MarketingSherpa LLC, a MECLABS Group Company, has released their 2012 edition of the B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. They surveyed more than 1,700 B2B marketers in what they call one of the most extensive studies in the industry.  The full report looks at top challenges B2B marketers are facing, barriers preventing success and best practices to attract and convert the B2B buyer.

Based on survey responses, MarketingSherpa claims “Marketers now prioritize lead conversion over branding, reputation and awareness, despite its traditional connotation as a ‘Sales responsibility.’” They also state that,“Marketers are realizing the importance of supporting conversion as a marketing function by incorporating funnel optimization strategies to accelerate sales pipeline performance.”

I wonder how many Chief Sales Officers agree with these two findings?

Our conversations are far more anecdotal than Sherpa’s 1,700 person survey but the majority of CEOs andCSOs we talk to still claim far less than necessary support from marketing in the area of lead generation.   Sure, that could be because CSOs talking to 3FORWARD are the ones looking for help in some aspect of their sales process – and leads is on the top of nearly every CSOs list.  But other internal data we do track very closely tell us marketing may be talking lead gen but is not ready to own lead gen.

Back to the Sherpa study.  Here’s one set of findings from the survey showing what B2B marketers indicate are their top priorities.  How does this compare to your organization?

Top B2B marketing priorities (vs. challenges)

  • Lead generation
    • 60% – Priority
    • 48% – Challenge
  • Converting qualified leads
    • 57% – Priority
    • 52% – Challenge
  • Branding, reputation and awareness
    • 45% – Priority
    • 38% – Challenge

Do you run sales or marketing for your company?  Tell us how this compares to your priorities, challenges and realities.