Sales is from Mars, Marketing is from Venus. And all too often, the marriage between these two disciplines is strained, dysfunctional, and downright costly. Marketing wages an air war and Sales fights the ground war – but both are often miles apart in their targets and execution.
Most marketing professionals have never been in sales (“never carried a bag”) and are often operating at the 20,000 foot level. They busy themselves with creating a new brand book, redesigning the website, negotiating trade show floor space, re-crafting the company’s master Powerpoint presentation, or gathering a contact list for a webinar, newsletter, or “email blast." In most companies, these poor souls are often relegated to a frantic mix of low-value activities that deliver few recognizable results to top-line revenue or sales success.
Then there are our Sales friends – busy driving toward quota, firefighting, answering RFPs, preparing forecasts, authoring activity reports, and babysitting 20-person “virtual teams” to ensure accountability. Sales people are the first to criticize but the last to help Marketing folks understand “what it’s like out there” and what they’ll need to be successful. These folks are renowned for employing notorious time-wasters like cold calling, blitz days, lunch-n’-learn seminars, unsolicited proposals, and golf outings in a desperate attempt to find qualified prospects. How do I know? Well, I was one of them.
An effective sales infrastructure (call it Sales 2.0, Inbound Marketing, Referral Engine, Sales-Driven Marketing, Never Cold Call Again Playbook, etc.) is built by bringing your people, processes, and systems together in a way that helps attract opportunity – and gives the sales professional the quality leads they need – and tools they require at every stage in the sales process – until the business is won and closed.
A comprehensive and unified inbound Marketing and Sales system (People, Process and Technology) is the new crusade for Sales & Marketing success. Those firms that can help other companies “pull it all together” and apply it in force will find the Holy Grail. Those who don’t, won’t.
Have you experienced a successful marriage between Marketing and Sales? What was it like, and what advice would you offer others who are currently struggling to bring Mars and Venus together?