In a recent article for Inc. Magazine, Geoffrey James makes some (blunt) assertions about how marketers generally don’t help sales people in their mission of closing business. While this is almost a religious argument between ideological factions, it is interesting to note that the very same author previously made an almost diametrically inverse argument in an article for CBS News.
The reality, of course, is that marketers and sales people depend on each other to be successful. In some companies, we all know, they don’t work well together, just like a dysfunctional family. But when they do work together – the result is magic! Keys to successful sales/marketing collaborative relationships include:
- having the same goals (sales targets, customers, markets, etc.)
- agreeing on basic operating guidelines (what constitutes a “lead”, who is responsible for which activities, etc.)
- frequent and honest communication (what worked, what didn’t work, and why?)
- shared credit for success and responsibility for failure (WE won that deal, WE haven’t achieved our market penetration targets, etc.)
- respect for each other’s work, and valuing input from each other (please help me put this value proposition together based on what our customer’s use cases have been; we need a lead nurturing campaign for these specific companies – can you please develop that?)
- adaptability (ability to change what isn’t working, even if it appears to be an industry standard, or something that provided previous success)
Every organization is stronger when we marshal the intellect and resources of our sales and marketing teams together. This does not have to be a fantasy – make it a reality today!
Hi Gavin, I read Geoff’s article, he certainly ruffled some feathers which is probably what he set out to do, he got a lot of traction and comments on it. I agree with your points above – in particular the second point to not only define what constitutes a lead but to define where the handoff should occur so that there is clear accountability and ownership. One suggestion he raised in both articles makes good sense. Have marketing spend some time in sales and have sales spend some time in marketing. That way they can gain an appreciation for the challenges faced day to day and ideally collaborate to produce better marketing support for sales.
Sue Madden Moore
Hi Sue. Your suggestion to have marketing and sales live in each other’s worlds for a bit is outstanding! What a great way to appreciate the reality of what everyone is facing. I wonder how many organizations would be willing to make this investment? (At Kaon, we often ask the sales team to participate in marketing activities – trade shows, seminars, webinars, guerilla marketing at trade shows, etc., but we haven’t had marketing involved in sales calls directly [yet…!]) Great idea.