One might think that when different departments have to work together for the sake of the overall organization as well as the sake of their own careers, there’s no choice but to band together and get the job done cooperatively.
However, if one does think that, one has likely never had to work as a part of those teams.
Just as Kobe and Shaq never liked each other on the Lakers, sales and marketing – though ostensibly working towards the same goals from similar perspectives – often do not get along. But unlike with Kobe and Shaq, there are solutions for the sales vs. marketing dilemma, and none of them involve a trade to Miami.
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The bottom line
A lack of cohesion amongst sales and marketing can negatively affect everything from intangibles like workplace morale and satisfaction to highly quantifiable factors like captured leads, sales and revenue.
According to Aberdeen Group, an information technology research and analysis firm, organizations with optimized relationships between marketing and sales teams grow revenue 32% faster, while businesses that do not nurture those relationships see their business decline.
#1 Reason for the rift: one of these things is not like the other
It’s assumed by those who aren’t fully in the know that sales and marketing are essentially doing the same thing, which leads to dangerous ideas such as the notion that a tremendous marketing team can render a sales team redundant, or vice versa.
This misunderstanding creates an inherent competition between the departments when what they really need to be doing is teaming their distinctly different tasks and talents – ones that rely on each other.
Marketing can help sales by providing effective marketing materials and messaging, as well as high-quality contacts and leads. Marketing deals primarily with big picture concerns, carving out the direction the company is going in, crafting the overall marketing message, designing marketing tools like sales kits, data sheets and white papers based on that message, and amassing leads. Sales, meanwhile, deals with contacts, leads and customers on a personal basis.
Sales, meanwhile, can help marketers create better marketing materials and messaging as well as pull in better quality leads by providing invaluable front-line information on
customer needs, concerns and motivations.
#2 Reason for the rift: only sales gets measuredThe key is to get the departments together regularly to discuss how things are going, and how things could be going better. Good communication is essential.
If sales and marketing are supposed to work together towards sales goals, why is it that only the sales department is tasked with the responsibility of meeting those sales
goals? Whether or not this actually results in the sales department having to work harder than the marketing department is almost irrelevant because the perception will always be that closing sales is fully the responsibility of the sales team.
Chances are your organization haBy setting goals that are shared between sales and marketing, you effectively incentivize collaboration between the two departments. This doesn’t have to be a difficult switch either.
s a marketing automation system as well as a customer relationship management system. But are those systems connected? On their own, these systems are impressive, but when working together they can have a major impact on an organization, allowing every closed sale to be traced all the way back to the lead from which the sale originated.
This not only makes it easier for success to be tracked as well as replicated, but it also helps identify the points at which issues may exist.
#3 Reason for the rift: the left hand would like to know what the right hand thinks it’s doing
One of the most common complaints from sales about marketing is that marketing frequently passes on leads that aren’t sales ready, while marketing commonly complains that the sales department frequently neglects the leads they’ve passed on.
This signals a disconnect between what the two departments see as a sales-ready lead, and is a cause of major strife.
What can be done? Attach a number to it
Take the guesswork out of what qualifies as a sales-ready lead by implanting a lead scoring system. This system assigns a value to every action a lead takes, such as signing up for an email newsletter or watching a video on the website. When the values amount to a predetermined score, that’s when a lead becomes a sales-ready lead – one the sales department can be expected to act upon.
Communication, collaboration and integration
It doesn’t just so happen that organizations across the world have somehow staffed their sales and marketing departments with people who naturally don’t get along.
There are significant systemic issues at play when it comes to the divide between these two departments, but with communication, collaboration and integrated systems, marketing and sales can work together to become one well-oiled machine. After all, even Kobe and Shaq were able to bury the hatchet.