The economic recovery may be taking shape but not all marketers are back to business as usual. In particular, B2B businessmeetingmarketers are noticing that their sales cycle is lengthening.  The additional time required to close the deal means enterprises should focus their marketing resources at more distinct points in the sales pipeline.

Many B2B marketers are realizing that additional decision makers are entering the buying process, perhaps to ensure that their business doesn’t invest resources in an unneeded product or service. At least 80% of enterprises are encountering multiple decision makers now. To influence these decision makers, marketers need to properly target them. Currently, only 40% of marketers believe their online tactics are successful in this way.

In addition, B2B enterprises tell researchers that their best competitive advantage is differentiating their brand. About 60% of surveyed respondents say their brand differentiation efforts need work. For now, 27% say their website is doing the best job. But websites are a lower-funnel tool. Branding at the upper end of the funnel is ripe for improvement.

The recently published B2B Magazine survey on this topic points to continued frustration with respect to measuring the results and the value of specific online marketing channels . About 34% of B2B marketers still lack the tools to collect and analyze data.

This may be the year of Big Data, but it seems that the thoughtful application of the data to influence outcomes will take a while to optimize, especially in the era of longer sales cycles. Have you encountered problems using data to pinpoint which online marketing channels are delivering the best results for your organization?

[Source: B2B Sales Cycles Lengthening. B2Bmagazine.com. 8 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2013]