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  • Patricia Neuray

How Sales and Marketing Can Learn from Each Other


As Henry Ford famously said, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."That could not be a truer statement when it comes to sales and marketing teams working together. Each team is reliant on the other but too often there is infighting and rivalry where there should be collaboration and teamwork.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that marketing and sales people have very different skill sets. But what if that became the secret weapon? What if each team could learn from the skills of the other? So, let’s try to embrace those differences so that the combination works to both team’s advantage.


1. Become More Metrics Driven

Many salespeople will tell you that they don’t need to formally track how many calls they make or emails that they send or the response rate that they receive. Unfortunately, that means that they often end up relying on too few prospects to determine their fate. Just as marketing teams have become extremely metrics driven, salespeople should embrace that mindset as well. All salespeople should know some basic stats about their call and close ratios. How many calls and emails do you send in a day? What percentage of connects do you actually make? What percentage of contacts become a real prospect? What characteristics do those clients have in common? What type of emails or voicemail messages are working?

2. Storytelling Is Key to Selling

Just as marketers know the power of emotion in an advertising campaign, salespeople should think about ways that they can relate to their prospects with examples and anecdotes that paint a picture. The job of the salesperson is to guide the customer through the buying process and that means that the dialogue should be unique to each stage depending on whether the client is in the initial research phase or ready to make a purchase decision. Each time you are interacting with a prospect, think of ways that you can build an emotional connection between your potential customer and your company rather than simply relaying rote statistics or dull facts.


1. Use Intuition in Addition to Metrics

Numbers are extremely important but so is intuition and common sense. Many times, marketers rely so heavily on the metrics that they lose sight of the big picture. Learn from the sales team directly what is working and what isn’t. For example, even if a particular campaign seems to be generating a lot of leads but those leads aren’t converting, talk to sales. Understand why those prospects aren’t responding. Think about talking to the potential customer as well to find out why they are not interested in engaging. Maybe the content is attractive but the people that are responding are not the decision makers. Maybe you are giving them too much information and they don’t feel the need to speak to sales. Maybe you aren’t differentiating enough between your company and your competitors. The bottom line is to avoid getting tunnel vision and looking at the numbers as the only indicator of what is and isn’t working.

2. Focus on the Top Line Revenue

If you are not paying attention to the overall revenue number, you are missing the most important metric of all. At the end of the day, the company revenue is the only thing that really counts. That doesn’t mean that you are solely responsible for the number, but it doesn’t mean you are off the hook either. At the end of the day, everyone in an organization should think of themselves as salespeople because the company depends on that customer focus. However, marketing should be the most closely aligned and that includes feeling the pain if the number is not reached as well as getting the rewards when it is attained. Most companies do not reward marketing when goals are met, but that would definitely help to align objectives.

In summary, we all have to remember that employees are hired for different skill sets in different roles. If everyone was the same, the company would fail. However, if teams don’t respect the attributes of other teams, the company will likely fail as well.Instead of mud-slinging, let’s try learning about what makes the other person tick and how you can incorporate some of their knowledge into what you do every day. Ultimately, success depends on it.

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