It’s Not Sales vs. Marketing; It’s Sales and Marketing.

October 6, 2015

There have been a number of times that we’ve walked into an organization looking for some marketing assistance, and we hear a familiar tune:

“Marketing doesn’t work, it costs too much!”

“Sales aren’t doing their job! I’m sending them leads!”

If you’ve grown up with siblings, this scenario can sound very familiar to quarreling brothers and sisters, but what is really going on here? Why do so many organizations seem to have problems when it comes to aligning their sales and marketing teams?


Years ago, having that “and” between the sales and marketing department meant that they often worked closely together. As businesses shifted from full-time departments with full-time staff, to combinations of internal and external staff, part-timers, and contractors for months or weeks at a time, the system started to break down and the two departments fragmented off from one another.

Marketing was relegated to awareness, tasks that assisted the brand and drove awareness to a company, and sales was thought of as the only area where profit could be delivered.


There is a great line from the film Cool Hand Luke: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” When it comes to sales and marketing, that too is a major issue. Without communication, neither department knows the successes, failures or items that need to be changed to succeed.

If marketing is tasked to drive leads, and drives poor quality leads to sales, but are never told the leads are poor, marketing will assume they’ve done their job and sales will be frustrated. If the two departments communicate clearly on messaging, tone, delivery, offering, etc. then adjustments can be made to drive a higher quality lead.

Sales needs to communicate success rate of conversion as well. While marketing may drive leads, once it hits the sales force, visibility can be lost. In order to track the whole process, top to bottom, marketing must know which leads converted to have a crystal-clear picture of what efforts converted that client.


I know, I know – process sounds like a dirty word to many in business. As a right-brained organization, we get it! But when results and ROI are top of mind to businesses of all sizes, processes are imperative.

Nothing good can come from either sales or marketing executing without a plan.

  • Sales cannot plan a pipeline without process
  • Marketing cannot execute without goals, or strategy
  • There must be a communication process to flow back and forth between sales and marketing – leads, messaging, conversion of leads

So, it’s that easy, right? Have a process, communicate and gain perspective and your business goal’s humming, right? Don’t think so – start with a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

What we’re discussing right now are the building blocks to making your two silos – sales and marketing – more effective. These principles will help you to strategize each year, and each decisively act in harmony, in unison, as an organization.

Written by W. Brendan Waller of
Brendan, the founder of Unison Measurable Marketing, based in Ontario, Canada, and his team deliver marketing solutions that empower clientele to see Marketing ROI by unifying Sales and Marketing processes.

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