Although certain vendors came out on top, Wizdo cautioned companies considering implementing B2B marketing automation to understand their own business needs first and foremost. Vendors with rich feature sets might be Wave “Leaders”, but it doesn’t make them the best for every type of business. “If you have a very short sales cycle in a mature market where someone will find you, then capabilities to optimize website for conversion and social channels are most important,” Wizdo said. “On the other hand if you are selling to an audience you know well in a defined market and you want outreach to them, then capabilities to deliver targeted content over a long cycle are important.”
Despite the sophistication of these B2B marketing automation technologies, Wizdo was surprised to learn how underutilized much of it is. “The theory [the technology] represents is still far ahead of the practice of what [enterprise customers are] actually doing,” she said. “From my conversations, and this is anecdotal and not based on Forrester data, about half of the people I talked to aren’t doing A/B testing of their email subject lines. All of these products enable it easily. That 50% of the people I talked to [didn’t do it] was surprising. It’s almost like not flossing your teeth: Why wouldn’t you do this? It should be just basic hygiene but people aren’t doing it.”
Another under-used tool was progressive profiling, which operates under the theory that a prospect is less likely to fill out a long form with numerous fields than a short one. The B2B marketing automation tools Wizdo examined all had the ability to allow customers to progressively fill out forms (ie name and email during the first visit, company size during the second, etc).
Besides Oracle and Marketo, other “Leaders” included Adobe’s Neolane, Act-On, and Salesforce.com’s Pardot. One tier below as “Strong Performers” were CallidusCloud, IBM, Salesfusion and Silverpop.
And while Act-On and Salesfusion topped the SMB space, Oracle and Adobe were only “Contenders.”