Sales and marketing, Sales and marketing

Your B2B Sales and Marketing Teams: Are They Aligned?

It’s tempting to think that with all the power of automation for marketing, sales enablement and a multitude of sales processes that marketing and sales work together smoothly.  The vision is one of a well-oiled machine generating leads, qualifying opportunities, and winning deals.

The reality is somewhat different. While marketing and sales have moved closer together, there are still significant gaps in understanding between the two. For B2B marketers, the challenge is to better understand how Sales Operations, as a set of processes more than technology, drives sellers behavior.

In my newest brief, "Mind The Gap: What Marketers Need To Know About Sale Operations,"  I take a closer look at what unites and divides marketing and sales. Starting with Forrester’s Q2 2016 International B2B Marketing Strategies and Tactics Online Survey and incorporating input from dozens of inquiries and interviews, it’s clear that marketers need to make an effort to better understand what happens after the lead has been passed:

  • Process and organization trump technology – Once a lead is accepted by sales, a whole new set of qualification actions take place, often based on concerns of territory and account planning not visible to marketing.
  • Compensation, configuration and contracts correlate to closing: Sellers, and Sales Operations, use a different lens to determine the quality of an opportunity, driven by considerations of how the seller gets paid, what product configurations help drive compensation, and how contracts are negotiated.

With only 30% of survey respondents stating marketing and sales metrics are closely aligned, there is  room for improvement. Marketing and sales may claim collaboration, but there is a strong need for clear-eyed communication to better integrate organizations and processes, not just technology. For marketers, that means better understanding the sellers’ journey. For Sales Operations, that means educating marketing as to how content and tools can better support later sales stages.

Steven Wright is a senior analyst at Forrester Research, where he serves B2B marketing professionals. Read more Forrester Research blogs here.