March 14, 2024

The State of Marketing and Sales Organizations in 2024


Ashley Levesque


Citation Policy: Please feel free to use these statistics in any commercial or non-commercial capacity. If you use the statistics we require a link to Banzai.

Our latest study, conducted in January 2024, covers the structure of B2B marketing and sales organizations, how it affects alignment, and more.

Smaller Companies Have Fewer Marketers Relative to Sales

Our analysis found differences in company size affect the staffing levels of marketing versus sales functions. Naturally, larger companies have more total professionals in both marketing and sales. Unexpectedly though, the proportion of marketers to sales professionals varies by company size. Smaller companies with fewer than 50 employees have an average of .8 marketing professionals for every 1 salesperson. There are fewer marketing professionals compared to sales in smaller companies even after adjusting for their size. Smaller companies operate with a leaner marketing staff who must work even harder to compete with established, larger competitors.

Marketing Teams Carry the Torch at PLG Companies

We wondered how staffing levels would change based on the GTM motion of B2B companies. Respondents were asked about the GTM motion of their companies, with the following responses available:

Self-Serve/PLG or Self-Serve + Sales Assisted, where prospects primarily sign up for the product and upgrade to other plans on their own, but sales reps sell to the most promising prospects

Sales Led or Sales Led + Self-Serve, where prospects primarily buy through sales, but there's a secondary path for individuals or smaller businesses to self-serve into a free or low-cost plan or trial

True Hybrid, which includes the previous two options, and prospects can self-serve or talk to sales for the initial trial or purchase (and upgrades are self-directed or done with sales)

In companies where Product Led Growth (PLG) is the primary driver of customer acquisition, there’s a significantly higher ratio of marketing to sales staff; marketers in these organizations must work closely with product teams to weave customer acquisition and virality into the product experience. In contrast, companies that are sales led or have hybrid models understandably have fewer marketers relative to sales people.

Customer Success Staffing at Odds With Growth Goals?

Staffing levels of customer success professionals within sales also caught our eye. Over the last few years, net revenue retention has fallen from 120% to closer to 110% at both private and public companies, according to Altimeter Capital. With more companies focused on growing revenue from existing customers, it's striking that only 14% of professionals in a “sales” function are in customer success (a function that has increasingly been charged with revenue expansion in recent years).

The Tech layoffs in 2023 hit those in customer success roles hard. According to Lauren Larson, Vice President of Global Customer Success at Reputation, layoffs back CS leaders into a corner of “do more with less.” High-profile companies like Snowflake have eliminated the CS function altogether while emphasizing the natural integration of customer-centric practices into other roles. It’s possible there is a connection between CS eliminations and challenges with revenue retention.

The Integration of Marketing and Sales

Given the ongoing need to align marketing and sales, we also asked respondents about reporting structures, since they are a common way of addressing this coordination. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said their marketing and sales teams report to the same leaders, reflecting a trend toward more integrated departmental structures and, hopefully, a unified GTM strategy and execution.

The ability to adapt and make strategic adjustments is considered an advantage in a common reporting structure.

"Our hybrid marketing and sales organizational structure allows us to explore more alignment and centralization options. We are adaptable and flexible to market changes, making necessary strategic adjustments based on metrics and market demands.” – Simon Bacher, Ling

Organizations Optimized for Success (or Getting There)

Overall, a cautious optimism exists concerning the alignment of marketing and sales, with the concession that there is room for improvement. Most respondents are aware of the influence of coordination on their own success and appear to be actively taking steps to enhance it.

They were asked, “To what extent do you believe your organization structure is well optimized to align marketing and sales? "

Key Themes

1. Marketing and Sales Communication — a Neglected Concept

Many respondents highlight the importance of strong communication between marketing and sales. It seems obvious, but decades of misalignment between the two functions are causing leaders to focus on the basics. Some typical responses include:

"We've strived to optimize this alignment by implementing a streamlined communication channel between marketing and sales teams.“

2. Improvements in Alignment, but More Work Lies Ahead

There is a recurring theme of continuous improvement even among those who feel their alignment is optimized, with "Moderately well” being the prevailing sentiment. As an example:

“(We’re) currently undergoing changes that will push us into even more alignment."

