We see it all the time. The sales executive returns to the office after getting skunked in the field. Immediately he starts blasting the marketing team: “The leads are garbage, totally unqualified, the prospect wasn’t even a decision-maker, and they weren’t even interested. . . If only I had better leads.” Of course, the marketing team flips the script and points the finger at sales: “They call once and give up, they don’t know how to sell the product, they’re too lazy, they don’t see the big picture.” And on and on and on it goes.
So. . . who’s really at fault, marketing or sales? The answer might surprise you. It’s neither! And as long as companies keep framing it this way — us vs. them, marketing vs. sales — they’ll keep getting what they’ve always gotten.
Here’s the thing, if you’re a CEO or a director, or somehow have a vested interest in the success of your company, this blame game should be a cause for concern. No — it should keep you up at night, tossing and turning and wondering how your staff will ever make peace for the greater good.
First thing’s first, call it what it is. The “blame game” is actually a symptom of a larger, more insidious issue. The real problem is the cultural divide with your organization. There’s a disconnect that must be dealt with, lest this internal warfare totally dictate your client acquisition and growth.
The good news is you can start solving the problem today. Implement these three steps and you’ll bridge the gap and put an end to the bickering once and for all. But more importantly, you’ll begin to boost your bottom line and realize your company’s true potential.
#1 Remove Company Politics
A divided house will fall. Every time. You must take an honest look at the power structures and influencers within your company. You’ll see who’s getting the lion’s share of benefits, and who’s living off the scraps. Now do the right thing and level the political playing field where it makes sense. Bring everyone in, rally around common goals, and strive for transparency. When the house wins, everyone wins.
#2 Incentivize Correctly
Smart leadership carves a pathway for company growth. Often this means if the company doesn’t hit its goal, then neither sales or marketing hit their bonuses. Variable compensation (commissions and bonuses) should be tied to the success of the sale for both teams. If your sales guy gets a 10% commission on a $10,000 sale, while the lead gen. marketing squad gets a goose egg, then something’s broken. The incentives aren’t aligned correctly. This doesn’t mean you should reward both teams the same, but rather think creatively to find a way to reward both in a way that keeps everyone’s skin in the game, and inspires another day of healthy hustle.
#3 Increase Communication
The statistics are staggering. Only 8% of B2B companies have tight-knit sales and marketing communications. And more than 50% of companies employ teams that don’t speak regularly at all. They come and go like ships in the night. If this is the accepted norm, how can either team understand the others’ strengths and weaknesses, their challenges, industry trends, etc.? It’s just not possible.
According to our experience, the best practice is to have these teams meet in-person at least once each day. Even a brief touch-base is better than nothing. For instance, returning from the field, the sales exec. might pop in to see the appointment setters and fill them in on his day — how the meeting went, his thoughts on the quality or types of leads, what he learned, etc. — all with the hopes of gaining a mutual understanding and how each might help the other moving forward.
When sales and marketing are locked in step with a common goal, and both are sufficiently recognized and rewarded for reaching their goal — you’re well on your way to creating a growth machine, optimized for reaching and exceeding sales goals, quarter after quarter after quarter.
At C-Level Partners, we’ve worked with countless organizations to accomplish exactly this — to bridge the divide between marketing and sales. It’s a passion of ours, and something we take very seriously. By adapting proven sales practices and methodologies, we can impact your bottom line in ways you never thought possible. So if you’re tasked with the challenge of rallying sales and marketing toward a common goal, we invite you to get in touch and learn how we can help.