Why can’t mktg and sales just get along?!

How to get marketing and sales to get along

The relationship between sales and marketing is like a marriage. You need both parties to be communicating, working together, and understanding each other’s needs in order to have a successful business. Unfortunately, it can be hard for both sides to see eye-to-eye due to personality clashes, lack of trust, and communication issues. If you are feeling frustrated with the ongoing cycle of conflict between your sales and marketing teams, keep reading; we have some tips on how to make things better!

Why Salespeople Hate Marketing (And How to Stop It)

This is What Sales Says About Marketing:

“What does marketing do? I have no clue.”
“I loathe my marketing team.”
“Marketing never listens to sales.”
“Marketing gives me $#*% leads.”

Ouch! Oftentimes, the sales team’s criticism of the marketing team is justified.

Marketing supposed to be the ‘go-to’ department in addition to being the voice and face of companies?

Why Marketing Needs to Cooperate More with The Sales Department

As an experienced marketer working in many B2B industries, ranging from a $200+ billion organization to a tiny startup, I have been fortunate to work with brilliantly talented sales teams. Nothing was more rewarding than securing wins as a team TOGETHER by reaching across the table, working hand in hand. Oh, it wasn’t always a cake walk and that sales unequivocally accepted my team’s work! Sales reps are demanding, impatient and yes, difficult at times. Why? Sales doesn’t care about following brand guidelines, or award-winning digital ads or Google Ad conversion rates. To sales, marketing sounds just like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Wuh Wuh Wuh. All they really truly care about is getting and protecting their customers.

I would always tell each of my employees – ‘the reason the lights are on is because of the sales team. We are here to support them and do whatever THEY need’. (Disclaimer – it didn’t mean sales could be jerks and run roughshod all over my team!)

Best Advice I Received from Sales

A brilliant sales leader once told me:

“As marketers – your first job is to Protect your customer, then promote.”

If you lose your customers, no amount of marketing awareness activities can make up for lost revenue. Wise indeed.

If you just listen, really truly listen to what sales is asking for, you help your company and do right by your customers. I once scrapped an entire rebranding campaign because it didn’t pass the stink test** with my sales leader. Sure, it bugged me, hurt my pride, cost me double my budget and threw my launch date out the window. However, at the end of the day, the end result was a much better work effort. It’s still used today, years later.

(**What is the stink test?! Can marketing stand up in front of sales and get applause? Or do they roll their eyes and sigh? If the sales department isn’t enthusiastic about what you created, marketing must go back to the drawing board and start over!)

While we’re on the topic of customers, check out our blog on risking your job for them.

It doesn’t have to be difficult for sales and marketing teams to get along!

With regular team communication (email doesn’t count) and understanding of each other’s roles within the business as well as mutually beneficial goals shared by both sides, you can create a culture where sales and marketing can collaborate successfully towards greater business growth. As a small business owner, this should be your ultimate goal—and it all starts with creating harmony between your sales team and your marketing team!

If you’re exhausted from the endless battle between sales and marketing conflicts, ask HPZ Marketing how to help make your marketing team be more accountable. 


Keeping marketing accountable.



Jessica Kelley

Founder and CEO

Jessica Kelley CEO | HPZ Marketing - Fractional CMO company

Jessica Kelley has more than two decades of experience in marketing and finance, with a focus on B2B and B2C channels. She has worked extensively within the healthcare, consumer, commercial, and software industries in diverse environments ranging in size from a $200 billion corporation to a startup firm.

Jessica is the founder of HPZ Marketing, an interim CMO and fractional CMO company and is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) as a Women’s Business Enterprise and Women Owned Small Business (WOSB). They provide interim and fractional executive marketing services to help businesses achieve marketing ROI with executable strategy and a relentless focus on customer acquisition and retention. Learn more about hiring a fractional CMO for your business.