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At most organizations, sales and marketing teams don’t get along.

It’s a constant battle of playing the blame game.

Common things Salespeople say:

“I can’t hit my numbers because marketing didn’t drive us enough leads”

“The inbound lead quality is horrible. I’m wasting my time calling prospects that aren’t even remotely interested in what we do”

“We can’t close deals because all of our sales material is outdated, why hasn’t the marketing team updated them yet?”

“Maybe if marketing spent less time on social media, then we could actually hit our numbers”

Common things Marketers say:

“Their job is so easy, we’re essentially handing them deals that are ready to close, and they still can’t even close them.”

“The sales team isn’t following up with their leads in a timely manner, that’s why we’re not hitting our quarterly targets.”

“Our sales team doesn’t even fully understand the product or what we’re selling”

“I don’t even think sales fully understands what we do on a daily basis. They think we just play around on Facebook all day.”

But for an organization to successfully grow, sales and marketing need to be on the same page. They need to be working together towards a common goal.

In this post, I share some reasons why sales and marketing don’t get along, and then share some ideas on how to go about solving this challenge.

  • WH

    William Harris

    about 3 years ago #

    *singing* "Why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends..."

  • SS

    Siddhart Saha

    about 3 years ago #

    Spot on! I have seen this happen recently at our SaaS-startup. For the first year, there essentially was no marketing team and the closures were all driven by salespeople, starting from manual lead generation to closure.

    Recently, we hired a 4-people marketing team and having missed last quarter results, blame game ensued.

    We tried to remove this blockade by trying to bring both teams geared towards the same goal, that is, revenue improvement. However, we are still not able to solve this problem due to -

    1. Marketing and Sales team now have an issue of KRA. Who is responsible for what and how will they be incentivised? Marketing says that they don't want to be responsible for closures because they have seen salespeople not promptly following up on leads? This is making it harder to have them work towards a common goal.

    2. Determining why a lead / prospect did not convert and how to attribute it to whether it was a bad lead / bad sales pitch remains a problem. Building consensus remains a problem.

    I think that sometimes the CEO just have to ignore these, take a hard stance on how to resolve these problems would help... seeing results would get the two teams to collaborate. What aree your thoughts?

    • BH

      Benji Hyam

      about 3 years ago #

      Such common challenges. So first off, you're not alone.

      1. The problem with marketing being responsible for leads "closing" is you'll never be able to measure exactly what influenced the lead to close - you're likely measuring on last-click attribution and that doesn't give the full picture into what marketing channels influenced the decision. On top of that, I agree there are factors on the sales side that could lead to the lead not closing as well. Doesn't make sense to measure that way. It will create competition and blame amongst teams (believe me, I've been there before). How many leads convert into qualified leads? How many qualified leads convert into sales? Back into your goals by using that framework. It just becomes percentages - you want to make sure you deliver that amount of leads to the sales team and that should also help determine your budget. If we need x amount of leads, what channels are we going to use and how much money is needed.

      2. Get marketing and sales to do calls together. Have marketing people shadow the sales people and vice versa. That will uncover a lot of these things. Marketing can help sales talk to pain points and sales can help marketing understand their pitch.

  • BG

    Brandon Gains

    about 3 years ago #

    Addresses some intriguing pain-points for enterprise marketers as they work with sales teams. I've encountered many execs in b2b that believe marketing is a support function for sales. IE making presentations + hanging on Facebook/Twitter all day etc.

    I'd be interested in a follow-up series that looks at how marketers work with other depts as well IE marketing + customer success teams - marketing + product teams

    • BH

      Benji Hyam

      about 3 years ago #

      That's a good idea for another post Brandon.

      I'll give some of my thoughts here on that (then might write more on this later):

      What you're describing - marketing + customer success + product, when all integrated, is how a true growth team should operate.

      Unfortunately, the downside that came with the rise of the term Growth Hacking, is that many leaders (and even marketers) only paid (pay) attention to the sexy part - finding the one "hack" that will change the growth trajectory of a business.

      Many people, when trying to implement a growth team at their company, miss the core pieces of growth. The team structure, the user research, the rigorous testing, and the growth mindset.

      From what I've seen, many of these teams operate in silos - which makes it hard for companies to grow. Customer success will be given quotas by sales but none of the feedback about churn or what's working is ever given to marketing. Marketing teams are just trying to get more leads for sales. And product is building new features that customer don't want.

      All of these teams should be working together and passing feedback amongst one another - that's how everyone get's better at what they do, and where the real growth ideas come from.

  • CW

    Cindy Wilkosz

    about 3 years ago #

    Only those who can master both sales AND marketing can truly be successful! I totally agree with this article!

    • BH

      Benji Hyam

      about 3 years ago #

      Thanks for the comment Cindy. It seems like a simple enough concept, but I'm surprised how many companies think they're doing this correctly, and aren't. Hopefully this will help drive the awareness of the importance of sales and marketing alignment.

  • MR

    Mudra Rao

    about 3 years ago #

    This is 100% true. Marketing team blaming sales and vice versa. Great post!

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