Yesterday, I performed a Google search using the term “sales and marketing alignment.” My search produced 239,000 results. When I limited the search to the past year, Google still returned over 50 pages of results. So clearly, sales and marketing alignment is still a hot topic in the B2B sales and marketing world.
Marketing and sales professionals have long recognized the importance of forging a more productive relationship between sales and marketing, and some companies have made progress in improving the quality of the marketing-sales relationship. It’s also clear, however, that many companies have more work to do to turn their marketing and sales organizations into a cohesive, high-performing demand generation team.
Recent research by Altify helps explain why sales-marketing alignment is still challenging for so many companies. The Business Performance Benchmark Study 2017 was a global survey that produced 833 responses. Survey respondents represented a wide range of industry verticals and company sizes. The study also included respondents from a variety of business functions including sales, marketing, operations, IT, and customer service.
The Altify study addressed a broad range of issues, including the performance of marketing and sales. Altify reported some of the study results by the business function of respondents. In particular, the study report identifies how sales respondents and marketing respondents answered several questions. These responses highlight some of the troubling “disconnects” that still exists between sales and marketing.
Altify asked study participants if they agreed with a series of statements regarding sales and marketing performance. The table below shows the percentage of sales respondents and marketing respondents who agreed with seven of these statements. The table also shows the “gap” between sales and marketing that exists with respect to each statement.
These survey findings reveal attitudes that make the lack of effective teamwork between marketing and sales easy to understand. Only half of these sales respondents believe that their marketing team understands their customers, and just over half (54%) believe that marketing in their company is an effective investment of company resources. On the flip side, only about half (52%) of these marketing respondents believe that their sales team is effective at qualifying sales opportunities.
The extent of the disconnects shown in the table is surprising because 66% of the sales respondents and 71% of the marketing respondents in the study said that their sales and marketing organizations “work well together.” One can only wonder what these study participants meant by “work well together.”
As the above table shows, the disconnects between marketing and sales are still numerous and significant. So it shouldn’t be surprising that many companies haven’t achieved the level of cohesive teamwork between sales and marketing that’s required for a high-performing demand generation system.
Top image courtesy of Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr CC.