What sales really thinks about marketing

Still the colouring-in department? Victoria Clarke reveals what sales really thinks of marketing

The relationship between the sales and marketing departments has long been documented as complicated, fractious and tense. Despite seemingly common business goals, number one being to gain more customers, the two business functions have often succeeded in pulling in totally opposite directions – all the while harbouring a lack of trust and respect for the other department. Rather like a love-hate sibling relationship, both sides know they need the other but that hasn’t stopped some significant bickering along the way.

Unfortunately these tensions are not confined to the history books just yet. Recent research from Brand Learning supports the fact there is still a significant disconnect between sales and marketing teams. In a survey of more than 100 senior marketing and sales directors at organisations across the globe, the research revealed that businesses are still struggling to achieve genuine joined-up thinking between their sales and marketing teams. More than a third (35 per cent) of marketing directors ranked their collaborations with their sales colleagues as a nine out of 10 or 10 out of 10, but only 12 per cent of sales professionals admitted their work with marketing was at that same level.

Despite these latest findings, a growing number of sales and marketing departments are beginning to work together to create a more joined-up agenda. Insight and understanding of each team’s strengths and challenges is key to a successful coalition. So, what can marketers learn from the way their department is perceived by sales?