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Why is it that in most organizations there is this natural tension between sales and marketing?  Why does it seem like CEOs love to pit these two obviously critical and symbiotic teams against one another with the blame game pointing fingers for lack of quality marketing leads or timely sales follow through?  What does it take for world-class marketing and sales linkage to solidify into a single awareness to revenue generation machine?

The answer to the third question can only be addressed once the first two are acknowledged and dealt with.  Sales and marketing must be in sync and not perceive each other as rivals for any measure of success to last.  I personally believe the ownership for this must start with marketing.

Marketing first needs to understand why sales can potentially “hate” them and take the steps necessary to not only mitigate these observations but also take an active role in setting a leadership example in order to earn a seat at the leadership table.  Geoffrey James wrote an incredible blog titled “Why Sales Hates Marketing: 9 Reasons” for back in January 2012 and I believe has captured the heart of the challenge.  His 9 reasons include:

  1. Marketing acts superior
  2. Marketing doesn’t believe in sales
  3. Marketing thinks sales is easy
  4. Marketing avoids being measured
  5. Marketing claims to be ‘driving sales’
  6. Marketing pretends it’s strategic
  7. Marketing wastes money
  8. Marketing pretends it’s engineering
  9. Marketing argues about lead quality

Any marketing team looking to lead by example must first address these potential issues head on.  Then they need to take the proactive steps necessary to create a symbiotic relationship with sales.  Mary Sullivan offers some really good recommendations in her blog post “Together – Sales and Marketing.”  Mary offers the following tips for getting better, faster results with an integrated approach to sales and marketing:

  • Think of sales as marketing’s customer
  • Develop goals, objectives and metrics jointly
  • Synchronize product and sales cycles
  • Get commitment to consistent messages and brand usage

Remember that marketing is a process not a series of projects; that wild success for any organization in any industry is dependent on sales and marketing relying on (and trusting in) each other.  Without a common framework for objective measurement this will be just short of impossible, so take the time to build out a lead to cash infrastructure and focus on relentless attention to execution details.