3 Ways to Get Your Sales and Marketing Teams to Stop Fighting
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I’ve worked in B2B companies where the sales and marketing teams didn’t talk to each other. It wasn’t personal. They just had separate cultures, separate goals. Separate meal plans, usually.
I’ve also been in organizations where the relationship between sales and marketing was openly hostile. You’ve probably seen a version of this: the sales team blaming the marketing team for generating weak leads, and the marketing team blaming the sales team for not closing them. The sales manager calls the marketing team the arts and crafts department, and the marketing team cries in the parking lot.
If your salespeople and marketers treat each other as rivals rather than allies, you’ve come across the right blog post. Here are three things that will make your sales and marketing teams stop fighting, drawn from my own experience leading a B2B SaaS marketing team.
Related: 5 Ways to Align Marketing with Sales to Close More Deals
1. Treat sales and marketing as one team
Healing the tension between sales and marketing starts with getting salespeople and marketers out of their departmental silos. These two teams are almost entirely responsible for acquiring new customers, so they should logically be the same team.
A few years ago, my company combined our sales and marketing departments into one growth team. They meet weekly to share lead and prospect information and identify trends in our CRM metrics. Although much of our team has shifted to working remotely lately, our salespeople and marketers operate from the same physical space. This means that there is no separate sales pit and marketing pit in our offices, allowing us to exchange ideas and feedback spontaneously.
Once we got used to talking to each other as teammates, something amazing happened: we started helping each other. Our salespeople began to pass on the information they had gathered during their sales calls, which helped us, the marketers, to refine our messaging and the targeting of our campaigns. Simple observations like, transportation companies really like our map feature or we see a lot of non-profit organizations coming from [Competitor X] have been extremely valuable in our quest to acquire delighted customers.
And of course, the marketers on our team have returned the favor, helping our sellers more regularly with sales enablement content and cold email cadences. Working as a team made us realize that our success depended on each other and our attitudes changed accordingly.
2. Align with goals (especially the most important one)
Besides regular communication and physical proximity, what really unites two business functions is having a common goal to row towards. In the case of sales and marketing, it should be revenue growth. Every initiative we pursue as sales and marketing professionals should be done with the goal of influencing that revenue.
But what do we see most often in B2B companies? Sales and marketing teams look for totally different metrics. Marketers report on gross lead volume, website traffic, and social media impressions. Salespeople track phone calls made, meetings booked, and leads closed.
Whenever you have different success criteria for different groups of people, there will be tension. As a marketer, you could crush all of your lead generation and audience growth goals. But, if your sales team is struggling and your company’s revenue growth has stalled, you may not be doing as well as you think.
Once you convince your salespeople and marketers to commit to revenue growth as a common goal, they’ll spend less time looking for easily influenced, non-impacting vanity metrics. They can then spend more time focusing on what makes a business successful: generating high-quality leads and implementing a razor-sharp sales process to close them.
Related: How to Align Product, Marketing, and Sales Goals
3. Give your salespeople and marketers the same information
Even when sales and marketing teams like the others, they often get out of sync for a simple reason: they literally don’t have the same data in front of them.
Your salespeople hopefully have access to a CRM that stores all of their contacts, communication histories, and the status of each opportunity. Your marketers, on the other hand, likely use a separate marketing automation platform to send out email marketing campaigns and manage subscriber audiences. And this software works from an entirely different database of contacts than the sales team’s CRM.
Now how the hell does that make sense?
The long-standing status quo of sales and marketing using separate software tools creates the following challenges:
Traders don’t know who they are talking to — Is 4XFounder@bmail.com an active customer, a former customer, a prospect or just a fan of your newsletter? Unfortunately, the answer to this question can only be found in your CRM, which your marketers may not even have access to.
Sellers don’t know which subscribers might want to take the next step – The recent webinar attendee who opened your last product announcement email half a dozen times? They might appreciate the contacts of an account representative. But you’d never know, because email marketing engagement metrics can only be found in your marketing software, which (you guessed it) your salespeople might not even have access to.
The Awkward Dance of Uncoordinated Communication – Why did this subscriber tell us to stop sending so many messages, when we only sent one marketing email this month? Well, maybe you just bothered them at a time when your sales team was sending out their own sequence of emails offering a holiday discount. Salespeople and marketers who manage their communications from separate tools are constantly on the run. The result is an excess of messages, irrelevant emails, and countless missed opportunities.
Using a shared growth software platform – powered by a single contact database – solves all of these issues and helps marketers better understand how their efforts drive sales results.
One team, one goal, one tool
Like all simple concepts, it is not easy to put into practice. After all, you may need to convince your salespeople and marketers to adopt new software and provide more transparency in their efforts. But you can’t expect sales and marketing to work together if they’re playing different games.
Related: 4 Unconventional Ways to Use Your CRM Software