marketing Measurement, 2023, digging deeper into the data, highlighting the most commonly used B2B marketing metrics, and answering questions in a client-only webinar. Please join me live on December 4 or on demand.