Sales DevelopmentSales ManagementSales ProcessSmall Business Advice

Why Can’t Sales and Marketing Get Along?

By March 8, 2011December 22nd, 2015No Comments


Of all the problems with company silos, the one hardest for me to imagine is a marketing silo and a sales silo.  Yet I see these divisions all the time, even in small companies.  Marketing complains that the sales team will not share information or fill out CRM reports.  Sales complains that marketing is wasting time and wasting money and not delivering the right kinds of leads.

Why can’t they get along?  The easy answer is because they come from different backgrounds, different kinds of training, and very different ideas of how business works.  But the more productive answer is  because the company leadership has not established a unified business development plan that clearly identifies the roles and responsibilities of marketing and sales as well as operations and all other areas of the company.

If you’re the leader, do not leave it to your sales and marketing teams to work out their differences alone.  They can’t, and they certainly won’t without your expectations and leadership.

Marketing exists entirely for business development purposes, which typically require branding, messaging, materials, and multi-dimensional communications with prospects.  Sales exists to bring real customers in the door who will pay for the promises made explicit in the marketing message and sales conversations.  Often, the people in marketing and the people in sales have a totally different viewpoint about what the company does, what it sells, and what it its value proposition.  Even more confusing is that the operations side of the business–those people who actually deliver what marketing has promoted and sales has sold–are astounded to find out after the fact what the sellers have promised.

Here are six first steps towards getting marketing and sales on the same page:

  • hold sales and marketing equally accountable for achieving a certain sales goal within a six-month period
  • create a clearly defined target filter that identifies characteristics of your ideal customers
  • have marketing create a list of companies that meet those criteris and a set of dossiers about the most promising prospects
  • have marketing and sales confer about what constitutes useful research and a thorough dossier
  • limit sales reps to calling on those companies on your list
  • have sales reps report back to marketing on what they learned in each call or visit

The idea is to build a more replicable, data-driven system.  Neither sales nor marketing will be very enamored with your new system and your new requirements.  But if you hold firm, they may learn that each can make the other’s job easier and more productive.

How do the sales and marketing teams function in your company?  We’d love to hear from you.