Do sales and marketing really hate each other?

By Tibor Shanto

Do sales and marketing really hate each other?

Hate is a bit strong, but it speaks to the perceived divisions between the two groups, and the measurable waste that results.  Rather than hate, I think what we witness is the boiling over of frustration due to misunderstanding rooted in communication.  More accurately, poor communication or lack thereof at times.  Frustration leads to lost deals, and that’s when the finger-pointing starts.

As ITWC President and CMO Fawn Annan and I have been discussing sales and marketing issues on our webinar series, Closing The Gap, we keep bumping up against the question  “why does sales hate marketing?”  Rather than skirt the issue — which I believe is mostly a communication issue – we are going to tackle it head-on.

The tension between the two groups is interesting because when you approach sales and marketing independently, they will both tell you they are part of the client acquisition and retention business.  If both camps can live with that, then the question becomes “why the disconnect?’  Which is where I repeat it is less of a disconnect, and more of a miscommunication based on each’s others’ view of the cycle.  Each has an honest view, just informed by different factors for different tactical outcomes.

In this video I compare data about the best times to make cold calls.  The point here is that two trusted organizations had two polar opposite conclusions about the same subject.  Why?  A different vantage point delivered different data points, which skewed their views.  Rather than saying one is wrong, it is better to understand where their data was skewed and see if there is a way to leverage the combined data to deliver cooperation.

To work together, it is a good idea that each has a real understanding of what the other thinks they will bring to the mix.  There are things marketing is better equipped to handle, while sales may have a clearer view of something.  Start by defining roles in terms of how it helps a buyer make a decision.  As a start, not an absolute, I like to state that marketing provides the air cover for the ground troops that is sales.  This clearly lays out what happens where and by whom, before we get into helping the client make the right decision.

Sales has to provide specific feedback to marketing in two areas. The first is to clearly identify the collateral we need to tactically move the sale forward, ie. case studies, buyer intel, white papers, assistance videos, and other items that help buyers buy. The other is to suggest content that will influence the thinking and decision of the buyers in consideration and decision stages.

Armed with that information, marketing needs to get more engaged with existing clients, bring forward more real-life success stories that buyers are looking for. And when a deal is lost, it’s marketing that needs to go back to the client to try and understand what might have been done differently, so that learning can be applied to the next deal.

Sales can’t do that but marketing can. Done correctly the fresh intel can be lead to future wins.

Tibor Shanto is an award-winning author, trainer and social selling thought leader.

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Steve Proctor
Steve Proctor
Steve is Vice-President Marketing and Communication with ITWC. He spent 25 years in progressively senior positions as a journalist and editor with the Halifax Herald, with his final ten years as Business Editor. He has published two books and his freelance articles have appeared in national and regional magazines. He has led social media and communication efforts for two crowdfunding ventures and written and directed numerous dinner theatres for charitable endeavours.

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