Sales and marketing teams are largely failing to align their goals and activities, thus threatening business success, a report has claimed.
Joint research from The Channel Partnership and The Leadership Foundation, a UK B2B marketing agency, questioned 1,000 professionals (half in sales and half in marketing), for the report entitled: Sales and Marketing: Best of enemies or sworn friends?
Results revealed just one in five professionals believes the activities of their respective teams are fully aligned, but more worryingly, one in 10 believes they are not aligned at all, with misunderstanding and a lack of communication between the divisions threatening business success.
In total, 57 per cent of respondents said the lack of a cohesive strategy was a source of problems with their organisation’s go-to-market approach, with fewer than two thirds of marketing activity part of a long-term plan, and more than a third "unplanned and reactive".
Nearly a third felt that marketing activities were too driven by short-term goals and admitted that about a third of planned marketing is never get implemented – thus becoming a waste of time and money.
Two thirds of respondents said the divide between marketing and sales teams is caused by differing targets and objectives, and a further two thirds felt that political conflict between senior managers was a cause of disconnect between the teams.
Interestingly, 59 per cent of salespeople believe marketers do not spend enough time talking to customers and thus fail to understand how their products or services create value, and 48 per cent claimed marketers lack commercial awareness.
Phil Brown, director of The Channel Partnership, said: “Disconnects between sales and marketing teams can fundamentally undermine the go-to-market efforts of any B2B organisation. Clearly, the survey shows that there are big issues with planning and collaboration that need be addressed.
"Companies need to be building integrated go-to-market plans, which are jointly developed and owned by sales and marketing, to ensure that everyone is working to a common set of objectives and targets, and that everybody understands each other’s role and value. Failure to do this results in the sorts of issues we are seeing: lack of alignment, political conflict and mutual suspicion.
“The fact that marketing are perceived as not understanding the needs of salespeople reflects another common issue we see, which is that marketers are failing to take responsibility for the end-to-end go-to-market process. There is no point achieving some great market positioning and generating leads, if the salespeople are no fully equipped to convert that interest into sales. Sales enablement should be an absolute focus for any B2B marketing organisation.”
In turn, only 16 per cent of marketers felt their activities were fully aligned, with main problems being lack of budget (27 per cent), lack of direction from senior management (26 per cent) and lack of time (24 per cent).
On a more positive note, salespeople do value marketing activities; with building brand awareness garnering 83 per cent of the vote, generating sales leads (83 per cent), developing compelling propositions (81 per cent) and providing market insight (81 per cent).
Brown concluded: “In 2013 businesses really need to focus on improving the alignment of their marketing and sales activities. Selling complex solutions to business customers is rarely a straightforward process. It usually requires a multi-faceted go-to-market approach, and it is vital that every element works in harmony to deliver a clear and compelling message.
"It might not always seem that way, but sales and marketing are on the same side, and senior managers have an obligation to ensure that they are working as an effective single team if they are to maximise their chances of success.
“Those B2B organisations that are able to deliver a fully aligned go-to-market approach will have the best chances of driving profitable growth next year,” he added.
Infrastructure provider says international sales now make up 51 per cent of its revenue
Suzanne Chappell of TMS plans sailing venture after selling Oxfordshire-based TMS to acquisitive Chess
Withdrawal of credit insurance by some providers a 'reflection' of current challenge facing IT sector, according to MD Steve Soper
SMART's UK managing director joins Lenovo to boost SMB business