Sales ‘Cowboys’ vs Marketing ‘Pen-pushers’ — Whose Side Are You On?

Marketers often refer to the sales team as incompetent ‘cowboys’

“Two departments, both alike in dignity”…although neither would admit it. Look into almost any business you like, and you’ll find a not-so-secret struggle raging between the two teams who should be working most closely together: Sales and Marketing.

This is not a new conflict. On the contrary, it’s a Cold War that’s been brewing and fermenting for decades, erupting here and there in small skirmishes over the phone, passive-aggressive emails and even the occasional explosive boardroom bust-up.

Is it really that bad?

’Fraid so. The most common sign is a hostile war of words. Apparently, marketers are ‘irrelevant pen-pushers’, while salespeople are ‘simple-minded cowboys.’ Marketing and sales teams bad-mouth each other constantly:

87% of the terms used to describe the ‘other side’ are negative, according to figures reported by marketing automation firm Eloqua.

Who started it?

You might as well ask the proverbial chicken and egg question. A better thing to consider is why they are fighting. The answer often comes down to a poor definition and division of roles. While sales and marketing teams both deal with turning prospects into customers, their functions should be complementary but separate.

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 7 Steps To Implement Effective Sales Enablement

For example, marketing researcher Jeff Ernst found that sales teams were were using only 10% of the marketing collateral supplied by the ‘enemy department’, spending 30 hours unnecessarily creating their own material.

Are there any casualties?

When two crucial parts of a business work out-of-sync, the collateral damage falls on the organisation itself. Up to 80% of leads get dropped due to poor handover practices between sales and marketing. There is even confusion over when to pass over details — less than half of organisations actually have a consistent definition of what a sales-ready lead is.

Can there be a truce?

Frankly, there has to be. Organisations with strong sales and marketing alignment have been shown to achieve 20% growth in annual revenue. The lengthening of the buying cycle and the rise in independent research by potential customers isn’t helping matters.

Poor sales-marketing alignment alone now causing 4% annual decline in some companies.

B2B marketing author Ardath Albee put it like this:

“Considering that much of the buying process is completed prior to sales engagement, it’s imperative that your salespeople have the insights they need to step into the conversation seamlessly.”

Ever heard anyone quote, ‘War is more profitable than peace’? 

In this case, the opposite is true. The consensus seems very much that getting the sales and marketing teams to wave their respective white flags could be a shrewd business moveHow do you think this goal can be achieved?

These research figures were taken from Alignment World at the Modern Marketer universe.

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