Three Levels of Sales and Marketing Alignment Maturity

Traditional Go-to-Market (GTM) processes – and technologies – are built around the lead, the individual buyer who progresses along your funnel until becoming a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and is then passed like a baton from Marketing to Sales.

But in every complex B2B deal, there are many buyers involved: the decision-maker, the end user, the influencer, the CFO, the procurement department, and so on. Gartner and CEB research found the average buying team includes 5.4 people, and larger technology purchases can have 12 or more.

That’s why so many B2B companies have hit a wall with traditional MQL-based demand generation efforts. 

The traditional model of linear deal progression, with a handoff from marketing to sales, won’t work for complex modern B2B buying.Brent Adamson, Distinguished Vice President, Advisory, Gartner 

From “Hand-off” to “Orchestrated Team”

During the marketing automation era, Marketing and Sales alignment resembled a “baton pass” in a relay race. Marketing owned the top of the funnel, generating leads – which they would then pass to Sales who, in turn, owned the deal close and post-sale growth.

This linear model worked at the time, especially for simple lead-based go-to-market strategies. But it is looking increasingly outdated in the face of an increasingly non-linear account journey.

Rather than a hand-off baton pass, in ABX the Marketing and Sales departments operate as a team. Players have distinctly different positions – offense and defense – but they work together to pass the ball back and forth down the field to create and win new business and drive account growth.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

Want to move your Marketing and Sales teams toward orchestrated movements of a well-practiced team? Our infographic walks you through three levels of Sales and Marketing alignment maturity.

Get your copy of The Clear and Complete Guide to Account-Based Experience (ABX) for more insights from top B2B marketing leaders, practical tips, and worksheets to level up your marketing strategy.


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Chief Marketing and Product Officer, Demandbase

As Chief Marketing and Product Officer of Demandbase, I'm responsible for delivering Demandbase’s product vision to delight customers and fulfill its mission of transforming how B2B companies go-to-market. I have a long history of establishing and leading some of the most notable marketing technology companies. Most recently, I was co-founder and CEO of Engagio, the leading Account-Based Orchestration Platform. Earlier, I co-founded and held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for Marketo (acquired by Adobe).