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It wasn't supposed to be this way
Nobody ever said marriage was easy. Roughly 50% of marriages end in divorce. An even greater 95% of businesses fail after ten years. In direct correlation with this current era of mass info availability to grow a brand and business, we must ask. Why are so many companies large and small still refusing to allow the Marketing and Sales Departments to work in tandem? Most understand that information is not knowledge or experience and it remains vital for each department to share all three. Symbolic to a healthy marriage, common business formulas are requiring a return to fundamentals, forcing an involvement of every staff member and division to play an integral role in growth. Unfortunately, too many companies remain in the dark, separating each unit into silos, discouraging communication and thus numb to their "divorce." Experience cannot be duplicated, and it remains a no-brainer in all relationships to access diverse strategies and ideas for development, specifically the relationship between Marketing and Sales.
Go sleep on the couch!
An expanding chore of filtering through and absorbing expected tasks of each position remains a crucial step for any organization. In comparison to today’s working families, the role of each spouse is growing, requiring each to accept new functions, once thought of as gender specific. (that can of worms to be discussed in a future article.) In parallel, sales teams are being required to hit higher numbers, while territories and travel times are expanding by leaps and bounds. As a result, drivers of sales are stressed to the core. Marketing teams are being asked to drive traffic to websites with trendy easy to navigate web pages; produce infographics; create materials to hand out, while dealing with stiff deadlines and implied consequences. Every division upholds the mission to grow the business while maintaining a responsibility to cut costs, and simultaneously advance relationships. Despite the fact everyone has the same end goal, many remain separated, being directed to give the other department the silent treatment and forcing the other to sleep on the couch. This is where business (and marriages) often see an unfortunate disconnect, nonetheless losing their cohesiveness. Picture the conversation in a boardroom sounding something like this: "The more we can throw at each person, the more money we save... our margins will grow! And on top of that, our staff will become more miserable every day, develop a bad attitude, disconnect, and put resumes out behind our backs…Hopefully, our profits will double, and we can all live happily ever after….Does that sound like a plan?” Unfortunately, this is what many businesses experience. Argue all you want, but the short-term gains here retain no longevity and can ultimately destroy the partnership. Some leaders are even clueless to what crucial roles their departments play!
The Silent Treatment
Successful relationships are based on strong communication and interest in the significant other. Those comfortable being alone, quickly adopt the role of CEO and the janitor, plus everything in between. No one else to blame, no one else to tell you what to do. Regrettably, different divisions of a company, especially marketing and sales teams butt heads and many times rightfully so. Both parties feel justified in their stance. Sound familiar married couples? Unfortunately, the leadership at many companies tends to keep everyone at arm's length and behind closed doors in the “silent treatment” directive. This results in a fractured relationship struggling to prosper. Knowing the tension created, it is odd that companies continue to suffer this instruction. Good leaders, on the other hand, recognize the need for counseling here and seek the opinions and advice from both inside and outside sources. Still, so many remain clueless on the topic, and still never do anything. In their eyes, there are “bigger” problems…the bottom line.
So, we need to talk...
Ideas that encompass marketing, sales, IT, logo, and balance of spreadsheets, among many other objectives now look to be on the table. Just like a healthy marriage, both parties need to step up and take responsibility. Now that we have identified the initial problem, where do we go from here? We can make this work. So what seems to be the umpteenth try at salvaging the relationship, this is the ideal time for the commitment of marketing and sales department to tie the knot. Let’s start over. Too many Marketing and Sales divisions have spent many long years of in a love/hate relationship. Time to get on one knee, and take the plunge.
I love you! Let's strive for a happy marriage
We are now on the same page! So in the spirit of marriage, let’s exchange our vows:
- Do each of you promise to be open, communicate, and solve problems like mature professionals? - Every idea is valid, it just may not be best for this situation. Be open to hear it all. Allow all participants to think out loud. Do not discriminate. Be open to the others ideas. Give and take, while supporting and encouraging each other.
- Do each of you promise to fully cut ties with your exes, - Mr. and Ms. Insecurity? - Get that insecure voice out of your head now. Somebody will not like your idea. Your partner still likes you and your mind, especially when you think out loud and brainstorm without taking things personally. Do not hold anything to heart. DO NOT allow this insecurity to ruin the marriage.
- Do you promise to get dirty, remain dirty and remain open to trying new things? - Don’t get too excited about this one. When talking in depth about the trenches it will break barriers, and breaking through walls can hurt…bad. Discuss the specifics of a face-to -face meeting or negotiation. How long will this project take, realistically? Is it a first impression, or a final piece to firm up a pact? Be clear, articulate, and present your idea. Have a vision and mold it as you begin to make it concrete.
- Do you promise to be yourselves, commit the best you and bring the best out of each other? - This is your chance to be you and bring the finest out of others. Whatever ideas your mind comes up with, spit em’ out. Colors, shapes and sizes…phrases, terms, and innuendos, put it all out there. Do not be afraid to have some fun. Be an artist. Be the best you, and bring out the best as a team.
Til Death Do Us Part
OOOOOO…scary. Not really. Most of us would love to work for that dream company and find our soul mate. It can happen with a vested interest in success. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Get in the FOREVER mindset and make the best out of it. Half of all marriages DO last, fewer business prosper. Taking action is much easier said, and harder done. Fights and arguments will be had, however, stick to the above vows. Copy and paste these four principles into a word document right now, print it out, tape it to your mirror or wall, then try to live it every day. Get engaged, not just involved.
And now without further ado, I now pronounce you, Marketing and Sales…..a more functional company. Are you willing to take the next step and say “I do?”
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