The Marketing Strategist:

Research Highlight: Marketing Automation and the Sales-Marketing Gap

April 20, 2015

Nicole FranceWe’ve turned a corner in B2B marketing, as our latest survey on marketing technology shows. Marketing automation is no longer optional. It’s now a requirement, and something that most B2B marketing organizations have implemented or are in the process of implementing. The question now is how to use it effectively.

In a perfect world, marketing and sales would have a close, cooperative, even symbiotic relationship. Reality, however, doesn’t always match the ideal. We see this clearly when we look at one of the critical aspects of marketing automation success: the lead handoff from marketing to sales. Getting this right is a matter of discussion, negotiation, and mutual agreement, not technology. Implementing marketing automation offers a great excuse to open the discussion, but meaningful agreement and consistent behavior on both sides are rare.

As our survey shows, only 16% of respondents said that marketing and sales agree on the definitions of marketing-qualified leads and sales-accepted leads—and stick to them. The marketing technology frontrunners in our survey do better, but not a lot: only 26% of them stick to agreed definitions.

Clearly, marketing technology isn’t going to bridge this gap. Marketing and sales must build stronger relationships and cooperate more closely. Fundamentally, it is a question of building trust on both sides. Of course, getting better at identifying the kinds of behavior that indicate purchase intent will help, too.

Marketing automation highlights the gap between marketing and sales


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