SiriusDecisions logoIt’s not every day that I can say that SiriusDecisions and I are running in parallel, but this is one of those times.

Last week I published a report on the adoption rate of 9 modern sales and marketing programs among New England B2B companies. What I found is that the rate is almost shockingly low. In the 196 companies studied, on companies are, on average, using less than 3 of the 9 programs, with a median of 2. And the grading scale was really easy: I could tell if a company is using the program minimally, but I wasn’t grading for advanced usage.

For example, even though a majority of searches will be done on smartphones this year and most emails will soon be opened on smartphones, only 28% of companies have a site, usually responsive, that works well on a smartphone.

Since all of these companies operate nationally and, in many cases, globally, at a minimum they should all be using at least five of these programs: analytics, marketing automation, remarketing, conversation optimization, and a mobile-ready website. More advanced companies will also use content marketing, social media, SEO and, possibly, search ads. The most advanced will be using these programs in concert with ongoing analysis and optimization.

SiriusDecisions put out a report last week about just the adoption rate of marketing automation programs (MAP) by North American B2B companies. So it was broader in scope (all of North America) but narrower in focus (only marketing automation). Like me, they were looking for the MAP tags on the website and weren’t evaluating the sophistication of the usage.

SiriusDecisions found that 16% of B2B companies are using a marketing automation program. Among the 196 New England companies that I studied, 29% are. In either case, the adoption rate is really low. I found that the highest adoption was among SaaS and venture-backed companies, and SiriusDecisions found the highest adoption among information technology companies. Unfortunately they did not release their full report so I don’t know what size companies they were studying, breakdown by country or region, or other important information.

Separately, SiriusDecisions did release a deeper look at the MAP implementation at 237 companies. They found that about a third of them are disappointed by the value that they’re getting from their marketing automation program. Often this is because they have not properly staffed the program – marketing automation, despite its name, requires a lot of management and is not a silver bullet. And they highlighted a critical shortage in skilled MA managers.

In fact, there is a huge over-abundance of sales and marketing software of all types, and a lack of skilled, experienced people to implement and manage it. Revenue-focused services are where the great challenge, and opportunity, is today.

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