By Alexis Getscher | Content Marketing – Bizible

Recently, Bizible published our first annual State of Pipeline Marketing Report after surveying over 350 B2B marketers on various topics like how they measure success, which metrics have the greatest impact on revenue, and marketing priorities.

In this post, I’d like to break down the results surrounding sales and marketing alignment. Apparently, it’s not as cut and dry as I would have expected: Of all marketers surveyed, 68.4 percent said they were “tightly aligned” or “generally aligned” with sales, leaving 31.6 percent as “somewhat aligned,” “rarely aligned,” or “misaligned.” (I’ve combined the latter three answers into “Seldomly Aligned” within the charts below).

Sales and Marketing Alignment vs. Job Level

In the chart below, we compare marketer’s job level to their degree of sales and marketing alignment. Notably, 72.6 percent of those who answered within the category seldomly aligned with sales fell into the job levels of middle management and under. While 61 percent of senior management or higher say they are tightly aligned with sales and 54.7 percent say generally aligned.

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There are a couple takeaways here:

One, it seem that C-level execs understand the importance of aligning their marketing and sales teams, but this value gets lost as you move down the job ladder. And two, upper management may place value on overall revenue metrics while the lower job levels are more concerned with their job function metrics like leads and conversion rates. While those are also valuable, it’s important for teams to be optimizing for the same metrics. Otherwise, it creates a marketing team that’s not only siloed from sales, but also from each other, and it’s easier to be successful when everyone is on the same page.

Sales and Marketing Alignment vs. Budget Over Next 12 Months

In the graph below, we find that 61.5 percent of marketers who are tightly aligned with sales expect their marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months. While only 3.13 percent expect it to decrease.

Of those who are rarely aligned (combines answers for “rarely” and “misaligned”), 62.9 percent say their budget will decrease or remain the same, while only 33.3 percent say it will increase.

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This tells us that when sales and marketing are aligned, they work better together as a team and it’s paying off in terms of marketing budget growth, which of course supports sales. So not only does aligning with sales mean you’re just more connect as a company, it can drive change and new business value as well.

Sales and Marketing Alignment vs. Primary Success Metric

Of those who answered as being tightly aligned with sales, 46.2 percent distributed their answers between two primary success metrics–total opportunities and total revenue. Those who answered within seldomly aligned had success metrics all over the board. Total leads took the slight edge as the primary success metric, coming in at 18.9 percent of the answers.
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These results show that tight alignment between marketing and sales, means a more focused and unified measurement of success. Drawing a parallel, the metrics used to measure success are the same ones used as optimization goals. So, in the case of tightly aligned, marketing and sales teams are both interested in increasing total opportunities and total revenue.

Within the bar for seldomly aligned, the balanced distribution across multiple answers shows that when sales and marketing isn’t aligned, teams may be optimizing and measuring for completely different metrics. Disjointed goals make it difficult to grow a business.

Overall, the report is showing that the more aligned sales and marketing are, the more positive results the team has– increased budget, more unified focus, and the ability to prove value to upper management.

For more insights from our 2015 State of Pipeline Marketing Report download the full report here.