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What to expect from B2B marketing and sales in 2024

Brahim Samhoud

Now that the decorations are down and the new year’s resolutions are hanging by a thread, we find ourselves back at work in the anticipation that the forthcoming year will smash out of the park the previous year and that our carefully planned strategies will bring success to ourselves, our company, and our customers in 2024.

But without an almanac of future events, like the one Marty McFly bought in Back to the Future, how will we know if our short term and long-term bets will work out the way we hope they will?

Fortunately, thanks to the number crunchers and analysts at BNZSA, we have compiled a series of trends and provided analysis to help predict will have the biggest impact on B2B marketing in 2024.

Following a tough year in 2022, the tech industry didn’t get off to the best of starts in 2023 and we saw continued cutbacks, setbacks, and layoffs.

Over the year, we witnessed over 1100 companies letting go a combined total of more than a quarter of a million employees, in what proved to be another tumultuous year for tech companies and their workers.

And today, as we enter the first few days of the new year, the outlook for 2024 remains uncertain due to high interest rates, unstable geopolitical tensions and  climate related disasters ravaging the globe.

These constraints will likely continue to put pressure on marketing teams who have to manage lower budgets but are still expected to achieve high results with less resources. Don’t worry, you are not alone!

And in this scenario, this piece will look at ways to help you reach your goals in the the most efficient way to maximise your budget and get the best returns.

A personal touch in the age of Generative AI:

The prediction:

As we step into 2024, the integration of generative AI, such as ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Microsoft’s Copilot, has become increasingly prominent in B2B marketing. These powerful language models have revolutionized content creation, social media engagement, and even customer service, offering marketing teams unprecedented efficiency and scalability. The use of generative AI has allowed marketers to automate routine tasks, generate personalized content at scale, and enhance customer interactions.

However, this surge in AI adoption comes with its own set of challenges. Consumer concerns about misinformation, biased content, and potential job displacement have reached a critical point, with 72% expressing worry, according to Gartner. Striking the right balance between leveraging the capabilities of generative AI and addressing ethical concerns is crucial for B2B marketers in 2024. Building transparency, ethical guidelines, and oversight mechanisms will be essential to maintain consumer trust and ensure responsible AI use.

How BNZSA can help:

Companies looking to grow their content strategy at scale, but do not want to rely heavily on AI produced content can avail of our Content Creatr services. This offering is powered by people – content writers, graphic designers, communication experts – who can support you to create high quality content with a human touch that lands your messaging with your customers.

From social media advertising and email nurture tracks, to longer form content such as whitepapers or in-depth webinars, our team of content writers, graphic designers and videographers are on hand to create bespoke and engaging content that will land your messaging with your target audience. We help you in building brand awareness, establishing credibility through consistency, and driving sales.

Companies will struggle to nurture and maintain connection with prospects following layoffs:

The prediction:

When it comes to B2B sales, traditionally people still buy from people. But In an increasingly digital world, where more technical aspects of work can be easily automated, soft skills and a human touch will be ever more crucial in adding value to prospects’ experiences. Companies with limited resources following layoffs who may not have the BDR or SDR staff to nurture prospects and maintain that connection.

How BNZSA can help:

As an integral part of our Opportunity Finder stack, BNZSA’s BDR and SDR Sales-as-a-Service offering is designed to both enhance the functions of you in-house BDR team, while also giving instant resources and multilingual support to generate credible and compliant opportunities that are more mature in the sales cycle.

Our native speaking team can support 26 languages that allows clients to instantly ramp up in new territories, achieve a lower cost of sale and see quick, sustainable, and measurable ROI to investment. To learn more about how our People-powered services can help you, see here.

Buying preferences are changing as Millennials and Gen Z take on purchasing roles:

The prediction:

The demographics of buying teams are changing as Millennials and Gen Z progress in their careers. Buyers aged 25-44 will make up 75% of business buying teams in 2024. Being digital natives, younger buyers are comfortable seeking information online before engaging with sales teams. But they can still face challenges in the buying process, such as building consensus with other key decision makers, meaning that personal interactions with product experts are incredibly valuable. These interactions allow young buyers to address their specific challenges and bring reliability and credibility to the decision-making process.

According to Forrester, two out of five Millennial buyers will demand early access to B2B product experts in 2024. Millennials and Gen Z buyers value expertise highly in their decision-making process. They want to ensure that the product or service they are considering is backed by knowledgeable experts who can answer their questions and provide detailed information.

This shift in buyer behaviour is driving the need for B2B sellers to adapt their go-to-market strategies and engage with these younger buyers through various channels, including self-guided digital platforms.

How BNZSA can help:

BNZSA’s Promoter Programme (BPP), is the B2B equivalent of B2C influencers. It also falls within the framework of Opportunity Finder. BPP is run by highly trained specialists (Promoters) who work with end users and channel partners to inform them and educate them about a client’s hardware, software, platform, and service solutions.

A promoter’s goal is not to sell per se, but to act as an advisor to the end user or channel partner about the benefits and use cases for deployment. This product focused approach bridges the gap between sales and users by providing younger buyers with the opportunity to connect with an expert early in the buy process, as well as being supported throughout their user journey.

The end of the MQL and “Lead”? The move towards “Opportunities” for sales and marketing alignment:

The prediction:

This year will see a notable shift in B2B sales and marketing away from Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to a stronger focus on sales opportunities as a more robust and aligned objective between the two functions. Aligning sales and marketing around opportunities and buying groups provides a more accurate and efficient approach to revenue forecasting.

The problem with using MQLs as a basis for pipeline generation is that it does not necessarily tell you whether it is a real sales opportunity or not, which is why there is typically a low conversion rate between MQLs and SRLs. Marketing teams need to focus on creating intricate campaigns with multiple digital and human touch points in order to optimize their pipeline generation efforts.  

Identifying and qualifying opportunities that have the highest chance of closing involves applying various strategies along the sales funnel in order to fully engage and convert prospects to opportunities effectively. This can be hard to get right at every step but disintermediation and creating curated content experiences are huge steps in the right direction.   

How BNZSA can help:

BNZSA Opportunity Finder is a fully integrated end to end solution that concentrates on generating revenue by offering services at every stage of the buying process. This helps companies optimise their outreach strategy by enriching first and third-party data, harmonising automation technology, and providing guidance on segmenting tactics, creating personalised content, and building strong relationships with target accounts. As a result, higher quality and more tangible opportunities are created.

In September 2023 we launched inTNT, our precision intent data solution which gives B2B marketers validated, compliant intent signals captured from conversations not clicks in multiple European languages to enable them to get in front of more buyers more effectively. BNZSA’s inTNT is a key pillar of Opportunity Finder, driving higher conversion rates as sales and marketing teams can engage with prospects when their interest is at its peak leading to more closed revenue and shorter sales cycles.

In our research, we  found that typically in the B2B landscape up to 98.5% of leads are discarded from the pipeline without converting, but Opportunity Finder helps to avoid this by using precision targeting, aligning sales and marketing through our Warm HandoverTM method, and delivering measurable return on sales investment.

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