As noted in the 2016 B2B Marketing Trends report, B2B marketing strategies and practices are in the midst of significant change, driven by new technologies and evolving buyer expectations for more “consumer-like” experiences.

These changes are affecting tactics, budgets, messaging, and metrics as illustrated in the compilation of B2B marketing facts and statistics below. Here are five key takeaways from this research:

Align B2B marketing with sales
Image credit: e_Strategy Trends

B2B marketing budgets are shifting to digital and social. Overall, B2B marketing budgets are expected to increase, on average, by about 5% in the coming year. But spending on digital marketing programs is projected to rise three times as fast, and over the next five years, the share of budget dollars dedicated to social media marketing will more than double.

We want programmatic advertising—even if we’re not sure what that is. Although nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers say they plan to spend more money on programmatic advertising in 2016, 44% admit they either don’t know how it works or have only a small amount of knowledge about it.

Lead generation is still a challenge. 68% of B2B marketers rank “generating high-quality leads” as their top priority for this year. But nearly 60% also rank this as their biggest challenge, and just 16% of marketers rate their lead generation efforts as “very” or “extremely” effective.

B2B messaging gets personal. 86% of B2B buyers say they see “no real difference between suppliers,” and messages focused on product features and functions barely move the needle. But brands that connect with buyers on an emotional level see twice the impact of those still trying to sell based on business or functional value, and the most connected brands enjoyed 31% greater revenue growth last year. 60% of buyers who feel a “high brand connection” are more likely to purchase, even at a higher price, from those brands versus competitors.

Social media benefits are unclear. Despite the brand lift from buyer engagement and the plans to increase spending on social media marketing noted above, only about 10% of B2B marketers say they are able to quantitatively show the impact of social media on the business.

And now, the stats!

8 Stats About B2B Marketing Budgets and Spending

1. The top three responsibilities (in order of importance) of B2B marketers are brand and positioning, lead generation, and brand communications followed. However, B2B marketers expect that two years from now the top three will be understanding buyers, marketing technology tools, and market / competitor analysis (lead gen drops to #5 on the list). (eMarketer)

2. B2B product marketing budgets are expected to increase on average 3.1% next year–but budgets for B2B services marketing are projected to grow nearly 7%. (The CMO Survey)

3. However, spending on digital marketing specifically is projected to rise 14% for B2B products and 20% for B2B services in the coming year. (The CMO Survey)

4. Marketing accounts for 10% of total B2B company spending on average, and 6% of total revenue. (The CMO Survey)

5. Marketing staff account for about 3% of total employees, on average, in B2B product companies. But they make up 11% of the workforce in B2B services. (The CMO Survey)

6. For B2B media companies, the biggest share of revenue comes from events, totaling $12.2 billion in 2014. In proportional terms that’s just over 44% of the industry total. (MediaPost)

7. A majority of B2B marketers plan on investing more money in programmatic advertising in 2016. Nearly two-thirds (65%) are set to spend more money on programmatic advertising in 2016, with 78% of B2B marketers devoting up to 50% of their digital ad budgets on programmatic in 2016. (MediaPost)

8. However, there is still confusion about programmatic advertising. 44% of B2B marketers say they don’t understand, or have a small amount of knowledge, about how programmatic works. “Lack of understanding” was cited as the top challenge in using programmatic for 47% of B2B marketers. (MediaPost)

5 B2B Lead Generation Stats and Facts

9. Between 28% and 35% percent of B2B leads come from marketing, while 45% to 52% on average are generated by sales teams. (Direct Marketing)

10. Live events (conferences, trade shows and forums) remain the top lead generation source for B2B marketers. (MediaPost)

11. 68% of B2B marketers ranked “generating high-quality leads” as their top priority in 2015. 59% also said that was their biggest challenge. (MediaPost)

12. Most marketers are not satisfied with the effectiveness of their lead-generation programs. 80% report their efforts are only “slightly” or “somewhat” effective; just 16% rate their efforts as “very” or “extremely” effective. 4% say their lead-generation programs as not effective at all. (MediaPost)

