how to fix a negative sales and marketing relationship

Sales and marketing aren’t historically known to be the best of friends, but with the right action plan it is possible to create a happy collaborative environment. That’s exactly why we’re headed to Revenue Summit 2017, March 7th & 8th in San Francisco, where the brightest minds in marketing and sales come together for learning, inspiration and collaboration.

Check out LearnCore when you’re at the Summit, and start working on your sales and marketing team relationships with the tips below.

Is the relationship between sales and marketing on a downward spiral at your organization? It may seem easier to tip toe around the issue and let it resolve itself, but don’t hold your breath. But also don’t feel like you’re alone.

Unfortunately disagreements and poor relationships between sales and marketing are quite common. In fact, 87% of the terms marketing and sales professionals use to describe each other are negative.

At this point you may be asking yourself, do they really need to get along? Take a quick look at these marketing and sales statistics before you decide:

  • When marketing and sales teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention, and 38% higher sales win rates
  • Not having your sales and marketing technologies and processes aligned costs B2B organizations at least 10% of revenue each year
  • 57% of the buyer’s journey is completed before they ever even talk to sales
  • Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Clearly when marketing and sales work together your organization has the opportunity for endless success, but how do you get them to resolve their differences?

sales and marketing teamwork statistic

Breaking Down the Sales and Marketing Barriers

It’s likely that poor communication and understanding of roles is the root of your sales and marketing battle. While it may seem easy to blame each team for their poor attitude, a lot has changed in the past decade. With a constant evolution of sales and marketing team roles and responsibilities, and even the mediums they use to get the job done, can you really blame them?

Marketo recently broke down the old buying funnel, versus the buying funnel we’re living in now. Take a look.

sales and marketing relationship evolution

Source: Marketo

In case it wasn’t clear enough, the diagram clearly shows the role of marketing has been inching forward into sales territory. With confusion between who is doing what, and who owns what, it’s not surprising these two teams have a negative relationship.

So what do you do next?

  1. Open the lines of communication. Start back at square one and explain exactly how the rift began. Show them the time lapse above and explain that with changing roles comes confusion. Talking about the issue out in the open will help diffuse the situation.
  2. Take the blame. You’re the leader in your organization and simply put, it’s your job to provide clarity of roles during times of change. If there’s a major marketing and sales rift at your organization, it’s because you haven’t laid out a clear process. By taking the blame you’ll shift any guilt away from both your sales and marketing teams, helping to remove any bad feelings.
  3. Bring everyone together. Take the opportunity to share with both marketing and sales that they actually have the same goals. They may be working on different tactical items, but they’re all working toward the same end game. Helping them realize this should create a more friendly environment.
  4. Increase communication. Instead of keeping totally separate departments, start scheduling meetings that include both marketing and sales. This will help everyone stay on the same page, and keep those communication lines open.
  5. Create a process. Your organization needs a formal process outlining exactly how marketing and sales will work together that includes critical information like who owns what and how hand-off takes place. Without this you’ll never fix the problem.
  6. Have some fun. When all else fails, sometimes getting your marketing and sales teams together in a casual setting will help them bond more than anything else. Schedule a fun activity so they can build relationships outside of work too.

Fixing a negative relationship between sales and marketing within your organization isn’t going to be a simple fix, but it will be worth your time.

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