- Sales Enablement
- Oct 08
- 8 mins read
3 Steps to Prevent Conflict Between Sales & Marketing: A Sales Leader’s Perspective
Working in sales for 20+ years, the sales and marketing relationship has been one of the most complicated and often conflict-laden. Trust between the two teams can be notoriously low. Sales doesn’t think marketing knows what’s going on. Marketing doesn’t think sales is using the materials they created. They usually get along as long as everyone’s hitting goals, but as soon as things go sideways, people are quick to point the finger at the other team.
But sales and marketing teams need to do more than just get along for your business to grow. These teams have the ability to drive exponential results when they work together. There are few places in your company where conflict is more expensive than the lost opportunities of an out of sync sales and marketing relationship. So how do you create more unity between these two crucial teams?
Step 1 – Create a Strong Feedback Loop
In so many marketing and sales relationships, marketing creates the materials, kicks them over the fence to sales, and then… that’s it. They move on to the next project with no idea of whether or not what they created is working for the sales team. So how do they know what’s worth doing?
There’s nothing strategic about creating content in a vacuum and hoping for the best. It’s important for marketing to get feedback from sales on which materials are most effective. What a marketer may see as unuseful, overly simplistic, or too direct may be exactly what sales needs. Creating regular feedback meetings will not only yield the most impactful materials, but also ensure sales is actually using the content that marketing creates. In addition, build ways to track engagement of materials by sales. This will also add more granular analysis to supporting sales.
Step 2 – Ensure Your Brand Is Clear
Think in terms of brand first. You need to make sure sales and marketing are speaking the same language. One common point of contention is when sales teams ignore the brand or tone of the company and just sell any way they think will be effective. But marketing did the work of figuring out the best way to convey the brand to your target audience, and when sales doesn’t speak within brand, it confuses your audience.
If your marketing team is communicating one way and your sales team another, you’re basically selling two different products to the same person and losing customer trust in the process. And trust is more important than ever given the current climate of purchasing hesitancy. Ensure your brand is consistent all the way down to the sales pitch and that you’re all telling the same story.
Step 3 – Give Marketing More Credit
People often ask where a lead came from as if that’s the only thing that matters. Was it an inbound lead? A marketing-qualified lead? A phone call? It’s not that simple. Giving all the credit to the final touch of a lead is like assuming a salad is only good because of the salad dressing. The ingredients are just as important as the final touch. Sales leaders need to think of acquiring the lead the same way they think of the sales progression after the lead is acquired, meaning that every sale takes several steps to close. Often the same holds true for acquiring the lead.
Marketing does way more than just create qualified leads for sales. They craft the story that sales is communicating to customers. They produce strong content and accurate collateral that reps use to sell. They develop a brand that best speaks to your target audience (see Step 2). They also provide directional support, such as retargeting and email automation, that impacts customers at every stage of their journey.
By listening to each other, staying true to your brand, and valuing each other’s work, you can build trust between sales and marketing. Working together as one unified team requires investment from both groups, but the effort is worth it. Improving your relationship will alleviate workplace pain and ultimately help you earn more revenue for your business.
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