Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing

lessons from our LAB

April 10, 2019

Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing

Jay, the CEO of StringCan, oversees strategy and vision, building culture that makes going into work something he looks forward to, recruiting additional awesome team members to help exceed clients goals, leading the team and allocating where StringCan invests time and money.

It’s not hard to see why the most successful businesses also tend to have the most thriving company cultures and internal alignment among team members. If a workplace is harmonious, it’s only natural that it will fuel stronger relationships, more collaboration, and more wins. But if this isn’t the case within the walls of your business, you might be running into the age-old sales vs. marketing showdown.

Allow me to be the bearer of good news: Although this type of employee conflict (and competition) is very normal and prevalent, it doesn’t have to be the way your business operates. In fact, there’s a lot you can do as the marketing executive to end the war between sales and marketing, once and for all, so your entire organization wins - together.

Education comes first

One of the biggest reasons for sales vs. marketing rumbles is a lack of information. Sales might think that marketing isn’t working hard enough or being strategic enough to acquire ample quality leads, or that marketing is wasting their time by handing over leads that are neither qualified nor ready for a conversation. In all reality, though, marketing might be following your lead and acting strategically, only to feel that sales isn’t adequately following up with the leads they worked hard to acquire.

Issues like this are frustrating, but also very common. You and your company’s sales leader should start by sitting down together and identifying some of the most frequent complaints you hear from team members about those in the other department. Then figure out what kind of information might help each group better understand, and work with, the other. For example, you might call a meeting to more concretely decide on the criteria that make up each type of lead at each stage. Make sure both parties agree on your definitions and offer each a chance to share their frustrations openly (with tact) so you can reach a mutual understanding.

Incentivize to unify

If you’ve held sales vs. marketing competitions, you might’ve unintentionally pitted the two departments against one another. Even if such a competition wasn’t overt, any sort of incentivizing that rewards one employee or department for reaching goals that may have been influenced collectively can only add fuel to the fire.

Instead, use incentives to inspire both teams to work together. You should all be working toward common goals that move the organization forward, so figure out the role each department plays in those goals and then offer rewards to everyone when they achieve them together.

Transparency trumps all

Something else that really helps further collaboration and end the war between sales and marketing is making accountability a priority. And this is something that has to start at the top, with you and the rest of your executive team. Be open about your own shortcomings, and create a culture in which owning up to mistakes is acceptable - and even encouraged.

Also, part of the accountability equation is benchmarking key metrics and regularly measuring against them. Focus on only the ones that connect directly to your marketing, sales, and larger organizational goals, and make sure everyone on your team has access to them.  Then, keep everyone in the loop about where things stand so there are no surprises. When your metrics are improving, you can all join in the celebration. And when they’re lackluster, everyone can work together to change that.

Sales and marketing can not only get past their age-old war, but they can also play a big part in making internal alignment across your entire organization a reality. Please contact us any time to learn more.

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