Forrester B2B NA 2023 Recap: Customer-Obsessed Growth Engine + Lifecycle Revenue Marketing + Customer Value Realization
We attended the Forrester B2B North America Summit 2023 this month, and needed a place to organize all of the knowledge we gathered along the way. So, here we are—paying it forward with some of our favorite insights from the week. The goal of this conference was to provide guidance to B2B sales, marketing, and product leaders on driving sustained growth within a customer-obsessed growth engine. Forrester touted that, “leaders who center their strategies and processes around the customer will be miles ahead of those who don’t.” To keep things simple (and organized), we’ll stick to the three main themes covered: the customer-obsessed growth engine, customer value realization, and lifecycle revenue marketing.
Before We Get Started: A Bold Prediction on Generative AI
Generative AI has been a very hot and trending topic this year. Even though it wasn’t a specific theme of this summit, it was discussed in bite-size chunks across these main themes—along with a very bold prediction by Forrester CEO, George Colony. Mr. Colony started with a very simple definition, “Generative AI is the ability to converse in natural language (e.g., English) utilizing a pile of data, then creating something new and original from that pile of data.” Simple enough and makes sense. Then, Mr. Colony talked about how he had not used Google Search for over a month, leaning entirely into ChatGPT as his dedicated search engine. Instead of sifting through multiple websites and search results that may or may not have presented the exact information he was looking for, he prompted ChatGPT with specific questions—concluding he always got the information he was looking for. For example, his flight to Austin was delayed due to the need for an engine repair. He prompted ChatGPT on how long on average an engine repair took on his specific aircraft, and it came back with a range of 1.5-2.5 hours. The delay ended around the 2-hour mark. If he would have done a Google search, he’d receive a ton of different results with no answers to his specific question. Landing the plane (pun intended), he then made a very bold prediction, “I see Google going away. No ads, no searching through websites on page 1.” I take that as relative to where they are now, but talk about a bomb statement! He also goes on to talk about how “websites won’t be as complex in the future because the homepage will have a prompt screen for a generative AI conversation.” Not to go too far with this topic, but I think we can all agree that Generative AI will change the business landscape as we know it. Forrester has a dedicated section to their website where they provide features and insights on how to, “Unleash the Potential of Generative AI.” Stay tuned for future blogs from us on how to leverage Generative AI for marketing, sales, and customer success organizations.
Forrester’s Customer-Obsessed Growth Engine
The echoing mantra of this summit was that B2B companies centering their leadership, strategy, and operations around value for the customer will stand out, grow faster, and create value for the business. According to Forrester, “Business, marketing, and IT decision-makers at customer-obsessed B2B organizations estimate a 10% or higher growth in revenue, profits, and customer retention at a rate three times that of their non-customer-obsessed counterparts.” Insert Forrester’s B2B Customer-Obsessed Growth Engine: a perpetual business motion designed to grow revenue, profit, and customer retention effectively and consistently. At a high level, this growth engine approaches the following:
1. Placing buyer value at the core of strategy by focusing on creating value for customers, rather than extracting value from customers.
2. Aligning revenue teams to buyer value by breaking away from basic internal alignment constructs and unlocking each of their unique growth contributions.
3. Investing wisely in technology and instilling an insights-driven approach to optimize the customer experience across the entire customer lifecycle.
Customer Value Realization
At the summit, Forrester defined customer value as, “A customer’s perception of what they get vs. what they give up in pursuit of a goal.” Customer value realization takes this a step further by moving beyond perception of value and into understanding of value by quantifying impact. Forrester expanded on this during the summit and emphasized there are three components to customer value realization: the four dimensions of value, customer lifecycle framework, and customer value network.
Four Dimension of Value
1. Economic: the savings or loss of money
2. Functional: the fulfillment or hindrance of purpose
3. Symbolic: the creation or destruction of meaning
4. Experiential: the pleasant or unpleasant interactions and sensations
Customer Lifecycle Framework
Forrester encouraged organizations to look across siloed operations and take a holistic view of the customer lifecycle to deliver experiences customers want and need. This approach can lead to driving initiatives that:
1. Enhance the buying experience, which improves the ROI of marketing spend and accelerates sales cycles for new customer acquisition.
2. Create a seamless transition for customers from purchase to value realization which increases retention rate and customer lifetime value.
3. Drives customer loyalty and advocacy by creating and nurturing a healthy relationship based on trust.
Customer Value Network
The customer value network can be roughly defined as the colleagues, partners, providers, and other influencers involved in a buying decision. Forrester revealed results from a survey they conducted showing, “66% of purchase influencers indicated that two to nine people outside the organization were involved in the purchase decision.” Forrester also revealed some ways to take these values into account when pursuing buyers, such as:
1. Redefining buyer and customer journeys to accommodate customer interactions outside of just direct interactions with selling organizations.
2. Mapping these value networks to identify and understand all of the people and organizations customers interact with in pursuit of their goals.
Lifecycle Revenue Marketing
Forrester is touting that Lifecycle Revenue Marketing (LRM) is the future of B2B growth. This strategy drives organizations to build shared marketing capabilities across the customer lifecycle to increase revenue and enhance the customer experience. Forrester defines lifecycle revenue marketing as, “a customer-obsessed growth strategy for frontline marketing that encompasses the entire customer lifecycle and the full range of buying motions and opportunity types, from initial purchase to retention, from transactional to transformational.” LRM eventually transform a culture by:
1. Sharing a vision to align on a strategy that treats buyers as partners and creates true customer value.
2. Changing the focus to develop an outside-in perspective.
3. Changing the work to align resources to this new perspective.
4. Changing the culture to evolve to a culture of lifecycle alignment.
Forrester also outlined the seven essential capabilities that an organization must possess to successfully reach the transformation above:
1. Customer Insights
2. Segmentation and account prioritization
3. Program planning and execution
4. Content strategy and operations
5. Journey orchestration
6. Relationship with buyer and customer-facing teams
These are the main insights we gathered from the Forrester B2B North America Summit 2023, and it was eye-opening to hear how organizations have already started to implement the strategies of the customer-obsessed growth engine, customer value realization, and lifecycle revenue marketing. We can’t wait to read the case studies and hear from companies that have found success transforming into customer-obsessed organizations!