The 2023 B2B Marketing Landscape: Insights, Trends & Strategies

Using Clearbit Data to Decode the Future of B2B Marketing in a Dynamic Business Environment

The year 2023 has brought with it a set of unprecedented challenges for businesses across industries. A striking figure reveals that, to date, 630 companies have initiated layoffs, affecting over 185,000 employees. The ripple effects of these decisions have cascaded down to various departments, with B2B marketing teams feeling a significant portion of the strain. As the landscape tightens, these teams are now having to navigate their strategies and campaigns with reduced manpower, shrinking budgets, and yet, ever-climbing targets.

The implications of these changes are profound. The structure, tools, and dynamics of B2B marketing teams are not just a matter of internal strategy but are crucial for sustaining business growth and staying competitive. But to truly understand the state of B2B marketing in 2023, data remains our most reliable compass.

Before diving deep into the trends and findings, it’s essential to understand the robustness of the data guiding this exploration. The insights presented here are the result of a comprehensive analysis done in January 2023. Clearbit’s proprietary database served as the foundation for this research, combing through over 900,000 contacts with marketing titles from more than 54,000 B2B companies located in North America. This data-driven approach provides an unparalleled snapshot of the current B2B marketing landscape, allowing for both broad overviews and detailed examinations. You can see the clearbit report here.

*note: while we heavily work with EU companies, as well as companies looking to break into the EU market, as mentioned above, this data was collected from North American Organizations.

Key Findings

The Clearbit report reveals distinct trends in tech adoption among B2B entities:

Marketing Department Size and Composition

  • On average, B2B marketing departments comprise approximately 5% of the total employee count within a company.
  • In the realm of top-tier B2B marketing roles, a majority remain generalist positions. However, three roles stand out for their specialization: Product Marketing Manager, Digital Marketing Manager, and Product Marketing Director.

Insight-Driven Tool Adoption

    • In the race for data-driven decisions, over half of B2B marketing teams adopt productivity and analytics tools even before they reach their first million in annual revenue.
    • As businesses grow, their reliance on technology becomes evident. By the time marketing departments have five members, more than a quarter are equipped with a comprehensive suite of tools: from advertising and analytics to content management, CRM, marketing automation, and productivity.


    Content Management Systems (CMS) in the B2B Landscape

    • Startups and smaller firms heavily favor CMS tools. About 40% of single-member marketing teams use a CMS, indicating an immediate focus on establishing an online presence and content dissemination.
    • As B2B companies grow, there’s a marked shift towards specialized tools. The report shows a noticeable rise in CRM platform adoption once firms hit the $1M estimated ARR threshold.
    • This isn’t to say CMS usage declines with growth. Instead, businesses may integrate their CMS with other tools or upgrade to more encompassing systems to match their expanding operational demands.

    Tech Stack Evolution

      • The progression of tool adoption aligns closely with company growth. CRM adoption, for instance, witnesses a spike after the $1M annual revenue mark, and yet another surge past the $10M mark.
      • While the importance of video content has been frequently touted, over 50% of B2B marketing teams are yet to fully integrate video and image tools into their repertoire.

    Role of Seniority and Experience

      • Directorial roles within marketing make up about 20% of positions in companies boasting over $1M in estimated annual recurring revenue (ARR).
      • Experience is undeniably valuable, especially for companies eyeing the billion-dollar valuation mark. For companies with a workforce between 50 and 1,000 employees, marketing leadership (those with director-level roles and above) remains strong, never dropping below a third of the total marketing team.

    The Structure of B2B Marketing Teams in 2023

    Size Matters, but not always

      • The size of the marketing team isn’t always a direct reflection of its efficiency or effectiveness. While B2B marketing departments, on average, make up 5% of a company’s total workforce, there’s more to the equation. Factors like the company’s specific goals, the allocated marketing budget, and the targeted revenue can greatly influence the optimal team size.
      • As we delve into the average B2B marketing team size based on estimated annual recurring revenue, a correlation emerges. The size tends to expand in tandem with rising revenue.

    Roles Within the B2B Marketing Landscape

      • The sphere of B2B marketing in 2023 is populated with a mix of generalists and specialists. Seven out of the ten predominant roles are those of marketing generalists. Interestingly, amidst these broad roles, product marketing carves out a niche for itself, indicating its growing significance in the B2B sector.
      • The topmost role in companies with revenue between $50M and $500M is the Product Marketing Manager. It’s worth noting that less than 12% of product marketing is driven by individual contributors or consultants. The emphasis here is on seasoned in-house expertise. As a testament to this, a significant 30.5% of product marketers occupy director-level positions or even higher.
      • As companies scale beyond the $250M revenue mark, there’s a visible shift towards roles that demand higher seniority or specialization. Some of these roles include Engagement Manager, Content Marketing Manager, and Technical Marketing Manager.

