Digitisation drives vital sales and marketing partnerships – but business yet to catch up

Nearly all senior business decision makers believe it’s important for sales and marketing teams to work closely together.

Nearly all senior business decision makers (92 per cent) believe sales and marketing teams should work closely together, but 64 per cent say they could be more aligned, according to a YouGov survey of 725 business leaders commissioned by Huthwaite International.

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

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

Tony Hughes, CEO at Huthwaite International, comments, ‘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 uncovers 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 per cent) and improved information sharing resulting in gaining new customers (50 per cent) came out on top. Only 8 per cent of respondents say they didn’t believe there was any benefit to the two teams working closely together.

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

Hughes adds, ‘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.’

Further reading on marketing partnership

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Freddie Halvorson

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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Digital Transformation