New Research Details Continued Misalignment Between Sales & Marketing; Lack Of Technology Integration

Published: February 22, 2021

With the rise of account-based marketing (ABM), revenue operations and revenue teams, the need for internal alignment is not just a hot topic  it’s a fundamental part of running a successful business. According to the Revenue Marketing Report 2021 by Copper & Outfunnel, revenue growth is 73% more common in companies with sales and marketing teams that work together effectively.

To conduct the report, the companies surveyed 302 professionals: 151 salespeople and 151 marketers. The key findings include:

  • Nearly half of sales and marketing professionals still don’t feel that they are well-aligned;
  • Unhappiness from both marketing and sales teams about the integration and usefulness of their company’s tech stack;
  • Sales and marketing teams’ attitudes toward each other reveal disagreements regarding each other’s contributions; and
  • Companies with well-aligned sales and marketing teams see more revenue growth.

Given the necessity of internal alignment, leaders can work to realign marketing and sales by identifying areas of internal miscommunication and increasing the effectiveness of their tech stack.

Re-Aligning Sales & Marketing Teams To Build Trust

Internal communication is one of the top factors companies should focus on. When asked to rate the quality of communication between internal teams, 46% of respondents chose “poor,” “fair” or “good,” while 45% rated their alignment of goals with the same low-to-average terms.

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Dennis Fois, CEO of Copper, explained that part of this disconnect comes from teams pursuing their own numbers instead of working toward a common goal. He recommended that organizations increase the clarity around who owns the pipeline, which, for Copper, is marketing. Companies need to start at the bottom of the funnel (marketing) and work their way up, as opposed to starting at the top (sales) and working their way down.

“The simplest way of aligning teams is to have the goals and objectives shared,” said Fois in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “Marketing owns the pipeline — it’s responsible for revenue; the primary purpose is to accelerate and generation sales. If misalignment exists, marketing and sales pursue their own metrics. Sales is focusing on bookings, deals and pipeline creation, while marketing’s focusing on visits, impressions and MQLs. The departments are working at different ends of the funnel and if those sides don’t meet nicely in the middle, that’s where all the friction is.”

It seems that the friction comes more on the behalf of marketers: Almost half (46%) think that their sales team doesn’t understand what’s important to the marketing team, while 31% of salespeople think that the marketing team doesn’t understand what’s important to the sales team. However, it’s not all bad news — 58% of salespeople strongly agree that that their marketing and sales team cooperate effectively, compared to 43% of marketers.

Companies must be strategic and tactical about internal alignment — the report found clear correlations between executive buy-in, regular joint meetings and shared KPIs between sales and marketing and revenue growth.

Utilizing The Appropriate Technology To Promote Alignment

A company’s collaboration is only as effective as the technology it implements, especially during this era of increased remote work. You would think that this communication-heavy, always-connected work culture would make lack of communication difficult, but the report explained that oversized tech stacks are limiting communication due to lack of integration and ease of use. In fact, it appears that teams on both sides of the funnel are unhappy with their company’s current tech stack.

Thirty-six percent of respondents rated the usefulness of sales tech and martech tools as poor or average, while nearly half of respondents (47%) agreed these tools would be more helpful with easier integration.

“As an industry, we’ve made integrations technically possible but difficult to execute at the business level,” explained Fois. “What we have is a proliferation of tools — thousands of them — and they are unable to talk to each other.”

Fois continued that Copper’s partnership with Outfunnel increased the ease of integration of technologies by enabling “regular Joes without a degree in computer science” to access their favorite CRM and marketing tools in a way that makes sense to them with the help of automation.

Internal alignment is a fundamental part of running a successful B2B company — organization leaders must work to further automate their tech stack and focus on aligning sales and marketing teams on key metrics to promote collaboration and sales.

“Misalignment is a serious issue,” said Fois. “You can’t gloss over it and say, ‘Oh, it’s okay, sales and marketing don’t really align, what else is new?’ As long as sales and marketing don’t wholeheartedly agree that they are aligned, your company’s not going to grow in an optimal way.”

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