Sales and Marketing Alignment Seen as Solution to Pipeline Problem, Shows Survey

Sales and marketing alignment is seen as a solution to one of the most burning issues in business– building pipeline, shows new survey from XANT Labs of 500 sales executives. The survey shows that lead quality and quantity is the most common problem for sales leaders, after recruiting and hiring and sales culture.

Executives believe that improved alignment between sales and marketing teams can solve the lead generation problem by allowing the two teams to work together more efficiently– and making lead follow-up more timely and effective.

Overall Top Sales Challenges

Sales leaders report that lead quality and quantity is the number one process-related challenge, shows the survey. At the same time, they report recruiting and hiring as the most important people-related challenge.

When the data is combined and ranked according to order the the top five challenges leaders face are:

Problem Category % of responses
Recruiting and hiring People 40.80%
Culture People 37.50%
Lead quantity and quality Process 25.90%
Compensation People 21.10%
Prospecting Process 20.50%

Solving the Lead Quantity and Quality Problem

When asked what the solutions are to their most burning problems, sales leaders have a few common themes. Among them are better coordination with marketing, better research into lists, and smarter software solutions for sales.

Achieving sales and marketing alignment is frequently driven by improved communication between the two teams. However, getting the two teams to talk to each other is difficult in practice. The Forrester study shows the biggest obstacles to alignment are: short-term thinking by marketing vs long-term thinking by sales, different goals and measurements as well as not enough time.

25% of Sales Leaders Never Meet With Marketing

A full 25 percent of sales leaders said they never meet with marketing about pipeline, shows a 2018 Forrester report. According to the survey, 58 percent of sales leaders said they meet with marketing to discuss pipeline less than four times a year (quarterly).

The same report shows that companies that achieve revenue goals have higher levels of sales and marketing alignment. They fare 2.3 times better compared to other companies.

Other research published in Harvard Business Review shows that misaligned goals cost both these teams by eroding company profitability. Lack of alignment around product pricing and sales compensation strategies will demotivate salespeople and inadvertently encourages them to sacrifice company profits to meet their own goals, shows the HBR study.

At the same time, there are significant benefits to aligning sales and marketing:

  • Companies with good sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate (Aberdeen Group)
  • Tightly aligned sales and marketing operations lead to 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth (SiriusDecisions)
  • Sales and marketing alignment can increase marketing profits by up to 209% (Marketo)

Artificial Intelligence Solves Sales Challenges, But Not Widely Accessible, Study Shows

Artificial Intelligence Bridges the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

Technology which allows seamless communication between the two teams can significantly reduce friction. Sales systems powered by Artificial Intelligence allow integrating the two teams with a variety of functions:

  • Alerts sales reps to incoming inbound marketing-generated leads
  • Delivering pre-set templates for email, voicemail, phone call scripts and other personalized communication
  • Offering information in real time on lead activity that signal buying intent. AI can track downloading or viewing marketing content, as well as email engagement tracking
  • Allowing sales reps to enroll cold marketing leads into pre-defined marketing campaigns

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