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Is Sales/Marketing (“Smarketing”) All Talk?


The (kinda) recent trend that I was encouraged by a couple of years ago was sales and marketing teams talking about coming together to form one team and work towards a common goal. Sales and marketing as one unit, (aptly dubbed smarketing) working hand in hand, maybe even in the same office space and putting their differences aside to benefit the greater good. There would be a lot of work for both groups to achieve this, but if the Sharks and Jets can finally come together, so can sales and marketing. While this utopian idea has been great in theory, I still feel like there are major obstacles to overcome.

For example, there are a good amount of industry events for sales and a lot of industry events for marketing, but I haven’t gotten many invites to the major smarketing events out there. Perhaps the threat of a “smarketing riot” has shut these down. (Side note: the 1992 riot in Montreal had nothing to do with a Gun’s-n-Roses concert gone bad, it was a sales and marketing joint meeting for a major software provider...very ugly.)  When I go to the various shows, I still notice a lot of the same old resentment that has persisted between the two groups. Marketing people still ask questions about what they can do to get their lazy sales people to follow up on leads and communicate with them and sales still complains about marketing having no clue on what to provide in order to give them a good shot at closing deals. I hear a lot of, “You know how sales execs are...” (referring to a number of bad characteristics including lazy, arrogant, selfish, etc.) or “Must be nice to be in marketing...” (code for: they get paid no matter what and we have to actually be on the front lines and close deals). 

My question to both groups is what are you actively doing to help the other group? Sales, are you following up on leads and then…wait for it….telling marketing about what you like and don’t like? Turns out, when properly communicated with, marketing can be very effective at targeting the right audience and delivering a value prop to grease the skids and make the selling process a hell of a lot easier. Marketing, do you take note that a sales person gets the majority of their comp based only on what they close? Sales doesn’t get paid for following up on leads that don’t close. Sales takes the path that is most likely to bring in revenue because that’s how they are paid. If your leads are that path, they will follow it. If there is an easier one that will lead to more money, they will follow that path.

Until both groups know and appreciate how the other is judged, this gap will continue to exist. Marketing will continue to produce leads that sales won’t follow up on/communicate about and sales will continue to complain to marketing to produce leads that actually have a shot at closing. The ideal situation is to have the C levels form a plan that holds both groups accountable for shared goals. Imagine if sales was partially responsible for helping with demand generation? How about if marketing received a piece of their comp based on closed business? Up would be down, left would be right, Steven Segal would win an Oscar (because he’s awesome) and more importantly, we’d all probably make a lot more money. 


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