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The Top Complaints B2B Sales and Marketing Have about Each Other

Both sales and marketing cite a “lack of willingness to collaborate” and say “communication” is the top barrier to correcting the problem

A big part of problem-solving is clearly identifying the issue.

A survey of 329 B2B sales and marketing professionals commissioned by SharpSpring and conducted by Ascend2 does well to identify the problem of sales and marketing alignment.

One question stood out. The survey asked the 150 marketing professionals and 179 sales professionals about complaints they had about each other.

Top complaints from sales has about marketing:

  • 43% say targeting the wrong leads;
  • 32% say underperforming tools or systems create extra tasks;
  • 29% say an inability to educate leads effectively;
  • 25% say insufficient or inaccurate data;
  • 25% say incorrect attribution or vanity metrics (tracking quantity of leads over quality);
  • 20% say lack of willingness to collaborate; and
  • 12% say competing go-to-market strategy or goals (KPIs).

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Top complaints marketing has about the sales:

  • 40% say insufficient or inaccurate data;
  • 38% say not following up on leads;
  • 33% say underperforming tools create complexity and workarounds;
  • 30% say lack of willingness to collaborate;
  • 22% say incorrect attribution (crediting what actually contributed to a sale);
  • 17% say competing go-to-market strategy or goals (KPIs); and
  • 13% say not following brand guidelines.

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As I read these, I can remember examples that illustrate these points I’ve seen over my career. The classic example is the AE that won’t spend a chip to ask a customer for a quote or case study – but then turns around and wants marketing’s help ‘polishing’ a custom sales presentation that was hacked together from analyst briefing slides that are five years old.

It’s worth noting none of these issues have more than 50% of the votes. I believe that’s an indication that things have improved over the years – which is my perception too.

There are also several areas both business functions have in common. For example, both sides cite a “lack of willingness to collaborate.” Arguably these are good places to begin working on solutions.

The fix isn’t that hard either – it starts with putting aside egos and aligning goals around the customer. Indeed, the survey found communication both sales (57%) and marketing (55%) say the most significant barrier to collaboration.

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I first saw this study reported on Marketing Charts and MediaPost. The full report is freely available without registration: State of Marketing and Sales Alignment 2022 survey.

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Image credit: Unsplash

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