How do you win a Formula 1 race? Be the first to cross the finish line. Simple? Yes. Easy? Not even close. In a racing world once dominated by mechanical power and a driver’s skill, F1 has evolved into a high-stakes game of data analytics, where success is not just about the power of the engine but the power of information.
Like F1, most B2B organizations strive to be insights-driven. This has become ever more important due to the rising influence of partner ecosystems, new and emerging competitors, and the sheer speed of innovation.
Portfolio marketers are the experts on buyers, marketers, and the offering portfolio. They should be in the driver’s seat to create meaningful, timely, and relevant insights. According to Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2023, providing new knowledge to buyer- and customer-facing roles and developing and infusing market and buyer insights are top portfolio marketing priorities for the next year. Portfolio marketers should consider these four categories of insights to advance business outcomes, drive customer experiences, and support their organization’s growth strategy.
- Buyer. It’s no secret that buyer insights are gathered from a variety of data sources and inform buyer’s journey maps, persona frameworks, messaging, and engagement strategies. Organizations can refine ideal customer profiles to provide a deeper understanding of buyer roles, buyer groups, and buying centers by incorporating existing customer data. If you’re in the growth engine, you must understand these buyer insights to adapt expectations, deliver experiences, and predict preferences.
- Market. Portfolio marketers typically derive market insights — about market segments, sizes, growth, trends, and competitors — from external resources. Yet internal sources can provide insights on product-market fit, ability to serve, and the level of competitor presence in opportunities and renewal discussions. These insights can better shape market segmentation, the evaluation of new and emerging market categories, and the prioritization of target markets — in addition to informing empowerment and enablement assets used by sales, customers, and partners.
- Product. These insights include data around product and license usage, in-product conversions (e.g., upselling a trial to a paid subscription), recorded user behavior (e.g., trainings, certifications), and product-related feedback gleaned from support tickets and primary surveys. Organizations can use this information to shape value propositions and proof points and identify the solutions delta. They can also reveal opportunities to improve onboarding services, enhance user training, and optimize cross-sell or upsell activities.
- Partner ecosystems. These insights cover channels (transacting and nontransacting), indirect sellers, resellers, and digital routes to market (e.g., marketplaces, web-direct, e-commerce) — and are critical to go-to-market planning and coordinated execution. Partner ecosystem insights provide a unique understanding of indirect buyers, markets, and influencers and can also be used to identify channel and partner readiness.
In a perfect world, these insights would be really easy to find. But we realize the many challenges that portfolio marketers face: disparate systems, siloed information, variations in data quality — the list goes on and on. That’s why we’ve created a structured approach to help portfolio marketers navigate their internal dynamics to partner with other departments (e.g., revenue operations, technology owners) to get the right data to produce insights that reflect the wealth of information available. Clients can access the report here.
Ready to take the wheel but missed us at Forrester’s B2B Summit North America? Attendees can watch the on-demand session, “Back Of The Pack To Victory Lap: Unlocking Insights That Drive Action,” presented by myself and Principal Analyst Katie Linford through the Forrester events hub digital platform.
Want to learn more? Clients of the Forrester Decisions for Portfolio Marketing service can visit our research portal for access to materials that offer guidance on putting these ideas into practice. If you’re not a current client, visit us here to learn more.