July 20, 2024

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The Sales and Marketing Relationship in 2023

4 min read

Alignment between sales and marketing teams is crucial for business success, yet it remains a significant challenge for many organizations. Differing goals and priorities, communication breakdowns and lack of shared data and technology hurt teams and limit revenue growth.

Where is this misalignment impacting revenue teams the most, and what strategies are most effective at integrating sales and marketing teams and growing revenue?

Table of Contents

One minute insights:

  • Hand Shake icon91% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their sales and marketing teams’ priorities are aligned.
  • funnel triangle iconThe most selected reason for sales and marketing team misalignment is having separate funnels (47%).
  • Down Graph iconLead generation (44%) is the most commonly cited item that is negatively impacted by the sales and marketing relationship.
  • person check circle icon32% say the most effective tactic to align sales and marketing teams is to create a liaison role that spans both functions.

Strong alignment between sales and marketing teams is built upon consistent lead allocation and a unified go-to-market strategy

91% of respondents agree, or strongly agree, that their sales and marketing teams’ priorities are aligned.

To what extent do you agree with the following: “Our sales and marketing teams’ priorities are aligned.”

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 12.58.41

Just 3% disagree or strongly disagree that their sales and marketing teams align under a unified go-to-market strategy.

To what extent do you agree with the following: “Our sales and marketing teams align under a unified go-to-market strategy.”

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 13.01.23

To what extent do you agree with the following: “Our sales and marketing teams utilize a consistent model for determining which team a lead goes to.”

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 13.02.27

More than three-quarters (76%) agree or strongly agree that their sales and marketing teams utilize a consistent model for determining which team a lead goes to.

Strongly disagree 0%

n=200

Note: May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Have you used a diagnostic tool in the past to assess the quality of your sales and marketing teams relationship?

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 13.05.31

65% of respondents say they have used a diagnostic tool to assess the quality of their sales and marketing teams relationship.

n=200

Note: May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Separate funnels are driving misalignment and hurting both lead generation and sales cycle time

Lead generation (44%) is the most commonly cited item negatively impacted by the sales and marketing relationship, followed by sales cycle time (37%). Only 14% say that ROI is negatively impacted.

Are any of the following negatively impacted by the sales and marketing relationship at your organization? Select all that apply.

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 13.06.39

n=200

Win rate 22% | Customer relationship 22% | Online presence (i.e reputation, PR, etc.) 17% | ROI 14% | Nothing – we work in perfect harmony 1% | Other* <1% |

*Other response: “SQL Qualification Rate”

When analyzing sales responses, just 25% of respondents report sales cycle time being negatively impacted by their relationship with marketing. Meanwhile, 45% of marketing respondents see the sales cycle time as negatively impacted, an 80% increase.

Are any of the following negatively impacted by the sales and marketing relationship at your organization? Select all that apply.

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 13.08.18

n = 87

Win rate 23% | Marketing message 20% |
Customer relationship 20% | Customer journey 18% | Online presence (i.e reputation, PR, etc.) 16% | ROI 8% | Nothing – we work in perfect harmony 8% | Other 0%

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 13.08.41

n = 113

Customer relationship 25% | Average deal size 22% | Win rate 22% | Overall company culture 20% |
Online presence (i.e reputation, PR, etc.) 18% | ROI 18% | Nothing – we work in perfect harmony 1% | Other* 1%

The most selected reason for sales and marketing team misalignment is having separate funnels (47%). The second and third most selected misalignments were budget disputes (36%), and reporting to different leaders (33%).

Which of the following, if any, are reasons for misalignment between your organization’s sales and marketing teams? Select all that apply.

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 13.11.57

Siloed sales/marketing data 29% | Hybrid work challenges 25% | There is no misalignment between functions 12% | Other* <1%

*Other response: “Inconsistent lead follow up”, “No clear understanding on how marketing and sales should work in correlation. Marketing works under sales hence only direct revenue focused”, “No problem”, “The absence of marketing thus far”, “Unclear understanding of harmony of both roles”

n = 200

Question: Do you have any other thoughts or comments about the sales and marketing relationship at your organization?

Too many types of marketing: Product, Field, Partner, Strategic Programs – all with a VP leader.

