The engagement struggle: Sales teams battle to connect to an audience

B2B sales teams spending too long researching prospects while B2B marketers struggling to understand target audience, according to new study by Dun & Bradstreet.

A new study launched today from Dun & Bradstreet shows how sales and marketing teams are struggling to reach the right audience and convert leads. As the age of cold calling ends and an era of data-led selling is being ushered in, the study found that still only 38 out of the 229 new leads an average marketing campaign produces turn into realised revenue – a win rate of just 17 per cent.

The research surveyed sales & marketing teams and B2B buyers in the UK and North America, finding a clear sales disconnect – the average sales person spends over two hours (128 minutes) looking into each prospect before contacting them.

According to the salespeople surveyed, the average salesperson spends over two hours (128 minutes) looking into each prospect before contacting them, leaving sales teams with little time to actually reach out to new prospects and sell. Consequently, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of salespeople said they don’t have enough time to research potential customers and (35 per cent) of sales people admitted they are under more pressure to provide value in a digitally-led business world beyond what buyers can ordinarily find online.

Marketers are also facing tough challenges of their own:

– Nearly six in ten (57 per cent) say the biggest challenge they face is understanding exactly who their target audience is
– 56 per cent said that ensuring they have relevant and complete data remains a challenge
– 93 per cent said that access to accurate and complete data to understand their audience is key to reaching them

There are many frustrations on the buyers’ side too, the study shows:

– 51 per cent of buyers said they have seen an improvement in the sales and marketing communications in the last few years, despite the proliferation of tools and analytics designed to target effectively
– 29 per cent of buyers also say that the biggest frustrations for them are callers that have failed to do basic research on the company
– 29 per cent also state that they are being called ‘at the busiest times of the day’

Rishi Dave, chief marketing officer at Dun & Bradstreet, says, ‘As sales and marketing teams converge, it’s critical for them to have accurate and aligned data about their target audiences to help convert any lead into a paying customer more quickly. B2B buying is a longer process that is likely to begin before a salesperson is even involved. Sales acceleration principles will help sales and marketing teams surface actionable insights and connected buying signals, which help convert prospects into customers and increase ROI.’

With nearly half (48 per cent) of all buyers stating the communications they receive are not relevant to their role – and 37% who believe that the communications are not timely – there is a need for companies to be accelerating their sales process by connecting its data with buying signals, and providing it with relevant context.

‘If sales teams have more detailed buyer information at their disposal, they can spend more time on revenue-focused activities,’ added Dave.

‘By using data-driven sales acceleration tools that incorporate real-time, accurate data with buying signals, marketing and sales teams will have access to more relevant information that’s connected, insightful and actionable.’

Further reading on sales

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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