Essentially a marketing person and a sales person attempt to solve the same problem, but from different angles. Both try to grow sales, but the marketing person uses a “pull” strategy, whilst the sales person uses a “push” strategy.

The pull strategy of the marketing person is focused on creating market awareness and subsequently inducing demand, which then results in sales. The sales person is focused on customer engagement and closing deals, which then impacts sales. The different approaches require very different mindsets.

A good marketer is a sensitive person focused on listening to and enticing the market through creative messaging. A good sales person is a tough negotiator, hungry for the deal. Backline players vs front-row players. Finesse vs force.

It is because of these differences, and the fact that they both aim to solve the same problem, that marketing and sales often don’t get along. In fact, they don’t get along! A marketing person and a sales person in the same room is like cat and dog, always.

One of the issues is that given the right circumstances, each one can, theoretically, take care of the sales problem on their own. There are many companies, especially in consumer markets, where hardly any sales effort is used. It’s all marketing. Similarly, there are many B2B environments where hardly any marketing is used. Sales are driven purely by the sales team.

Where else in a company is a problem so shared between departments, as it is with marketing and sales? No wonder there is conflict!

The best approach is obviously to have both marketing’s pull and sales’ push to work together, creating a two-stroke engine. This is not because you can’t achieve sales momentum with one stroke of the engine, you can, but with two strokes you can get a smoother ride!

However, this does not happen automatically. Remember, marketing and sales do not get along. Different personalities. Different approaches. Same problem. So, if you want the benefit of a two-stroke engine, you need to actively manage the tension! It’s hard work for the boss!

For many the effort is not worth it. It’s too much of a headache to get the soft-spoken marketing person and the deal-hungry sales person to sit around the same table. It is far easier employing just one or the other, or in the case of both, to treat one as significantly inferior to the other. This is fair enough, but remember the upside of getting them both to work in tandem: it makes for a much easier ride to sales success!

How many strokes power the engine of your income statement? How bumpy is your ride?

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