Intent data vendor Bombora analyzed its topical data to gauge economic concerns and how they may play out across B2B research. While economic growth is up 60%, economic downturn is up 119% year-over-year, and market volatility has spiked 149%. Likewise, layoffs (109%) are far outpacing hiring (42%).
“In general, what we’re seeing is a shift in focus from business growth to business resiliency. In fact, July 2022 actually marked the first time we’ve seen the volume of searches for resiliency surpass those for growth,” blogged Hsiaolei Miller, Bombora VP Insights & Partner Success. “So, instead of focusing on advertising and launching new products, B2B businesses have been investing more of their time and energy into understanding how to maintain their current business through retaining their customers, encouraging renewals, and other strategies.”
Thus, Brand and Demand is the primary focus of businesses, with searching on customer expansion and RevOps becoming more important. Last year, growth-oriented topics outpaced more “maintenance-focused” topics. However, these topics have achieved rough parity.
Moreover, research in Brand and Demand topics has shifted towards inbound efforts and away from outbound marketing.
“With cost pressures mounting, businesses need to focus on extracting as much value and engagement possible from the customers in their pipeline vs. going through the process to find net-new customers,” argued Miller. “Businesses still want new business, but they want to be more efficiently capturing and capitalizing on every lead that comes into the pipeline. This can be seen in the increased research into retargeting and conversational marketing strategies and the increase in interest in general inbound marketing software.”
Bombora also found increases in research related to customer expansion (upsell, cross-sell) and time to value.
“Customer expansion involves creating more value for your business by selling your existing customers more of your product or service. Customer TTV is the time it takes until the ‘Aha! moment’ when a customer realizes the expected value of your product,” stated Miller. “Businesses are looking to accomplish both of these goals through investments in customer support automation vs. traditional customer support, which aims to maximize efficiency while also lowering overall customer support costs.”
On Salesforce’s earnings call this month, co-CEO Bret Taylor argued that executives are focusing on time to value and digital transformation benefits (e.g., cost savings, customer satisfaction, and top-line growth) when evaluating digital investments.
Ross Graber, Principal Analyst at Forrester, came to a similar conclusion in his 2023 B2B predictions. “In light of economic uncertainty, B2B organizations will strive to grow in the places they know and the places they understand. As a result, B2B growth strategies will tilt heavily toward retention, cross-sell, and upsell revenues. Growing revenues within the existing customer base requires not only great products and services, but strong customer relationships.”
Sales and Operations Planning had the biggest jump in topical research in Q3, up 386% year-over-year. RevOps looks to align sales, marketing, and customer success across the customer lifecycle. RevOps looks to address questions such as how do we get and keep customers?
“During times of uncertainty, businesses are less focused on casting wide nets for new customers and taking big risks, and more focused on squeezing the value out of the customers they already have in their pipeline,” stated Miller.
- GZ Consulting, What is Intent Data?
- Bombora VP of Insights & Market Success Hsiaolei Miller, “How B2B enterprise businesses are reacting to the current market trends, and what you can do to start 2023 strong,” December 2, 2022.