Seeding and harvesting the sales pipeline — the process of acquiring, capturing, qualifying and converting business opportunities — are essential to the growth and profitability of B2B marketers across every industry and geographic sector, according to the study. 

Marketing is largely responsible for driving this business process, yet nearly two-thirds of lead gen and engagement strategies are underperforming. 
The latest CMO Council research finds scores of marketers falling behind in:
  • lead scoring
  • account-based marketing
  • accelerated pipeline, and
  • intention-based marketing.

Key findings from a Q4 survey of 150 B2B marketing, sales, revenue, growth, demand gen and campaign execution leaders include the following:
63% say marketing must own and optimise a company's revenue-generation engine.
64% say their lead gen and engagement strategy underperforms.
78% of highly evolved marketers are satisfied with their accelerated pipeline, compared to only 15% of lesser evolved marketers.

"In today's competitive data-driven environment, marketers should no longer be satisfied with paltry returns on their sizable lead-gen and ABM investments," the report says. "It's time to turn the tables on inefficient, ineffective and outdated practices for anticipating, adapting and responding to customer needs and opportunities."  

Based on the research findings, the CMO Council provides a year-end scorecard that ranks proficiencies in critical areas of B2B marketing execution and demand gen operations:
  • Overall ABM effectiveness in finding, winning and growing big customers: C-
  • Strategic account-based marketing (ABM) practices: B
  • Scoring the most actionable leads and prospects: C              
  • Moving deals more efficiently from contact to closure: C-
  • Finding buyers already seeking your type of product: C                         

"Marketers must climb the evolutionary ladder and leave behind outmoded and dated practices," says CMO Council executive director Donovan Neale-May. "Using AI-derived, intention-based buyer data and advanced sales intelligence are among the ways growth marketers bring more precision, predictability and performance to B2B account marketing investments."

The CMO Council's research revealed the top five skill sets contributing to improved ABM-driven business outcomes. They include:
  1. better segmentation and precision targeting of buyers and influencers
  2. on-demand customer business intelligence and personal buyer insights
  3. tighter integration of demand gen, channel, direct sales and support teams
  4. greater utilisation of tools and data sources for richer prospect profiling, and
  5. proactive and timely pre-sales follow-up and cultivation strategies. 

The CMO Council says that it has uncovered widening gaps in performance between highly evolved marketers and lesser evolved marketers. Gaps are occurring in four core capabilities:
  • lead scoring
  • account-based marketing
  • accelerated pipeline, and
  • intention-based marketing.

According to the council, this report tiers factors that make up a model for better identification, engagement and conversion. The model coincides with the CMO Council and WM America's thought leadership initiative to advance lead revenue science practices through a certified Lead Evaluation and Assurance Process or LEAP model.

"Marketers will need to take a few LEAPS of faith in the coming months because sticking to the status quo is just not practical or possible anymore. As data becomes more critical than ever before, CMOs need to extend their visions for innovation and forward-thinking strategies," says Lee Salem, WM America's vice president of sales.
The CMO Council concludes that its report is based on a survey of 150 heads of B2B marketing, sales, revenue, growth, demand gen and campaign execution in Q4 2023. It also includes content from in-depth interviews with executives from:
  • Netline
  • Autodesk
  • T-Mobile
  • NTT
  • ABM Consortium
  • TechTarget
  • IBM
  • B2B Marketing
  • Reachdesk
  • Momentum ITSMA, and
  • Xometry.

For more information, visit You can also follow the CMO Council on X.