It’s Time to End the Sales and Marketing Scrimmage


It’s no secret that Sales and Marketing don’t always get along…

How familiar does this scenario sound to you? You’re the messaging quarterback, ready to make the final pass to score the winning touchdown – a new market segment. You’ve studied the competition, understood the market requirements, and have carefully crafted new messaging. The sales team is really going to love those quality new materials you developed. Now it’s third down and you just need to get your message into the end zone… but the pass is dropped.

What happened? Even with a perfect plan and practice, your receivers, the sales team, did not know the playbook you hoped to run. Outside of update emails and the occasional team meeting, it turns out that Marketing did not put an effective process in place for Sales Leadership to certify their team on entirely new messaging. As a result, the message wasn’t adopted. Sales missed the play, and the quarterback – Marketing – missed the signals.

While a lack of coordination on offense is typically rare in football, the disconnect between Marketing and Sales is a classic, constantly debated issue in any company. The Marketing squad takes their side, generating content that they hope the sales team will pick up. The Sales squad, in contrast, closes business, relying on whatever messaging they believe to be effective.

Sales and Marketing messaging alignment happens when both squads play on the same side, collaborating to not only learn new messaging, but also ensure it’s adopted and applied in the field as intended. The benefits are clear – new product lines reach their target sales goals and new messages shift the market. The breakdown isn’t with ego – instead, time and communication are at fault. Reps want to sell, marketers want to create, and neither think that they have the resources to huddle and regroup.

How do you flip the equation and start working together? Four steps can help create a Message Adoption playbook that the whole team can master.

1. Plan Ahead

Create a repeatable process with both sales and marketing long before you deliver a new message to reps. A marketing group without visibility into how what they do is applied in the field will more often than not miss the right way to launch a new message. Likewise, a sales leadership team not up to date on new message efforts before they happen, will not be as invested in what’s to come.

2. Look to Technology

Handing reps a binder full of new messages at Kickoff rarely works. Reps are forgetting 90% of all content within a month, and that means that marketing needs to find a better way to ensure adoption. Practice-based systems, can give the organization a more sustainable approach to aligning sales and marketing.

3. Improve Team Collaboration

Chances are, most reps barely get a chance to work with Marketing. Since Marketing’s success relies on some visibility in the sales organization, it is imperative to work closely with the entire team to build trust and communication. Instead of a once-per-year Sales Kickoff, packed full of messages that reps will forget, create a process where new message introduction something that can happen year round. Good teamwork comes from good communication, and when it comes to message adoption, it’s unparalleled.

4. Get Feedback

If Marketing is not constantly listening to how messages are received by prospects, they can miss crucial information about the success or failure of a campaign. Thankfully, getting feedback naturally means collaborating with the sales team. Set up weekly or monthly feedback sessions as new messaging rolls out – not only will you gain insight into the field response to your ideas, but you’ll find a whole new group of fans in the sales team, as they reach higher goals with the right messages.