Forrester SiriusDecisions debut planning assumptions to help CMOs plan in 2021

As the world changes at a rapid pace and uncertainty abounds, Forrester has released a series of assumptions to help marketing leaders plan for future success

Planning, embracing change and transforming familiar approaches will be critical to success for B2B leaders, according to Forrester's SiriusDecisions research team. And leaders across the revenue engine will need to accelerate the shift toward digitisation, buyer-centricity and customer obsession.

SiriusDecisions released a series of planning assumptions this week to assist B2B leaders to respond to changing market forces. Planning Assumptions serves 13 roles, including B2B CMOs, chief sales officers, demand and account-based marketing leaders, marketing operations leaders, sales operations, emerging growth marketing, customer engagement, content strategy and operations, portfolio marketing, sales enablement, product management, emerging growth sales and channel marketing.

For marketers, CMOs will need to be agents of change, not advocates for a comfortable status quo; while demand and account-based marketing (ABM) leaders will need to find compelling ways to drive engagement across buying groups.

In being agents of change, Forrester said marketing chiefs will need to challenge assumptions and review risks to help strengthen resilience in the year ahead. B2B CMOs will need to adapt marketing campaigns to endure market volatility and shrinking budgets. And to thrive in an unpredictable and continuously shifting B2B climate will require agility and resilience.

Chief sales officers, meanwhile, will need to master virtual selling for sales organisations to address buyer needs. 2020 has forced profound changes in how sales organisations work, plan and prioritise. With buyers expecting, and even demanding, sellers deliver an intuitive and immediate buying experience, Forrester said sales organisations should harness technology and data to deliver on expectations and deliver personalised experiences for each buyer.

 For demand and account-based marketing leaders, finding compelling ways to drive engagement across buying groups will be critical. According to Forrester, recent disruptions to the B2B buying process have heightened the focus on how demand marketing and account-based marketing programs can drive growth. The future success of demand and ABM teams will therefore rest heavily on their ability to invest in technology, programs and content that help to spot, measure, and enable buying groups. 

Marketing operations leaders must then enable hyperagility. Marketing operations’ role has evolved to include unfamiliar responsibilities that are and will continue to be required to advance the organisation mid- and post-pandemic. Forrester predicted CMOs will lean on marketing operations to provide guidance on the best use cases for adaptability and improve processes for a nimbler marketing function.

Finally, sales operations must improve capabilities to collect and analyse data. Guiding buyers through the purchase decision-making process requires a deep understanding of buyers and customers. The job of the B2B sales representative is no longer to convince customers to buy but rather to help them buy. Sales operations must improve its capabilities to collect and analyse data to provide on-demand insights to reps and sales leaders, says Forrester.

“Even in the best of times, planning for a new fiscal year can be daunting,” said Forrester VP of SiriusDecisions Research, Monica Behncke. “The goal of Planning Assumptions is to help B2B leaders be nimbler and adapt to the rapidly changing market forces for long-term success.”

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