Sales and Industrial Marketing: Developing a Lasting Peace


Sales and industrial marketing departments share a common goal, so why feud? Marketing automation keeps the peace.

Ultimately, your sales department and a marketing department have the same goal: generating revenue. But often, the “two sides of the same coin” butt heads, or forget to play nice. It appears that the marketing department of industrial manufacturing companies is treated like red-headed stepchild at times. Sometimes viewed and treated as a liability or a drain on the budget, and often becomes one of the first items cut when revenue doesn’t hit the mark.

Rather than perpetuate the same common stereotypes such as “marketing is pull and sales is push,” or “sales is short-term while marketing is long-term,” your company needs to focus on integrating the two to ensure a shared responsibility for revenue generation. Marketing automation is the answer.

Forbes magazine shared six strategies to help end the marketing-sales turf war:

1. Design marketing and sales responsibilities around the customer buying process

2. Create a unified focus on the most valuable customers

3. Organize around the customer, not the function

4. Require job rotations

I’d like to stop and elaborate a bit on the last two.

5. Integrate customer information

This is where marketing automation can come in. Forbes notes that “both functions have different customer insights, so it is inevitable that they develop unique and varying insights.”

This problem is easily overcome by collecting and sharing data that is meaningful to both parties. For example, a “prospect” or “lead” score can be developed by tacking interactions with both sales and marketing functions such as calls, website visits, newsletter opens, etc.

This score is generated by marketing automation software such as Act-On or Hubspot, and then used to populate your company’s CRM system for use by the sales team to identify hot prospects.

6. Establish individual and shared incentives

At the end of the day, your employees are driven by incentives, and as Forbes notes,

Binding marketing and sales together with shared incentives can help pull the organization in one direction. For example, rewarding both functions for converting leads aligns marketing’s efforts with sales’ goals and ensures that sales acts on marketing’s lead-creation activities. However, be careful to not tie all of marketing’s incentives to sales’ performance or vice versa, otherwise a loss of control can create its own stress.

Moving forward, more and more companies are choosing to integrate their sales and marketing departments. While a formal merging of the two is uncommon and unnecessary, making sure that the two work in lockstep by aligning incentives and providing access to a common lead score is a wise idea for industrial marketing success.

Photo credit: Thomas Rousing

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