Marketing directors rarely think about the sales force. They aren’t mentioned in the top 150 marketing blogs. Your marketing chief rarely discusses strategy with the sales czar. Your web gurus don’t think about sales. Your media plan doesn’t list them as a line item. Heck, we googled “marketing strategy + sales” just to check, and the only thing that popped up was bud.tv.
Reason? Marketers and sales often compete internally in organizations. At their worst, marketers can think sales is just brute force, and sales can think marketers have their pointy heads in the clouds. Sometimes organizations create opposing incentives — sales reps may get a commission if they close a deal or sign a customer, but leads coming from marketing go to an inside sales phone bank, cutting the field sales team out. Sales thinks marketing is overhead. Marketing wonders in its heart why sales is needed.
Too bad, because it all needs to work together. This is particularly true in internet marketing, where lead generation culminates with a prospect filling out a form online … and if no one follows up quickly, that consumer lead will die. If your web team never talks with the sales force, you have a problem.
Here’s a handy checklist to see if you have a sales vs. marketing smackdown:
1. Money fights. Does your organization create opposing incentives, where sales is not rewarded for marketing activity?
2. Org imbalance. If prospect leads are handled by different organizations (field, inside sales, customer service), do the teams talk with and train each other?
3. Delayed response. If a prospect comes in any “door” — internet, phone, print, retail — and wants to sign up/buy immediately, can each part of your organization sell them quickly?
4. Hole in the flowchart. Review your marketing plan … does it indicate clearly how advertising media, direct marketing and field sales activity are synchronized each month of the year?
5. Broken budget process. Think about your planning cycle. Do sales and marketing directors collaborate in planning how your budget will be invested? Or do they each have a separate budget, and create siloed plans that are not in synch?
6. Measurement madness. Ah, this, the biggest sin, may reside with the top exec, if he or she is measuring each part of marketing and sales as silos. We’ve had clients wonder why print results are down, while internet results are through the roof. Direct mail can be slipping, but field sales is getting more leads. Do you really know how all the metrics fit together?
Marketers must remember that prospects hear your message as a series of integrated communications, and their response may shift from channel to channel. If you don’t measure how each channel affects the others, you’ll be giving praise and casting blame unfairly — and the sales vs. marketing imbalance may spin further out of control.
There is no easy fix. We suggest in your next annual budget cycle, just put the sales and marketing chiefs in a room, and tell them to build one plan. Watch the spears fly.