Many B2B Marketers Work in Sales-Led Organizations Where They Feel Less Respected

January 22, 2014

EconsultancySparksGrove-Respect-for-B2B-Marketers-Jan2014Only 8% of B2B marketers responding to a survey [download page] conducted by Econsultancy and Sparks Grove say they work in an organization where marketing drives much or all of the revenue and leads growth and lead generation strategies. By contrast, 34% come from organizations which are sales-led, where they play a more supportive role to sales and have less of a say in growth strategy and product direction. Accordingly, these marketers tend to perceive less respect for their work from different departments within the organization.

The study segmented respondents into 4 broad categories. Aside from those coming from “marketing-led” and “sales-led” organizations, 30% are from organizations which are deemed to have “false [sales and marketing] partnerships” (marketing has a minor role in lead generation strategy and limited control over customer experience and product development), while 28% are from organizations with “true partnerships” (marketing has a significant role in lead generation, customer experience, and product development).

In almost each case, the greater the marketers’ role, the more likely they are to feel that they are respected by diverse teams, such as executive management, product, customer service, finance, and IT. According to the researchers, “this confirms that a shift in marketing has tangible effects that are noticed throughout the enterprise.”

Respondents are certainly looking to expand their roles: 85% see a need to do so, and 9 in 10 believe they can contribute more. External forces making their jobs more difficult include a far more complicated lead nurturing process than the traditional sales funnel (50%) and a belief that awareness and outreach marketing is becoming less effective over time (36%).

Internally, respondents generally believe that the roots of marketing’s evolution within the organization arise from a new understanding of the value proposition and customer experience, new executive leadership, and competitor activity, with that latter reason much more of a drive in “true partnership” than “false partnership” organizations.

Marketers in the 4 groups – not surprisingly – differ significantly in their internal responsibilities. While most have ownership in the areas of brand strategy and communications and promotions and merchandising, marketers with a greater role in their organizations are much more likely than those in sales-led companies to have ownership over customer research and insights, new product and/or service innovation, and customer experience and lifecycle management.

Asked to choose their top 3 impacts from a broader role for marketing, respondents overwhelmingly said it would have a positive impact on growth (70%), with other options “faster adaption of products/services to customer needs” (45%) and “more efficient media/events/awareness spending” (40%) seen as less significant.

Overall, just 1 in 10 respondents said there is a broadly recognized need within their organizations to expand marketing’s role, with most saying this perception is limited to only some in leadership. Indeed, the biggest barrier to change remains full buy-in at the board and leadership level.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey fielded online in August and September 2013 which received responses from 452 qualified B2B marketers, the majority of whom are headquartered in North America.


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