Marketing vs Sales: What is causing all that tension?



In a perfect world marketers and sales professionals would happily coexist, rubbing along nicely to attract quality business leads that turn into customers.

But we don’t live in that perfect world, instead we live in one where there’s a bit of confusion around who does what. I’m pretty sure that the marketers and the sales professionals have complete clarity on what their roles should entail, but friction can exist because others don’t.


And when there’s a lack of communication between these two key business functions, this only adds to the tension.


Why am I telling you this? Because understanding how their expertise and characters differ and how they interconnect could be the difference between an award-winning campaign and one that falls flat.


Want proof? Well, here it is. A leading European CRM provider recently studied the relationship between marketing and sales teams and revealed that when they align new revenue can increase by up to 34%. [1]

Who does what, why and when?


I totally get why some people struggle to get to grips with who does what and blur them into one. It’s because they are so intrinsically linked and share the same goal - to generate revenue.

The people you entrust to carry out your marketing will focus on putting your brand in front of potential new customers, keeping your current customer base engaged, and reminding former customers of the value of your product or service.


They use their creative and analytical skills, innovation, and knowledge of your ideal customer to bring your brand to life, inspire a positive reaction, and deliver a message that truly resonates.


This awareness is crucial. It puts your brand in people’s minds. It promotes your values and vision. It instils familiarity. It provides clarity as to how your customers will benefit from what you offer.


Your relationship-focused sales team will use this ‘warm up act’ to clinch the deal. Their aim is to convert interested groups into customers. To do this, they identify where these potential customers hang out, meet them there, and expertly nudge them up the sales process. This could be online, at an event, or even over the phone.


If you want more proof of why both teams should be closely aligned, a recent survey [2] shows that many B2B sales now happen without a salesperson even being present. And with so much ‘buying’ information available online, decisions to buy can often be taken before a salesperson has uttered a word. So, it’s even more important that the sales team are onboard with what the marketing team are doing and vice versa.

Alignment to close the sales loop


To prevent any toxicity from creeping in, and to create a collaborative workplace culture, there are two things that you must consider.


Number one, you have to establish clear roles. Be mindful that the personality and natural tendencies of a marketer won’t match those of a salesperson. They’re different beasts!


Number two, you have to develop transparent communications. This clarity will empower the two departments to work together in harmony and enhance each other’s skills.

“Teamwork makes the dream work”


I’m not a huge fan of sayings, in fact, some of the really cringey ones have been known to make my toes curl. But that aside, there’s a lot of truth behind it.


Luckily, the team here at Good Comms are people people. We love to talk through our ideas and thoughts and to listen to others. We love collaboration. If you need us to be mediators to bring out the best of your cross-departmental teams, then I guess we’d excel at that too, but that’s not the optimum solution, that’s simply brushing the problem under the carpet.


To create that ‘perfect world’, that ultimate workplace culture based on respect and harmony, there are some things that you can do to achieve a successful alignment. This is what we suggest:

  • Communicate the revenue-related goals and make them trackable. If any mistakes are made, or if something doesn’t quite hit the mark, lessons can be learned for next time.

  • Think about how you spread your budget. It stands to reason that if you give a disproportionately high budget to your marketing team, they’ll bring in more interested leads than your sales team can manage resulting in missed conversions – and a lot of frustration between the two teams.

  • Clearly define who your ideal customer is and ensure both departments have the same information. Consistency matters! Consistency makes for a better customer journey. The marketers must be attracting the right people, the ones who will be receptive to the charismatic touch of a salesperson.

  • To kickstart a campaign your best bet is to encourage lots of ideas and opinions. It could be that your marketing team and your sales team end up with two conflicting strategies. That’s ok. If both concepts have legs, agree to run with one at a time to see which one performs better.

Testing different concepts is actually a pretty smart move. Sometimes it’s the most random concepts that take everyone by surprise. Our blog, ‘Great Ideas That Nearly Didn’t Make it’ proves this theory.

  • Bring the marketing and sales team together regularly. This will help add even more clarity to projects and make it clear who is accountable for what. And it doesn’t always have to be work-related either, some of the strongest relationships are developed outside of the work environment.

  • And finally, don’t forget to maintain accurate lead data and share KPIs. After all, revenue and growth should always be your priority.


Good Comms. That’s what we do.

If you’re looking to get ahead with your marketing to strengthen your brand awareness and to align your business strategies then why not get in touch with us today. Let’s start talking!

Curious as to what we’ve done for our clients? Feed that curiosity by heading to our portfolio page. Wondering how broad our capabilities are? We say they’re as broad as our thinking, but you can see that for yourself by checking out our services.

[1] SuperOffice

[2] Gartner


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