Mind the Gap… What’s the Real Problem with Sales and Marketing?

Partner Content


There’s a common cause of contempt when it comes to business performance. Marketing departments blame sales for failing to convert leads while sales teams are just as quick to blame the quality of leads that are passed to them from marketing.

This blame culture is not without just cause. Businesses fail to realise potential or hit targets because fundamentally, there’s a major gap between customer data and marketing systems. Now, there are many reasons why this is the case, but based on what I see time and time again, I’ve narrowed it down to three main areas. On the face of it you might think I am simply stating the obvious, but the challenge is that nobody really understands enough to do anything about it. Here’s my take on it:

#1 Different goals for sales and marketing

While you’d expect sales and marketing to be working towards a common goal of business success, in practice they are two distinct departments which have completely different ways of doing things.

Mismatched processes and in many cases, even mismatched language, leads to misalignment between the two.

#2 Sales and marketing professionals have a different way of thinking

I talk a lot about the importance of mindset, particularly in the context of business transformation and moving towards the adoption of modern marketing techniques. The concept of mindset is further compounded when looking at the way sales and marketing professionals think – which means getting them to work together effectively is a challenge.

Psychometrics has a valuable role to play in understanding the mindsets across the teams and helping them to appreciate how they can actually work in each other’s favour.

#3 Incentives

If marketing is incentivised on leads and sales on conversion, it’s no wonder that the two are not aligned. Because the motivations are different. Explore how incentives can be more aligned to maximise how sales and marketing interface as this will help to close the gap. Incentives which encourage sales and marketing to work more closely together will address the mismatch and create more integrated and holistic operations.

At a superficial level, aligning sales and marketing sounds simple. But if it really was that simple, the blame culture wouldn’t exist, and businesses would be performing to their optimum potential. The solution is to not ignore the obvious problems staring us in the face and take action to address them. And when I say address, I mean underpin with adoption. That means truly embedding in the business as part of a cultural shift. Without adoption and an understanding of what it will take to achieve this, the problem will never go away – no matter how much time, training or expertise that you throw at it.

*Note: This article was first published as a blog on the BluPrintX website on 21st November 2019.