Market intelligence strategy firm InsideView recently released predictions for sales and marketing alignment, in conjunction with a new book, Aligned to Achieve, authored by InsideView CMO Tracy Eiler and VP of enterprise sales Andrea Austin. The predictions are based on Eiler and Austin’s research, including the results of a survey of 1,000 sales and marketing leaders, showing that the problem of misalignment continues to grow—and the disconnect is having a direct effect on revenue.
“Sales and marketing alignment is a hot-button issue that companies are focused on fixing once and for all,” said Eiler, in a news release. “It’s not just to keep sales and marketing from being at each other’s throats—it’s because alignment translates to revenue and faster growth. So, what comes next? After months of conversation with peers, we forecast where we think alignment is going so companies can get ahead.”
The authors offer the following seven predictions for the future of sales and marketing alignment as businesses realize the benefits of aligning marketing and sales and prepare to increase alignment efforts in 2017:
- The most successful salespeople will become hybrid marketers. By 2020, the need for B2B salespeople will change to demand a more “consultative seller”, according to Forrester Research. Buyers are doing more research themselves and no longer require transaction-based sellers, so the traditional sales model must adjust. These new consultative sellers will become experts on their industry, products, buyer personas and customer journey—and will need marketing’s enablement along the way. Some industries will even begin merging sales and marketing into the same teams.
- Cross-training will become an imperative. The most desired workers will be those that seek out experiences beyond their domain of expertise, including sellers that understand marketing and marketers with sales backgrounds. Progressive companies will even formalize and incentivize cross-training in the workplace.
- Pipeline will become the primary way of measuring marketing performance. According to InsideView’s research, 66 percent of marketers say that pipeline is the primary way they are measured. Advanced companies will start looking at team revenue, where a portion of each sales rep’s quota will be the responsibility of marketing. Marketing is incented to work closely with each rep to the point they can actually quantify their direct impact on that rep’s quota.
- The entire customer journey will become account-centric. Account-based marketing initiatives continue to outperform other marketing investments, creating a model for success that won’t be limited to sales and marketing in the future. Get ready for companies to prioritize account-based everything.
- Customer data strategy becomes more important. Industry research from Winterberry Group found that companies that put data at the center of their marketing and sales decisions improve marketing ROI by 15 to 20 percent. To capitalize on the booming marketing and sales technology landscape, successful companies will prioritize efforts to streamline and consolidate their technology infrastructure and customer data strategy. Doing so will allow companies to develop cohesive, shared customer intelligence that enable them to align more strategically.
- Millennials have a major impact. In 2016, Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation—and they are changing the makeup and skillset of the salesforce. Millennials are more entrepreneurial, adaptive and collaborative. They also have different expectations for education, communication and career advancement. Successful companies will start adapting their organizational styles to attract and retain this generation’s best talent, and consider whether candidates are ready for alignment as part of the hiring process. And the Millennials of today are the buyers of tomorrow, so companies must adapt to their style.
- Academia catches up. Universities will view formal B2B programs as essential for preparing students for the real world, on the sales, marketing and data fronts. Expect to see more universities offer degrees in sales, not just marketing or accounting. In addition, more institutions will modernize their marketing degrees beyond consumer marketing to focus on B2B. Finally, expect more business-focused degrees in data science and data analytics as data becomes more critical to business success.
Source: Marketwired; edited by Richard Carufel