Anne Holland

SherpaBlog: The Secret Key to Marketing & Sales Working Together

July 14th, 2008

Want to keep your job during this recession? If you work for a sales-driven organization, hard work and great measurement may help… but what really matters is office politics.

If the sales department eagerly sticks up for marketing’s efforts and budget, then you are golden. How? You have to focus your marketing skills internally – convincing them that marketing rocks.

First, just as with any outward-facing marketing campaign, start with market research. Here’s my slightly-potted view of how to understand your now most important target market:

The biggest key to a sales rep’s heart is understanding that they are just like big Hollywood stars. They:
– measure their worth by size of paycheck
– adore public awards
– have big egos, but are deeply vulnerable underneath
– continually check their mobiles for messages and calls
– fear the good scripts/leads will be snaffled by someone else
– love eating at famous expensive restaurants
– distrust revenue-tracking mechanisms and are sure they’re owed more commission
– are scared it could all be over tomorrow (one quarter’s slump and their job is gone)
– think of everyone else as “the little people” (the marketing department)
– would like to direct

Once you realize sales are Hollywood Divas at heart, with all the unique talent, fragility, and difficulty that implies, it becomes easier to handle your relationship with them. Even when they drive you nuts, let’s face it, you could never do their job. (If you could, what are you waiting for? Sales will always make way more money than B-to-B marketers.)

To get their support, you must make them feel safe, cosseted, understood, and wholeheartedly supported. Don’t expect recognition. Sales will never fully understand how critical marketing is or how much talent and hard work it takes to do your job. You can, however, expect them to stick up for you in the manner a Hollywood star would if you are a trusted member of their entourage, such as the only hairdresser they’ll ever trust to touch their golden locks. Heck, some stars have even married their make-up artists, bodyguards, or accountants. (However, we all know who the star in the family is.)

The key is: In B-to-B, sales and marketing will never play as one intramural team; there’ll never be equal recognition for all players. The varsity team already exists, and sales is it. As a marketer, you can be a cheerleader, a water boy, a groundskeeper, a ticket taker….You don’t get to play — you get to support.

Make sales love you, and they will stick up for you when you need it – most of the time, anyway. If your other visible allies include people they fear (their boss), you’re on an even safer ground.

Note: If you’d like loads of specific ways to make your sales department adore marketing, check out MarketingSherpa’s new B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook. It includes ways to get sales’ help on lead scoring, market research and lead feedback. Plus, you’ll also get examples of the most useful marcom and sales support materials you can create to help sales close deals more easily.
Go here to get your copy:

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

We no longer accept comments on the MarketingSherpa blog, but we'd love to hear what you've learned about customer-first marketing. Send us a Letter to the Editor to share your story.