Sales & Marketing – a match NOT made in heaven?

Dec 20, 2012

Report by The Channel Partnership finds tensions, misunderstanding and a lack of communication between sales and marketing

Despite often being referred to in the same breath, sales and marketing may not be the perfect match that many businesses believe.

According to new research from The Channel Partnership, just one in five sales and marketing professionals believe the activities of their respective teams are fully aligned, with one in ten saying they are not aligned at all.

The research, carried out in partnership with The Leadership Foundation, questioned 1,000 professionals (half in sales and the other half in marketing) in B2B organisations. The report, Sales and Marketing: Best of enemies or sworn friends? found tensions, misunderstanding and a lack of communication between the divisions is threatening business success.

Two thirds of respondents said the divide between marketing and sales teams is driven by them being driven by different targets and objectives. Shockingly, nearly two-thirds felt that political conflict between senior managers was a cause of disconnect between the teams. Poor communication between departments, a failure to value each other’s contribution to the business, and lack of understanding of each other’s roles were also highlighted as issues by more than half of respondents.

There are serious gripes on both sides.

The majority of sales people (59 percent) believe marketers don’t spend enough time talking to customers and so don’t understand how their products or services create value for them. More than half of sales executives also said that marketers lack understanding of the sales role and equally, over half think the marketing team don’t understand what the sales team needs to be successful. 48 percent claimed that marketers lack commercial awareness.

Phil Brown, director at The Channel Partnership says disconnects between sales and marketing teams can undermine the go-to-market efforts of any 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’re seeing – lack of alignment, political conflict and mutual suspicion.”

He continues: “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’s no point achieving some great market positioning and generating leads, if the salespeople aren’t fully equipped to convert that interest into sales. Sales enablement should be an absolute focus for any B2B marketing organisation.”


Image: Shutterstock

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