The Great American Love Affair: B2B Sales And Marketing

B2B buyers find emails in their inboxes just about every day, with some from sales reps and others from marketing teams trying to nurture them through the customer journey.

Little do they know of the alignment that goes into these efforts at their best — and even their worst.

Almost all companies think their sales and marketing teams work well together. But 66% of those who say they are well aligned and 66% of those who feel they are very well aligned show negative performance and pipeline growth, according to a new benchmarking study by LeadMD and Drift.

The problem may be the lack of KPIs for measuring success. And these, in turn, could affect email analysis. 

Of the B2B Leaders polled, 55% see upsell and opportunity value KPIs as very important, versus 33% of the Laggards.

And 57% of the Leaders rate brand awareness KPIs as key, compared with 43% of the Laggards.

The top shared KPIs, including those that correlate with broad business alignment, include:

  • Sales-generated leads
  • New customer revenue/bookings 
  • Marketing-generated leads
  • Opportunity volume
  • Profit margin



One challenge is to have consistent branding, no matter who is sending the message and in what channel.

Of the leaders polled 48% conduct campaigns jointly, and in 20% of the firms, marketing leads the effort, with sales participating.

In contrast, 40% of the Laggards run campaigns jointly, and 14% have marketing leading them.

Then there’s technology. Leaders have shared, and well-integrated tech stacks. But laggards have disjointed technology in these areas:

  • Measurement/attribution tools ownership unclear
  • Account/contact data owned solely by marketing with no sales input
  • Marketing automation owned solely by marketing with no sales input
  • Sales automation ownership unclear
  • Lead routing owned solely by sales with no marketing input

In addition, “Laggards reported a disproportionate focus on KPIs, without the balance of investing time to understand customers and intentionally create alignment internally,” the study states.

All that aside, sales and marketing do think highly of each other. And those teams rate highly on the Sales & Marketing Meaningful Alignment Index (SMAX).

In general, marketing considers sales to be high-performing, energetic, customer-focused, results-driven and passionate.

And sales prizes marketing for being creative, strategic, innovative, flexible and communicative. In addition, they value the leads they get from marketing.

Even here, Leaders work to leverage these positive feelings and to prevent duplicate and ill-targeted emails going out from different units.

As one executive said in a focus group: “We talk on a daily basis. We sit next to each other. We sit down together and we evaluate the ROI of a campaign and decide whether or not we’re going to continue it.”

The results are based on a survey of 350 executives. 

Next story loading loading..