Marketing and sales live in different “time zones.” Marketing focuses on the future, following projected trends and the big picture, whereas the sales team must rely on previous successful strategies to secure the present. Marketing must continually generate leads to keep the company’s business momentum moving forward, and the sales team must convert those leads to keep the business operational.
When marketing and sales teams successfully collaborate, all systems are elevated. Marketing materials are top-notch, the sales team has the emotional intelligence to pivot after losing a sale, and competitor analysis improves.
However, marketing and sales don’t always work together cohesively. We’ll explain how business owners and managers can navigate typical conflicts and create strategies to help marketing and sales teams work in harmony.
Differing business goals and roles often fuel marketing-sales disharmony. Consider the following strategies to help your marketing and sales teams work together more efficiently.
Role confusion is one of the leading causes of conflict between sales and marketing teams. To prevent this issue, you must redefine roles and ensure each department understands its responsibilities. Here are some tips for doing so:
Sometimes your sales and marketing teams will see things in terms of workplace competition. Sales and marketing team members want to secure their budgets and positions and may not see the benefits of working together.
Managers and leaders must communicate why collaboration is essential. You must understand how much time is spent on each task and determine whether your budget is being put to good use. Explain how collaboration can improve workplace performance by reducing conflict, lost time and wasted money.
Even better, share how collaboration helps your business provide a great customer experience for potential and existing clients.
Marketing generates sales leads, and sales teams are responsible for lead conversions. Without marketing, your sales team won’t have leads. Without a sales team, your marketing team won’t have the feedback it needs to improve marketing campaigns.
Explain to your teams that your business growth strategy must have both components. A successful, cohesive sales and marketing strategy may look like this:
Each team plays a crucial role in the sales process. When they work together, your business-growth strategy becomes more efficient and effective.
The right approach and tools can resolve miscommunication between departments. By outlining everyone’s roles from the beginning, team members will know whom to contact if they need help with a particular issue. Ensure everyone’s contact information is readily available.
You can use team collaboration tools, like workplace communication app Slack or Asana, to keep departments working together. These tools allow team members to chat in real time, assign tasks, share resources and keep a written record of each project.
Various knowledgebase tools and software options are available online for collecting, organizing and distributing resources. Team members can use these resources to add essential documents (e.g., client files, marketing materials, analytics reports) or to access existing docs in real time. This ensures that everyone has what they need when they need it.
Internal knowledgebases should also include company best practices, product development and HR-related resources.
External knowledgebases are also valuable because they improve customer support and increase customer retention by offering self-service online resources about product usage, FAQs and troubleshooting.
Don’t let workplace conflict stew. Take action as soon as you see tension arise. A biting remark or a passive-aggressive email should prompt you to ask, “What isn’t working? How can this be fixed?” instead of waiting for things to blow up.
As the person in charge, you can nip tension in the bud when you spot it. Ask for clarification, offer solutions and help your teams problem-solve before they resort to harmful behaviors.
Sometimes, issues arise that require an interdepartmental solution. Your sales team may want better leads, which is a task for the marketing team. Your marketing team may want feedback on a campaign’s digital marketing return on investment (ROI), which the sales team could provide.
Use meetings as opportunities to encourage cross-departmental problem-solving. Set aside time for both teams to work together to resolve their issues. You may be pleasantly surprised by what they come up with.
Set shared goals, and reward everyone when they achieve these goals. When your sales and marketing teams learn that working together means massive rewards, they’ll be less likely to compete with each other.
It doesn’t have to be an “us versus them” situation. Collaboration can pay off in rewards from upper management, employee bonuses, or commissions on revenue increases.
Why sales and marketing teams have conflicts
Here are some possible reasons your sales and marketing teams aren’t seeing eye to eye:
As you guide your sales and marketing teams toward mutual respect and understanding, your business will enjoy the following benefits:
Nick Hollinger contributed to this article.