Despite Modern Marketing Improvements, Sales Alignment Challenges Persist

C'mon, admit it. How many times have you heard this?:

"We generate a ton of leads for sales, and they barely follow-up on any of them."

"Leads? You call those leads? Send us better leads so we CAN follow-up..."

Despite advances in marketing automation and an increased focus on accountability, the old sales-marketing divide is alive and well. Marketing technology and processes have yet to turn the sales and marketing boxing ring into a night of candlelit dinners.

And similar tensions will likely persist since these teams have different charters and timelines under which they operate. Marketing and sales may share demand creation goals, but they don't get measured in the same way or with the same metrics.

Their perspectives are vastly different. Marketing looks at customers by segment while sales looks at them by name, title, and account. Neither understands completely how customers benefit from what they buy.

On the customer side, B2B purchasing is a complicated team game with decisions made by committee, with players entering and exiting the picture throughout the customer life cycle. As a result, enabling sales remains a contentious problem for many marketing teams. 

On June 3, I had the privilege of participating in a webinar, hosted by InsideView, that took a deeper look at the marketing and sales divide, and offered some actionable suggestions on what marketing and sales can do to align around driving better revenue results. I think you'll find that answers to the poll questions we asked during the call are revealing and consistent with what I've been describing here. Over half of respondents -- who were predominantly sales or marketing folks -- decribed their working relationship as "Generally OK, but needs work."  The majority also agreed that it's the combination of three factors:

1) Lack of communication or collaboration between marketing and sales

2) Disparate/siloed systems, data, and processes that aren't shared between the teams, and

3) Getting measured by different objectives and metrics...

.. that cause the misalignment.  Tracy Eiler, InsideView's CMO, joined me to talk about the practical challenges CMOs face in aligning with sales counterparts. The Q&A that followed was particularly illuminating and I think you'll enjoy "listening" to our little tete-a-tete as Tracy recounts it here for those who weren't able to make the session. If you'd like to learn more on this topic, check out my research called "From Priming the Pipeline To Engaging Buyers: The B2B CMO's New Role In Sales Enablement" (subscription required.)  I'll also be talking more about this topic on my June 24 Forrester Webinar, at 11 am ET