Sales vs. Marketing – Who Wins?
Posted by Becky Carroll on July 12, 2007
Many companies have an unspoken war going on between sales and marketing. Sales complains because marketing doesn’t bring them any good leads. Marketing complains they feel like second-class citizens, and why doesn’t sales ever follow-up on all the great leads they give them? Who wins this war? No one. Who loses? The customer, and the company.
When I headed up B2B marketing for a large high-tech company in the UK, sales and marketing were supposed to collaborate but instead kept complaining about each other. After I spent time talking one-on-one with the sales managers, some sales reps, and the members of my marketing team, I broke down the walls. I assigned one marketing person to each sales district to become fully ingrained with the sales team. They were to eat, sleep, and go on customer visits with them to better learn how to meet their needs.
After several months, these marketers were seen as integral parts of the sales teams. They were invited to off-site sales meetings and asked for their ideas. They were invited to sales Christmas parties and were treated as “one of the boys”. They basically became an extended part of the sales team. We ended up beating quota that year for the first time in quite awhile – as a joint team.
Customers want to be approached by such a team. They don’t want to be in the middle of a war. Valeria Maltoni asked recently, who owns the customer? In my opinion, no one at the company owns the customer. The customers own themselves. They are in charge of whether or not they continue to purchase. They are in charge of the relationship, if any.
In that case, it is imperative that sales and marketing work together. The goal is to understand the customer so deeply that everyone wins: sales+marketing and the customer. Only then will a relationship have any chance of taking hold and growing to meet the needs of both company and customer.
Thanks to Lewis Green for getting me going on breaking down the walls of departmental thinking.
(Photo credit: nruboc)