The Business of Harmony: Getting Your Sales and Marketing Teams Onto The Same Page

The divide exists in every company.  Marketing thinks Sales is here to execute their strategy.  Sales thinks Marketing exists to support their sales efforts.  You have probably heard thing like “Sales people don’t get big picture” and “Marketing people have no clue about the end-user’s unique needs.” In a way, they’re both right.  But don’t worry—the occasional dissonance between the two branches of your organization is to be expected.  That’s because the sales team is tasked with closing the business right in front of their noses, and the marketing team is challenged with casting a vision that creates future opportunities down the road. Spending time in both departments, I have been on both sides of this dissonance, and what it really is is a matter of long-term planning versus short-term action. Both approaches ultimately work toward the same goals, but they each go about it in very different ways.

Business Harmony

Business Harmony

Today you can see various attempts by organizations to foster better internal harmony.  For example we see both department rolling up to on Sr VP of Sale & Marketing or Channel Chief.    One proven solution I have come across that closes this loop between sales and marketing has to do with your channel incentive or reward program. First off, it should absolutely be designed and communicated by a marketing leader.  A program that casts a wide net throughout the channel ecosystem needs the continuity and foresight of a well-crafted, long-term approach.

But there also needs to be an olive branch. Why not allow the sales leadership to determine what behaviors are rewarded for in the program? The salespeople are clearly the most qualified to identify these behaviors, things like Steps-To-The-Sale (STTS) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI).  Chances are your salespeople have been examining and fine-tuning these behaviors over years of an evolving sales process.  They are how management measures the success of individual salespeople outside of a closed deal.

In addition to encouraging synergy within your organization, this approach achieves one of the 5 most important components of a successful incentive program:  the “Sales Buy-in”. Without Sales buy-in your incentive program is dead in the water.  Salespeople are the front line of marketing’s message, and also the most penetrative.  When the sales team has a hand in developing the program rules, the program becomes a sales tool that can help them close more effectively.

I call it the Business of Harmony.

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