It’s clearly the exception, not the rule, when you find an organization of any size where sales and marketing form a closely, bonded team that is totally in sync. And, maybe that’s asking for too much but why is there a chasm, sometimes quite large, between the two groups. Why don’t sales and marketing get along?
I’ve heard more times than I can remember from many marketing people complaints that sales does not follow-up on the leads that are generated or use the material that was created for a specific product or audience. As often, or maybe even more, I hear from sales that all the leads generated by marketing are crap or that they don’t understand the customer and what messages will resonate.
I’ve now worked in sales AND marketing and I see that there are valid points being made by both sides. However, I think the reasons sales and marketing don’t get along are more ingrained than just arguing about tactics and specifics. But there is one main reason for the rift; that is COMMUNICATION.
I know it’s easy to blame communication for many of the problems within an organization but I don’t mean that the solution is purely to communicate more. It’s deeper and more fundamental than that. The communication issue is not just about the frequency and format. It’s also about using the same terminology and giving the straight facts and feedback without spin.
To name just a few things that need to be communicated accurately: sales needs to know what marketing campaigns are planned and the key messages that the prospects will hear; what news releases will be going out and the coverage from those announcements; what product launches are upcoming and what it means for their current and future customers.
While marketing needs to know: what happened with the leads generated from the recent campaign and which ones ultimately resulted in sales; how the key messages communicated have been received and what questions arise; which competitors they are competing with in the account; and most importantly what problems the customer is facing that their solution can help solve.
As you can see, all these items can be solved through sharing of information and communication but in many cases I don’t even see that happening. And even when it does, the terminology being used is different between prospect and qualified lead, for example, or the feedback is so filtered or reworked that the real context and feedback is lost.
To solve the terminology issue, sales and marketing need to get together and define the sales funnel, agree on the definitions for the different stages and the process for sharing information about the leads. I’ll talk more about this in some upcoming posts. After everyone is talking the same language, then consistent, honest and regular communication is key.
At each company, there are many different reasons why sales and marketing don’t get along. However, many of these relate to communication so marketing and sales just need to talk and from that will flow the respect needed to build a well-oiled sales and marketing machine. Time for a group hug :-)?