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  • Patricia Neuray

Can’t sales and marketing just get along?


With a background in both sales and marketing, I’m often asked the question of how the two departments can work more effectively together. Although they are often co-dependent, it can sometimes feel like a dysfunctional family with lots of infighting and passive aggressive behavior. Sales doesn’t understand why marketing can’t bring them more qualified leads and marketing doesn’t understand why sales can’t close the leads that they do bring to them. Unfortunately, this type of finger pointing is often more prevalent than not. However, when sales and marketing work together as a well-oiled machine, the results can be amazing. Fortunately, there are some best practices than can help you start acting like one big happy family.

Walk in their shoes

The career experience and mind set of marketers compared to salespeople is usually very different. The only way to truly understand what someone else does on a daily basis is to actually do the job. One technique to try is to have new hires paired up for a week with their counterpart in marketing or sales. You can actually have them do mock role playing so that the marketer gets a feel for what it’s like to be on the phone with a customer. Have the salesperson create a sample marketing plan complete with budget, deliverables and ROI metrics. Although both people may grumble a bit about why they have to go through this process, it will definitely give them a better understanding of the challenges that the other person faces.

Create some friendly competition

Another way to encourage teamwork is to conduct training sessions with both departments involved. After training on a new product or service, pair up marketing and salespeople and ask each group to create a sales pitch and then present that together to the rest of the group. Make it fun by providing a reward to the team that gives the best overview.

Compensate them

Develop a bonus program for marketing that is dependent on the number of leads that turn into sales. Marketers should be able to participate in the success of sales since they are helping to drive that performance. Alternatively, create teams that include two salespeople and two marketers each and offer a bonus if that team hits their numbers for the quarter. Require each group to meet weekly and create a scorecard for their performance against the goal so that everyone’s on the same page and can report their progress.

In summary, sales and marketing teams don’t have to be at odds with each other. With a little creativity and effort, you can create a cohesive partnership that benefits everyone. Most importantly, leaders of the departments have to play nice with each other and set an example. If they don’t see eye to eye and present a united front, it will be almost impossible to get everyone else on the same page.

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For more information on marketing and advertising, email patricia@tangelo-media.com.

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