Sales and marketing: Decision makers say you’re sending mixed messages

The platform commissioned research panel Market Cube to survey about 500 B2B sales professionals and 500 business decision makers to find out how buyers and sellers are working together and apart.

Here’s what you need to know.

Sales people rely on tech, but may be too siloed in the type of data they collect. A majority of sales professionals (73 percent) use sales technology to close deals. Top sales performers — defined as pros who exceed sales targets by at least 25 percent — see networking platforms (such as LinkedIn) as “very important” to help close deals at a 51 percent higher rate than their peers.

Nearly all (97 percent) consider sales technology “very important” or “important,” and 93 percent are using sales tech just as much or more in 2018 than in 2017, according to the study.

Sales professionals rely on their customer relationship management (CRM) systems to manage customers and leads. CRM adoption has grown 113 percent since 2016, with 64 percent of sales professionals reporting that they use CRM tools. But could sales pros’ enthusiasm for CRMs to drive sales, keep them from reaching other potential targets for a sale?

Justin Shriber, LinkedIn’s VP of marketing for sales and marketing solutions, says that the silos between sales and marketing — and the use of different data tools between them — can leave a gap in identifying potential buyers.

“Sales teams use a CRM to define their sales territories and build their plan, and marketers use a data management platform (DMP) in order to do the same, and in many cases there are different individuals that live in both of those platforms,” Schriber said. “And in addition to that, even when you have the same individual, you have different information about each of those individuals. So until you can merge the underlying data so that everybody’s working at the same underlying data set, it’s really hard to coordinate efforts.”

The report says that only 20 percent of sales professionals say they see significant overlap in the data used by marketing and sales to target prospects. Meanwhile, 89 percent of decision makers say consistent marketing and sales language about a product is “very important” (50 percent) or “important” (39 percent), and nearly half (48 percent) say they often or always experience different messaging from sales and marketing.

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