New Marketer Survey Reveals Major Deficiencies in Real-Time Customer Information Provisioning; Automated Mining of Big Data Lacking in Most B2B Organizations

PALO ALTO, CALIF. (Nov. 14, 2013)—A sweeping indictment of how corporations empower their front-line sales force, key account managers and channel partners was issued in a new report released today by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, an executive affinity group whose members control more than $400 billion in annual aggregated marketing spend worldwide.

Based on a comprehensive audit of senior marketing executives at enterprises of all sizes, the CMO Council found significant deficiencies in customer information systems and the delivery of real-time, account-specific customer insight that can boost the performance, value and productivity of sales personnel, service/support groups and channel partners.

The Customer Sales Intelligence Scorecard aggregated responses across 10 key measures of front-line sales enablement. These ranged from understanding the roles and responsibilities of key decision-makers in large, complex account organizations to having a reliable, accurate and up-to-date picture of customer financials, lines of business, reporting structures, organizational changes, corporate news developments and key personnel appointments. 

The most notable areas of deficiency include fragmented ownership and quality of customer data, poor levels of CRM system integration, lack of prospect prioritization, and insufficient opportunistic or contextual selling. Marketers say their sales organizations are most challenged with finding the right people who really make decisions, updating records and adding account-specific insights to CRM systems, as well as making sure records are accurate, complete, current and not duplicated.

A surprising 79 percent of marketing respondents surveyed by the CMO Council in Q2 and Q3 2013 admit they are not satisfied with the current levels of closure and conversion of customer opportunities. Just 9 percent say their organizations have customer intelligence systems that deliver real-time, account-based news, social insights, customer developments and market shifts to the sales organization. And only 37 percent have systems that integrate and share any level of customer information between sales and service, support, channel, in-store or field assets.

Marketers readily believe that big data is a key enabler of personalization, with 81 percent stating this is an area of growing importance and strategic focus. However, personalization of interactions is only happening at the marketing campaign level with email, direct mail, web and social media engagements. In fact, some 65 percent say front-line resources do not have access to social media intelligence to leverage in personalized, direct outreach.

“In our quest to leverage big data to optimize marketing effectiveness, B2B marketers have lost sight of the fundamental mandate of marketing: to better enable sales and front-line revenue drivers,” said Liz Miller, Vice President of Marketing for the CMO Council. “By focusing attention into how we deliver the ‘little data’—those actionable pieces of intelligence that can alert and empower the front line—we can reclaim the role of revenue driver.”

Among the key gaps in the customer intelligence engine:

  • Only 3 percent of respondents feel sales teams are very adept at sourcing their own customer data and insight, emphasizing the need for automated, cloud-based intelligence delivery to eliminate this manual, resource-intensive process.

  • Only 21 percent say systems are able to automatically notify the front line to developments within customer accounts or markets, limiting the front line’s ability to capitalize on opportunistic selling within critical markets and accounts.

  • The top sources of prospect and customer insights are internal databases (51 percent), trade shows and industry events (44 percent), and data developed by individual sales reps (44 percent), despite the preponderance of third-party, real-time, cloud-based intelligence that can be included in today’s data systems.

  • Data is only updated periodically (24 percent), with only 17 percent updating data constantly and in real time.

“This is not a matter of fully conquering big data before an organization can engage in strategic, solution-based selling,” said Ken Wincko, Vice President of Global Product Solutions for Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE:DNB). “It is about arming the front line with the key alerts and insights—directly in the systems and devices that they use—to capture moments of opportunity that can create true competitive differentiation. Understanding and anticipating unique buyer needs is critical for marketing and sales success, and connected systems fueled by a buyer intelligence hub can power that advantage.”

The 92-page report, dubbed “Know More to Grow More,” includes detailed findings from a 48-question online survey of 230 senior marketing executives fielded in Q3 of 2013. Some 32 percent of respondents are with organizations with more than $1 billion (USD) in revenue, representing a broad range of B2B enterprises. The full report ($199) includes best-practice interviews with marketing executives from companies like Siemens, Symantec, Intel, KPMG, Western Union, Xerox, GE, Rackspace and many more. The complete report and complimentary executive summary are also available by visiting

About the CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council's 7,000-plus members control more than $350 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include more than 20,000 global executives in more than 110 countries, covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa. The council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE),, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Market Sense-Ability Center, Digital Marketing Performance Institute, GeoBranding Center and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). More information about the CMO Council is available at


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