Why Do Marketing and Sales Teams Fight?

During a recent all-team meeting where a lot of sales matters were being discussed, one of our team members commented about how well the MindEcology crew comes together to support sales efforts, even though not all team members are focused on sales or business development.

That got us to thinking: Why do marketing and sales teams sometimes clash? At the end of the day, after all, we all want the same thing: Growth and profit for our business. So why don’t marketing and sales folk want to join hands and be friends more often?

After talking about it for a while, we decided it comes down to two issues:Lack of communication, and lack of good use of data. (Yep. As usual, we figured out a way to bring data into the discussion.)

And also as usual, we got out our notepads and started jotting down ideas for solutions to marketing-sales team conflict. If this is a problem for your business, here are a few anti-combat techniques you might want to consider:

Make sure the sales team is making use of the resources provided by the marketing team.

Too often marketing teams invest time and energy into best customer profiling only to have the outcomes ignored by the sales team.

It’s the same story with message development: Marketers will craft thoughtful key messages based on the characteristics and the motivations of your business’s best customers, only to see them gather dust on the shelves of the sales team’s cubicles. When sales teams later complain about the difficulty of meeting goals, it’s no wonder that they get a less-than-positive response from marketing colleagues who believe their efforts to support sales have been ignored.

Don’t let marketers off the hook when it comes to performance.

A common complaint of sales professionals is that they are held to a higher standard when it comes to performance goals. If you believe there is some legitimacy to this criticism, it may be time to revisit the marketing team performance goals you’ve established for your company – and you also may want to think about rolling out some internal messaging about the fact that accountability is important for each team, not just sales.

However: It’s also important to communicate that sales benchmarks and marketing benchmarks will never be apples-to-apples, because of the inherent differences in each discipline.

Promote active collaboration.

Too often sales and marketing teams fall into “I talk, you listen” ways of doing business. That usually won’t get either team very far. But when sales and marketing truly work together, you’ve got the foundation for some business development greatness.

Look for ways to foster better communication and stronger partnerships, like asking sales team members to sit in on marketing strategy discussions, sending marketing team members along on sales calls, and cross-team solicitation of input.

We play nicely with everyone – and we help businesses untangle tricky marketing strategy and operations problems. If you’ve got a challenge at hand, we’d like to know more.