Revenue Growth Slowed by B2C Brands’ Struggle With Marketing and Sales Team Alignment

min read
Revenue Growth Slowed by B2C Brands’ Struggle With Marketing and Sales Team Alignment

Inflation is finally driving consumers to reduce spending and the era of unprecedented growth is waning for B2C brands. At the same time, high interest rates and increased costs are causing investors and executives to demand marketing and sales teams directly connect their investments to revenue. In our new State of B2C Revenue Execution Report, we found that while marketing and sales jointly own revenue at B2C companies, their teams are woefully disconnected. The data shows that the resulting gaps in strategic collaboration are driving down revenue growth for consumer brands at a time when they can least afford it. 

This triple-whammy challenges the cultural, organizational, and technological status quo, especially in high-stakes, high-touch industries like automotive, healthcare, home services, telecom, and others that rely on a seamless combination of digital experiences and human interactions to convert leads. 

When the customer leaves the digital journey—which many B2C companies have nearly perfected—and calls a business, the experience breaks down for them and visibility of the buying journey and attribution for revenue becomes obscured for marketing, sales, and contact center teams. This results in poorly coordinated planning and a lack of shared goals, undermining revenue growth. 

For this report, we surveyed 600 marketing, sales, and contact center leaders at B2C organizations who reported that 20% or more of their lead conversions happen on the phone.

We’ll delve into the root causes of the disjointed and disconnected buying journeys that hamper revenue growth. You’ll discover how misaligned marketing, sales, and contact center teams impact visibility and revenue, why the buyer journey is broken, and how revenue leaders are (or aren’t) connecting their investments to revenue. 

Let’s dig into the data to learn the importance of creating a unified “revenue team” that owns the entire buying journey from the first click through the final sale. 

Marketing and Sales Alignment is Needed for Revenue Growth

When marketing, sales, and contact center teams work as a single revenue team, they can collaborate on shared goals and build a unified buying journey that drives revenue growth. However this is often not the case at many B2C brands.

This isn’t a result of ignorance. Over 90% of marketing, sales, and contact center leaders believe that alignment across their departments is important for driving revenue growth. It’s apparent that many are struggling to achieve it, as only 1 in 10 say their teams are strongly aligned.

When you compare the level of confidence between organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales teams and those with weak alignment, the impact becomes apparent. Nearly all companies with highly aligned teams are confident revenue will grow significantly in the coming year. Only a third of those with poorly aligned teams believe the same.

What Causes Poor Marketing and Sales Alignment?

The poor alignment between marketing and sales at B2C companies can be attributed to a confluence of interrelated factors. The survey found that the leading cause of misalignment is a lack of alignment on strategy. This stems from a cultural and structural issue in B2C companies where deep collaboration between sales and marketing teams is not expected like in B2B organizations. Though they are working toward the same goals, the teams are often heavily siloed and largely function independently of one another. 

This leads to the second and third most common causes of misalignment—inconsistent data handling and poor communication. If teams are organizationally siloed, communication is more difficult and there won’t be systems in place to share data and other information. 

Without integrated technologies, you can’t properly handle and share data, get a unified view of the customer, or align on KPIs. The reasons for poor alignment cited by B2C marketing and sales leaders are interrelated, causing a self-fulfilling cycle of dysfunction.

Misaligned Teams Lead to a Broken Buyer Journey

Alignment of sales and marketing teams impacts the visibility of the buying journey—and the ability to attribute investments to revenue. This is particularly acute for B2C brands in high-stakes, high-touch industries where consumers frequently leave the digital buying journey and call businesses to set appointments, get quotes, and get the advice they need to make an informed purchase decision.

Each piece of the multi-channel buying journey is owned by a different department, siloed from the rest. Marketing will handle much of the digital journey while sales, contact centers, or teams overseeing individual business locations own the phone call experience where most customers ultimately convert. 

When alignment is poor, marketing lacks access to conversion data for the phone leads they drive. Without that data, they can’t prove their impact on revenue or get the data they need to optimize campaigns and digital experiences to drive high-quality leads to call. All the while, contact centers are burdened by a lack of intent data for inbound calls and too many low-quality leads. 

Part of the issue is from lack of ownership of the buying journey, as 70% of marketing and sales leaders say the buying journey has no clear owner in their organization. Less than a third say they are very confident that they understand their customers’ full buying journey, though that jumps to 40% when they have access to contact center data.

The result is a broken buyer journey and poor customer experiences that drive down revenue. The lack of understanding of the buying journey is attributed (pun intended) to a lack of visibility into calls, unifying online and offline data, and accessing data from other departments. 

Revenue Attribution and Growth is Directly Tied to Sales and Marketing Alignment

If marketing and sales can connect their investments to revenue, they can prove their performance, make smarter optimization decisions, and reduce wasted spend. In fact, over 8 in 10 marketing leaders say that it’s very important to directly attribute revenue to marketing investments. Most of them have difficulty accomplishing this, however.

Half of marketing leaders say they find it difficult to tie marketing spend to revenue. Nearly 70% can’t tie their marketing spend to revenue that results from conversions that happen on the phone. 

The biggest barrier to getting revenue attribution comes as no surprise—nearly 40% say it results from poor alignment between marketing and sales, and nearly a quarter point to lack of access to contact center data as the culprit. Lack of access to data and poor alignment are one and the same—teams that are well-aligned will likely have better access to cross-functional data streams.

When you don’t have proper attribution for revenue, you also don’t have data to make good optimization decisions. The result is that marketing may be sending a high volume of leads to call, but they may not be properly qualified. 

When marketing sends a high volume of low-quality leads to the contact center, they will spend more time converting fewer customers and drive less revenue. With limited visibility of contact center data, though, it’s tough to optimize marketing efforts to drive better leads. 

Over 80% of sales and contact center leaders say revenue is negatively impacted by marketing sending too many low-quality phone leads. Marketing leaders agreed at nearly the same rate.

The Result: B2C Marketing and Sales Leaders Lack Full Control of Revenue Growth

The marketing, sales, and contact center teams at B2C brands are all jointly responsible for driving revenue growth. Over half of the marketing, sales, and contact center leaders surveyed say they have at least some control over revenue outcomes. But a disturbingly high number (36%) say they have limited or no control over revenue outcomes.

This is a strong signal that many revenue teams cannot see the buying journey all the way through from the first click to the final sale, and therefore feel that they can’t control the outcomes.

With complete visibility of the buying journey and better alignment between marketing, sales, and the contact center, businesses could experience significant revenue growth. The accelerating pace of change in consumer behavior and AI-powered technology, combined with a more challenging macroeconomic environment and regulatory regime, is creating more separation between the winners and losers in every industry. 

In this new environment, consumer brands need tighter alignment across the entire revenue organization to succeed and thrive. And ultimately that alignment is a function of great technology, meaningful organizational change, and a relentless focus on the consumer.

Get the full report here to learn more

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