Should sales or marketing be taking the lead on customer experience?

We all know that delivering true, multi-channel customer experiences is the name of the game in modern day marketing and sales, but who should be in charge?

Obviously, a brands success depends on sales and marketing working in cooperation and in the same direction, but who should own a company’s efforts to create business value through creating great experiences for customers?

A new study from the Chief Marketing Officer Council, SAP Hybris and SellingPower magazine finds that only 7% of interviewed sales leaders and 9% of CMO’s view themselves as owners of their company’s customer experience. This suggests that a vital area of revenue-generation often lacks oversight and collective direction.

61% of sales executives and 57% of marketing leaders interviewed reported feeling that they have aligned around a working definition of customer experience. Only 7% of sales leaders though that the term was a marketing buzzword.

However, only 14% of sales leaders and 12% of marketing professionals believe in their company’s ability to deliver exceptional connected, personal and contextual experiences. Less than 25% of sales and 39% of marketing professionals believe that they have access to a comprehensive view of their customers. 38% of CMOs feel that customer data is too siloed between sales and marketing.  

Liz Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the CMO Council, said:

"Yes, sales and marketing are finally singing from the same customer experience song sheet, fully aligned on definitions and overarching mandates for revenue growth. But a single song sheet is not enough to actually develop and execute a company-wide customer-focused strategy that reaches beyond the execution of a couple connected campaigns. What is needed is strong leadership and vision, bolstered with the insight and intelligence that can power each function's goals for growth and customer value creation."

Struggling to prove ROI

A separate study by Dun & Bradstreet also provides evidence that a disconnect between sales and marketing teams is leading them to struggle to reach the right audiences, covert leads and prove ROI.

Surveying 300 B2B sales and marketing professionals and 300 tech buyers, the company found that 24% of sales people claim to not have enough time to research potential customers.

Marketing professionals have embraced a range of new tools and tactics in recent years. 58% are currently using account-based marketing, with a further 27% planning to do so. Programmatic is also used by 41%, with a further third planning on adopting the practice. 26% are also currently utilising AI.

Only 51% of the surveyed buyers reported an improvement in the sales and marketing comms they receive in the last few years. 48% believe that the comms they receive have little relevance to their role.  

Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun & Bradstreet, said:

"If sales teams have more detailed buyer information at their disposal, they can spend more time on revenue-focused activities. By using data-driven sales acceleration tools that incorporate real-time, accurate data with buying signals, marketing and sales teams will have access to more relevant information that's connected, insightful and actionable."

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