Inter-departmental clash of characters in any industry is unfortunately the norm.
In my days in the ad business, we creatives were constantly at odds with account executives. Glorified dispatch riders we used to call them, and some really lived up to the term.
Next up in the list of creatives’ enemies were coders and programmers. They could never understand why proper paragraph spacing was such a big deal. Needless to say, it drove us copywriters (and designers) to the verge of insanity.
But these were mainly harmless feuds and competitive banter. Besides, there was a far more vicious common enemy – the client. Ok I’ll stop now.
In a typical company, the lack of synergy between Sales and Marketing departments, however, can have detrimental effects on the bottom line of a business. Misaligned direction and lack of transparent communication between the two teams can result in a nasty work environment and disjointed customer experience.
Until very recently, I was managing a sales team. Don’t ask me how or why. But in doing so – especially with more of a marketing background – I realised that the marketing and sales sync is imperative now more than ever.
A shared vision working towards common goals, along with clear understanding of each departments’ pain points results in peaceful, results-oriented coexistence that can lead to improved bottom lines and customer satisfaction.
If you suspect that your marketing and sales department are not in sync, look out for these 5 trouble signs, along with quick tips to get them back on track.
1. They Don’t Hang Out Together
Hey, we all need to de-stress after work. Gathering a bunch of colleagues and heading out for a bit of R&R is a great team-bonding activity that can result in improved empathy, teamwork and patience. But if your sales team does not socially mingle with your marketing team and vice versa, it is a clear sign of an invisible barrier of egos, discontent and misunderstandings.
TIP: Organise a monthly social gathering that includes all team members across all departments, especially sales and marketing. Make sure it’s out-of-office and with minimal management intervention so they can be themselves and open opportunities for discourse.
2. Marketing Work Lacks Insights
Ask marketing and they say not briefed properly. Ask sales and they say it’s not their job. In the end, it’s the business that suffers as marketing communications that lack insight is not optimised to convince and convert.
TIP: Include marketing team members in sales meetings – albeit just as observers. Understanding the customer journey – from a prospect to repeat purchaser – along with their pain points will help with crafting more relevant, timely communication.
3. Dismal New Leads Generation
The lifeline of any business is not the products, resources or even sales. You can have all the sales pouring-in now, but what about in the medium to long term? Properly aligned sales and marketing teams work together to create a lead generation, optimisation and conversion system so that every opportunity is given due attention. It’s the recipe for a successful, sustainable business.
TIP: Make it rewarding – set a desired lead conversion ratio, say 20 customers converted from every 100 new leads. Reward both the sales and marketing teams if achieved. A simple trick to get the team working together towards a common goal.
4. Recurring Misunderstandings
Salespersons are relationship builders who like to be in the thick of things. Whereas marketing team members are generally methodological, focused and outcome-driven. Naturally, the differences in mindset and personalities can trigger the occasional clash of characters. But if there is more clashing than problem-solving, then it’s possible there’s a deeper root cause.
TIP: Usually there is only one or two persons causing the friction, which unfortunately affects everyone. Identify the ‘troublemakers’ and do an intervention to establish a transparent, respectful culture with open communication.
5. Group Meetings are One-sided
Well-synced sales and marketing divisions often contribute, comment, and even disagree equally in meetings, all for the greater good. But if only one side is doing all the talking and the other side look like they rather be elsewhere then this could be a sign of animosity and divisiveness.
TIP: Let the quiet lead the way – let the quieter of the two sides run the meeting once in a while as an avenue to be heard and add value. This also provides the alpha side a different perspective to things and may lead to increased collaboration and inter-departmental teamwork.
According to stats from the Precision Marketing Group, companies with good sales and marketing synergy can expect up to 208% more ROI from marketing efforts. Pretty eye-opening.
Especially now, with the global economy ravaged, ensuring your sales and marketing teams are aligning their efforts could be the best way to get more from existing resources. Every little effort counts, especially when both sales and marketing skills are needed at every stage of the customer journey.
With bottom lines at stake – it’s truly time to sync-up and quite possibly sink the competition. Good luck!