Get your shirt together: Marketing and sales collaboration done right


Regardless of their industry, many clients come to Leopard because they’re struggling to get their Sales and Marketing teams on the same page. Or, in some cases, seemingly even on the same planet. While there may be numerous reasons why this gap exists, one thing is crystal clear—organizations that figure out how to bridge the gap hold a significant advantage in today’s hypercompetitive marketplace.

Sales and Marketing teams have different ways of reaching and interacting with existing customers and prospects. As they set about nurturing the rich relationships so pivotal in landing the customer’s business, they go through different channels, use different tools and means. As it should be.

The trouble starts when Sales and Marketing engage—usually unwittingly, occasionally not—in a virtual tug-of-war over the hearts and minds of customers. The messages and interactions customers receive can quickly become disjointed, inconsistent and even outright contradictory.

Thing is, your customers probably don’t know and certainly don’t care if they’re engaging with Sales or Marketing. They’re simply engaging with your brand. What they do care about is whether their interactions with your organization are relevant and satisfying… and that you deliver the kind of experiences that help them do their jobs and achieve their goals.

That’s why every interaction and every message they have with your brand—regardless of its origin—must remain utterly consistent and true to your brand’s promise and value. The simple fact is, to achieve the goals they both seek, Marketing and Sales need each other.

Take a quick example. Say you’re a B2B Marketing pro. You’re likely to be increasingly responsible for proving the ROI for your campaigns and other marketing activities. If your organization has a complex sales cycle and narrative that customers need to navigate before they’re ready to purchase, you’ll need Sales’ perspective on the results of your efforts: What did customers respond to most positively? Did they close the deal? How long did it take? After all, you can’t help fix what you don’t know is broken.

Conversely, as a Sales pro, you need Marketing’s insight on where your portfolio most likely converges with your customer’s needs. Then, put it to the test. When it seems off, don’t just say “That’ll never work.” Try it. And then communicate with Marketing to help them tune their efforts by identifying gaps and sharing where the insights and messages missed the target. By doing so, you can shorten the sales cycle and lower the cost of each deal.

So, how do you begin getting Marketing and Sales to get their shirt together? Here’s a few tips:

  1. Meet regularly: Seems obvious, yet for many organizations, it rarely happens. And that’s a real missed opportunity to share results, exchange ideas…and to simply get to know each other, which is often the quickest way to build trust and accountability.

  2. Integrate technology: A common challenge for siloed business units, using the same platform can make it far easier to hand off qualified prospects in a seamless manner. This is a boon for customers as well, who expect a single experience when dealing with your brand.

  3. Ensure messaging consistency: Regardless of who is delivering it, your brand message must be the same. For Marketers, that means being flexible and open to feedback. For Sales, that means an end to creating your own materials—instead, tell Marketing what you really need and work with them create it.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin to see real results. And remember—Sales and Marketing are in this shirt together.