Although there are polite water cooler chats about safe topics like the weather, Netflix and sports, the conflict between the Sales and Marketing teams is always lurking underneath that pleasant smile. Who knows what gets said behind closed doors? Whether it’s an ongoing power struggle or constant blame game, the professional working relationship between these two teams is often strained.
So why is this, and what can you do to try and resolve the conflicts? After all, there are two sides to every story, and when the teams can work in harmony, it can lead to a happier environment and transform the way your business works. Plus, the issues are actually easier to resolve than you may realise…
Many companies underestimate the power of marketing
Marketers say: “Sales don’t understand what we’re selling.”
Sales say: “Marketing is just there to support us.”
More often than not, especially in more traditional companies, Marketing is seen as a supportive function for Sales. However, if marketing is done right, it can easily serve as a business driver and should be recognised for its potential to create revenue through delivering warm leads to sales, activating customers and improving customer retention.
This lack of recognition can often lead to marketers feeling undervalued, and Sales may dismiss the true potential of what a clever marketing strategy can achieve. When done well, content and its amplification can capture people at the start of their buying journey and nurture them down the funnel to land them as a customer.
Competitive goals lead to negative vibes
Marketers say: “Why do Sales get all the rewards and incentives to hit targets when they can only hit them with our help?”
Sales say: “Why isn’t Marketing measured in the same way that we are?”
Goals that are based on individual team performance rather than the whole company can result in conflict and resentment. When one team's members feel like they’re pitted against each other to reach their own targets, they’ll be much less inclined to support one another. A lack of synergy will inevitably lead to poor performance overall, as Sales and Marketing go hand in hand.
If collaborative goals are introduced and revenue targets are set for both teams, both will have a vested interest in working together and truly understanding the needs of the business. Sales will be more inclined to provide deeper feedback and recognise what works and what doesn’t in terms of marketing tactics.
Does anyone really know what the other team does?
Marketers say: “We’re essentially handing signed deals over to the Sales team, but they still can’t close them.”
Sales say: “All marketers do is waste time on social media.”
A lack of communication and sometimes literally a lack of visibility means the two teams don’t actually know what each others roles are on a day-to-day basis. Without knowing the daily grind, it can be easy to make assumptions and take for granted just how much work goes on behind the scenes.
To solve this, the two teams need to be more collaborative — more so than just a forced weekly meeting to go over figures. Introduce sessions between Marketing and Sales to find out how sales have gone this week, invite Sales team members to Marketing strategy meetings or brainstorms, allow marketers to sit in and listen to sales calls. This will ensure a much wider appreciation of how their roles impact one another.
Conflicts over budgets and resource
Marketers say: “Sales is redundant, we essentially do all the hard work.”
Sales say: “All marketing do is waste money on fancy brochures and attending trade shows.”
Sales see fancy marketing material like brochures and trade shows as a waste with little business value, marketers see Sales as redundant. But in reality, both need one another to maximise the growth of the company.
Again, allowing the teams to integrate more will help resolve this tension. The Sales team could provide input on what might work best in the next e-newsletter from customer feedback, or Marketing can pass on valuable insight into the customer journey to help close the lead.
Who’s at fault for low sales?
Marketers say: “They don’t do anything with all the leads we’ve generated.”
Sales say: “The leads they generate aren’t good enough!”
This is usually the main reason why Sales and Marketing don’t get along: when sales are down, they point the finger at each other. Because they are so intrinsically linked, it’s easy to pass the buck when things start to go wrong.
Arguably, if Sales don’t get enough of the right leads, then they will struggle to close the deal, while Marketing often feel like the Sales team doesn’t follow up on leads. To solve this, it all comes back to collaboration. A combined budget and targets can push both teams towards a wider goal of success for the company.
We can work it out…
In an ideal world, the sales and marketing teams will learn to work together and build a dynamic relationship. Ever heard of Smarketing? It’s the concept that describes the two groups as fully integrated, with shared budgets, incentives and targets.
We’re not there yet, but perhaps it’s where the future lies. The two go hand in hand; a good marketing strategy is essential to help drive sales, and sales can then create a feedback loop that will drive the success of marketing efforts. When the two teams are truly aligned, there won’t be any room for hate, just success!
Find out how to get Sales and Marketing working together with our ebook: Unifying Sales and Marketing for Explosive Revenue Growth.