4 Paths to Better Collaboration Between Marketers and Salespeople

4 Paths to Better Collaboration Between Marketers and Salespeople


Regardless of industry or product category, most businesses cannot function without a marketing team and a sales team of some kind. While the goals of both are similar and essential to driving revenue, these two departments tend to spark friction with each other. These are both fast-paced, high-stress positions with stiff deadlines, rapidly changing goals, and constant accountability. They also tend to attract very different kinds of people who stay laser-focused on the tasks they have at hand.

Does that mean they can’t get along? Absolutely not! In fact, with a few simple philosophical and attitude adjustments, marketers and salespeople should be able to work to achieve greater success together than they could accomplish individually. Here are four tips to help mold that perspective.

Respect Each Other’s Skillsets

The common grumble from both salespeople and marketers is this “Their job isn’t that hard. I could do it just as well as they can.” That’s a loaded statement, but it comes up a lot. So, let’s break it down.

Could marketers and salespeople do each other’s jobs? Maybe! Going a step further, do seasoned marketers and salespeople understand what each other do? Quite possibly. Here are the more telling questions: Do they know how they do what they do? In other words, do they have the training and experience to face the unique challenges of the position? Are marketers checked out on sales closing techniques, or reporting and pacing programs? Are salespeople able to create a media plan or create print, video, or digital ads? The answer to these four questions is almost certainly “no.” Both parties must respect that the other is highly trained and skilled in their area of expertise.

Understand Each Other’s Role in the Organization

The disconnect between marketing and sales is often caused by a lack of understanding of what people in those roles are responsible for. It’s tempting for marketers to think, “All they have to do is sell what we make” while salespeople may say “they don’t have to deal with the pressures of rejection and hitting targets, so it’s easy for them to criticize.” Simply acknowledging that both these statements are valid can go a long way to strengthening interdepartmental relationships.

Salespeople must navigate personal relationships and deliver on deals, usually working solely on commission. Marketers have huge big-picture responsibilities to introduce and maintain product awareness, as well as numerous day-to-day tactical tasks that must be handled. Both these things are important and difficult. They are also vastly different and should be thought of on equal footing.

Make Personal Connections

This next concept applies to the elementary school playground as well as the modern workplace: The better you know someone, the easier time you will have working together. Marketers and salespeople may use different parts of their brains and be motivated by different measures of success. Despite this, they are all still human beings with hobbies, families, and ambitions. Learning about each other’s non-work lives (in a cordial, appropriate way) makes the working relationship more personal, and therefore more productive.

Train Yourselves to Collaborate

Once you’ve trained yourself to respect your sales or marketing counterpart’s skillset, understand their role in the organization, and gotten to know them personally, it’s time to get to work! The synergistic potential of a creative marketer’s mind combined with a salesperson who knows how to best present it to a specific potential client is practically limitless. If the two of you can present together, it may have a dramatic effect and show a true team effort to potential customers. At the very least, working together to craft and write the presentation will help everyone involved take ownership of the project, and hopefully, share in its success.

Sales and Marketing are two different things. Respect and acknowledge this, and then move on. Bringing these perspectives together to achieve the common goal of building a business and increasing revenue can be a massively powerful approach!