Sales and marketing: A love story

When it comes to these diametrically-opposed departments, it’s actually less a case of opposites attract and more a match made in heaven, argues Claire Mason, CEO of Man Bites Dog

Marketing: Loves big-data analysis, brainstorms and using creative communications skills to maximum effect. Seeks engaged prospect for content, links and lead scores. WLTM another marketer.

Sales: Has in-depth knowledge of the customer and enjoys long chats. Seeks like-minded potential buyer to sweep off their feet. No time wasters or marketers please.

It’s an age-old love/hate story and the arguments are all too familiar. “Marketing just doesn’t understand what I need.” “Sales teams don’t understand me and my content… they just don’t get it.”

But this relationship needs to get back on track. In the near future, it might not be about winning the battle or even the war; in a customer-first, increasingly digital world, decision-making authority is shifting away from the familiar sales and marketing roles towards a buyer journey with multiple touchpoints. The future will require not only friendship but also the official joining together of two disciplines to create one long-lasting, ahem, ‘smarketing’ team.

Because when it comes to sales and marketing, it’s not even a case of opposites attract – they’re actually perfect for each other. And actually, smarketers need to exploit their full range of skills to work towards common goals.

Marketers have the analytical and creative abilities to move a potential buyer through the sales funnel. Similarly, a customer-centric buyer journey requires the skill of the sales professional – someone able to offer an advice-based human touch to build relationships and move a potential buyer from consideration to purchase.

In turn, the CMO, CXO or CSO should expect to take their place as a key decision-maker on the board – the person most closely connected to the audience and best placed to communicate internal messages.

As in any long-term relationship, both sales and marketing specialists will need to walk a mile in each other’s shoes. It will also be important to demonstrate empathy and patience and to take the opportunity to learn from one another. After all, sales and marketing come as a pair. This isn’t a competition – it’s about combining our skillsets to ensure we all live happily ever after.

B2B Marketing Q4 16/17

Our Q4 issue is all about professional development, with features covering the agency-client relationship, weird and wonderful career paths, the art of the B2B podcast, and a detailed breakdown of the 2016 B2B Marketing Awards.

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B2B Marketing quarterly review Q4 2016/17