Why Marketing and Sales Need to Make Revenue, Not War
In the old days, the marketing department’s job ended once the product launched and sales took over. Now it seems a marketer’s job is never done. Rather than simply passing the baton to sales departments, marketers are now on the front lines using inbound techniques to capture the right sort of clients and get them safely into the arms of sales associates. So why can’t the two departments just get along?
Why Sales and Marketing Often Butt Heads
Harvard Business Review wrote up an amazing piece way back in 2006 intimately detailing the root causes of conflict between sales and marketing departments. The true reason for all the strife, according to the authors, was that the purposes and definitions of success for the two departments were diametrically opposed. For example, sales teams feel that more boots on the ground means more closes. Marketing, by contrast, seeks out loftier ambitions that promise long-term gains while often consuming a large portion of the budget. Marketers are always trying to improve on something, while salespeople are taught to make do with what they have. Marketers view failures as major problems and must look at the data to avoid further complications. Sales reps dust themselves off when they fall and try again.
The truth is that these two departments come from completely different worlds, and when they’re allowed to stay separate, finger pointing and miscommunication can often be the result. These hang ups can cost quite a few missed opportunities — failure to work cooperatively and monitor progress through the sales funnel leads to both teams dropping the ball.
Turning Conflict into Cooperation
Not every organization is prepared to handle their disconnect between marketing and sales teams. They must find ways to incentivize cooperation between the two so they can remain on common ground and develop mutually beneficial processes. Even something as simple as developing a shared language or a shared definition of a qualified lead can help shore up confusion and prevent letting potential clients fall through the cracks.
Examples of ways to encourage cooperation and increase client conversions include:
- Regular meetings between the departments
- Joint projects that force department employees to work together
- Put one department in the other’s shoes with job rotating or allowing one department to make presentations to the other
- Define processes with shared languages, metrics and goals
In the end, there should be a clearer role for marketing and how it plays into overall sales and revenue goals — it all boils down to communication.
Bringing Sales Up to Speed with Inbound
With inbound marketing techniques, marketing departments are doing more leg work than ever to nurture leads and convince them to reach a point where a sales associate could help them further. However, inbound is often a lengthy process full of leads that seem to go nowhere. Sales people must learn to be patient with this process and appreciative of the benefits it can afford, such as attracting more knowledgeable customers who are capable of asking the right questions. Sales must also be prepared to recognize leads that are ready for immediate follow-up, even if they appear to be at the wrong stage in the funnel.
The More We Get Together
Sales and marketing have almost never been fast friends, but this friction is mostly caused by the shifting roles of marketing and the relatively stable roles of sales. Brands that want to see more cooperation must give the departments more opportunities to interact so they can define processes and goals together. Inbound can make this cooperation easier since marketing has a more deliberate role along the sales funnel. There must be a system in place, though, to recognize qualified sales leads and give sales the chance to follow up on them before they cool. Facilitating coordination between the groups will foster more opportunities, and definitely more revenue.