It’s a common trope.
Sales and marketing just don’t get along.
There’s always some reason for it – marketing always sends crap leads to sales, or sales is always asking marketing for something they can’t deliver.
But it’s never the fault of the department who’s complaining. If you’re hearing sales complain about marketing, it’s all marketing’s fault. If it’s marketing complaining about sales, it’s all sales’ fault.
Whose fault is it really? It can’t be a blameless occurrence; someone has to be screwing up somewhere (and often) for there to be such stark lines drawn in the sand.
How about this: It’s the fault of BOTH departments.
That’s exactly right, it’s not a blameless occurrence. Both departments are a bit to blame.
Some of it is company culture, and a rigid mindset as people get older.
I’m not talking older like baby boomers or gen X – I’m talking my own generation, millennials, as we move from our early 20s to our 30s. All of us are guilty of this, from the bright eyed and bushy tailed new hires to seasoned and experienced veterans of any company.
The practice of most mid to large sized companies is generally to silo marketing and sales apart from each other, rarely having either department interact aside from mid to upper management. It’s also rare that any of us make it to our 30s and onward without ever working for a company that does this – sooner or later, we’ll all end up with a stint at a company that wants sales and marketing to never ever interfere with what the other department is doing.
This mindset is at the heart of why sales and marketing don’t get along.
When you only hang out with your own team, it’s easy to blame the other team.
Some of the issue is that we tend to stick to “our own kind”, especially if a company has an old school internal structure.
If a company is keeping sales and marketing isolated from each other, it’s easy to blame the other department when things don’t go right. I’ve heard sales guys complain that they hated marketing teams because “marketing always said no!” to their ideas. I’ve heard marketing complain that they’re fed up with sales because sales never uses the software/content/leads that marketing provides.
When sales isn’t meeting quota, they feel the crunch – and it’s easy to blame marketing for not sending them enough leads, or not doing a good enough job with the brand awareness. When sales has great ideas for getting more leads, marketing shoots them down (they don’t have time for the flavor of the month!), making the sales team feel like they’re not able to try anything new.
When marketing doesn’t get bonuses, or when they’re getting leaned on by management for not increasing numbers, it’s easy to blame sales for not doing anything with all the perfectly good leads they do send. Marketing is likely to get frustrated that sales won’t stick to the sales process that marketing is trying to follow, or that sales drops the warm leads they feel that they keep sending.
Why would marketing want to try a new process or tool when sales can’t even stick to the current one?
Neither department is wrong. Sure, marketing could probably send sales more leads. And sure, sales could probably do more with the leads that marketing does send.
It’d be great if sales had more flexibility in the tools or processes they could try, and it’d also be great if the hand-off from marketing to sales went as smooth as butter.
But the thing is, it doesn’t need to be so exclusive. It doesn’t need to be that marketing just gets leads. It doesn’t need to be that sales is the only department that can work those leads.
Let your sales and marketing teams blend together.
The way to fix the bickering between sales and marketing is to remove the walls between them.
Make it so that sales and marketing aren’t isolated from each other.
Make it easy for them to talk to each other – and give them a clear direction to go in.
In particular, tie both sales and marketing to very specific goals. Be clear that the two departments have to work together to demonstrate their progress towards those goals. Utilizing a tool like Hubspot allows you to associate closed deals with specific campaigns and activities – meaning that both sales and marketing can clearly see the impact that their actions have on revenue.
The ability to measure campaigns against revenue is a new analytic option within Hubspot, but with a CRM that tracks emails, clicks, social media statuses, blog content, and forms, you can mimic that capability.
Even without the campaign analytics tool, you can still give marketing and sales a revenue target and the leeway to strive towards it.
By making it a joint venture, you gently force them to work together. Sales can try and achieve it alone, but they’ll have a significantly harder time than if they embrace the insight and information that marketing can give them. Marketing will have the ability to assign concrete numbers to their work, giving them quality feedback on what is or isn’t working.
Sales and marketing need to stop being isolated from each other.
The more you open up communication between the two teams, the better your business will perform. A marketing team that’s familiar with the sales process, common sales techniques, and the general principles of sales is one that will work beautifully with your sales team.
Conversely, a sales team that understands basic marketing principles will also be able to utilize the tools and opportunities that marketing provides them.
It’s not that either team is trying to make life harder for the other, or that either team wants the other to fail – they just seldom get shoved together enough to play nice.
It takes some work, especially at first, but the end result is a stronger, more effective team.