Sales Director, Telecommunications industry, North America, 1,001 – 5,000 employees

While teams strive to improve cross-department data sharing, and create liaison roles, communication is preventing sales and marketing alignment

The most commonly selected challenges to aligning sales and marketing teams are communication (45%), lack of complete data on accounts/prospects (43%), and lack of processes (37%).

What are the biggest challenges to aligning sales and marketing teams at your organization? Select all that apply.

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 14.22.58

n = 200

Flawed processes 28% | Teams report to different leaders 28% | Leadership conflict 20% | Lack of personnel resources 11% | Budgetary constraints 2% | Other* 1%

Other responses: “Lack of key documentation and team education”, “Nothing”

As opposed to sales (21%), 57% more marketers (33%) cited flawed processes as a challenge to aligning sales and marketing teams.

Sales Responses

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 14.25.06

Teams report to different leaders 31% | Leadership conflict 24% | Flawed processes 21% | Budgetary constraints 18% |
Lack of personnel resources 6% | Other 0%

Note: May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

n = 87

Marketing responses:

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 14.27.10

Misaligned on internal definitions 27% |
Teams report to different leaders 25% |
Budgetary constraints 21% | Leadership conflict 17% | Lack of personnel resources 15% | Other 2%

Note: May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

n = 113

The most selected strategy or tactic for aligning sales and marketing teams is improved cross-department data sharing (64%). Nearly half of respondents (48%) selected defined clear guidelines for communication between sales and marketing.

What strategies or tactics have you used/are currently using, to align your sales and marketing teams? Select all that apply.

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 14.28.13

n = 200

Combined the sales and marketing funnels 19% | Created shared revenue goals 16% | Joint conference and event planning 15% | Colocated our sales and marketing teams 8% | None of these 4% | Appointed a Chief Revenue/Customer Officer <1% | Other* 1% |

*Other responses: “Have product marketing align & communicate product messaging and positioning – collaborating with all departments including Sales in its formulation”, “Joint initiatives”

Question: Do you have any other thoughts or comments about the sales and marketing relationship at your organization?

We’re in the process of rebuilding the sales/marketing relationship. We recently brought together multiple sales and marketing teams who had very different relationships and opening the lines of thoughtful communication has been critical, in addition to agreeing that the way things had been done will not get us to the goals of where we want to be. The leaders in the team have also been setting the example that it’s not sales versus marketing – we’re in this together to reach our revenue goals.

SMarketing Director, Software industry, North America, 5,001 – 10,000 employees

Of those aforementioned marketing strategies and tactics, about one third of respondents (32%) say the most effective was creating a new liaison role that spans both functions. Just 5% said the most effective method was creating shared revenue goals.

What strategies or tactics have you used/are currently using, to align your sales and marketing teams? Select all that apply.

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 14.31.07

n = 200

Appointed a Chief Revenue or Customer Officer 3% |
Built common metrics to assess both teams 3% | Colocate our sales and marketing teams 2% | Combined the sales and marketing funnels 2% | None of these 4% | Other* <1%

*Other response: “NA”

Note: May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

The widest gap between sales and marketing respondents was on the tactic of creating a new liaison role that spans both functions. 51% of sales respondents cited this as the most effective, while just 18% of marketers selected this. The top marketing-only response (27%) was “Defined clear guidelines for communication between sales and marketing.

From the same list, which strategy or tactic has been most effective in achieving the desired outcome?

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 14.33.20

None of these 3% | Appointed a Chief Revenue or Customer Officer 2% |
Colocate our sales and marketing teams 2% | Joint conference and event planning 1% | Created shared revenue goals 1% | Combined the sales and marketing funnels 1% | Other 0%

n = 87

Note: May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Screenshot 2023-11-30 at 14.33.26

Created shared revenue goals 8% |
Built common metrics to assess both teams 4% | None of these 4% |
Appointed a Chief Revenue or Customer Officer 3% | Combined the sales and marketing funnels 3% | Colocate our sales and marketing teams 2% |
Other 1%

n = 113

Note: May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Question: Do you have any other thoughts or comments about the sales and marketing relationship at your organization?

In my previous companies sales and marketing behaved as rivals. We managed to eschew that by bringing sales and marketing lead gen under one leader and unified lead gen strategy for co-managed efforts and alignment.

Marketing C Suite, Software industry, North America, 51 – 200 employees.
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Respondent Breakdown

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Note: May not add up to 100% due to rounding.

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