How to end the marketing and sales war
In most companies, marketers and sales managers, if not at war, at least live in different frames of reference. They tend to attribute each new corporate victory to themselves, each defeat to the other. The dispute over who is in charge in the company continued until the end of 2019, but today we can confidently resolve this conflict.
Marketers bring in leads, salespeople bring in money. It would seem to be an axiom of modern business. The marketer and the sales manager have different tasks, and because of this there is a perceived rivalry. But the goal is really the same. Can salesmen work without marketing specialists, given a common corporate goal? For example, a lead came through a referral link. The salespeople work with him for a month to finally make the purchase happen. Who is the hero? Is it the salesperson? But after all, the lead may have received a regular trigger mailing to build credibility with the company; read blog articles to immerse himself in the topic; and studied personalised presentations about the product to work with him without a salesperson.
It can often be difficult to credit the marketing department, whereas it is easy to praise a salesperson for a closed deal. In such circumstances, it is important not to get hung up on different tasks, but to look for opportunities to combine efforts to achieve a common result.
A good salesperson knows that you can start building a relationship with a buyer just by asking questions. In the same way, a salesperson can build a relationship with a marketer. Marketing and sales teams should communicate on a permanent basis, for example twice a week. Salespeople should talk about their calls, negotiations, objections received, marketers should ask about shortcomings in materials, quality of leads.
Just this one step allows teams to:
* organise a feedback loop;
* identify which marketing materials need improvement, what needs to be changed and how;
* identify what mistakes salespeople make when using corporate materials;
* establish a mutually beneficial collaboration;
* share information on unit performance.
The last point may be the most important one on a company-wide scale. The fact is that a lack of understanding of each other’s roles is often the biggest obstacle to effective team collaboration. If sales and marketing people can clearly explain to each other what the company actually does, they can begin to bridge the gap between their departments.
It does not matter which side you are on. The war between sales and marketing can only end if both sides win. So how do you win this war?
Start a process of productive dialogue between the marketing and sales departments. In an ideal world, this should take place every day. During the dialogue, the teams need to exchange information about their plans, work emphases, strategies, ideas. An important aspect is the evaluation of performance, product materials, channels of communication with customers, successes or failures.
A salesperson may not be a marketer, but they should understand exactly what a marketer does in a company. Similarly, the marketer should have an understanding of the salesperson’s job. Start a “Get in my shoes” project in which, for example, the marketer spends an hour or a work shift performing the tasks of a salesperson under the sales manager. Conversely, the salesperson is a guest in the marketing department.
Create a single space for live communication between marketer and salesperson. It’s worth considering that a “chat room” in a popular messenger or corporate forum may not work. The point is that a single information space always addresses an employee’s immediate needs, is connected to their work processes and has access to other systems, such as CRM or BI. A single communication environment is best done on the basis of a corporate portal.
Provide teams with single digital tools to work in a single digital environment. Importantly, “one tool” here should include the consumer, i.e. the existing customer as well as the cold or warmed-up lead. The targeting accelerator Selvery, which emerged in 2019 and has become a solution to the conflict, could be such a tool. Selvery works in line with the account-based sales strategy, i.e. sales based on customer data. It allows teamwork to start right at the start. The marketer uploads the necessary information for the sale to this ABS app, Selvery generates a targeted presentation, the salesperson uses it during the sales session, and the customer sees only what they are interested in. And at the end of the session, any material can be improved after joint discussion, because all presentation views are logged and colleagues can immediately see what works and what doesn’t.
Instead of concluding: the best way for any company to grow is for marketers and salespeople to learn to work as a team and to fully coordinate their work with each other. Ages are changing, markets are changing. New tools and opportunities for resolving any corporate conflict are emerging. All that remains is to seize these opportunities, leaving behind preconceptions and stereotypes about “perpetual war”.