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Sales and Marketing remind me of Noel and Liam

By Pete Hendrick on 9th March 2016

I recently saw some interesting research from Demandbase stating that Sales didn’t follow up on 25% of the leads that Marketing passes them.

Whilst I suspect that most of the marketers that read that tweet gave an exasperated tut and feel this is no real surprise, I was okay with it. You see, whilst I’m not normally a great fan of conflict, I like the fact that Sales and Marketing have a love-hate relationship a bit like the Gallagher brothers. I want them to fall out, give each other the silent treatment, then work through it and bring out the best in each other. It shows that they care about what they do and are prepared to challenge one another. And when they do, they’re a hit. Sales and Marketing are sometimes like feuding brothers, and you need to understand both individually and how they can work as a partnership if you want them to produce great results together.

Some might say the friction is inevitable

Great results don’t always need for the process to be completely frictionless. The best decisions often come from the hardest discussions, and while Sales and Marketing are tasked with achieving a mutual goal, they inevitably clash. Just like the Gallaghers, but most of the time, without the expletives. Some sales professionals think marketing doesn’t generate enough leads and the ones they do pass through aren’t of a high enough quality. While some marketers feel that sales don’t work their leads hard enough and give up too soon. One of the reasons for the clash is that they attract different personalities. At B2B Marketing’s recent InTech event, one speaker described Marketing historically as being about creativity, Sales about focus. Creativity and focus aren’t always the most comfortable bedfellows (though they should be). That cultural divide is changing though. Today’s B2B buying landscape means it has to. Creativity of campaigns without focus on the right buyers with the right message through the appropriate channels simply doesn’t cut it.

Sales and marketing need to learn to roll with it

We always find that the best sales and marketing results are achieved when cultural differences are recognised, and so too is collaboration for the benefit of the organisation. We always recommend to our clients that they introduce some pragmatic measures to foster more teamwork, such as:

  • Having regular joint sales and marketing meetings
  • Co-creating campaign targets
  • Jointly authoring a service level agreement, outlining the steps each department will take to help the other achieve their goals
  • Holding training sessions for one another, so that each gets a better understanding of the other’s skills, roles and challenges

Sales and marketing people will always fight like Liam and Noel because they’re passionate about what they do. Expect and embrace it, and both departments will be a hit. You’ll always have a few dud leads from marketing or ones that sales could’ve worked harder. And that’s fine. Think of them as your B-sides. Nobody cares about B-sides (well, apart from The Masterplan, which is a belter). GIF via GIPHY

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