Marketing and sales professionals have symbiotic relationships with somewhat overlapping duties that can exist in harmony or chaos. For both to function at peak level the two departments must respect each other’s functions while committing to working together to raise revenue.
Here are a few strategies for bringing both sides together.
1. Assess the current relationship.
Use surveys or open office discussion to get a sense of how fractured the two divisions are, their general thoughts on one another, where the problems lie and what changes workers would like to see.
2. Create a team atmosphere.
Many thriving businesses opt to merge marketers and salespeople into a team, creating one “marketing and sales” department rather than two separate factions. As Bloomberg points out, this enables the creation of one culture, which can go a long way in sense of togetherness and cooperation.
3. Make functional differences clear.
Even on a team, there is a division of labor. The football quarterback doesn’t need to do what the defensive back is doing. In training, marketers and salespeople need to be taught that marketing has a broad market focus with goals of promoting a brand as well as its services and products to widespread audiences. They decide the launch of a product, research where there is demand and set the product’s price. They determine what the product’s image will be in the eyes of the public, playing psychologist and hype master.
While these promotional activities, which may include direct mail or email, community events, cold calling, social media platforms, blogs /online articles, and audio/video propaganda, may pique the interest of customers, it is the job of the sales department to push the products by interacting with customers directly. Even if marketers entice prospects, the salesperson must work to sell the products on a personal level. This is a delicate relay race where the marketing department hands a baton to the sales staff, and any marketing and sales training should delineate exactly where this happens for each specific company.
4. Review and adjust the budget to allocate fairly.
Financial limitations are the biggest source of conflict between marketing and sales staff. Often, they are sharing the same funds and either side can argue that too much is being spent on marketing’s macro duties vs. the micro duties of sales. To create a sense of fairness, managers should be willing to discuss and shift financial priorities on a quarterly basis depending on observed and projected needs.
5. Use feedback from the field to determine price points.
Marketers use research and theory to set prices for products, but if salespeople are struggling to get customers to buy because customers feel items are over-priced or not a good value, this is something that marketers should examine, rather than dismiss. Of course the situation can be that sales professionals should try harder and smarter, but both sides should be able to influence pricing so that it is properly in tune with actual customer demand.
6. Promote a culture of constant selling.
While the marketing department can create buzz, both departments share the responsibility of increasing demand for a product, as well as finding and cultivating prospects. While the sales department has the duty of forming relationships and actually matching products to individual prospects…both sides must be willing to do whatever it takes to generate that business, even if it means marketers occasionally wear the “salesperson” hat. Marketing and sales training classes should encourage the old adage “Always Be Selling!” to both sides.
These strategies can help both sides learn to respect that they need to be in sync for everyone to thrive. Make sure your marketing and sales training classes contribute to this attitude.