The Blame Game: Sales and Marketing Support

Devon-McDonald by

How many times have you heard your sales team complain about your marketing team and vice versa? In a recent blog buy Geoffery James, he lists reasons why sales people are often frustrated with marketing, and in turn reasons why marketing gets ticked off with sales.

Out of James’ top 10, the Top 3 complaints coming from the Sales team that I have heard most often are:

-Marketers believe selling is easy
-Marketers are goaled on deliverables
-Marketers pass along lousy leads

So what are Marketing’s complaints about Sales? Here are my top 3 observations that I pulled from his list of 10:

-Sales doesn’t respect marketing
-Sales think they are solely responsible for sales
-Sales only sells what’s easy to sell

Why can’t we all just get along?! At the end of the day, Sales needs Marketing and Marketing needs Sales. ACCEPT IT AND EMBRACE IT!

When quotas arent being met and there is a sense of nervousness looming in the office, it is natural that these two teams will start pointing fingers and playing the blame game. It is up to the respective management teams to actually manage (and ultimately eliminate) the hostility so that the two roles within the business work cohesively. This will ensure that the best message is being conveyed to clients and prospects. Clients aren’t dumb; they can sense when there is a misalignment.

Curious how the marketing powerhouses deal with this rivalry? GM’s CEO Ed Whitacre united the teams and made marketing report into the company’s Chief of Sales. His goal: turning the marketing group into the tactical arm of the sales team. Whitacre was quoted saying, “I believe that marketing and sales should be together in an organization and not separate. It’s about market strategy. It’s about advertising. And it’s about selling. Those are pretty much inseparable and should, I believe, report in one organization.”

OpenView Labs, the strategic consulting arm of the Boston Venture Capital firm, provides our expansion stage portfolio companies with sales and marketing support. The support can come in all shapes and sizes per say, but at the end of the day, if the sales and marketing teams are not on the same page, our support will not make the greatest impact (and making an impact is our true focus). When Diana Winings provides recruitment support to the portfolio, she always looks for sales and marketing candidates that are respectful and true team players. In my opinion the character of your employees will dictate the strength of your sales and marketing union. The more mutual respect and communication between the different functions within the company… the better off your business will be!