Customer impact in the sales and marketing stand-off

Posted by Penquin on March 24, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Why do Sales and Marketing Hate each other?A discussion on why the relationship has broken down, and how to fix it by focusing on what's important: your customers.

Doing a search on sales / marketing roles in the same sentence brings up a massive number of auto-fill options on sales – and it’s disturbing that enough people have searched ‘why do marketing and sales hate each other’ that it appears in autofill options.

This is concerning because sales and marketing must be aligned in order to sell products and services – and need each other in order not only to survive, but to thrive and please the customer they both focus on selling to. 

Gary Whitaker and Darren Leishman discussed this issue, and we’ve put together a motivation for growing understanding, teamwork, and communication between the two divisions, that will help both to focus on the customer as the main driving force.

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Where do we stand in the sales / marketing loop?

Marketing and sales serve close-to the same purpose, and it is agreed that the split was due to changes in the history of marketing that are no longer relevant to us, and have never been relevant to our customers. 

Sales and marketing are essential joined at the hip

Separating marketing from sales is a fundamental error. Marketing supports sales, and must drive consumers to transact, either over time or instantly, in order to build the brand. Sales rely on this brand support, and essentially needs people to engage with the product in order to be successful. Their sales skill and after-service interaction are what will keep people coming back: essentially a marketing function.

Sales used to be a primary focus

"When marketing became prevalent, and mass media needed sexier taglines and sales pitches in order to generate more sales, sales and marketing split."

"Marketing has been elevated to an aspirational role, but essentially and ultimately acts as a support role to sales."  Tweet: #Marketing has been elevated to an aspirational role, but essentially and ultimately acts as a support role to #sales.

The corporate experience

Sales and marketing in corporate companies have split, and neither likes the other. Marketing feels misunderstood and sales struggles to buy into all of marketing’s ‘fluff’. Sales just wants a simple answer to the question: ‘What’s the campaign going to do for the product sales?’, while marketing is focusing on engagement, long-term brand heritage, and targeting – none of which sales understands or is concerned with. Gary WhitakerTweet: #Marketing feels misunderstood and #sales struggles to buy into all of marketing’s ‘fluff’. via @Penquin_Ads @Gary_Whitaker

How do we align ourselves to our customers' needs, when we are so busy denying that we've ever done the same kind of work, or share the same goals?

We can see the divide clearly, and identify where it came from. Now we discuss moving forward.

What solutions do we have to combat this sales / marketing problem, to solve the right problems for our customers?

  • The best marketers have been on the sales side

Spending time understanding roles helps sales and marketing to get along better, and gives insight into what the customer expects from each side of the fence. 
Gary Whitaker: Some companies require that marketers spend time in sales roles before they advance within the company.

"Marketers can always blame failure on a sales department, and being in a department with such robust metrics teaches marketers to deliver on tangible and simple measurables."Tweet: #Marketing can blame failure on #sales, but delivering on sales #metrics teaches marketers to deliver on measurables. via @Penquin_Ads

As Darren says: "Because the sales team speaks directly to the customer, they have first-hand knowledge of the customer pain point. Talking to the sales team allows marketing to take this first-hand information and maximise the impact of their integrated strategy."

  • Working toward company objectives
Both should be working toward the ultimate business goal – not independent agendas - and both should be putting the customer at the top of their mind. 

A compromise needs to be reached between sales' drive to SELL, and marketing's drive to maintain loyalty. Focusing on your business objective can help to reach this compromise.

Penquin's experience

"We’ve let go of customers before, who would contribute to our profits, but we couldn’t add value for them. At that stage, it was a difficult call, and we took a hit, but five years down the line, they came back to us for strategic consultation, and we now have a stronger and more productive relationship, and we can add value. It’s always a tough decision to make, but following the business objectives and needs helps to guide your choice". Tweet: #Sales vs #CustomerLoyalty is a tough decision to make, but following the business #objectives helps to guide your choice. via @Penquin_Ads 

KPIs should be set for both sales and marketing

Measurables need to be common to both, and the customer need must feature within these metrics. Delivering is a great thing - but delivering the right thing throughout the business trumps that on the customer experience scale. 

Sales very seldom understand the KPIs set for marketing, and marketing often sees sales as only driven by income. This is solved by working toward a common goal, understanding that goal, and knowing how it drives the business objective overall.  Gary Whitaker"Sales very seldom understand the KPIs set for marketing, and marketing often sees sales as only driven by income."Tweet: #Sales seldom understand KPIs set for #Marketing, and marketing often sees sales as only driven by income via @Penquin_Ads @Gary_Whitaker

"This is solved by working toward a common goal, understanding that goal, and knowing how it drives the business objective overall."Tweet: Bridge the #Sales #Marketing divide by sharing a goal. Know how it drives the #business #objective. via @Penquin_Ads @Gary_Whitaker 

Integration starts at the customer

If you notice that sales and marketing are not working as a team in your business, the most important thing to remember is that integration of teams, marketing efforts, and, ultimately, all campaigns, starts at the top: the top of the customer's list of requirements. Work through these, and set the goals accordingly.

Integrated marketing is only as strong as the teams who drive it – marketing, who set up the campaign and strategy, and sales, who close the deals. Make sure the tools that are required are readily available, and that the metrics are easily tracked, and your sales and marketing teams will be able to come together on common ground. 

Integration of practices throughout the business allows you to have a free-flow of communication, and leads to greater understanding between your business divisions.

For more information on how you to align your sales and marketing efforts, contact us and let's help you build a customer focus strategy that sells. 

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Topics: Marketing

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