What Will the Evolution of Sales and Marketing Alignment Look Like in the Next Year?

InsideView B2B Marketing Sales Alignment Trends Challenges Jun2020Much has been said about the benefits of aligning sales and marketing teams, as well as the many challenges that organizations can face when trying to achieve it. A new report [download page] from InsideView looks into what’s stopping companies from taking key steps towards alignment, in light of 2020 being a period of necessary change.

For the majority of companies, revenue operations (RevOps) is set to play a key role in the evolution of their sales and marketing in the next year — some 54% of respondents predict that their organization’s marketing and sales operations will merge into one revenue operations team. A similar share (53%) predicts that this will involve a bigger focus on data integrity (i.e data hygiene, cleanliness and robustness) with clearer insights into the B2B customer as a result. Close to half (48%) think that Sales Development will take on a more strategic role as the hub for revenue teams.

Where obstacles are concerned, a lack of accurate or complete data on target accounts was the most cited challenge (50%), along with communication (47%) and broken or flawed processes (44%).

What’s the State of Sales And Marketing Alignment Today?

Communication and processes show up throughout the report as day-to-day challenges for sales and marketing teams. Fewer than one-third (31%) of respondents reported that their sales and marketing teams had agreed on a set of key accounts to target, with the largest share (45%) having done this partially and one-quarter (24%) not having done this at all.

And while communication was the second most-cited challenge overall, half (49%) of the respondents indicated regular revenue conversations between sales and marketing, reporting that their teams discuss pipeline either weekly (27%) or monthly (22%). However, some organizations are further behind in this respect, with 12% having pipeline conversations quarterly, 22% having them just a few times a year, and almost one-fifth (17%) never discussing pipeline. In fact, 6 in 10 (59%) sales respondents said that marketing is not accountable for pipeline.

That said, the report makes it clear that while there is work to be done, sales and marketing teams are in a good place to make positive change. Three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they have a good or excellent relationship with the other team, and 44% reported a strong or very strong alignment of value propositions.

The Role of Data

Data is already a demonstrable challenge for organizations attempting to better align their sales and marketing teams. Currently, more could be done to rectify this — one-quarter (24%) of respondents said their company does nothing to keep their sales and marketing data clean, with some remaining respondents using manual maintenance (41%) or an offline clean service 1-2 times per year (15%). Encouragingly, one-fifth already use a data cleansing product for ongoing data cleaning.

The need to improve data quality is clear. Some 8 in 10 respondents label account-based selling and marketing as a high (45%) or medium (37%) priority within their organization, a process that is highly dependent on good data.

In the future, respondents have plans to invest in data services of various kinds to improve data quality. These include market data (54%), business intelligence/analytics (50%), sales intelligence (46%), data cleansing (26%), intent data (22%) and the use of a customer data platform (20%).

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of more than 400 sales, marketing and operations executives, primarily from the US (73%). The survey was fielded in February and March 2020.

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