Sales and marketing butting heads? How to bridge the divide and close more deals

Relationships are tough—in the workforce, they’re even tougher. Partners want to be in tune with each other, but sometimes it’s nearly impossible to understand one another’s perspective and find common ground.

Where do I see this happening the most in business? Among sales and marketing teams.

Often at odds and butting heads for budget, it is imperative that these two learn how to navigate their ‘marriage’ effectively, or else the whole corporate family suffers. Sales teams, it’s time for you to leave Mars, and marketing teams, time to stop being blinded by the sun and start understanding what your sales partners are trying to tell you.

The Different Love Languages of Sales and Marketing

Every CMO has likely witnessed some degree of tension between sales and marketing, despite the fact that their responsibilities are inherently intertwined.

Key obstacles to this relationship:

  • Metrics: Marketing departments are focused on revenue while salespeople tend to be more concerned with the number of leads they are converting.
  • Separation: The two departments are frequently siloed, and in some cases, located in different parts of the country, making communication even more difficult.
  • Politics: When everyone’s priority is saving their own hide, it becomes easy to blame the other. Plus, it isn’t always clear who gets the credit for a sale. Should marketing get some credit for the nurtured lead and engagement? Or is the salesperson the hero for closing the deal? 

Learning How to Talk it Out

Bridging these conflicts means agreeing reason and meet in the middle, even if that means we feel like we’re floating in the middle of space. So how do you begin to address these problems to get your sales and marketing departments playing for the same team?

It starts by fixing the foundational culture and communication of your business.

Plan for frequent meetings between the two teams at the start of each sales cycle. By making them all a part of the planning process, both sides learn to work towards the greater goal, and not just for their own metrics. If you get people to be measured by the same goal, you’ll get them dancing to the same tune.

Once the sales and marketing teams are on the same page, start implementing tactics to ensure that they continue their investment in each other’s success. Assign joint projects, or work on improving the quality of feedback from salespeople. Follow-up is vital to ensure the continued success of aligning the two groups.

Remember You Have One Thing in Common: Customers

The real secret to sales and marketing harmony comes when you change measurement systems altogether to reflect the one item that matters to both sales and marketing: customers.

Consider, for example, planning out a system with both of your teams to decide what constitutes a worthwhile lead. When everyone agrees on details like this, marketers will be able to have more realistic expectations of salespeople, and there will be more understanding and less resentment flowing between the teams.

There are plenty of other ways to centralize sales and marketing efforts, especially as the emergence of actionable big data tools make customer data more accessible than ever. Regardless of how you do it, bringing the attention of your sales and marketing teams to the customers will turn tense, strange bedfellows into a synchronized and efficient partnership.