9 Best Research Sources for B2B Marketers in 2018

February 21, 2018
by Christine Viera

Nothing stands still these days. Customer needs change at an epic pace. In turn, marketing plans are always evolving. Marketers are constantly trying new things. Which means that we’re continually assessing results and impact.

So, how do your strategies and results compare to your peers? Are you leading the pack, or working to catch up? Whether you’re killing it, or need a bigger budget to stay relevant in our digital age—it helps to use third-party benchmarks to make your case.

Curious? If so, I’ve curated a list of research sources and benchmark reports for you. These reports offer a fresh look at B2B buyer behaviors and the latest sales and marketing trends.


B2B Buyer Research

1. 2017 B2B Buyers’ Survey Report | Demand Gen Report Sponsored by DemandBase, June 2017

This research is all about B2B buyer preferences. The report details the habits of risk-averse B2B buyers who expect consistent, personalized experiences throughout complex journey. Among good bits of data, you’ll find more evidence that digital marketing is key. It also confirms that word of mouth is still a powerful force.


2. The Millennials Are Here: How Generational Differences Impact B2B Buying Committees Today | Heinz Marketing and SnapApp, August 2017

Catchy title, yet this report offers far more than a view into Millennial buyers. It outlines the generational dimension of an increasingly complex buying process. As advertised, the study explores the different behaviors and preferences of Millennials vs. Gen X and Boomers. Yes…Xers and Boomers use social media to explore vendors. You’ll also see differences in how Xers and Boomers contact vendors (proactively) compared with Millennials (act when asked to, or need to). Use this to adjust messaging and positioning to better connect with diverse buyers.


3. 2016 Nielsen Social Media Report | Nielsen Social, January 2017

Released early in 2017, it’s still a rich data source on who’s using social media and how they engage with brands. Surprisingly, Millennials aren’t the heaviest social media users. Generation X spends the most time on social media. 


4. Social Media Fact Sheet | Pew Research Center, February 2018

Pew offers a simple, interactive tool to explore social media trends including usage by age demographic, frequency of use, and platform. Are you a social media skeptic, or do you work with one? In that case, I also recommend reading about trends in use of social media for news. (Hint: it’s growing across all age groups.) Also, cybersecurity threats aren’t dimming the rate of adoption. For more insights on that, read The Internet of Things Connectivity Binge: What Are the Implications? Put simply, social media usage has become pervasive. 


B2B Marketing & Sales Research 

5. The CMO Survey | Christine Moorman with sponsorship from Deloitte, Duke University, and American Marketing Association, February 2018

One of the most respected sources of CMO insights, this study covers B2B and B2C topics including: business growth strategies, marketing strategies, marketing spend, hiring, and investments in new marketing tactics.


6. 2017 State of Marketing Report | Salesforce, April 2017

Relevant and timely, this report covers topics from customer experience and marketing tech to messaging and priorities. You’ll be able to compare your strategy and investments to global B2B and B2C marketing trends. It also offers interesting tidbits such as: “On average, marketing leaders today say 34% of their budget is spent on channels they didn’t know existed five years ago.”


7. Rethink the Buyers Journey | LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, 2015

Compelling insights emerge from this global research of over 6,000 buyers, marketers, and salespeople. Key findings cover who’s involved in buying decisions, lead nurture alignment between sales and marketing, and the impact of social media on buyers.


8. 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, September 2017

Content marketing is all about engaging buyers on their terms with interesting, relevant content offered at the right time. This valuable research offers B2B and B2C insights into how others are faring in this craft. Topics covered include: performance, content use, goals, consumption, and challenges with the rise of digitized content.


9. 2017 
Sales Manager Enablement Report | CSO Insights, February 2017

“Sales enablement is a growing trend, but sales performance is not improving.” This well-researched study delivers unique, cross-industry insights into how the art of selling is rapidly changing. Armed with insights from this guide, you may find it easier to understand sales challenges. It may also spark ideas on where and how to pitch in for improved sales and marketing alignment in 2018.


High energy, inspired B2B Marketer. Lessons learned largely in high tech and communications industries where I've worked with very smart folks, on very cool things, in very dynamic environments. I like helping others navigate people, tech, programs, and problems with vision, courage, and impact. All opinions are solely my own.