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Fight Night: Finally Settling the Sales and Marketing Conflict

By Brett Casella

Fight Night: Finally Settling the Sales and Marketing Conflict

 In an ideal world, your sales and marketing teams would work synergistically, giving you a 1+1=3 result.

However, we live in the real world where that is usually not the case. Instead of laughing and working collaboratively around a white board like stock photos illustrate, your sales and marketing teams are often involved in a conflict that can feel like a twelve-round heavyweight bout.

Sales is about the push, marketing is about the pull. Marketing is a science, sales is an art. Sales focuses on the short-term, marketing thinks ahead. These fundamental differences fuel the never-ending arguments about lead qualification, campaign procedures, and accountability.

It's time to settle this thing once and for all. So, without further ado... *ahem* Ladies and Gentlemen, LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEE!!!!!!

Round 1 – Clearly Define Roles

First things first. Sit down the fighters and discuss their roles with them. After hearing input from both sides, clearly establish each of their roles. Doing this correctly will benefit you in many ways; it will allow sales and marketing to focus on their specialty, and will decrease future arguments regarding responsibility. It will also save you money since there will be little to no duplication of effort from the two departments.

Round 2 – Define What a “High Quality” Lead is

This could fall into the Round One battle, but it is such a vital component that it deserves its own mentioning.

Studies continue to show that sales forces identify their number one problem as generating quality leads. The two contenders must decide what defines a suspect as a high quality lead, and when they are classified as “sales ready” and moved along to the sales team.

Traditionally, this is done after the lead has done enough product research to develop a brand preference and intends on purchasing. Consequently, the sales team should pass “dead leads” back to marketing if they are not ready to purchase.

Round 3 – Set goals

With roles defined and the process of lead nurturing made a little clearer, we can now set goals for both departments. These goals should complement each other, but be independently tracked and measured. This is another step that you must work on with both sides in order to make sure that your goals are attainable.

Once your marketing and sales goals are set, each department will be held accountable for their own specific measures and finger pointing will be kept to a minimum.

Round 4 – Integrate Software

Your company should currently be using a software used for customer relationship management (CRM) and a software that handles marketing activities.

A CRM program, such as Salesforce, helps a business manage their customer information and stay up to date with their contacts.

Marketing software, such as HubSpot, lets you develop, execute, and analyze marketing campaigns. Individually, these tools can do a lot of things for your business, but together is where they really flourish.

These programs can be integrated with an application programming interface (API). Now, when your sales team closes a lead, the customer can be tracked back to their first contact with a marketing campaign. This allows you to identify your strongest campaigns and maximize your ROI. After all of the fighting, doesn’t it feel nice to finally start coming together?

Round 5 – Create "Smarketing" Agreement

You’re one step closer to becoming a big happy family, let's make it official.

Your roles and goals are defined, now it’s time to make your marketing and sales teams accountable. A service level agreement states that marketing will generate a certain level of leads per month, and sales will in turn close a certain number of these leads.

This should virtually eliminate any conflict between the two divisions. Keep in mind when you're designing the SLA, word it in terms that both sides can easily understand. Having previously integrated your software and setting up your goals, this step should be easy.

Round 6 – Keep Communications Open

All that is left to do from this point is to encourage keeping an open, steady stream of communication between the two divisions.

Consider: Have regular joint marketing-sales meetings to make sure that performance is on track with goals and that both sides are happy with how their counterpart is performing.

Problems and opportunities should be discussed, and actions should be scheduled to be carried out before the next meeting. Communication can also be aided by placing your marketing and sales employees in close working proximity.

The Winner, By Decision: YOU

[display_fullsize]sales and marketing[/display_fullsize]


sales and marketing


After the back and forth slugging between sales and marketing, the winner is actually you!

Your departments are now on the same page with clearly defined roles and can be accurately held responsible when they fail to meet their goals. Your business is running smoother than ever and it’s because you settled this age-old conflict.

Congratulations, and give your self a pat on the back. You earned it, champ.

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Sales & Marketing Alignment
Published on June 28, 2013

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