4 Points About Marketing-Sales Alignment

May 10, 2023

Only 29% of marketers are very confident in their current sales and marketing model/alignment, according to a recently-released study [download page] from the CMO Council in partnership with KPMG. Likewise, only a minority say that marketing and sales jointly own and implement customer strategy (39%), and that customer data is co-owned by sales and marketing with seamless access to all teams (36%).

Here are 5 highlights from the report.

1. Marketing and Sales Are Getting Involved in Each Others’ Strategies

While there appears to be room for improvement in marketing and sales alignment, respondents do indicate that each team is getting involved in the other’s strategic considerations.

For example, when asked what marketing activities the sales teams is actively involved in, 60% cited marketing strategy and planning. That was second only to customer segmentation and targeting, for which 63% of respondents said that sales takes an active involvement.

Other marketing activities in which sales gets involved include building alliances and partnerships (54%), account-based marketing (53%) and lead management (50%).

On the flip side, marketing is most actively involved in the sales activities of sales enablement (61%) and upselling and cross-selling (61%). Beyond that, half (50%) report that marketing teams are involved in sales strategy and planning, while close to half say marketing takes a role in account planning (47%) and opportunity management (47%).

2. Co-Owning Revenue Growth is Key

Marketing is increasingly being tasked with revenue growth, and while one of the challenges historically seen with the marketing-sales relationship has been use of different metrics, this latest research shows that co-ownership of the revenue growth metric with sales is important and relatively widespread.

Some 61% of the marketers surveyed reported that they co-own revenue growth with sales. However, marketers who are very confident in their current sales and marketing model are considerably more likely than those who are not so confident in their model to co-own this metric (72% and 56%, respectively).

Other significant gaps between these two groups of marketers emerge for co-ownership of customer satisfaction scores and share of wallet. The study’s authors point out that few very confident (31%) and no-so-confident (28%) marketers co-own customer lifetime value with sales, though the former group is more apt to be taking on co-ownership in the short term than the latter (59% and 46%, respectively). The analysts note that customer lifetime value is no longer “solely a marketing metric,” as “there’s renewed interest in LTV and how it’s calculated because it provides insight into where to allocate resources and what to focus on.”

3. Tech Fragmentation is Holding Back Better Alignment

Marketers are investing in various technologies to improve sales-marketing effectiveness, per the report, including marketing, sales and service automation, resource and workflow management platforms.

As it turns out, though, tech is proving to be a restraint on better sales and marketing alignment. Indeed, respondents cited a fragmented technology landscape across marketing, sales and service as the biggest obstacle to better alignment. This is understandable, given that there are almost 10,000 tech tools available to marketers alone.

Beyond tech fragmentation, other challenges cited by respondents include budget and resource constraints limiting testing and learning, traditional organizational structures constraining agility and speed, the absence of a holistic marketing-sales operating model, and the absence of a robust customer centric strategy and approach.

4. Marketers Look to Integrate Data

Given that tech fragmentation is considered a top barrier to alignment, it’s not surprising that integrating the tech landscape across marketing, sales and service is a top area of focus in the coming year for better alignment. However, it’s not the only focus, and not even the top one. Instead, marketers are looking first to integrate data across customer journeys (53%) and also to optimize touch points in customer journeys (42%).

For more, download the study here.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 300 marketing leaders across industries and geographies.


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