In all the companies, always there are some misunderstanding or conflicts between teams. This is not something new, and it is a common pattern along all industries. One of these is very classical from long time ago, the rivalry between Sales and marketing teams, and more strong even in the B2B (corporate) world. It use to be lack of miscommunication or misunderstanding, so it seems to have a easy solution, let’s dive into the root cause and what is the other team motivations and goals
During the last years, customer behavior has changed a lot, and even customer profile is different. Companies should transform their self to adopt these changes, or at least it should be in progress (this is what Digital transformation is all about) . The change management is one of the more difficult taks any company (and employees) could face up, as it required update mindsets, new process and methodologies. Move away from the Status quo to the new situation has a beneficial paid out, but it is not easy to see in the short term.
New digital channels are landing into the companies in a very fast pace, and way of working should be update, both internally and externally (with customers). You might already hear that there is not digital strategy, there is a strategy in a digital world. It means, let’s add this new way of working and doing business to our tool kit, let’s adjust roles and update customer-company relationship communication channels as well.
Nowadays there is a huge quantity of online information. In fact, in some cases there are too much, and we should apply to severe filter. Information is key to take correct decision (have you hear about data-driven mindset?), but we learn how and when do it. Taking up the marketing examples we can highlight two big cases:
B2C: consumers has information about all the products and services and in some cases this is enough to take the buying decision
B2B: the customer is another company (within a variety of people and roles). The big different is that decision is not taken by one single person. Different people even, different team could influence or take part of the decision. All this end up in a longer and more complex process. The interaction between the seller and buyer (company and customer) has change, as customers can gather info, initially, for their selves (web, other references,..), involving sales later in the process.
Sales and marketing will jump in different points of the customer journey comparing the situation as it was. Responsibilities regarding sales cycle and buying decision taking have changed. In the previous scenario, the customer (and consumer) need to reach out before the company in order to get the relevant info. The reason is easy, the only way yo get product/service info was ask explicitly to a company representative (usually sales). However, now it is easier to get this info. Almost all the companies have a web, and customer can get info online or via alternatives channels. Digital marketing has helped to drop off relevant information to the customer/consumer, just in the correct moment, using the appropriated channel.
Sales organization has changed (or should do it), moving to a more consultative approach. Customer don’t want to have a long list of characteristics of this product. They are more interested in understand how this same product can solve their problems and how their needs will be meet. Sales is not, only, about hunt new customers, it is more about nurture and foster relationships, building a long term, solid and robust business partnership
Marketing works in the journey until later, it is not only about new customer acquisition or demand generation. Part of this nurturing activities are sit within markering teams as well, but in a different way of course. This is one of the points I mentioned before , where this competition or rivalry between sales and marketing show up. There is a lack of communication, and even lack of alignment on goals. Both should work together in set up a common strategy, split responsibilities (working together) and ensure corporate goals will be meet within this (mainly sales rcollaterals
Content and marketing collateral should be create in close collaboration with Sales. For instance, in the B2B worlds, marketing teams will create and launch communication to the customer. If this is done without any feedback or alignement with sales, there will not be consistent in the message when later, they will try to close the deal. Sales use to have relevant feedback and insights about customers. Let’s create together the message and content to be launch. At the end, all the teams on the company should achieve same common goal (more sales, more margin and less costs). Set up a common strategy and message, breaking down into activities later is a good approach. We will working closely with a common vision and mission. If this is not the case, we will be stick to our scope, responsibility, within know the big picture and why are we working on these projects. There is broken proces if marketing is focus only in brand activation and demand generation, and sales want to close deals as soon as possible
Does this mean that a customer that is not looking for solution in the near future is not a qualified lead? No, of course not. With the old school mindset sales will decline this lead as it is not ready yet. Reality is all the company should work to nurture this customer and prepare it for the future (balancing very well the required effort). Marketing could work in the nurturing piece until customer show up a relevant interest, so sales can take over.
Should markering be measure by generated leads and Sales by won deals? This is one of the root cause of this conflict (lack of a common goal). Both should think in the business a a whole. Both should be measure in customer loyalty and generated revenue. Each team will have their own sub metrics and responsibilities, but looking into the E2E will be more beneficial for the company and for the customer.
Lack of communication and collaboration between teams create 90% of the issues. It is not about this point out guiltiness, or think the other team is not following a correct approach. Customer needs our help (as a company) and each team can solve a piece of this. Collaboration, common goal, share strategy and priorities, this is the only way yo get succes. Sales and marketing are more powerful working together