2017 Sales & Marketing Sentiment SurveyIn 2017, Opportunity, Inc. conducted a survey to evaluate cooperation between sales and marketing teams at firms differing in size, geography and customer profile. The objective of the study was to evaluate how well sales and marketing teams share information and whether they are appropriately aligned to target customers. In addition, the survey evaluated a number of factors that can impact sales, including the quantity of leads, quality of leads and the quality of product messaging. The survey was sent to a small subset of sales and marketing professionals among Opportunity's network of 2,000,000+ members worldwide.
WHAT WE FOUND
This study focused primarily on smaller businesses, with 57% respondents reporting less than 10 employees. The remaining firms were split among those with 10-25 employees, 25-100 and more than 250. The roles of individual respondents were 38% "Marketing," 62% "Sales," though sales and marketing roles often overlap and the specific terms may be misleading. In terms of geography there was significant diversity; while 51% of companies were based in North America, the remainder were spread across Europe, Asia, Africa/Middle East and South America. There was a similar distribution in sales targets, with 42% targeting SMB and the remainder targeting Consumer, Enterprise and Mid-Sized firms.
Alignment and Data Sharing
Of those companies that considered themselves "fully aligned," 64% were companies with fewer than 10 employees. This may be due to the fact that smaller firms likely have fewer layers of bureaucracy separating sales and marketing functions. Only one respondent noted misalignment between these functions and is likely an outlier with some firm-specific issue. Of firms that stated that data was fully shared between sales and marketing, there was significant diversity regarding company size, location and customer target.
Most sales professionals (62%) considered themselves satisfied or very satisfied with the performance of their marketing team. Marketing team data is incomplete but overall shows lower levels of satisfaction with sales counterparts. The reason for this discrepancy is not clear from the available data. Based on the data, sales teams are dissatisfied with sales forecasts, with only 23% considering them to be very accurate. 71% of those who reported very accurate sales forecasts worked at the smallest firms, which may suggest that smaller firms are able to better forecast sales. It is possible that smaller firms have a smaller or more homogeneous group of clients, which could aid in forecasting. There was no clear correlation between the length of the sales cycle and forecasting accuracy.
Operational Issues Affecting Sales
37% respondents highlighted the poor quality of leads as being an issue, with 42% citing poor quantity. Approximately 12% of respondents reported simultaneously facing both poor quantity and quality of leads, which could point to issues identifying the appropriate customer base for products. Using more focused techniques such as social networking or social media marketing  may allow firms to better tailor their brand messaging. In addition, companies reported issues with the quantity and quality of leads regardless of whether sales and marketing functions were fully aligned. Few respondents reported that ineffective sales meetings, misaligned territories/quotas or poor marketing messaging impeded sales efforts.
From the available data, alignment of sales and marketing functions and satisfaction with those partnerships was higher at smaller firms. As previously noted, this may be because at smaller firms, sales and marketing teams may have more opportunities to interact and ensure they are working effectively. Another insight from the data is that alignment between sales and marketing was unrelated to the quantity and quality of leads, which could suggest issues with sourcing those leads. The quality of sales forecasting was highest at small firms, which may be a function of smaller firms having a more concentrated customer base.
Opportunity shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described or information contained on these pages. The data, information and related graphics are not legal documents and are not intended to be used as such. Opportunity gives no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, utility or completeness of this information.