Who’s in charge? Sales? Marketing? Neither?

Who’s in charge? Sales? Marketing? Neither?

by Caroline Meyers

It is all too common to find sales and marketing—the two most influential departments in a corporation—at odds with each other. In our industry, we see the clash—in all of its splendor—play out on the trade show floor every day.

We all know the arguments: Sales thinks marketing is detached from the realities of the marketplace. Marketing accuses sales of ignoring the true meaning of competitive branding.

To truly understand the predicament of exhibiting companies, MC2 took a deeper dive into the sales vs marketing debate. We explored the tensions between the two functions and the lessons they must learn from each other in order to align and succeed. Below are highlights and key findings from the resulting report, Sales vs. Marketing: Who’s Got the Lead?.

The rivalry between sales and marketing is deep seated and can be divisive:

  • Sales thinks marketing is lightweight and easy.
  • Marketing says sales people will say anything to get a deal.
  • Marketing sees Sales wasting time on unproductive leads.
  • Sales thinks marketing content isn’t relevant.

Yet, companies with a strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth in revenue (Source: Hubspot.com). That alignment can only be achieved with a supportive and cooperative relationship between sales and marketing.

Meanwhile, buyers have fundamentally changed the marketing and sales landscape. Today’s customers form impressions from every encounter they have with your brand.

  • Buyers don’t follow the old “sales funnel” approach to marketing lead generation.
  • Potential buyers are well on their way through the buying journey before they even contact Sales.

With customers in control of the buying cycle, the re-alignment of the Sales and Marketing relationship has never been more valuable. Understanding this paradigm for buyer behavior will point to ways Sales and Marketing can align and smooth a customer’s path to purchase.

Let’s stop thinking sales and marketing are different, put down the gloves, and work together to become a high performing dynamic duo.

  • Marketing content that influences buyers long before they enter the sales cycle.
  • Developing effective lead nurturing marketing programs.
  • Sales strategy based on developing relationships over the “cold call.”
  • Sales being able to personalize information for the buyer.

One area where Sales and Marketing can function together is at the trade show. Face-to-face communication is a key factor in personalizing information for the buyer, initiating a nurture program based on their preferences and exposing the buyer to Sales product expertise.

  • Most attendees at the trade show come to learn and plan to buy.
  • Information from a trade show is shared with an attendees’ buying center.
  • Attendees report that attending a show influences their buying decision.

Understanding the tensions and opportunities, experiential agencies like mine are able to help bridge the gap between the two functions. Our infographic below highlights key findings from the report. You can download the full report here.

Caroline Meyers is Director, Corporate Communications, MC². Opinions are her own. She can be reached at cmeyers@mc-2.com.




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