• June 5, 2024

Marketing and Sales Functions Collaborate on Only Three Out of 15 Commercial Activities, Gartner Finds

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Marketing and sales teams typically collaborate on only three out of 15 commercial activities, according to reseaarch that Gartner presented at its Marketing Symposium in Denver.

The Gartner B2B Commercial Strategy Survey found that 80 percent of key commercial activities are missing contributions from marketing or sales and 90 percent of marketing and sales executives report their functional priorities conflict with one another.

"It is clear that marketing and sales leaders' partnership and coordination efforts are in shambles," said Kristina LaRocca-Cerrone, senior director of advisory in the Gartner Marketing Practice. "Dysfunction is rampant, and they face decision-making bottlenecks and numerous roadblocks that lead to collaboration drag and hindered growth.

"Improving the strategic and meaningful collaboration between marketing and sales is vital to generating stronger commercial results. The greatest opportunity for driving profitable growth and customer acquisition occurs when the two functions partner and focus on understanding buyer journeys, digital commerce management, and sales enablement. In fact, the likelihood for commercial success is doubled when teams come together and adopt that approach," she continued.

When marketing and sales have shared buyer journey insights, organizations are 2.3 times more likely to see higher sales conversion rates, the research found. Additionally, commercial teams that share buyer journey insights with one another are 1.6 times more likely to exceed revenue growth expectations. Yet the majority of survey respondents (60 percent) indicated a lack of shared buyer journey insights. Only 17 percent collaborate on buyer journey mapping, preventing them from developing a more holistic and accurate picture of how customers research and make decisions.

"Shared insights are more robust, fueling strong demand generation messaging and more compelling interactions," LaRocca-Cerrone said. "For example, where marketing captures the full customer journey across channels, sales has access to common customer pain points and journey triggers."

The research also found that organizations that offer both rep-led and self-service interactions are 3.9 times more likely to exceed profit growth expectations. By looking for opportunities to blend rep-led and digital experiences to support omnichannel buyer journeys, organizations can enable B2B buyers to better understand how to accomplish their goals and drive outsized commercial results. Digitally-enhanced interactions between sellers and customers boost the likelihood of strong revenue growth by 1.9 times compared to solely digital engagement.

"A hybrid journey design that optimizes both digital and human channels signals the future of B2B buying," LaRoccca-Cerrone said.

Leading organizations also tap into buyer journey mapping to reveal customer needs and buyer dynamics, in turn arming sellers to help buyers navigate today's complex, omnichannel environment, according to the research, which also found that marketing and sales can work together to gather sales team input early in sales enablement development to ensure the resulting content and tools are aligned to seller workflows. This synergy encourages seller skills that complement buyers' digital learning, it found.

"True cross-functional alignment between marketing and sales can be sparked through an intentional and focused partnership. Strategic collaboration occurs when the teams come together, avoiding disjointed efforts that impede growth," LaRocca-Cerrone concluded.

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