Bridging the divide between marketing and sales
Updated: May 7, 2018
Recently, I was asked to do some work for one of my clients. These clients were concerned because they were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on their marketing programs yet their customers didn't seem engaged. They felt there was a problem with their sales team and asked if I could determine the cause of their concern.
Like many businesses, there is a disconnect between the marketing department and the sales teams. In an established business like the one I was working with, sales reps are focused on building relationships with their customers and servicing their needs in order to build sales. Marketing, on the other hand, wants to drive sales. They want to use the methods they know best to encourage sales. Sometimes these methods are at odds with the way the sales team is operating.
Sales teams may be confused thinking that management is trying to force the wrong products into the sales funnel. Management, on the other hand, feels frustrated because they don't believe that the sales team understands what they are trying to do. There are feelings of resentment between the sales and marketing departments because neither of them has a clear understanding of the other's needs and goals. As a result, money gets wasted.
So how do we overcome the problem? In a word: communication.
Too often in businesses, marketing and sales departments operate in silos with the same goal in mind using different techniques. Sales teams don't communicate the information they have about their customers' needs with head office and the marketing department. Marketing, on the other hand, believes that they have the solutions to drive sales but don't communicate those thoughts to the sales force. As a result, there is dysfunction.
To resolve this dysfunction common in many large and small companies, we need to initiate a process that allows for open and clear communication. We need regular repeatable communication systems that bring marketing into the sales cycle and allow sales to contribute to the marketing plans. This ensures that both the sales and marketing departments are on the same page to achieve the goals of the management team.
When marketing and sales departments work together in a method that creates value, we move from selling to customers, to selling with customers. This relationship ensures the building of the long term success desired by everyone.
In regards to the recent rep training I facilitated a five-hour discussion with the sales team. We had company representatives give an update the marketing efforts. We inquired about challenges with their jobs. We talked about what it would take to achieve sales growth with increased customer buy-in of the programs.
The process was invigorating for the sales team and insightful for the company. It was the start of an ongoing process that is aimed at initiating a communication process to ensure success for the company as they achieve their sales goals.
When marketing and sales teams work together, not only do we save money, but we build relationships and create businesses that are wholesome and functional.