Sales and marketing have never quite seen eye to eye. Sure, you’re both ultimately pursuing the same goal of improving business results. However, siloed goals and objectives make it difficult to create the perfect union between your two departments.

One of the biggest problems is that anything short of successful collaboration devolves into finger pointing. How can poor results be marketing’s fault if you hit all your lead gen goals? How could sales have fallen short when they were working off of your qualified leads?

Closing the gap starts with putting yourself in the shoes of your sales team. When you understand how your processes frustrate sales, you can take steps to solve any problems.

Every relationship between sales and marketing is unique, but the following are 4 of the most common ways that you could be frustrating your sales team.

1. Qualifying Leads that Aren’t Ready to Buy

The biggest miscommunication between sales and marketing happens when you hand off qualified leads. For sales, that means that the lead is ready to make a purchase decision and they have a chance to close the deal.

But many MQLs aren’t actually showing purchase intent. Instead, you have a system of scoring for things like content downloads, website visits, and demo requests that may not accurately predict intent.

It’s understandable that sales teams get frustrated when they waste time trying to close leads that aren’t ready to buy. Rather than forcing your MQL system to work, you need to find a way to speak the same language as sales. In an account-based marketing strategy, this might mean focusing on accounts rather than individual leads. But even if you aren’t shifting to ABM, working more closely with sales to create a definition of a qualified lead will help.

2. Failing to Empathize with Sales Quotas

Marketers are often criticized for focusing too much on vanity metrics — social media impressions, website visits, email subscribers, etc. And from a sales perspective, this criticism extends to anything that doesn’t directly relate to revenue quotas.

Because sales is so focused on meeting monthly, quarterly, and annual quotas, they get frustrated when marketers are spending so much time worrying about things like brand awareness.

You know that awareness plays an important role in generating the leads that will fill sales quotas. But when you’re collaborating directly with sales, that can’t be your driving focus. Showing more empathy toward sales quotas and actively showing that you’re trying to contribute to those specific goals can ease the frustrating of your sales team.

3. Playing it Safe with Content

Marketers are always searching for ways to increase engagement in content marketing. And for a long time, the most popular advice was to focus less on your business and more on the customer.

That advice still holds true — but it doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time creating content top of funnel awareness.

One reason sales gets frustrated with marketing is that they often treat middle and bottom-funnel content like higher-level awareness pieces. When it comes time to persuade a lead and close a deal, sales needs content that has an edge to it. Case studies, solution briefs, white papers, and other content needs to have a point of view for sales to use it effectively.

Playing it safe with your content won’t help sales prove that your company stands out amongst the competition. But when you tailor your content to the specific needs of your prospects, you can make life easier for sales and help close more deals.

4. Knowing Too Little About the Customer

As marketers, we’re supposed to know every single detail about our target customers. That’s the whole point of creating ideal buyer personas.

But too often, marketers focus too much on fake profiles and not enough on actual customers. That’s where frustration sets in for sales.

When sales is working on closing deals, you should be able to provide more than just high-level information about what an ideal prospect might want. Sales needs to know what an individual lead or account wants — and they need to know that you have the insights and authority to help.

Proving that you can collaborate with sales on a more granular, personal level with customers will help fill the gap between your team and theirs.

Using Intent Data to Avoid Sales Frustration

Quality intent data is the key to getting on the same page with your sales team. From content marketing to email personalization, account identification, and lead qualification, intent data gives you the insights necessary to start speaking the same language as sales.

The crux of sales frustration is that marketing isn’t contributing enough to achieving business results. Marketing activities may be important, but not if you can’t prove ROI.

Giving sales deeper insight into the purchase intent of leads and accounts will earn you a level of authority beyond higher-level marketing objectives like brand awareness. But making sense of intent data is often easier said than done.


Do you know which specific companies are currently in-market to buy your product? Wouldn’t it be easier to sell to them if you already knew who they were, what they thought of you, and what they thought of your competitors? Good news – It is now possible to know this, with up to 91% accuracy. Check out Aberdeen’s comprehensive report Demystifying B2B Purchase Intent Data to learn more.