HubSpot (credit image/Pexels/Canva Studio)HubSpot has published new research, Behind the Scenes: A Marketing, Sale and Customer Success pulse check. The survey indicates a disconnection between business decision-makers and those tasked to deliver customer success in a revitalised post-pandemic UK market.

HubSpot surveyed 900 cross-industry marketing, sales and customer service managers to understand how they’re experiencing life on the customer frontline. The survey covered AI, job satisfaction, connection to the business, priorities and challenges, skills and team alignment. The research uncovers the sentiments of these core teams and offers practical advice on how to equip them to succeed.

More than half of the managers surveyed from marketing (53%), sales (55%), and customer experience (57%) professions report being sidelined during strategic discussions. However, they are still expected to execute plans.

78% of professionals have a solid understanding of their organisations’ goals across marketing (78%), sales (76%), and customer experience (68%). More than 70% of these professionals strongly believe their teams are pivotal to reaching the desired goals.

Artificial Intelligence: a double-edged sword

In the current business landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) tools have been widely adopted. 80% in sales, 79% in customer experience 82% have used AI in their roles in the past year. Most managers (88% marketing, 87% sales, 92% customer experience) endorse its effectiveness, and its usage is projected to increase. Sales professionals anticipate the largest growth, with an almost ten per cent surge.

However, despite the enthusiasm for AI, there are significant reservations. Whilst 59% of marketing managers feel the push from leadership for AI-enabled efficiency. 50% of them worry about AI potentially making parts of their roles obsolete. Similarly, in sales, despite 85% planning to incorporate AI tools in the coming year, 49% feel under-equipped. In customer experience, while 92% appreciate AI’s efficiency, concerns around accuracy (56%) and potential redundancy (53%) persist.

Skills and training

54% of managers in marketing, sales (53%), and customer experience (61%) are seriously considering changing roles in pursuit of superior technology tools and training. The allure of enhanced learning and career opportunities, coupled with a healthier work-life balance, is tempting to over 60% of managers. Similarly, 60% in marketing and sales, and 64% in customer experience are considering exploring alternative options.

Almost two-thirds of marketing, sales and customer experience managers would change roles for better learning and development. More than half fear redundancy due to AI

Budget crunch and performance focus shift

Budgetary limitations are a pressing issue across departments. Around half of all marketing (49%), sales (52%), and customer experience (52%) managers reported stagnant budgets. A substantial number have endured budget cuts (25%, 27%, and 32%, respectively).

The financial crunch has instigated strategic recalibrations. Sales managers exploring cost-effective strategies like social selling (39%), and customer experience managers cutting down on staffing and training costs (41%). Marketing managers are amplifying their focus on customer acquisition and creativity (40%).

(Credit image/LinkedIn/Flavia Colombo)
Flavia Colombo, Country Manager, UK and Ireland at HubSpot

According to Flavia Colombo, HubSpot’s Country Manager, UK and Ireland, “There’s a dichotomy at the very heart of our operations. We entrust managers to implement important strategies in this age of artificial intelligence where the customer journey is so important. However, they feel alarmingly sidelined in critical decision-making.

The antidote to this discontent is surprisingly simple – inclusivity. Let’s pull these professionals into the boardroom. Equip them with the skills and tools they need and listen to what they have to say,” Colombo added.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business

Times are tough for UK marketing, sales and customer success professionals. 2023 has been a year of major disruption. A turbulent year filled with both great opportunities and some potential hurdles.

On the positive side, the report notes a lot of optimism and excitement being shown by these professionals. These professionals are embracing new modes of work, new technologies and tools. Furthermore, they are developing the right goals that will lead them to greater customer connection – future profit and growth.

The blot on the landscape in the finding. More than half of marketing, sales and customer experience managers were forced to execute strategies they had no say in. This is pretty outrageous. The first step for successfully implementing any new project, product, service or software is understanding the staff’s requirements and needs. Boardrooms must develop the necessary channels to ensure key frontline staff are involved in the strategy’s development.

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