Sales is the life blood of any business – organisations cannot exist without customers, members, supporters, patrons, and the like.
Sales and marketing’s sole focus is to attract and retain viable customers for their organisation. Even though sales and marketing share a common and noble purpose, we often find they are working at odds with each other taking sibling rivalry to a whole new level.
Yet life would be wonderful if sales and marketing teams could get along and work together. Unhappily the relationship is often fraught with conflict, turf wars and jealousy. However, it is possible and indeed necessary now, to create a cross-functional partnership that is effective and co-operative and creates meaningful value i.e. revenue, brand equity, loyalty, goodwill, profit, genuine corporate citizenship, etc, for all parties.
Let’s look at some of the ways we can build viable bridges and partnerships between sales and marketing.
Sales and marketing departments are always expected to work together and collaborate yet they are treated as two separate functions. By bringing them together and educating/training them in the same things – i.e. sales processes, sales strategy, marketing concepts and strategies – giving them a common language and ensuring each area understands the mechanics, goals and objectives they want to achieve, we can begin to find common ground, a shared vocabulary and shared goals. People from both areas benefit from learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge and exploring new applications, which in turn facilitates communication as well as aligning thinking, values and shared purpose.
Create a marketing-sales supply chain
Get sales and marketing to create a map of the marketing and sales process, from marketing profiling a market segment through to sales closing deals and service feedback loop.
Close the loop
Make sure there is a feedback process from sales to marketing. We cannot tell you how many times we hear how sales didn’t know this or that or marketing would have done something different if sales had only kept them informed. The best organisations are those that use sales as a resource to determine what is working and what isn’t. Sales should be encouraged to provide comprehensive, constructive feedback so that marketing can make adjustments for the future.
Share gain and pain
Therefore one of the best ways for marketing to understand what it is like in the field is to allow them to experience it. When marketing people get in front of customers and experience the challenges and opportunities salespeople face every day they get a better understanding of how the business needs to connect and interact with its client base and market on real terms. As a result, marketing teams are able to create more effective, real, marketing programs.
Commit to a common understanding and common ground
Marketing deal with groups and sales deal with individuals. If sales and marketing work as two separate entities with different vocabularies, different goals and different projects, there’s always going to be natural barriers. Instead, involve marketing in developing sales account plans and sales creating marketing plans. While this won’t fix everything, it becomes an important influence in the process of creating an effective marketing and sales partnership.
Here are some more related articles you might be interested in:
- Why selling is now a team sport
- From mass marketing to markets of one
- Move over mass marketing here comes sales strategy
Sue Barrett is a sales expert, business speaker, adviser, sales facilitator and entrepreneur and founded Barrett Consulting to provide expert sales consulting, sales training, sales coaching and assessments. Her business Barrett P/L partners with its clients to improve their sales operations. Visit www.barrett.com.au