Unity between sales and marketing can be difficult if the two departments do not have the same goals. Like giants clashing over territory and supremacy, they must work together. More than just talking in planning meetings, they have to develop an aligned strategy and execute accordingly.
For example, marketing may be incentivized by the volume of leads it provides the sales team. The sales department is incentivized on the volume of sales – whether gross sales or margins. One challenge is when the marketing team uses a low price approach to promoting their products. This generates more calls, emails, and web inquiries for the sales team to pursue. As a result, the majority of prospects generated from such activity may be outside of the ideal customer profile for the company.
The sales team is directed by their leaders to sell on value (not price) and maintain margins when negotiating. This creates conflict for the sales team. The sale reps see only two options. One, they drop the price for the buyer. If they drop the price, they erode margins and get reprimanded by their sales manager. Two, they lose the sale. If they lose the sale, marketing gets upset because they feel that the salespeople can’t close the leads they worked so hard to produce. Either way, the buyers receive mixed messages from the company, which erodes trust.
The solution to this problem is in the hands of the leadership. Sales and marketing leaders should create marketing messages that align with the manner in which products and services are sold. If marketing chooses to advertise based on price, then the salespeople will and should have the right to sell on price. If marketing chooses to advertise based on the products’ value propositions, then the salespeople can sell on value to differentiate themselves from the competition rather than trying to sell on price.
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