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Jul 14, 2008
Blog Post

SherpaBlog: The Secret Key to Marketing & Sales Working Together

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Anne Holland, Founder

Want to keep your job during this recession? If you work for a sales-driven organization, hard work and great measurement may help... but what really matters is office politics.

If the sales department eagerly sticks up for marketing's efforts and budget, then you are golden. How? You have to focus your marketing skills internally – convincing them that marketing rocks.

First, just as with any outward-facing marketing campaign, start with market research. Here's my slightly-potted view of how to understand your now most important target market:

The biggest key to a sales rep's heart is understanding that they are just like big Hollywood stars. They:
- measure their worth by size of paycheck
- adore public awards
- have big egos, but are deeply vulnerable underneath
- continually check their mobiles for messages and calls
- fear the good scripts/leads will be snaffled by someone else
- love eating at famous expensive restaurants
- distrust revenue-tracking mechanisms and are sure they're owed more commission
- are scared it could all be over tomorrow (one quarter's slump and their job is gone)
- think of everyone else as "the little people" (the marketing department)
- would like to direct

Once you realize sales are Hollywood Divas at heart, with all the unique talent, fragility, and difficulty that implies, it becomes easier to handle your relationship with them. Even when they drive you nuts, let's face it, you could never do their job. (If you could, what are you waiting for? Sales will always make way more money than B-to-B marketers.)

To get their support, you must make them feel safe, cosseted, understood, and wholeheartedly supported. Don't expect recognition. Sales will never fully understand how critical marketing is or how much talent and hard work it takes to do your job. You can, however, expect them to stick up for you in the manner a Hollywood star would if you are a trusted member of their entourage, such as the only hairdresser they'll ever trust to touch their golden locks. Heck, some stars have even married their make-up artists, bodyguards, or accountants. (However, we all know who the star in the family is.)

The key is: In B-to-B, sales and marketing will never play as one intramural team; there’ll never be equal recognition for all players. The varsity team already exists, and sales is it. As a marketer, you can be a cheerleader, a water boy, a groundskeeper, a ticket taker....You don't get to play -- you get to support.

Make sales love you, and they will stick up for you when you need it – most of the time, anyway. If your other visible allies include people they fear (their boss), you're on an even safer ground.

Note: If you'd like loads of specific ways to make your sales department adore marketing, check out MarketingSherpa's new B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook. It includes ways to get sales' help on lead scoring, market research and lead feedback. Plus, you'll also get examples of the most useful marcom and sales support materials you can create to help sales close deals more easily.
Go here to get your copy:

See Also:

Comments about this Blog Entry

Jul 15, 2008 - Ian Gilyeat of I.R. Gilyeat & Company says:
Wow... I'd have to say that I disagree with, oh, about 90% of this article. Survive a downturn with politics? Marketing as the cheerleader, waterboy or groundskeeper? No wonder their is a frequent rift between sales and marketing. Whatever happened to keeping your job because your marketing is measurable and drives sales? What about focusing on the substance of what value you deliver instead of the politics and cozying up to sales, hoping they can save your back side. Perhaps those of us in the marketing profession should consider that our job is to produce sales and to hold ourselves accountable for doing so.

Jul 16, 2008 - Anne Holland of MarketingSherpa LLC says:
Ian, You're completely right about measurement and proving value. The key is that you have to prove value in ways that will help you politically both with sales and the CEO. Many marketing metrics we see are numbers that can help marketers do a better job, optimizing a tactic. For example, a click rate on an email. However, those metrics don't mean much to sales or the CEO. Instead, you need to develop sales-relevant numbers or find ways to illustrate how marketing metrics do impact sales directly. People who don't care about a general click rate are fascinated to hear which specific prospects click more frequently than others, indicating lead quality. We talk a lot about specifics on measurements in the Handbook and our research guides, etc. The main point of this blog, however, was to set a background for the relationship between marketing and sales as a whole. If you can understand your target market's psychology, or even create a persona, then you are on your way to knowing what measurements in the end really matter. And frankly, with an average job duration of roughly 18 months, the only B-o-B marketers who are fairly safe in their jobs these days are those who the sales department loves. You can have stacks of measurements, but without their support, you're sunk.

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