In all my years working in marketing and communications departments (both large and small), it still continues to baffle me as to why sales and marketing teams don't seem to get along. Yes, there is mutual respect to some degree. After all, everyone is interested in the same thing - how to craft a creative and persuasive message that will attract people's attention and prompt them to action leading to increased revenues.
The difference between sales and marketing isn't always obvious, but one could say that:
- Marketing is the process of defining and/or creating a market niche(s) in which to "sell" a product or service. To do this requires a fairly structured and managed process that involves input from numerous stakeholders and a plan in which to "attack" the market.
- Sales is the tail end of the process and is focused on getting the order.
Considering that they both share the same end goal, why is it that sales and marketing departments don't get along?
Here's my theory (gained from years of experience working on both sides of the fence):
1) Sales departments often don't have a keen understanding of the dynamics and thought process behind the creation of effective marketing strategy
2) Marketing departments are often seen as "dumping grounds" for marketing and communications materials versus places where strategic thought is originated
3) Marketing professionals often play on the stereotype that salespeople are 'pushy' people with no other goal in mind than chasing the almight dollar - the image of a "slick" salesperson comes to mind
In the midst of all this misunderstanding, one thing remains true. For a company to make profits, both departments need each other. Without the preparation needed to bring a product or service to market, sales teams would be wasting valuable time in the field chasing prospects with absolutely no potential. Without an effective sales team, product wouldn't be sold, and this would have tremendous impact on the bottom-line.
So, before you resort to that corporate practice of game playing and start "passing the buck" to other divisions...remember that it's in a company's best interest to learn to get along. Without sales and marketing, there would be no product and no sales. And, as we were all taught in business school, nothing happens without a sale.
What experiences have you had working in sales and/or marketing departments? Did you sense tension between the two areas? What, if anything, were you able to do about it?