It’s a sad fact of life that when we don’t understand another person, we tend to assign negative motives to them. Rather than see them as different, we see them as ‘difficult’, ‘obstructive’ or even ‘stupid’. History is rife with examples of division flowing from misunderstanding – and in today’s society we see it most clearly in politics. It saddens me to see ever more polarized political “news” programming that showcases the purest form of mocking those who hold an opposing view.
But this tendency isn’t limited to politics. Sales and marketing often fall into the same trap. Rather than seeing the other partner as well intentioned, each side often views the other as ignorant and hostile. This divide is pretty legendary.
How do we fix it? Well, this difference is often described as the two groups ‘not speaking the same language’ – but of course, that’s a euphemism – they do actually speak the same language. So where does the division really lie?
It’s not about language, it’s about PHILOSOPHY. Sales and marketing have different philosophies regarding how customer communication happens. Sales guys tend to think about the individual conversation, marketers tend to think about broader channels. What works in one doesn’t work in the other, but both have merit.
The key to sales and marketing integration is to align those philosophies. To establish a single set of principles regarding how great communication happens – which both unites the two groups, but also makes room for the different media and channels that each group employs.
When we built our model for sales messaging, we focused it entirely on improving sales results. And that’s what it unfailingly does. But we learned early on that if you want to guarantee a great outcome, you must have sales AND marketing in the same room…because you need the insight that each side brings.
However, this protocol created the most amazing unanticipated byproduct. Exposing both sides to a single messaging methodology almost invariably leads to the unification and alignment of sales and marketing at a philosophical level. It’s a problem we’re absolutely delighted to solve, even though we didn’t set out to do so.
In almost all clients we see a newfound respect between the two groups, especially since our model lays out a clear role for each. Or, put another way, the new philosophical alignment inevitably flows into a much-improved operational relationship. So important is this, that we now will not engage with a client if sales and marketing aren’t jointly involved.
We recently concluded a sales messaging project for an industrial client. It was very successful, with the usual impact on conversion rate and cycle time. But despite the huge economic value, the client’s primary feedback was… “This is amazing. I’ve never seen sales and marketing work so effectively together.”
The war is over….Who knew?