The Marketing Strategist:
Research Highlight: Marketing Automation and the Sales-Marketing Gap
We’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.