The root cause is incompatible objectives/metrics and lack of understanding about the other function and how it works. From this root cause other factors such as “poor” processes, internal politics and other disruptive actions grow and it feels a bit like Japanese knot weed. Fast growing and very difficult to permanently kill off. In my experience these type of problem are often not limited to the relationship between Sales & Marketing. Hands up who has a good relationship with Finance, Facilities, Customer Service, Manufacturing or HR?
How to improve the relationship between Sales and Marketing
The way forward starts with a simple customer focused business plan and set of objectives for the whole business. Rolling this through out the business with supporting plans and metrics will certainly be a major help. I’ve also used the buddy system to get two functions with a dysfunctional relationship to work together to produce their functional plans. This can be amazingly effective.
All of the above works but it takes time. Here are a few quick things that I’ve successfully used to get Sales to have a better relationship with Marketing and other functions.
1. Invite other functions to attend Sales and product training events.
2. Get representatives from Sales to attend and speak about the business at the staff meetings of other functions.
3. Create a balanced and simple service level agreement between Sales and Marketing.
4. Regularly communicate throughout the business the performance against the objectives and key metrics.
5. Ask other functions what can be done to improve the relationship with customers and act on appropriate findings.
6. Listen to customers and share the information between Sales and Marketing so that they can work together on appropriate actions.