Many people think of marketing and sales as distinct functions but to be successful they need to be considered a unit. Success leads to bliss, wealth and many happy years together. Failure leads to a breakdown in communication, staff turnover and, worst case, business failure.
And like any good marriage, it takes a lot of effort to make things work.
I recently got married and it is interesting to make comparisons on the differences and similarities of my work and personal life. The first thing that comes to mind is the need to be upfront about expectations and goals between each other.
It’s an oversimplification but over the years I’ve seen Marketing’s goal to be to pass leads hard and fast and Sales’ goal to be to close deals hard and fast. ‘Leads’ and ‘Deals Closed’ are the easiest metrics for the ‘higher ups’ to measure and thus they incentivize accordingly. But revenue can be lost during the transition of leads from one department to another in the form of rubbish leads.
This is a pure time suck for everyone as marketing wastes time working on them, Sales never closes them (or only for tiny deal sizes after a long time) and there is a huge opportunity cost on more valuable deals.
At my wedding reception, I asked my married friends for advice and the first thing they resoundingly said was ‘Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!’ Whilst I apply this personally, this is also true for the relationship between Sales and Marketing. The Sales team needs to be upfront on their needs and definitions of a qualified lead. Likewise, Marketing needs to set expectations on what is achievable and train appropriately. This way genuine and workable prospects will be assigned which will help avoid a heartache in the future.
Marketers, listen to your Sales team. They are the front line and can help guide your marketing efforts and budget to greener pastures. Outbound email campaigns could be segmented differently, website forms could collect different information, and conference sponsorship could be re-prioritized.
Sales, I recommend reviewing which deals close. Industry, profile type, title, expectations for first meetings and time-frame are a few options to consider and discuss with the marketing team. Go deeper than PACT or BANT as these are purely tick-boxes. Share what made deals work or not work regularly and work with the marketing team whenever the ‘Grey case’ appears.
Above all, let’s avoid going through the motions. Let’s get smart and work together. Good luck.