In many organizations there’s confusion around the Marketing Department’s actual role. “I see alot of activity, but I don’t see them producing any results…” lamented one C-Level Executive to me recently. “They host great events which our clients really enjoy attending, but I can’t grasp how they deliver real, concrete value to the bottom line…” he concluded.
This is unfortunately a commonly held opinion in many medium to large organizations and it’s especially troubling when the large annual Marketing budgets are taken into account. “We need them to generate leads which result in new business!” exclaimed a Senior Sales Director at a recent networking event. “Sales can make sure the clients are happy!”
Things are even more confusing in smaller organizations in which everyone “wears multiple hats” or is expected to make contributions in many different areas of the company and budget numbers are tight by necessity. “Do we even need to allocate a significant amount to Marketing? Shouldn’t Sales handle this as a routine part of doing business?” said one CEO / Founder.
Across the Great Divide the tone is similar, but the perspective completely different. I have spoken with many savvy Marketing Professionals who are completely perplexed. A colleague confided to me that Marketing “runs multiple lead generation campaigns which produce measurable results. Yet when we pass the fruits of our labors on to Sales…well nothing happens. The Sales people complain that the leads aren’t good and I don’t believe they make a real, consistent effort to follow up on them!”
Ah! Yes! So it goes…The results are countless meetings, “new and improved” Marketing plans, a lot of time and money wasted, and continuous rounds of “office politics”. Everyone likes to make a great show of group solidarity at the quarterly / annual meetings, but anyone with any level of professional experience knows that’s just not the case. Inevitable? Unavoidable? “Us vs. Them?” Let’s break it down as my daddy used to say:
Communication Rocks the Nation! (or at least can shake-up your organization in positive ways)
Sales and Marketing are supposed to work closely together. Yet often they are as far apart as possible, both physically and culturally, in a company. “The Sales people are disruptive, always on the phone, and joking around. I can’t get anything done when they’re around” says Marketing. “Why are the Marketing people in meetings all the time? They spend all their time creating charts and graphs? What do they do?” says Sales.
I believe that this Great Divide must be bridged and therefore Sales and Marketing should be working closely together…in every sense of the word. Marketing should be able to listen to Sale’s calls and recognize directly which messaging actually works. There should also be an informal atmosphere of collaboration. I know you’re tired of hearing this word, but it works. In addition Sales must also commit to a greater level of accountability in which they will not only make every effort to use what Marketing produces, but also give honest visibility into their pipelines.
At the end of the day everyone suffers if the Great Divide isn’t bridged successfully. I think that people can get lost in the idea of “playing the hero” and trying to make themselves and their department look good. In the end…everyone loses. So climb out of those trenches and take a walk down the hall. Ask your colleagues what they’re working on and share your work with them as well. Here it is again:
Get it together…get together people! Happy hunting and Happy Halloween!