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This report analyzes 5,261 responses to understand which investments sales people want from their CMO. We broke down answers by function, seniority, and company size.
- Sales wants more leads, but it's not a runaway winner. 33% of sales respondents prioritized lead gen. But, brand building and customer insights were right behind at 27% each.
- The data shows how CMOs are pulled in different directions from each stakeholder.
- Comparing sales leaders vs frontline reps shows different marketing priorities, even within the sales org.
- As companies scale, answers shifted slightly to more sales enablement.
- See the top comments behind the numbers.
- Use our slides and CSV export to drawn your own conclusion.
Sales wants more, better, different, faster leads. Marketing wants sales to follow the SLAs, close what they send, and keep the CRM tidy.
But do sellers only care about leads?
With all the pressure about leads, do they even see or value the more nuanced aspects of marketing? What do sales reps really want from their CMO? And is that what marketers think they want?
In this edition of Peer Signal, 5,261 business people weighed in. Let's get into it...
We framed this poll from the sales rep's perspective. Here's how we asked:
Problem: Lots of Non-Sales People Answered
We wanted to understand the sales perspective, but this was clearly happening:
Good News: Non-sales responses allowed us to study this question from many perspectives.
With 29% of answers coming from sales, 32% coming from marketing, and 39% from other roles, we saw the whole range of what stakeholders want from their CMOs.
Here are the total results, before we did any scrubbing or slicing by job function.
This is impossible to trust alone. So let’s get into the details...
Take Away 1: Sales wants leads, but it's not a runaway winner
Looking at sales roles, the responses shifted toward lead gen as you’d expect. But it wasn’t a clear majority. 33% of sales people picked More lead gen. Brand building and insights were right behind at 27% each.
This suggests that sales people have a broader appreciation for marketing than just lead mechanics. And for CMOs, is there more support for brand building within the sales org than marketers generally assume?
Take Away 2: Everybody wants something different from the CMO
This chart shows the challenge of being a modern marketing leader. They want it all.
CMOs own some of the biggest strategic investments in any business. But that ownership comes with a lot of stakeholders, each with different priorities.
Take Away 3: Within Sales, frontline reps are more divided than senior leaders
Taking a second cut by seniority, we compared senior sales roles (C, VP, Dir, Head of) against frontline reps (all other sales titles).
Senior leaders more decisively prioritize lead gen. Frontline reps are more divided.
So CMOs get different demands from different departments, AND different demands from within their sales org. They might have their CRO pounding the table for lead gen, groups of reps asking for brand building, and CS and Ops pushing for more customer insights.
Take Away 4: As companies scale, more people want insights & enablement
While the difference was subtle, you can see enablement and insights increasing with company size.
Bigger companies have bigger teams which might make their enablement problems more acute. Insights could be a reflection of company and market maturity — as categories get more crowded, do market and customer insights become more critical to stand out?
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Behind the Numbers
There was a lively discussion on this topic from a wide range of people.
Kristin Gallucci, a CMO, offered a strong view on prioritizing brand:
"The answer is always brand building but yet it's where the least spend is allocated. What salespeople want is to call a prospect and the prospect say 'of course I've heard of you and I've heard great things about your product' That is the power of a strong brand."
Sam Schooley, an SDR manager, made the simple case for lead gen that many sales people agreed with:
"more at bats for sure :). More leads = more info about everything else :)"
Kelly Dyer highlighted a common sentiment. It's really "both" brand and lead gen:
"It feels like the conversation/argument right now is binary. What's the best way to allocate funds to satisfy both short and long-term needs? There has to be a way. A salesperson is measured quarterly and if they aren't hitting their targets....that's not a pretty picture for anyone involved."
Cody Lee, a VP of Growth Marketing, agreed that it's a false choice:
"It's not binary, it's both. You can do exceptional marketing that drives demand and builds brand at the same time. Just have to stack and sequence the right activities"
Lindsay Cox made a case for customer/market insights from a sales point of view:
"More customer/market insight will lead to more brand building which will lead to more successful lead gen. Sales enablement should be on the sales organization, in my humble sales person opinion."
"I am in sales on Jordan’s team, (thanks for commenting so I see this Jordan!). I picked brand building because our product truly sells itself once people learn about it, and I would only ever associate myself with a product I believe in. If we can get our brand and information to more people, everything else will follow."
Bill Skowronski shared an unexpected view from a branding agency.
"Even working for a branding agency, I chose 'More customer/market insight.' Lead generation, EFFECTIVE brand building, and sales enablement doesn't happen without insight into your customer's/market's needs. That's the first step we'd take with a client. It should be any CMOs, too."
Michelle Craig, a Director of Business Development, highlighted how answers should vary based on the company's current state.
"This is a tough one to answer, because it really can depend on the state-of-today for your company. For example, if your sales team is currently getting enough leads, but they don't have the tools to properly move them through the customer journey, sales enablement might be key."