3. Data-Driven Strategies Assist This Endeavor

Data and analytics seem to support alignment, likely because data provides a shared view of metrics and fosters accountability.

"Advanced analytics tools provide data-driven insights, informing both marketing campaigns and strategic sales outreach." – Debbie Moran, RecurPost

4. Structural Challenges With Growth

Growing companies are recognizing the need to reassess their structures, particularly to position themselves to scale significantly.

"I believe that we are very well optimized for our size, however, it would need to be reviewed if we are to grow.“

5. Shared Systems Help

Shared tools and a common view of data can enhance alignment.

“Despite having decentralized sales and marketing teams, we strive to centralize the decision-making process across our 15 locations using robust CRM." –Campbell Tourgis, Wainbee

6. Easier Alignment in Small Teams

Unsurprisingly, smaller teams and businesses report high levels of alignment because there are fewer moving parts to oversee.

“As a small business with a small remote team, aligning our marketing and sales with our organizational structure is straight forward."

Positive Vibes Driven by Structure

Respondents were asked, “What do you like about the way marketing and sales is structured at your company?”

Overall, responses emphasized the importance of the “golden oldies” of high-performing organizations: collaborative teams, strong communication and aligned structure between sales and marketing that is data driven and adaptable, with a clear set of roles and a focus on customer relationships. We’ve heard it before, but that’s easier said than done. Here are some notable observations:

1. Collaboration and Teamwork

There is a strong emphasis on the collaboration between marketing and sales teams, which is seen as mutually beneficial and contributes to the overall success of the company.

"Sales and marketing runalongside one another at my company, and it is beautiful. We help each other and both capitalize on our strengths so we can protect our weaknesses." –Allison Wagner, Morrison Container Handling Solutions

2. True Integration Is Gaining Traction

Teams appreciate an integrated approach, especially in terms of lead nurturing and customer understanding.

“Our marketing efforts aren't solely focused on acquiring leads but also on qualifying and understanding them better. We've built a system where the marketing team generates leads and gathers detailed insights about their interests and pain points. These insights go straight to the sales team, who shares observations and outcomes back to marketing to refine our strategies and assist clients better at every stage.” – Riva Jeane May Caburog, Nadrich and Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers

3.  Organizations Structured for Growth

Structures designed to accommodate growth without disrupting the workflow are sought after.

"We optimized our structure with scalability in mind." –Jason Boyd, Evolve SEO Agency

The Impact of Structure on Strategy

Respondents were asked, “If you could change one thing about how marketing and sales are structured in your company, what would it be?” (Names withheld to protect the innocent) Some attributed the lack of a unified vision to how they are structured.

"Create A Central Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategy."
"Centralize Marketing and Sales. Create a cohesive, singular vision for both departments."

Changes Desired and Impact of GTM Motion

In product-led, growth-driven companies where marketers tend to be more responsible for direct revenue growth with attribution, we received complaints about bandwidth and resources:

“We simply need more people to do the work in marketing. With a small team, we've been proving that we can help increase revenue, but we need more buy-in that we can do more if we have more help. It's a lot to fall onto a few people.”

Marketing Leadership in the C-Suite

The C-suite maintains a similar representation of both marketing and sales leaders: 48% of companies have a marketing leader in the C-suite versus 42% for sales, which bodes well for VP-level professionals in marketing (although we have to take into account the revolving door).

At lower organizational levels, the disparity is starker: People in sales roles are nearly twice as likely to have titles with “manager” (28%) than those in marketing (15%); additionally, there are significantly more marketers in directorial roles (25%) than in sales (16%). These findings reflect the importance of the player/coach in sales departments. Changes in technology, AI, and data-driven playbooks have all created the need for hands-on, “in the trenches” management of sales teams. Many industry observers are even questioning the future role of the SDR.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, our study reveals a trend towards more integrated marketing and sales departments. Progress is being made in alignment and optimization, with room for improvement. In the current environment, companies need to return to basics: deepen customer relationships, staff accordingly, and expand accounts. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so each organization will need a structure tailored to their GTM motion.