I was having a conversation with a friend a few days back and she mentioned that the biggest challenge she faces in working with sales teams is that the marketing teams and the sales teams are like the proverbial men and women:

One is from Mars and the other is from Venus!

Unfortunately, that just won’t work any longer because now more than ever, marketing and marketing skills are the key ingredient in your ability to be a successful salesperson. With the reverse being equally applicable for the marketing department. Without some sort of sales acumen, you aren’t likely to be a very effective marketer in today’s world.

But the big question for almost everyone is:

How Do I Make Sure Marketing And Sales Are Working Together?

Here are a few ideas that can help you keep your marketing and sales efforts going in the same direction.

Share goals:

Much of the failure of sales and marketing to work together comes down to one of the most fundamental of elements in any successful relationship, communication.

Unfortunately, in too many instances, communication isn’t always at the top of the list…and it often isn’t anyone’s fault, just sort of the outcropping and outcome of a culture that has clearly defined the two roles as being entirely independent of each other. Even when they need each other like air needs lungs.

That’s why I advise my clients that are struggling with this challenge to always focus on shared outcomes and goals.

It never works if marketing is working on building brand value for the long term while the sales team is struggling to sell anything at all.

If you don’t make a sale soon, you aren’t going to have a long term brand to think about.

Am I right?

But putting goals and outcomes together in a focused way can often be easier said than done.

Here’s a few things that can help:

  1. Focus your planning on short, medium, and long term: Again, market pressures today can make the long term irrelevant. By laying out what the short, middle, and long term goals are in a way that both sides can understand, it can enable you to tug together the competing interests that usually separate marketing and sales. Because often sales has more immediate pressure than marketing.
  2. Quantify important things: I mean like revenue. I mean like figuring out how many leads you need to make a sale. I mean like understanding what the sales cycle looks like and how much better phone conversations are than other forms of communication. Or, if in-person is the best. The key thing is that you must absolutely focus on counting the important things so that marketing and sales can have better conversations about how they can achieve their goals.

If you do these two things, you are likely to open up a different sort of conversation between sales and marketing. And, with the focus on pulling together the short and long term, you are likely to see the challenges that strike at the heart of the sales and marketing relationship earlier rather than later. Because the conversation is going to start earlier and not at a moment of intense pain.

Outcomes! Outcomes! Outcomes!

A lot of the fuzzy stuff and crazy stuff that happens between marketing and sales and drives up barriers is pretty simple.

It is the difference between outcomes and activities.

Outcomes versus fuzzy, feel good garbage metrics like “engagement,” “likes,” and “buzz.”

All of that stuff that isn’t outcome focused is likely crap.

You should have targets for your teams that reflect the needs of the business.

If you can quantify buzz or the like in a manner that allows you to tell me how much money it is producing…call me, I want to talk.

That’s why I am preaching outcomes to everyone that will listen.

Your sales and marketing efforts need to lead to a certain number of new conversations, a certain number of new appointments, a certain number of new prospects, but most importantly, a certain amount of new revenue.

By making the revenue goals clear, you are going to really get everyone focusing on the important things.

Many of the failings of the relationship between marketing and sales comes down to the difference between knowing what the outcomes are and managing your activities around things that look or sound good, but don’t produce results.

So focus on outcomes.

Keep communication as an open thing:

Again, most of this comes back down to communication.

But I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

Marketing and sales have some great strategy sessions, come up with great ideas, outline a plan of action and retreat to their corners.

Never to be heard from again until they are in the same situation.

The key about any relationship between sales and marketing team is that communications must be open. The planning and goal setting must be realistic and relevant, but all of this must turn into action.

Without action, everything is destined to failure.

Which circles back into communication. Because if you aren’t talking all the time about activities, outcomes, and expectations, your activities are likely to flow back to their mean. You are likely to go back to doing what you have done in the past. You are likely to fall back on measuring what you have always measured.

That’s going to lead to the same results that you have been getting.

That’s why you have to keep the communications lines open and focus on your shared goals, your activities, and how they are helping you achieve your outcomes.

If you do that, your relationship between sales and marketing is going to go a lot more smoothly.