The critical relationship between marketing and sales may not always be the smoothest of relationships.
But what is certainly true is that the sales and marketing partnership is one of the most important relationships for driving corporate success. A lack of alignment between sales and marketing can result in missed opportunities to grow revenue.
But there’s good news. Solutions based on AI technology are making these relationships healthier and more effective.
Everyone Agrees: This Partnership Is Important
A recent Conversica survey of more than 100 sales and marketing professionals across the country revealed that the vast majority – 87% of sales and 93% of marketing professionals – said their relationship is “very important.”
When describing their relationship, 38% of marketing team members and 27% of sales team members feel they have achieved a perfect synergy. And almost half of marketing and more than one-third of sales people say together they are a dynamic duo.
But The Sales-Marketing Partnership Faces Many Challenges
A key reason that marketing and sales partnerships suffer or fail is because one party feels that the other isn’t contributing enough to impact the achievement of an organization’s financial goals.
In addition, more than two-thirds of salespeople have admitted that while their relationship with their marketing team is good, it could be better. A small minority of this group is truly struggling, with a sales and marketing relationship that ranges from tense, but workable, to downright dysfunctional.
The number one tension cited by more than half of salespeople and about a third of marketers is that salespeople must focus on “the now,” while marketers must be more forward-looking.
Sales And Marketing: Working Better Together
What do these data points mean for C-level executives? When building high-performing teams, the importance of cross-functional collaboration can’t be overlooked. Like any great partnership, when sales and marketing are closely aligned, there is a direct and positive effect on company performance.
The Critical Trust Factor
To cultivate healthy sales and marketing relationships, the teams must build on a foundation of trust. To build trust, they need to open the channels of communication.
This is a challenge, but the right technology can make it much easier. In fact, we've seen that solutions based on AI, like our Sales AI Assistant, can more tightly align sales and marketing by engaging prospects and customers interactively over email or SMS to determine their interest in talking to sales. This ensures that there is no lead left unturned and helps sales qualify leads earlier and faster in the buyer’s journey.
Artificial Intelligence: The Key To Relationship Success?
Interestingly, 87% of marketers and 93% of salespeople agree that AI assistants would improve their working relationship.
Can a vtirual AI assistant make relationships better? Marketers responded with a resounding “yes” when asked, “If you could take your best salesperson and improve their productivity by an infinite scale, would you?” Almost three-fourths (74%) said, “Hell yes! In a heartbeat!”
About a third of marketers and a quarter of salespeople are already using an AI solution in the workplace — and 57% of marketers report that it has made working with sales better.
What’s the big takeaway? Companies must aim to optimize the relationship between sales and marketing teams and re-frame the ways they think about each other. Trust, communication and collaboration – along with embracing new, labor-saving technologies like AI – should be the foundation of this working relationship, facilitating greater responsiveness and, ultimately, higher organizational and financial performance.
Rashmi Vittal is the Chief Marketing Officer at Conversica. She has extensive experience in building marketing strategies and teams for both start-ups and large enterprises. Prior to joining Conversica, Vittal led marketing for SAP Customer Data Cloud after the successful acquisition of Gigya, a customer identity management start-up, and was responsible for the integrated marketing strategy, product marketing, and sales enablement. She has also held various marketing leadership positions at IBM, Oracle and Neustar.