Sales and marketing departments: We need to talk.

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It's the surreptitious if not secret culture clash between sales and marketing that's costing most companies a good profit.


Sales and marketing are two different cultures. Marketing is about opening minds. And sales? All about closing deals. And the truth is, the two cultures really don't like each other. Most companies have this dysfunction. The financial ramifications of such a dysfunction are rarely tracked on an Excel spreadsheet.


If they were, the business world would be rocked by revolution.

Sales departments and marketing departments would actually work in the same room together: demographics would be chosen by consensus, campaigns would be timed for the before, during, and after sales processes; sales people wouldn't go after people who weren't qualified buyers; expensive marketing collateral would stop dying slow deaths in supply closets, and the world would finally put an end to the senseless buying of one-shot glossy ads in magazines.


You see, secretly, many marketers view salespeople as boorish, pushy and gross, and most marketers know very little and want to know very little about the sales process. It just turns them off. Salespeople on the other hand, often dismiss most marketing as a slight of hand, as a world of picturesque, ivory tower generated flufferfy that is out of touch and doesn't do much.


Dumping all PC notions, gender plays a big role.

Most marketing departments are staffed by women, (no, no, no, of course not ALL) who quite frankly, have a strong distaste for perceived sales behaviors, and most sales departments run pretty male, (no, no, no, of course not ALL) with salespeople who feel as if they take enough heat from customers (who don't want to talk to them on the outside), while they endure an even hotter fire under their *ss set from managers on the inside, who just the want numbers. So salespeople are NOT interested in what anybody from marketing has to say about the real work of getting customers to sign on the freakin' dotted line.  


Can the art and science of marketing, of attracting new life, work in harmony with the process of hunting down the deal, of moving in for the kill and closing the sale? Do you see it too? Do you see something rather ancient in the dysfunction between marketing departments and sales departments? Do you see cavemen and cavewomen finally sitting down for a fireside chatski?

Yeah, the dysfunction is pretty much cured with one thing: Communication. And the desire to communicate. (Matter of fact, there's even this thing in companies called Communication Departments)


Here's a 4 step primer, a cheat sheet, that's probably going to shake it up and maybe shore it up if used as directed. 


Marketing and sales need to work together to form a sales strategy. Marketing and sales need each other to close business. The following suggestions are surprisingly simple. But few companies align, integrate or plan their sales and marketing efforts as a unified team and whole. Please resist the desire to substitute the nomenclature: 'cavewomen' for marketing, and 'cavemen' for sales.


1.    Marketing must help the sales departments focus their prospecting. Marketing needs to know who is buying now and sales needs to tell marketing all it knows about potentially new markets. Concurrently, marketing must take the first plunge and test out new demographics to help salespeople target the right buyers. Sales people spend far too much time chasing unqualified prospects.


2.    If a sales team is having success in one area, marketing needs to target similar types of clients before sales plans a visit. (Example: if your firm has had success targeting new hotels, what other new hotels can receive case studies and essential benefits?) The goal is to help sales people make less cold calls and close more deals.


3.    Salespeople need to feel that marketing tools will help them close deals. That means sales people need to tell marketing people how they prospect, how they present, how they prequalify and how they close. And marketing people need to create messaging that showcases sales benefits -- the same dang, essential benefits sales people are presenting to further the sale out in the field.  


4.    Marketing materials (collateral or Powerpoint or Iphone brochure) should reflect an educated understanding of the customer's pain and how to solve that pain. That's sales and marketing getting together to talk about the right product, the right buyer and the right sales and marketing behaviors to close deals or convert on the web.



While these suggestions are only a slice of the pizza in the big pie concerning how to integrate sales and marketing efforts, these suggestions nonetheless can determine if there is consistency and communication between sales and marketing. Maybe pizza and is beer is the first step to get your team talking.


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