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

Hey sales folks, does this sound familiar?

“What does marketing do? I have no clue.”
“I loathe my marketing team.”
“They never listen to sales.”
“They give me $#*% stuff.”


Isn’t marketing supposed to be the ‘go-to’ department in addition to being the voice and face of companies?

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. Reaching across the table, working hand in hand, nothing was more rewarding than securing wins as a team TOGETHER.  Oh, I’m not saying it was always a walk in the park and that sales unequivocally accepted my team’s work! Sales reps are demanding, impatient and yes, difficult at times. Why? They don’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!)

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 rebrand 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.

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

If you’re tired of the constant cycle of sales and marketing conflicts, ask HPZ Marketing how to help marketing be accountable to sales – and drive growth. 




Keeping marketing accountable.


Jessica Kelley is a seasoned leader with more than two decades of marketing and finance experience in B2B and B2C channels. She has worked extensively within healthcare, consumer, commercial, and software industries in diverse environments ranging in size from a $100 billion corporation to a startup firm. Her company, HPZ Marketing is certified by the WBENC as a Women’s Business Enterprise.


Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Cheery Monday” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…)