Nearly all senior business decision makers (92%) believe sales and marketing teams should work closely together, but 64% say they could be more aligned, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by Huthwaite International.

The research also uncovered digital’s major role in driving the need for a closer partnership between sales and marketing. Some 71% agreed that the two functions are becoming more integrated because of an increasingly digital landscape.

Those who said digital was driving closer integration described the increased number of customer touch points (45%) and the tendency for customers to educate themselves about a product or service prior to making a purchase (44%) as drivers of the closer partnership.

Tony Hughes, CEO at Huthwaite International, said: “There’s never been a more interesting, exciting or challenging time to work in sales and marketing, but it’s also never been more important that both teams work together as close partners. It’s nothing new to note this relationship has been strained in the past, but this research really underlines how important it is to address this, with the overwhelming majority of business leaders recognising the importance of a close relationship and an increasingly digital landscape blurring responsibilities.

“It’s simply no longer the case that marketing builds the brand, harvests the leads and then the sales team closes the deal. Now, from tweets to online ads, or even simple conversations, both teams play an important role and all communications in all channels needs to be relevant and consistent. That can only happen when sales and marketing teams are true partners.”

Business missing out on benefits

The research also uncovered the main benefits business leaders could realise if sales and marketing teams did work together more effectively. A more consistent message delivered to clients and prospects (52%) and improved information sharing resulting in gaining new customers (50 per cent) came out on top. Only 8% of respondents said they didn’t believe there was any benefit to the two teams working closely together.

The study also examined the barriers to realising these benefits. This found difficulties understanding each team’s roles and responsibilities (30%) and a lack of strategy (29%) as major problems.

Mr Hughes said: “It’s time for sales and marketing to come together and work as real partners. Working together to co-create will be hugely effective when it comes to closing more business, driving more revenue and growing their organisations more quickly.

“Businesses clearly recognise the real benefits a closer partnership can deliver, whether that’s consistent messaging to clients and prospects, or the sharing of information that helps win new clients – there must now be a commensurate drive to define sales and marketing roles clearly and put a strategy in place to establish a more effective relationship between the teams.”

 

By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine


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