When growing revenues, one nagging, daily challenge that cannot be ignored is the “silos” between Sales and Marketing. In researching the topic for some creative knowledge nuggets, I realized that the topic is well publicized. But, the key discovery is that most of the perspectives that were written about this disconnect between Sales and Marketing were from the point of view of the Marketers. The guys and gals that have all of the perceptions and insights on Sales, but have never closed a real sales opportunity and certainly never carried a revenue quota.
So what is my point? Why should we care that the perspective comes from the Marketers? My fear is that the CEOs of the World are being biased; a fact that minimizes the end result that Sales is ultimately accountable for, while the Marketers stand on the sideline and act as cheerleaders, scorekeepers and critics. The Marketers tend to take credit for any campaign success and assign sales with any deficiency. They blame sales for the lack of effort in following up on leads and for not effectively using the brochures and presentations that were provided. The real reasons for unsuccessful campaigns – Marketers are in denial about the poor quality of their leads and the “me too” drone of the message.
A classic example of a Marketer minimizing the role of Sales:
Guy Smith from Silicon Strategies Marketing: “Sales is short-term focused (making quarterly quota) and marketing is long-term focused…Marketing’s focus is inbound, as it needs to gather intelligence about the customers.”
And how many times have we heard this from the Marketers: “Marketing is an art form.” Or: “Managing sales people is like herding cats.” Or: “It’s too expensive to track down all those cost-per-lead and profitability numbers.” (A Sales interpretation of this last statement – The Marketer does not want to be held accountable for revenue; it gets in the way of the “magic”).
Why has this phenomenon occurred in so many organizations? Why has it been allowed to exist for so long? Probably because poor company performance is rarely linked – at least not publicly – to the Marketer’s lack of understanding and appreciation of Sales. In 2006, the Harvard Business Review published “Ending the War between Sales and Marketing.” A key take away from the research was: “When the relationship is strained, the economic and cultural reasons usually rise to the top.” In other words, when the Marketers do not embrace and integrate with Sales, revenue performance is negatively impacted.
In conclusion, Marketers might have a better appreciation for the value of Sales if they tried to sell…take one of the leads they generate and actually try to close it, manage a major account, or be responsible for making a revenue quota. At a minimum, Marketers should have their compensation tied to revenue and Sales performance. Perhaps then, Sales would be feeling more love from the Marketers.