Marketing people and sales people are like cats and dogs.
By nature, they’re not expected to get along. Marketers see their selling counterparts as people who don’t understand the importance of messaging and focus solely on closing a deal at any cost. Sales professionals see marketers as “creative types” who don’t understand how hard it is to sell.
Sales says, “You don’t generate good leads.”
Marketing says, “Why can’t close a good lead?”
I read “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”. I understand that English-speakers don’t necessarily communicate from the same perspective. And a recent marketing-sales meeting really drove the “language barrier” home–again!
But Sales and Marketing should be working together, not battling.
And I’ve seen far too many YouTube videos that show cats and dogs happily co-habitating to believe that natural enemies can’t play nice.
Why should you bother?
According to SiriusDecisions’ research, “highly aligned b-to-b organizations achieve 19 percent faster revenue growth and 15 percent higher profitability.” MarketingProfs reported that “organizations with tightly-aligned sales and marketing had 36% higher customer retention rates and achieved 38% higher sales win rates.”
How do you get Marketing and Sales to speak the same language?
1. Define the company’s goals.
You can’t achieve alignment your team if they don’t understand the big picture, and their roles in achieving it. Reinforce to both groups, preferably in the same room, that their collaboration is critical to realizing success.
2. Clarify the teams’ roles.
Marketing’s job is lead generation. Sales’ job is to cultivate those leads and close deals. A marketing campaign’s purpose is not to create sales, but to “make the phone ring”. Both teams should have measurable goals. Their success should be measured by their KPI metrics, not the perception of others.
3. Identify a “quality lead”.
Sales conversion starts with good leads. “Successful lead nurturing generates 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost”(Entrepreneur). Bring your MarSale team together. Ask each to describe the qualities of a “quality lead”. You might find that they have differing views. When Marketing has total clarity about the virtues of a good lead, they may be able to target those segments.
4. Discuss the buying process.
Your marketers should understand the path to purchase for each segment. They might be able to pinpoint an opportunity for better marketing if they can see where the detours and delays occur along this path.
5. Initiate job shadowing.
Every member of your Sales and Marketing teams should spend one day a month shadowing someone from the other group. The day should include a meeting, where the shadower can witness the discussions and interactions that occur within that group. A marketer should have the opportunity to see a salesperson in action. A salesperson should be involved in a messaging brainstorm.
6. Communicate regularly.
Establish a minimum weekly reporting vehicle that moves back and forth between the two teams. Sales should identify successes and obstacles. Marketing should share metrics and upcoming campaign plans.
7. Conduct regular MarSale team meetings.
Every two to three weeks, bring together representatives from Sales and Marketing to discuss specific topics, such as opportunities for expanding market share or generating awareness to promote cross-selling. These gatherings will foster collaboration.
Your Sales and Marketing teams are invaluable to your success. Encourage them to work together productively, and everyone will benefit.