Study: Schisms between sales and marketing dissolving

We’ve heard the laments from both sides of the table time and again: Marketing execs think sales executives fail to appreciate the trouble they go through trying to separate the good leads from the bad and sales execs, more often than not, bemoan the leads they ultimately get from marketers. And around and around they go. But that may be starting to change.

While there are still sharp differences between sales and marketing departments, several b-to-b organizations agreed the marketing-sales relationship had improved in the past few years, according to a survey released earlier this week.

The survey, titled “B2B Marketer Skills Snapshot Survey,” was conducted in March and April by BtoB magazine and SaaS solution provider Genius.com. It garnered 544 responses, 68% from primarily b-to-b marketing organizations. (Disclosure: I periodically contribute to BtoB.)

Asked about job difficulties, 39% of respondents put “working with the sales team” toward the “not difficult at all” side of a 1-to-5 scale, the survey said. In a reflection of budget constraints that are affecting both sales and marketing, 73% of respondents said “doing more with less resources” was “difficult” or “very difficult.”

Nearly half of the marketers (42%) said they meet with their sales teams once a week to discuss strategy, review success metrics and/or collaborate on marketing campaigns while 27% said they meet once a month; 5% said they meet once a year while 8% said they never meet.

Tracey Fanelli, senior VP-marketing and communications at Wells Fargo, told BtoB: “If anything, I would identify it as a strategic change. Over the last five or so years, I think b-to-b marketers are realizing that they can’t be successful without creating better alignment with their sales partners.”

Asked about the goal and mission of the marketing department, the largest percentage of respondents picked “to drive qualified leads,” with more than half (52%) saying this was marketing’s “most important” mission and 21% saying “to nurture leads” was the most important.

Sharing of data continues to be a sticking point between sales and marketing organizations. Asked how much data are shared with sales, 17% of marketing executives said “10% or less.” But when asked how much data they received from sales, 31% said “10% or less.”

For the full survey, please click here.

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