When asked what a good relationship between sales and marketing looked like, a mentor of mine answered, “marketing aims the gun, and sales fires it.” What has become clear to me since that explanation is that with increasing ability to attribute pipeline and revenue to a particular activity (and therefore department) the battle lines between sales and marketing are more adversarial than ever before.
And yet unless these two departments cohesively work together, there’s no way to achieve business growth.
These two elements of closing business – aiming the gun and firing it – require very different skill sets. Aiming the gun takes patience, strategic, long-term vision, and practice. This manifests in development and maintenance of a strong brand, multi-touch nurture campaigns and careful lead qualification. While firing takes ardor, moxie and the willingness to keep trying when you miss. Sales is also measured on their ability to hit their number this week, this month, this quarter, making it nearly impossible to think long-term.
Whether you are running a sales-driven or marketing-led organization, these contrasting skill sets paired with both teams’ desire to prove their contribution to the organization’s top line ultimately leads to friction.
So how can you reduce this friction and close the gap between sales and marketing to drive growth? A recent article on the LinkedIn Sales Blog shares four excellent tips sales and marketing team leaders can leverage for better alignment.