Employees working together at a table in an office.

No More Disagreements: Marketing and Sales Have to Get Along

April 7, 2023

These two important teams are notorious for their confrontations on the battlefield. Learn why this happens and how to fix it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sales and marketing often seem at odds with each other and often point fingers to blame the other for the poor lead performance.
  • But these two teams need each other and must learn to work together in a positive, productive way and recognize the value each team brings to the table.
  • Steps for a stronger marketing and sales relationship:
    1. Foster trust and activate curiosity
    2. Hold the leadership team accountable when there is a lack of transparency
    3. Emphasize closeness and communication to establish shared goals
    4. Create a plan for processes and procedures

Here’s an unpopular yet crucial concept: Sales and marketing are positioned to be best friends. 

In an ideal world, these teams are BFFs – like twins joined at the hip. The two teams work together to close deals. They support each other at different times in the lead cycle. Marketing provides the communications, resources, and tools to generate leads who may be ready for sales, and sales must confirm whether those leads are qualified. If a lead isn’t ready, they go back to marketing to continue to be nurtured. 

But instead of a recipe for fast friendship, this process is actually a constant battle. Sales and marketing must learn how to work together, support each other, and add value to the organization as a whole. 

Too often, the sales and marketing teams point fingers and play the blame game. They simply don’t get along. The cycle these teams go through to find qualified, interested customers and close deals becomes a challenge. Sales say they need more leads and blame marketing for poor performance. Marketing says they need more feedback on the quality of leads, beyond just sales saying “they’re crap.” 

Each quickly views the other as the problem behind lost business profits. Each team then undervalues the other’s contributions. And they end up in silos. 

But sales and marketing need each other – it’s a symbiotic relationship. The two teams need to share data and feedback so they will each meet their purpose. I’ve seen this firsthand.

 Neither of these teams operates alone. Neither will be successful without the other. The blame culture needs to end. The right foundational building blocks, alongside a great deal of trust and transparency, will lead to better outcomes and a better relationship between sales and marketing.

Steps to foster better sales and marketing relationships

It is possible for everyone to get along. But it takes intention and purpose. These steps will help businesses establish stronger marketing and sales relationships:

  1. Hold the leadership team accountable.

I’ve seen countless cases of the marketing team left to be reactive instead of proactive. They often don’t have a clear objective or plan, and they’re left to measure activity over influence or action over engagement.

Leadership plays an important role here. Leaders need to ensure that teams don’t work in silos, which quickly lead to miscommunications, workflow problems, and lost customers. It’s also up to the leadership team to define clear objectives so that both sales and marketing understand what they are AND how to reach them.

The 3 Keys to the rescue: Purpose, Values, and Story. The organization needs to have a clearly defined purpose, but so does each department. What is the business objective, and where do sales and marketing fit in? Moreover, what impact does the business have on the world? What is the business dedicated to deliver? Leadership needs to provide clear objectives that marketing and sales understand and align to – and most of all, these teams must work together.

  1. Emphasize closeness and communication to establish shared goals.

Communication predictability builds trust. Sales and marketing must meet regularly to review and discuss topics like the quality of the leads that come in, the materials needed to support each time, and upcoming initiatives the organization is focused on. The left arm needs to know what the right arm is up to. Sales will report whether leads are qualified or need to be nurtured further. And marketing will continue to define audiences and provide information about them so, with continued refinement, sales succeed.

Foster a close relationship with constant communication to allow both teams to share feedback. What works and what doesn’t? These teams must work together to find the solution, and they must always work toward shared goals.

  1. Create a plan for processes and procedures.

It isn’t enough to state goals and objectives. You also need the plan to execute. Outline a clear plan that defines how processes will look, who will be responsible for tasks, which tools will be used, which metrics will be tracked, and what timelines will be followed. 

This plan has to detail everything about the sales and marketing relationship so they know how they will work together, not just that they must work together. This document must be made accessible to everyone on each team for easy reference. Example metrics to include that are applicable to both teams are conversion rate, average revenue per account, lifetime value, customer acquisition cost, and more.

  1. Foster trust and curiosity

There must be a high level of trust between marketing and sales. The teams must have open communication, be transparent with one another, and share an open dialogue.

This trust starts with activated curiosity, which means not taking part in the ABCDEs:

  • Assume: We cannot assume something we don’t know for a fact.
  • Blame: We cannot blame other people for the situation.
  • Complain: We cannot complain about what happened.
  • Defend: We cannot defend what has been done – a defensive reaction is not a curious one.
  • Excuse: We cannot make excuses, period.

In other words, when you avoid the ABCDEs, you take out the emotion and work with facts. You open yourself to other possibilities, pay more attention to others, and activate that curiosity instead of stagnating. Individuals and teams who spend too much time with their ABCDEs don’t activate their curiosity and, therefore, don’t bring much value to the business. 

Both teams must strive to accept other viewpoints that broaden their perspectives. They must recognize that they are more effective and efficient when they learn from one another. And they must want to understand other people and the world better.

When this happens, and sales and marketing become best friends, performance soars, and the business grows. It will also result in more engaged, satisfied teams, happier customers, better team collaboration, and more efficient workflows across the business.

How Advantages bridges the gap

Develop your 3 Keys for greater clarity about your business’s purpose, which in turn aligns teams. These 3 Keys, which embrace and thrive on curiosity, guide you to an understanding of your unique place in the market. What does your brand stand for? What does your audience need? When everyone is aligned with your Purpose, Values, and Story, they begin to work together toward shared goals. 

Advantages’ unique 3 Keys approach guides leaders to bring teams together with the clarity of their 3 Keys and understanding of their roles within that framework.

Contact Advantages today to define and live your purpose.


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