Following two years of disruption, sales and marketing performance is returning to pre-pandemic levels

As Covid-19 loosens its grip on the business world, the majority of businesses (87%) are reporting that their sales and marketing performance has returned, or is returning, to pre-pandemic levels, despite 61% reporting a marketing and revenue services performance downturn in the last two years.

The findings, published in Dun & Bradstreet’s 8th Annual ‘B2B Sales and Marketing Data’report,  which surveyed 605 sales, marketing, revenue operations, and data decision-makers in mid-size to enterprise companies in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K, revealed that a key component of this recovery has been a shift in the priorities of marketing and revenue teams. Notably, aligning go-to-market (GTM) teams around consistent account data is crucial, with six-in-ten (61%) saying this will be a new priority for their company in the next 12 months, while over a third (38%) say this is already a priority and will continue to be for the next year.

Moreover, almost all respondents (94%) agree that the need to align go-to-market teams grew in importance over the last year to deliver the best experience to leads and customers so that they could maintain and grow the business.

Post-pandemic, it’s clear that the buyer journey will never be the same. With Gartner reporting that by 2025 80% of B2B sales interactions will take place on digital channels, the priorities for businesses are clear; and with over three quarters (76%) of respondents claiming that the mass shift to remote workplaces has disrupted the ability to identify and reach buyers effectively, leaders have their work cut out for the next few years.

“With the pandemic having seriously limited sales and marketing teams’ ability to identify and reach new customers, the renewed focus on data quality is going to play a key role in ensuring that they’re able to better adapt to challenges in the future,” said Will North, Senior Director, Product & Strategy for Sales & Marketing Solutions at Dun & Bradstreet. “Businesses don’t need just any information to reach new customers, but rather data that’s carefully curated, timely and accurate – and aligning this data with GTM teams is a component crucial to business success. Being able to access and enrich their client and prospect company data with relevant, quality insight will be vital in ensuring revenues continue to grow.”

Moreover, first-party data is poised to take on increased importance as businesses rely ever more on access to good quality data to identify digital buyers and the pending cookieless future. Yet there is misalignment between what business leaders are saying and what they’re doing; despite over half (53%) of businesses reporting that the volume of data they’re receiving is increasing, just a fifth (21%) of respondents say that capturing more first-party data will be a top priority for their business in 2022.

Data management also continues to be a thorn in the side of most businesses, and they are facing considerable challenges when it comes to managing the right tools for data processing. More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents say their company has needed to merge multiple systems and platforms in the last three years, suggesting that respondents have had to navigate more sprawl in their technology suite than before.

Beyond this, respondents claimed the following challenges arose from managing multiple tools day-to-day, including data completeness (39%), data structure (34%) and data cleanliness/stewardship (32%).

Finally, businesses are struggling with financial considerations (36%), knowledge of best practices (32%) and support (31%) when making data quality investment decisions, which impacts an organisation’s ability to use available data to its full advantage.”