- Jun 1, 2016
- By Sarah Tsai
- In Marketing Strategy and Planning
5 Common Disconnects Between Marketing and Sales Teams and How to Address Them
Your marketing and sales processes are closely aligned. Therefore, it would make sense for your marketing and sales teams to have a solid relationship, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. The disconnect between sales and marketing seems to pop up in every organization, affecting morale, efficiency and revenue generation in offices around the world. Although these relationships are often uncomfortable, they can also be resolved. Once you understand the most common ways in which sales and marketing find themselves at odds, you’ll be better equipped to resolve these issues, paving the way to a happy and lucrative partnership.
Let’s dive into the five most common disconnects between marketing and sales teams, as well as how to resolve them.
While it’s true that co-workers don’t need to be best friends in order to successfully work together, they shouldn’t be at odds, either. And yet, that’s where marketing and sales teams seem to find themselves all too often. According to a study done by InsideView and Demand Gen Report, significant parts of the sales and marketing teams that were surveyed have negative views of each other. For instance, sales believes that marketing isn’t properly held accountable for its role in lead generation; sales teams also state that marketing is too concerned with branding and holding events to properly generate and nurture leads. On the other hand, the marketing side has a cynical view of sales, believing that the sales team is a greedy bunch that’s concerned solely with making money.
From an outside perspective, it’s clear that neither side is as bad as the other perceives it to be. However, that doesn’t make it any easier for sales or marketing to tolerate a department that it doesn’t truly respect. To avoid this, your company needs open dialogue between sales and marketing.
2. Lack of Communication
Not surprisingly, the InsideView/Demand Gen Report study cited a lack of communication as the biggest factor in the flawed relationship between sales and marketing. That’s a shame, because marketing and sales have so much to learn from each other. When sales complains about marketing not pulling its weight when it comes to lead generation, that’s because the leads that come from marketing aren’t quite ready for the sales team, which wastes the time of your company’s sales reps. Meanwhile, marketing wants sales to make better use of systems like CRM that can help both teams to achieve their goals.
The absence of productive communication between sales and marketing is something you’ll need to change in your organization. A simple meeting of the minds can do a lot to thaw the ice between the two sides. Such a meeting would allow each team to air their grievances in a controlled and positive manner, and both sales and marketing could begin to see what the other group actually does. And as the two sides become more comfortable with each other, they’ll come around to the idea that they can rely on each other to make their own jobs easier, and to help the company as a whole.
3. Broken Processes
It’s hard to fix something if you don’t know it’s broken. Improving communication between sales and marketing can help you realize that the working relationship between the two sides can be vastly improved. One of the most common disconnects that exists in companies worldwide is that marketing and sales have different interpretations of what constitutes a qualified lead. Marketing may believe that it’s providing quality leads to sales, only to later find out that those leads weren’t quite ready for a rep to reach out.
The best way around this dilemma is to get the sales and marketing teams on the same CRM software. Not only will this enable them to share relevant information, but it will help to score your leads based on your pre-established criteria. Both sales and marketing will clearly see where a given lead rests in the sales funnel, allowing sales to see if they’ve got a lead that’s ready to buy. If the lead needs further nurturing, marketing can see a numerical representation of what needs to be done to get that lead up to speed. It’s efficient and informative, and it’s a much better solution than your marketing staff rolling their eyes at yet another complaint from the sales team.
4. No Common Metrics
On paper, it seems to make sense that sales and marketing are judged differently. After all, they’re separate departments, so why wouldn’t they be subject to different criteria? The problem is that having separate goals is just another reason for marketing and sales to resent each other. Obviously, that's a scenario you want to avoid.
While marketing and sales may have different internal goals, their endgame is the same. That is, of course, to generate as many paying customers as possible. The only way to do that is for marketing to locate and nurture as many quality leads as they can, and for the sales team to close those leads.
That’s why it’s so important that the metrics for both sales and marketing reflect this ultimate goal. Marketing should be judged by the quality of its leads and the readiness of those leads for the sales team. Success in sales should be predicated on the ability of the sales team to take a sales-ready lead and convert that prospect into a customer. If done correctly, this synergy will help both groups to become more successful.
5. Lack of Accountability
To an extent, the feud between marketing and sales makes sense when you consider the fact that the discord actively affects each party. Marketing looks bad because sales isn’t doing its part, and vice versa. It creates a potentially toxic situation that can result in poor morale, employee turnover and frequent drama.
The good news is that you can avoid this scenario entirely. The best part about aligning the metrics of sales and marketing is that each side will have true accountability for the first time. If marketing knows exactly what it’s responsible for achieving, the team has no excuses if those goals are not met. The same is true for the sales team. And if one side falters, that failure will be obvious, and the other department won’t be held responsible.
Another major perk of this arrangement is that both sides will have input as to what comprises their standards. And if your sales and marketing teams can handle that, the sky's the limit. This shows a true understanding of how marketing and sales work together, and what each side needs to do to help the company move forward. If you can manage to get your teams to this point, you're well on your way to crafting the kind of sales and marketing partnership that can do amazing things.
It’s Time to Make Amends
The disconnect that exists between marketing and sales teams is truly unfortunate, especially given how much these two sides need each other. But there are solutions to every dilemma you may encounter. Opening the lines of communication, allowing each side to help the other and holding them accountable to the same metrics will help you to smooth out this difficult relationship, creating a cohesive unit that will drive your revenues to unforeseen heights.