Peace on Earth...Goodwill Towards Sales AND Marketing

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a ZOOM during which someone said, "Why would I bother asking Marketing for that? I know I won't get anything from them."


As a marketing professional, I was shocked and saddened by the lack of faith that salespeople sometimes have in their marketing counterparts.

Many marketing folks can be equally snarky about their sales colleagues. "I gave them the leads...if they couldn't close the deal that's THEIR problem."

In the spirit of the season, let's all take a look at the relationship between Marketing and Sales and how we can learn to respect each other, live in peace and harmony, and focus on generating revenue and having fun.

When I worked at Citibank, I was given the role of "Branch-Based Marketing VP," and I was appointed the official peacemaker between the people who worked in the branches and the corporate brand people. I served as a translator, cheerleader, and unbiased go-between, clearing obstacles to sales, and ensuring that zealous branch staff didn't "go rogue" and create their own materials.

Fast-forward to last year, when I wrote a white paper about why the relationship between Sales and Marketing can sometimes devolve into an unhappy marriage where no one can really ask for a divorce.

The answer ultimately comes down to leadership. We often throw around the word "alignment," as if someone can wave a wand and instantly get everyone in an organization on the same page. Some leaders love the spirit of competition and sniping that goes on within their organizations and believe that it will never change.

Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I believe that with the right people in the organization (dare I say more collaborative women?), a commitment to goal-setting and goal-sharing, and understanding and respect for what "the other people" do, we can get a bit closer to peace, understanding, and maybe even a little love.

The rise of the CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) may also be imminent. When the focus is on the customer and the bottom line and Sales and Marketing share the same reporting relationship and the same annual KPIs, turf wars may dissipate. But that person also needs to smoke out and shutdown name-calling, doubting, and devaluing the roles of others. Collaboration and problem-solving need to be rewarded.

So, before the year ends, here is a joyous idea...

  • If you work in Marketing, reach out to someone on your Sales team and ask, "What can I do in 2021 to help you succeed?"

  • If you work in Sales, reach out to your Marketing counterparts and say, "If I had [fill in the blanks] in 2021 I'd have a much easier time hitting my goals."

And then, listen CAREFULLY, wish them a happy holiday, and believe in the miracles of the season!

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