How Can Marketing and Sales Teams Become Less Siloed?

April 22, 2019

Virtually all marketers and salespeople (94%) believe they can make marketing and sales teams less siloed, according to figures from the latest report [download page] by Walker Sands. So considering the same report found that more than half (56%) say these two departments are siloed, what do marketing and sales professionals think will help heal the divide?

The top two most cited options both concern a culture change – either between the two departments (37%) or at the senior leadership level (35%). Senior marketers appear particularly keen on engaging outside their department, with a separate study from the CMO Council noting that the top topic for peer advice is on C-suite engagement, relationship building, and alignment.

More or better collaboration tools come next on the list, with one-third (33%) seeing these as a potential solution.

On the technology front, almost 3 in 10 (29%) say that more/better marketing tech could help close the divide, as could more/better sales tech (28%). A smaller proportion (14%) also say that a shared CRM system would help.

That being said, it’s worth noting that siloed teams aren’t necessarily a problem in themselves. Of the 56% reporting a separation, more than half said it wasn’t an issue for them.

Views on Marketing Technology

While technology is often spoken about in favorable terms among marketers, that doesn’t mean that they see it as entirely good. More than 4 in 10 respondents (42%) noted that tech will at some point threaten their jobs, up slightly from 39% the year prior.

In the short term, however, technology budgets (which already account for the highest share of marketing resource spend, according to Gartner) are mostly set to increase. Around 1 in 5 (18%) expect their martech budget to increase greatly, while another 46% expect a slight increase. Just 2% expect budgets to go down – and only slightly at that.

Is this level of spend right? For the most part, yes – three-quarters (75%) agree that their company invests the right amount in martech. At the same time only 11% say there is no category of technology in particular that needs additional finances behind it.

In terms of the most important area of technology that respondents feel their companies need to be investing in most, advertising and promotion technology (29%) comes out on top, followed by content and experience technology (17%) and social and relationships technology (16%). Despite the fact that most marketers would stake their career on data analysis if forced to pick one area, fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) say that data technology is where they need the most level of investment.

The majority of those surveyed (58%) also believe that vendor consolidation has made martech more accessible. Given the vast (but perhaps slower-growing) size of the martech landscape, this may bring some comfort to the roughly one-quarter (27%) who say they use a single vendor suite.

Emerging Technology – and the Buzzwords

The study also looked at areas of technology that marketers are using, have tried, or are planning to use. The areas most used at the moment are video marketing (55%), adtech (53%) and content experience (47%).

The area that has been tried and dropped by the largest proportion was blockchain, with 6% saying that they no longer use this (but 11% continue to do so). It’s also the area with the largest proportion of marketers reporting no implementation plans (59%).

The term that most respondents believe will be a buzzword for 2019 is artificial intelligence (AI), with 4 in 10 predicting as such. However, being a buzzword doesn’t mean the term is vacuous, as 17% are already using AI with a further 15% expecting to adopt it within the next year. Why? Results from the CMO Survey indicate that the most common reasons to adopt AI are for content personalization and predictive analytics.

The full report is available for download here.

About the Data: Walker Sands surveyed 316 marketing (42%), sales (44%) and advertising (13%) professionals in January 2019.

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