Why Sales Hates Marketing: 9 Reasons
The war between Sales and Marketing is both legendary and debilitating. And yet it's probably fair to say that the future of your company lies in your ability to make the two work better together.
With that in mind, here are the nine most common complaints Sales has about Marketing, along with my advice to resolve the problem.
1. Marketing Acts Superior
Many marketers have business degrees, so they think they're better than sales reps who don't. However, business degrees are of limited use in sales situations–because very few business schools offer courses in sales, let alone majors or degrees.
Since what's taught in b-school is (frankly) a mix of accounting and biz-blab, the superior air of the MBA'd is neither appropriate nor helpful.
The Fix: Make certain that every marketer you hire has at least six months of experience selling something.
2. Marketing Doesn't Believe in Sales
Marketers are often taught in b-school that good marketing makes a sales force unnecessary. As Peter Drucker put it: "The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous" and "the right motto for business management should increasingly be 'from selling to marketing.'"
However, unless a product is a plug-and-play commodity, your only differentiator is how you sell it.
The Fix: Make it clear in the charter of the marketing team that they are there to support the sales team, not to replace it.
3. Marketing Thinks Selling Is Easy
Marketers think that they can create so much demand that selling consists of taking orders. However, many "demand creation" activities don't create all that much demand–especially in B2B, where customers generally ignore ads, brochures, and such.
And, of course, anyone who's ever sold knows exactly how difficult it can be.
The Fix: Have the marketers make sales calls–or field inside sales calls–so they can see how hard it is.
4. Marketing Avoids Being Measured
Marketers generally get paid when they produce leads, brochures, white papers, and so forth–even if none of that activity results in a single sale. They successfully get themselves measured on the deliverables, rather than whether the deliverables have a measurable financial impact.
The Fix: Compensate marketers on the ability of the current sales team to generate revenue and profit from the sales leads that marketing produces.
5. Marketing Claims to be 'Driving Sales'
Ugh. I've heard this phrase dozens of time from marketers who are trying to take credit for sales, even when they had absolutely no impact on making those sales take place. It's a perfect example of the "law of inverse relevancy," which is "the more you don't plan on doing something, the more you must talk about it."
The Fix: Make Marketing subservient to Sales on the organization chart.
6. Marketing Pretends It's Strategic
Give me a break. Brand is a reflection of product and service. If those are good, the brand is good; if not, the brand is bad. Yeah, branding activities help–but the idea that marketers are "brand managers" who should be directing all activities throughout the company is, frankly, ridiculous.
The Fix: Reward marketers for behavior that directly results in a measurable increase in revenue and profit.
7. Marketing Wastes Money
Needless to say, Sales is perfectly capable of wasting money (big time). However, there's also no question that marketers often expend cash on fancy brochures, advertisements, and trade show junkets that have little or no business value. And, let's face it, the more that's spent on marketing boondoggles, the less money there is for commissions.
The Fix: Give the sales team veto power over all pricey marketing activities.
8. Marketing Pretends It's Engineering
Once again, give me a break. While marketers often attempt to set a firm's technical direction, most of the time, the marketers have never even spoken to a customer–and have no idea what's technically feasible.
The Fix: Let your engineers do the engineering. That's what you pay them for.
9. Marketing Argues About Lead Quality
Marketing frequently provides Sales with lists of unqualified or underqualified leads, and then accuses Sales of being clueless because it can't close the deals.
What the marketers fail to realize that a lead is only good if it's possible (or even easy) for the sales team to close. Otherwise, it's a waste of time.
The Fix: Reassign (or fire) marketers who can't provide leads that the sales team can close.
Disagree with these complaints? Fine. Make your case in a comment below.
GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.