According to HubSpot, “87% of the terms sales and marketing teams use to describe each other are negative.” But it doesn’t need to be like that. After all, their main goals are the same (e.g. get more customers, make the company shine), which is why it makes sense to get these two divisive departments working together, not against each other.
Here are five strategies for getting sales and marketing working together in a more positive and productive way.
1. Make sure both sides are on the same page, meaning they understand goals/objectives and audiences you’re trying to target. This might sound like a no-brainer, but if the marketing team is spending Q1 focused on Audience A, but the sales folks are trying to woo Audience B, then obviously there’s a disconnect somewhere. Marketing folks will get frustrated when sales complains they’re not seeing leads coming from Audience B, and the sales folks will feel that the marketing people aren’t doing their jobs.
HubSpot has a method for dealing with this called “smarketing” (a portmanteau of the words “sales” and “marketing”), in which it creates a process for aligning everyone’s goals and objectives. HubSpot offers a free lesson on smarketing here. (If you need motivation for checking out this course, HubSpot also notes that when a company’s sales and marketing are closely aligned, the company typically enjoys 20% percent annual revenue growth.)
2. Foster positive communication between the two departments. No one likes to feel out of the loop. When that happens, people can start to feel resentful and/or that their opinions don’t matter. The best way to avoid this scenario is to have transparency. There should be no “secrets.” The two departments should be part of the same team, and strategies and plans that each one is working on should be—happily—shared with the other (and without the other side having to ask). If possible, have regular meetings (monthly or quarterly) where everyone comes together to review goals, tasks, past performance, and so forth.
3. Encourage “open” brainstorming sessions. What shouldn’t happen is someone from sales strolling down to the marketing department (or vice versa) with suggestions on how marketing could do their job better. This sort of approach won’t score any points. Instead, if someone has an idea, they should bring it to scheduled brainstorming sessions where the idea can be presented to both sides (and all key players are involved) and then discussed. The reason this sort of approach works better is because it’s not one person going up to another and saying, “Hey, here’s an idea about what you can do differently.” A group dynamic doesn’t put any one person on the spot. Rather, the group can casually discuss ideas, including the pros, cons, and next steps.
4. Build time for play outside of the office. A smart way to build camaraderie among sales and marketing people is to get them together outside of the office. It’s important for people to see each other as fellow human beings first, rather than labels like “marketing coordinator” or “sales rep.” By getting together for dinner and other relaxed social outings, your team members will be able to get to know each other and find common ground that has nothing to do with sales or marketing. This common ground will help build a strong foundation for the two departments when members get back to the office.
5. Provide team-building events at work. While it’s important for sales and marketing folks to get to know one another outside of the office, it’s critical that they learn how to work together when they’re in the office as well. Team-building events can foster knew ways of communicating, help build trust, and provide solutions to obstacles people are encountering. Need some inspiration? Here are some fun team-building ideas that we wrote about.
What do you think? How do you get sales and marketing teams working together, not against each other? Share your ideas in the comments.