Growth is a universal business goal, but some companies are unknowingly preventing themselves from achieving their desired gains. The disconnect between what businesses say they want and the results they’re getting isn’t due to a lack of effort, strategy or ambition – it’s a matter of perspective about a fundamental area of business development – marketing. Bottom line: too many business leaders have a narrow view of marketing’s function. Just ask Michael Ames, sales enablement thought-leader and co-founder/COO of Meiotic, makers of the purpose-built sales enablement platform vablet.
“During my career, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say a business function, other than sales, is simply ‘overhead.’ In order to achieve real results at the highest level, all the functions need to be working together,” Ames offered.
Perspectives of Sales and Marketing
Bringing about real change starts with changing how sales and marketing teams view each other. Achieving joint success also requires creating meaningful collaboration between the two functions that are often at odds in many organizations.
Salespeople are notoriously stereotyped as the “go-getters,” front-line business developers who don’t play by the rules, don’t focus on details and don’t have much interest in post-sales data or processes.
“Sales has to hit numbers. When the rubber meets the road, all bets are off, and a sales person will employ whichever tactic they deem relevant at the time, even if they circumvent a company’s process,” says Ames.
On the other hand, marketing’s function is done within the confines of the corporate walls – they’re too often seen as order-takers, not collaborators. Marketing campaigns are created, content is generated and information is disseminated based on ideas and market information gathered in a vacuum.
According to Ames, “Rarely have I ever seen a marketing person in a sales meeting with a prospect.”
Breaking the Barriers
Unfortunately, because sales teams are so adept at the in-the-trenches, externally-facing business development, and marketers are pigeon-holed as corporate disseminators of information, the teams’ contributions toward business results aren’t perceived as equal. And these perceived roles prevent collaboration in the workplace – what Ames describes as an “attitude of delineation that has created a level of dysfunction and limited communication.”
When it comes to breaking down the barriers between marketing and sales, Ames says the old adage rings true:
“Don’t many of these multi-stepped programs start by saying, ‘the first step is recognizing that you have a problem’?”
Despite their day-to-day differences, marketing and sales are two essential functions in the same business development process. Companies need to create environments where their marketers and sales experts can work through this process collaboratively rather than independently or worse, combatively. Sales has “horse’s-mouth” insights from buyers, and marketing can translate those insights into strategic messaging and content designed to drive lead engagement and conversions. The sooner each team can share expertise and align their respective tactics and strategy with bottom-line results, the more effective the sales process will be and the more ROI companies will get from their sales and marketing investments. At the end of the day, sales teams aren’t solely responsible for sales results and marketing isn’t just overhead – they’re two functions working toward the same goal.
For great conversation and more insight on what it takes to fine-tune marketing and sales alignment, drop Michael Ames a line here. You can also take an inside look at what vablet is doing to help sales and marketing teams collaborate.