Marketing to Sales

I’m surprised that anyone is surprised that sales and marketing don’t get
along.  You would have greater success in forging a bond between cannibals
and fat missionaries.  At least one has a taste for the other.

Most humans have differing perspectives, based on their needs and goals. 
The perspective of a homeless bum differs significantly than that of a
politician (the only similarity being that both have their hands in your pockets
whenever you walk by).  These different perspective prevents sales from
understanding the benefits provided by marketing, and prevents marketing from
understanding the urgency of sales.

The primary differences in perspective between sales and marketing are these:

1) Sales is short-term focused (making quarterly quota) and marketing is
long-term focused (brand, loyalty, . . . ).  

2) Sales meets customers daily and individually, whereas marketing may
only meet customers infrequently and often in aggregate (focus groups).  

3) Sales is completely outbound in their focus, whereas marketing needs
inbound information about customers.

The common touch point is customers.  This tie that binds
(and gags) both sales and marketing is the one element around which both camps
can rally.  But for harmony to reign, both side have to give.

Yes . . . give.  I know this is a painful suggestion, and requires both
sales and marketing to drop their dominion over the other, but it can and does
happen.

How marketing can give:

  1. Marketing should understand that sales people are under perpetual
    pressure to perform.  What sales wants from marketing are tools that
    help keep the pressure off.
  2. Marketing must arm sales with tools that help them adapt to
    individualized sales situations, not one-size-fits-all messaging.
  3. Marketing need to think "quality", as in "quality leads".  There is
    nothing that hurts sales enthusiasm more than having to churn through a huge
    stack of poorly qualified leads, looking for one gem.  Quantity is
    useless, and quality is gold.

How sales can give:

  1. Sales must give marketing information in the form that marketing can
    use.  It may seem slavish to keep CRM entries up-to-date, and guide
    customers to satisfaction surveys, but this information is essential for
    marketing to help sales down the road.
  2. Sales needs to understand they are part of the inbound information flow,
    and not the last word.  Marketing gets input from many different
    sources, so sales should add to the conversation, not dominate it.
  3. Sales should stick to the provided messaging and give feedback on what
    does and does not work.  Too often sales edits the market messages and
    does not help marketing refine messaging through feedback.  This
    hinders marketing direct promotions, and cripples other sales hands.

Yet, the most important element of giving should come from top management, in
the form of giving sales and marketing the mandate and time to work together. 
So little time is invested in structured communications between these split
corporate personalities that a company looks schizophrenic to their customers
(like when the advertising copy provided by marketing says "ABC" and the
self-edited sales presentation says "XYZ" ).  Top management should ensure
that the marketing and sales chiefs are next door neighbors, and see one another
more often than they see their own spouses.  And this guided sharing of
goals, perspective, and information should be enabled through lower ranks as
well — say between field sales people and marketing project coordinators.

And if that doesn’t work, top management could always give more . . .
they could give sales and marketing a swift kick in the  . . .


Speak up! What are your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.