Why is there still a love-hate battle between sales and marketing? After all this time, and with all the new technology, products and services focused on bridging gaps, why are these two groups still not attached at the hip? Much of the rift has to do with marketing not understanding sales, and sales not understanding marketing.
Marketing generates leads through a variety of campaigns and activities. The next step is to qualify them. But the job of lead qualification varies depending on the company. Sometimes it’s a marketing function, sometimes it’s a sales function. And if you don’t know who qualifies them in your company, then that’s a huge problem all in itself.
Assuming that marketing qualifies the leads, here is the perspective of most marketing teams:
We are providing everything sales is asking for. We have agreed on the ideal client profile and diligently look for those specific types of buyers or executives. We have an agreed upon list of qualifying questions to ask before we ever send leads over to sales. We enter all the data into our CRM including any potential follow-up requirements for sales. We pay attention to buyer timelines and priorities, prioritizing those requiring immediate follow-up to meet a 1-3 year time frame versus those that just need to be nurtured for now.
But, when we do our metrics on the number of marketing leads that make it into the sales cycle, and/or conversions (in this case, the number of deals closed that started with marketing), sales tells us our numbers are low. How can that be when we pass hundreds (or thousands) of qualified leads to sales? What conversion rate is sales expecting? Don’t they understand that a 10% conversion rate to close is the industry average?
As sales people and sales managers, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the sales perspective:
We get the leads from marketing and see the leads assigned to us for follow up in the CRM. Sometimes marketing tells us how many are coming in, how many are followed up by sales, and in what time frame based on the details marketing provides in the CRM. But most times, they don’t.
When our sales team does not consistently follow up on marketing leads, sales management assumes the reps have a good reason for not following up. I mean, why wouldn’t they follow up on warm leads? But unfortunately, we think the leads marketing provides are not qualified enough and therefore a waste of time.
Do you see the disconnect between sales and marketing? Marketing gets upset since they are doing all this work for sales and feels unappreciated. Sales gets peeved since they are following up on leads they believe are not well qualified and a waste of their time.
The real issue here is the lack of regular communication and collaboration between the two groups. They must continuously work together to tighten up the process from lead to close, the criteria for qualified vs. unqualified, the key qualifying questions, the ideal client profile, and so on. Metrics should also be re-evaluated to ensure they address the outcomes you desire, within the context of your specific business and industry. It all seems so simple, but unfortunately, none of it occurs as often as it should.
As the head of sales for multiple sales teams, I always worked diligently with my respective heads of marketing. Of all the people I have worked with over the years, two of these marketing leaders have remained my friends for over 20 years. We all live on different continents, but have stayed in touch. So, no hate relationship with marketing here. Only love.
So, the bottom line is this: There should never be a love-hate relationship between sales and marketing. The two teams need each other and have to figure out the best way to provide value on both sides and achieve common goals: increasing sales and growing the business.