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Sales/Marketing Friction pt3 – Working it out

November 16, 2010

The funny part is, ultimately you both need each other.

Without sales – the company goes under.  Without marketing the company flounders around without an identity trying to fit itself into spaces where it may or may not belong.  Both efforts are integral for any kind of growth, and without the relationship firing on all cylinders the odds against success begin to mount.

That’s not saying that within a smaller organization where sales reps are kept on islands that the individual rep can’t fend for himself.  In fact, when left to their own devices salespeople can, in fact, position their product, develop solid leads, and find incredible opportunities.

I once worked at a small company in which we were essentially creating a market for a largely unknown product.  The marketing department had the unenviable task of attempting to market a product without any solid business case save the ability to create goodwill among stakeholders, employees and customers.  So as the marketing department was trying to furiously find places, niches, and applications for our cutting edge products, the sales reps were largely doing the same thing.  We called, scheduled meetings, appeared at events, spoke to audiences and just tried to create as much buzz in front of the public as we could.

The only problem – the sales team was not selling.  We were acting in the capacity of an “auxiliary” marketing group.

Sales people should be selling and NOT marketing – that’s the idea goal.  Unfortunately in less organized environments, start-ups, and early-stage orgs this becomes common.

We made fast friends with our brethren in the marketing department – as it was sink or swim time.  We were receiving real-time prospect feedback, suggestions, criticism, and ways that we could easily mold the product around the REAL needs the clients had.

In more mature companies – these roles really ought to be well-defined.  The problem is that too often they’re not.


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