No matter how well integrated Sales and Marketing are in an organization you’ll probably still find the typical complaints from both sides. Sales will say that Marketing isn’t close enough to the business and doesn’t really understand what sales does/needs/wants. “Marketing never seems to be working on anything I need,” or “I don’t know what they do in that ivory tower but I wish they’d do this.”
On the other side of the fence, Marketing is saying, “Sales doesn’t pay attention to any of the programs/tools/information that we put out there for them. They don’t listen and ask the same questions over and over. They don’t follow up on leads. They don’t understand that there is a bigger picture and everything marketing does isn’t for the short-term sale.”
Both sides hit on some truths; neither side is wrong.
I’ve spent my career on the Marketing side of the fence and I take no offense to the criticisms Sales typically has for Marketing in general. Much has been written and talked about when it comes to building bridges between Sales and Marketing and the closer the two are in alignment the more effective an organization will be at realizing revenue and profits. I’m not going to layout how the two can be brought together but rather offer some practical advice to Sales on how to get what you want out of Marketing.
Recently I overheard a sales person approach a member of our marketing department. He came to say that he wished our new collateral piece contained x, y & z. He then asked why we couldn’t advertise in a publication important to his customer and then he relayed a request from a customer for a tailored presentation on our services. The presentation was a legitimate request but it was met with lukewarm enthusiasm. I’m sure the marketing person had just heard what sounded like a litany of complaints about the things they had worked on. Perhaps valid complaints, but definitely delivered in a negative way.
This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this. Sales can often just dump their frustrations, customer complaints and criticisms on Marketing. And I subscribe to the fact that Sales is Marketing’s customer so we need to take it, filter it and make sense of it.
But it does strike me as odd that the very same people who can convince the most curmudgeon prospect to buy and who can take a customer on the verge of cancellation and upsell them, don’t use those same selling skills on their very own marketing folks.
Everyone likes to be complimented. Everyone wants to feel important and believe that their contributions matter. Applying those same principles on your own marketing staff can yield dramatic results. You may not get everything you want from Marketing, but you will get more cooperation, involvement and consideration.
I promise that I’ll write for the other side – How Marketing can better work with Sales.