Keeping the peace between Marketing and Sales

Keeping the peace between Marketing and Sales

Many years ago, I came home one evening muttering about a salesperson I worked with. My life partner let me vent for a few minutes, and then, after I calmed down, said, “Honey, you do realize that marketing is just sales with better grammar.”

I laughed out loud. While that sentence is not exactly true, it is true that it’s Marketing’s job to help Sales sell. Yet in many organizations, especially inside business-to-business (B2B) companies, Marketing and Sales don’t get along.

Often that’s because Marketing focuses on all prospective buyers, while salespeople focus on their individual customers. It can be harder to measure Marketing’s contribution to revenue, while it’s easy to attribute actual deals closed to Sales.

I vowed after that day to better understand and get along with Sales, and I’ve had great relationships with almost every salesperson I’ve worked with ever since.

So, how can Marketing and Sales keep the peace?

Here are 4 things you can do so both sides get along:

  • Get to know your salespeople
  • Meet prospects and clients
  • Co-create your message map and strategy with sales
  • Present metrics that matter.

Get to know Sales

I’ve had the luxury of working with many terrific salespeople, and a huge part of my success is because I took the time to get to know them.

It’s easier to judge people we don’t know. If you’ve ever made a comment about a politician, actor, or another famous person, you know this is true. We’re usually more careful when discussing people we actually know. So, get to know your salespeople.

Keeping the peace between Marketing and Sales
Getting to know each other can help Marketing and Sales get along.

Maybe Larry from region 3 also has a cat, or Sheila from region 5 would love your recipe for turkey chili.

Better yet, what messaging has worked for them when selling? What else can they tell you about their wins and losses that will help your marketing efforts?

Meet prospects and clients

Even if you have buyer personas and information from Sales, it benefits marketers to meet prospects and clients for two reasons. One, you gain first-hand information. Two, you gain credibility with Sales because you have spoken to their audience directly.

Speaking with clients firsthand enables marketers to ask questions about what messaging is and isn’t resonating with them, and what types of content customers seek. Marketers can then use this in discussions with sales and in creating new content.

Co-create your marketing message and strategy

One thing Marketing and Sales often disagree on is messaging and strategy. That’s because Marketing often creates the messaging and strategy without any input from Sales – which is a huge mistake.

To help keep the peace between Marketing and Sales, co-create your Message Map and marketing strategy with Sales and other key stakeholders. When you hold co-creation sessions, all stakeholders have a say from the beginning, which creates buy-in.

This buy-in makes it much harder for them to disagree during the execution phase.

Co-creation is just the start. To keep the peace between Marketing and Sales, hold quarterly meetings to review results, adjust messaging, and modify upcoming marketing tactics.

Present metrics that matter to keep the peace between Marketing and Sales

One other reason Marketing and Sales fail to get along is that it can be challenging for marketers to present business-oriented metrics. Website visits and collateral downloads simply don’t translate easily to revenue.

Those metrics may be helpful for the marketing team, but Sales and executives want to see proof that Marketing drives revenue. Here’s a blog by my business partner George Stenitzer about what metrics to show Sales and executives and which ones to keep internal to Marketing.

It can be frustrating when Marketing and Sales don’t get along. Keep the peace by co-creating strategy, getting to know salespeople, meeting with your clients, and presenting metrics that matter.

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