    Balancing Generalists and Specialists in the Age of Data and Automation

      • When B2B marketing teams mature, the interplay between specialists and generalists becomes paramount. The specialists often encompass areas such as marketing operations, product marketing, sales enablement, and content marketing.

    The Technology Powering B2B Marketing in 2023

    Tools Leading the Charge

    • 2023 has witnessed a clear inclination towards tools that provide actionable insights. Productivity solutions like Slack and Trello, along with analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, stand out as the top preferences, irrespective of a company’s growth stage.
    • As businesses transition through growth milestones, a growing emphasis is observed on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms such as Salesforce and HubSpot. The integration of CRM systems tends to intensify as firms cross the $1M estimated ARR mark, underlining their pivotal role in managing customer interactions.

    Emerging Priorities for Start-ups and SMEs

      • In the context of burgeoning businesses, Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal frequently precede the adoption of CRM tools. An interesting datum indicates that 40% of compact marketing teams (often single-person teams) prioritize a CMS, with a further 44.25% of companies incorporating CMS solutions before reaching an annual revenue of $1M.


      • As businesses flourish, the impetus shifts towards lead generation technologies. Marketing automation tools (e.g., Eloqua and Pardot) and advertising platforms (e.g., Google Ads and LinkedIn Advertising) mirror this trend, their usage surging in tandem with company growth.

    Spotlight on Multimedia Tools

      • Despite the growing clamor for enriched media content in marketing campaigns, over 50% of B2B marketing teams haven’t fully embraced video and image tools by 2023. Platforms like Wistia (for video hosting) and Canva (for graphic design) observe their peak adoption among enterprises with 1,000 employees or those operating within the $250M – $500M estimated ARR bracket.

    SaaS Adoption and Expenditure

    • The adoption and expenditure trends on Software as a Service (SaaS) tools offer intriguing insights. Data from the 2023 SaaS Management Index by Zylo divulges that companies with under 500 employees deploy an average of 172 applications. This number escalates to 255 for firms with a workforce between 500 to 2,500. Giants exceeding 10,000 employees utilize a staggering 664 applications across various functions.
      • Notably, while there’s a downtrend in SaaS expenditure across numerous categories, spending on Lead Generation applications witnesses an impressive surge of 54.9%.

    Wrapping Up: The Road Ahead for B2B Marketing

    As we approach the mid-year mark of 2023, the B2B marketing landscape is in a state of dynamic flux. Drawing from the trends and data highlighted, the business environment faces a delicate balance between evolving consumer expectations, technological shifts, and ever-changing economic landscapes. Successfully navigating these demands hinges upon having a meticulously crafted marketing strategy that addresses the unique challenges and opportunities inherent to the B2B sector.

    A recurrent theme from the analysis is the delicate balance between generalists and specialists in the marketing realm. As marketing teams mature, it becomes evident that a blend of broad skill sets and niche expertise is crucial for driving maximum value. Key roles, such as marketing operations, sales enablement, content marketing, and product marketing, have come to the fore as being vital in this equation.

    Leadership dynamics in B2B marketing have also evolved. Experience has emerged as a critical factor, especially for companies with aspirations of scaling to lofty heights. Interestingly, the nexus between marketing and sales roles, with an emphasis on tangible outcomes like revenue generation and pipeline growth, is increasingly seen as a pathway to leadership positions within the B2B marketing space.

    The technological landscape in 2023 is deeply intertwined with B2B marketing’s future trajectory. The integration and optimization of diverse technology platforms play a pivotal role in bridging various organizational gaps. Tools and systems that facilitate building efficient martech stacks have become more than just trends; they are now fundamental building blocks for contemporary B2B marketing, offering adaptability and agility in a volatile market.

    The insights and statistical data presented in this report, based on Clearbit’s comprehensive dataset, offer a roadmap for businesses shaping their B2B marketing strategies for the future. The overarching message is unequivocal: the route to success in B2B marketing necessitates a keen understanding of one’s core audience, alignment with overarching organizational objectives, and the consistent delivery of value through resonant and impactful marketing initiatives. See the clearbit report yourself here.