Earlier, I wrote about how companies need to integrate sales and marketing. It’s completely inefficient to have these two departments that don’t talk to each other. Integrating sales and marketing isn’t a snap — and for most companies, these departments just talk past each other. If they ever did talk, this is what that a lot of those conversations might sound like:

Marketing. “Hey, we’ve got this new promotional campaign starting and we’d love to fine-tune it by hearing from you what customers have been saying about the product.”

Sales. “I’m a bit busy making money for the company doing what I do… so no. Just do whatever it is you do with those funny ads and I’m sure the boss will want to keep spending lots of money on you folks.”

Marketing. “Hey, we’re building this company’s brand! Our promotions help you sell!”

Sales. “Really? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve been making sales thanks to my own efforts. I don’t see you touching our CRM. As far as I can tell, I get myself leads. Unless you’ve got some hard numbers to show me, we have nothing to talk about.”

Marketing. “We have numbers! See the data analytics for these inbound marketing landing pages that we…”

Sales. “Sorry, I already stopped listening. I’ve got a customer calling on line 2 and someone needs to make money for this business.”

Marketing. “But we could help each other…”

Sales. (Already on line 2) “Ms. Smith? Yes, thanks for getting back to me about the X-900. As I was saying, this seems to be the solution you need for your problem with…”

Marketing is there to support sales. That’s fundamental to sales strategy. It is part of the sales funnel, helping bring in leads through many different strategies, usually in a combination: print, radio, TV and online ads, the company website, newsletters and more. Sales people’s disdain for marketing experts is a holdover from the days when it was difficult to measure ROI. Companies could spend millions on advertising and never know exactly what worked, or how it worked. Meanwhile, sales people live or die by getting results – and when it comes to total sales numbers, it’s easier to see who’s performing and who isn’t. Resentment built over years and decades as sales people could see money pumping into marketing, where those teams got to spend time on creative, ‘fun’ projects (while any marketing professional could tell you that marketing campaigns are not precisely ‘fun’ to devise and execute) without needing to show real value.

With today’s refined data analytics we can attach to marketing campaigns, particularly those connected to an online segment, that old disconnect between marketing budgets and value no longer applies. Not only that – the data harvested by marketing is now very useful to sales teams. It pays to know the demographic of who is clicking on the ads, where they live, which calls to action seem to get the most traction and much more.

The age of turf wars between sales and marketing is over. Now it’s time for integrating sales and marketing.

There’s an excellent Forbes article by Christine Moorman focusing on precisely how to do that. Some of her ideas below (though I recommend reading the whole thing):

  • Design marketing and sales responsibilities around the customer buying process.
  • Create a unified focus on the most valuable customers.
  • Organize around the customer, not the function. For instance, “create customer groups and not product groups”.
  • Integrate customer information. Share those databases within both teams and ensure they understand how to make use of it.
  • Require job rotations. Ask marketing people to spend time in sales and (where possible) vice-versa.
  • Establish individual and shared incentives. Instill a sense of shared destiny in the company.

Integrating sales and marketing pays off with better company morale and ultimately, better conversions of sales leads. I’ve seen it time and again in my own sales management consulting work – and it’s something that most companies need to start doing today.