13. White paper and eBook downloads are the top producers of B2B leads, cited by 59% of marketers. Other top calls to action included contact forms (39%), webinars (37%), and free trials (35%). (MediaPost)

3 B2B Lead Nurturing and Marketing Automation Stats and Facts

14. B2B marketers who implement marketing automation software see their contribution to the sales pipeline increase by an average of 10%. 63% of companies that are growing faster than their competitors use marketing automation. (Iconsive)

15. 68% of best-in-class companies use lead scoring (a marketing automation feature), in comparison with 28% of laggard firms. (Iconsive)

16. 67% of B2B marketers that use lead nurturing see a 10% or greater increase in sales opportunities throughout the funnel; 15% see opportunities increase by 30% or more. (Iconsive)

3 B2B Content Marketing Stats and Facts

17. 88% of B2B companies use content marketing. (Forbes)

18. The B2B “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP) is dead: 86% of B2B buyers see “no real difference between suppliers.” “Features, functions and business outcome” marketing has a 21% lift in perceived brand benefits. But “Professional, social and emotional benefits” marketing has a 42% lift. (LinkedIn Pulse)

19. Nearly half of all the employees conducting research for B2B purchases are millennials. (MediaPost)

9 B2B Social Media Marketing Stats and Facts

20. B2B brands that build consumer relevance reap significant business benefits. Compared to the least (socially) connected brands, the 10 most connected brands showed 31% greater revenue growth. And B2B decision-makers are 10% more likely to consider brands that consumers know and feel connected to. (LinkedIn Pulse)

21. B2B brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level earn twice the impact over marketers who are still trying to sell business or functional value. Buyers feel a much closer personal connection to their B2B brands than to consumer brands. (LinkedIn Pulse)

22. Potential B2B buyers who feel a “high brand connection” are 60% more likely to consider, purchase and even pay a premium than “low brand connection” competitors. (LinkedIn Pulse)

23. B2B product marketers plan to increase the proportion of overall marketing budgets spent on social media from 8% today to 18% within the next five years. B2B services marketers plan to increase the share allocated to social media from 12% to 25% over that period. (The CMO Survey)

24. Just 6% of B2B product marketers—but 17% of B2B services marketers—say they are able to quantitatively prove the impact of social media on the business. (The CMO Survey)

25. 76% of B2B technology marketers use social media to market their products. A similar percentage also use webinars. (MarketingProfs)

26. Asked to identify their “top social media platforms for product launch,” 81% of B2B technology marketers cited LinkedIn. 71% said Twitter, while 54% each mentioned Facebook and YouTube. One out of six identified Google+ or SlideShare. (MarketingProfs)

27. 80% of B2B decision makers visit vendor-independent communities, vendor-sponsored forums, and LinkedIn at least monthly for business purposes. (Marketing Think)

28. 81% of B2B decision makers use online communities and blogs to help make purchasing decisions. 74% use LinkedIn, and 42% use Twitter. (Marketing Think)

2 B2B Email Marketing Stats

29. Mobile email is still more of a consumer thing. 43% of consumer emails are opened on mobile devices, versus 27% of B2B emails. (Email Monday)

30. The events, property (real estate) and restaurant industries are among those with the highest mobile email open rates—all roughly 50% or higher. The IT sector (30%), B2B Sales (28%) and B2B services sector (28%) show the lowest levels of mobile email opens and consumption. (Email Monday)

3 B2B Sales Stats and Facts

31. First-discussion conversion rates (the percentage of qualified leads that accepted calls from salespeople) have been eroding over the past five years. Only a fifth of companies now have first-conversation rates of 75%, and a quarter report a rate between 50% and 75%. (Direct Marketing)

32. It takes B2B sales reps nine months, on average, to get fully up to speed when joining a new company. (e-Strategy Trends)

33. Sales reps want to spend the majority of their time selling to clients. But they spend, on average, 35% of their time in internal meetings, administrative tasks, or other miscellaneous activities. (e-Strategy Trends)

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