It seems the Holy Grail of productive relationships between sales and marketing continues to elude us.
- Most of us are by now talking the talk, but are we walking the walk?
- How far have we come?
- And are we nearly there yet?
Here’s a revealing snapshot.
Nearly a third of C-level execs feel that their marketing and sales teams are tightly aligned, with consistent sales and marketing objectives – and over three-quarters of them are collectively patting themselves on the back for being, at least, generally aligned.
But, take a stroll down from the boardroom to the shop floor and you’ll hear a different story.
Here the managers and team members have a much less optimistic assessment. Only 17% feel they are tightly aligned, while over a quarter reckon they are, at best, rarely aligned.
It’s an instructive mismatch.
The more senior you are the more you feel your job is done.
Would it be fair to suggest that those employees that need to deal with issues concerning marketing vs. sales on a daily basis may have a more accurate assessment of the state of play?
A bridge too far?
We’ll get a more objective feel for the lay of the land in a minute when we consider the results of a 2018 survey of UK B2B sales and marketing teams by sales enablement agency Bridge.
It’s the latest health check of B2B sales and marketing we’ve come across – and it’s refreshingly UK-centric.
Its findings broadly replicate the suggestion that we are far from there yet that has emerged from surveys taken in recent years by HubSpot, Green Hat and Aberdeen. All point to a persistent divide that still exists at the level of culture, values, organisational structure, working-styles, goals and metrics.
Has nothing changed at all?
Rebecca Bell, Board Advisor at Bridge, looks at the depressing results of this latest survey and manages to find a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Looking on the bright side she recognises that now sales and marketing understand that they need each other.
But a quick glance at the survey results leads her to add:
‘But do we trust each other?
There is a genuine absence of a relationship between the sales and marketing functions.
Is this simply the type of dysfunctional relationship you come to expect between close siblings who have no option but to co-exist within the same family?
Or is it something more important?
Something that’s holding back critical business growth?
Aligning sales and marketing strategically, and tactically around joint purpose and success is the only way to drive growth and realise return from investments in both people and programmes.’
But it’s yet to happen: it seems we’re still chasing that Holy Grail – and here’s what’s leaping out of Pandora’s box right now.
Sales teams continue to see little value in the support they receive from marketing.
Their judging panel gave a measly 5 out of 10 for their colleagues’ performance.
(Marketing teams showed more love, with an emphatic Len Goodman 7.)
Nearly 60% of UK marketers still feel sales teams are not ‘using what we give them’.
Almost 40% of marketers have no idea how many people they need to engage at the top of the funnel to generate enough qualified leads for the sales hit squad.
What’s more, only 14% have a clear idea of their current cost per acquisition.
Even at the bottom of the funnel confusion reigns.
More than half of all marketers admit they don’t understand what content and marketing support is most effective during the final stages of the sales cycle.
Only half of those surveyed sometimes collaborated across departments to define how leads are defined and qualified.
More than half of B2B marketers have no clue about their sales team’s close rates.
Nearly 70% of marketers claim to share their findings about audiences and buying personas.
But only just over 30% of salespeople can remember this happening.
Are we there yet?
It seems we are still far from aligning sales and marketing strategies.
In the next posts we’ll take a step back to remind ourselves how we got into this situation.
And then, after that, we can explore ways to get out of it once and for all.