Customer contacts: Getting marketing and sales in sync

25th May 2016

Who creates a customer? If your business is like many others, there may be a subtle (or not so subtle) war between the marketing team and the sales team around this conversation. Marketing will claim that they create the customer by producing engaging campaigns whiles sales insists that there is no customer until their team closes the deal. So who’s right? Is anyone right? Ultimately, these aren’t the right questions.

This combative relationship isn’t doing your business or your customers any good. Instead, it’s time to call a truce and get everyone working together again. Here are 5 ways to change this competitive mindset and approach the customer with their needs in mind.

Acknowledge Everyone

The first thing to do in order to cool off the competition between marketing and sales is to make sure everyone’s work is acknowledged. By sharing out praise equally, you demonstrate that there are multiple important steps to creating a customer and they start with the interest phase generated by marketing, and run all the way to the end when sales guides the customer through the purchasing process.

Explaining the customer creation process can also help change the team loyalty perspective – marketing and sales become part of one continuous team committed to a shared cause.

Create A Culture Of Help

When marketing and sales are fighting against each other for the claim to customer, the idea of helping each other becomes anathema. As a leader, the goal is to change this ethos and instead concentrate on ways the two groups can help each other.

Take social media as an example. The marketing team may be in charge of the content shared through social media, but they need to do more than just post. Instead, marketing also needs to engage with those who respond to these posts and report on that engagement to sales. This helps sales follow up with people who are already interested and try to complete the customer creation process.

Match Up To Meet Goals

Another way to conceptualize the work of marketing and sales is as two shared tracks that meet at customer service. In order to do this, work with sales and marketing to develop matching strategies – you might offer them the metaphor of being the matching socks and underwear of the business world. Matching socks and underwear catch the eye and matching marketing and sales strategies help customers feel as though they’re participating in a continuous experience.

Instruct About Value

Trying to get your marketing and sales team to work together can be difficult because you’re still actively talking about these two departments as separate. Instead of using this framework, the better option may be to shift the focus to the most valuable customers and how those customers perceive the process. Then, ask how these teams might work together to appeal to and facilitate the creation of more valuable customers.

The Old Switcheroo

Finally, if these strategies fail, it may be time to do some brief rearranging. Certainly, people are hired to do a specific job because they have the right skills. But what if, for a day or two, the sales team had to carry out marketing’s activities and vice versa?

Requiring employees to switch places often opens their eyes to the challenges of the other department. They also realize that they couldn’t do this other job well. Switching things up can build new levels of respect between the two groups.

Marketing and sales are not as far apart as the people who work in them often think – especially in the eyes of customers. When these teams can drop their competitive attitude towards each other and focus on mutual assistance, everything runs more smoothly, a difference your customers are sure to notice.


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By EJohn Morris
26th May 2016 07:25

This is, unfortunately a very common problem, in my view the only effective way to resolve it is to link marketing success to sales reward, in other words put marketing people on the same commissions plan as the sales teams.
We are looking for accountability for successful business and this will only happen through behaviour change driven by compensation changes. It's a bit 19th century in its approach but maybe, sometimes it's necessary.
John Morris

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