What Causes Misalignment Between Sales and Marketing?

November 16, 2018 Brandon Redlinger

john barrows

No, not another video on sales and marketing alignment!



Because nailing this can (and often does) mean the difference between success and failure.

This time, I wanted to get the perspective of a leader that sits in the Sales side of the house. I wanted to know what causes misalignment between Sales and Marketing? I asked this question to John Barrows a while back. John is an author, speaker and trainer to some of the world top B2B companies. You may have heard of a few of his clients: Salesforce, Box, and Linkedin to name a few.

I love his perspective on this, especially coming from a Sales leader.

Here’s John.

(watch video on YouTube)


Why do you think? First question. Why do you think Sales and Marketing really have been misaligned over the last, well I guess always, right?

Yeah, always. I mean I’ve been in sales now. My degree is in Marketing so that’s what I went to school for.

I didn’t know that.

I mean because I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I still don’t. Marketing for me was, you know I went to college. I drank my way through four years of school when I decided marketing was good. ‘Cause my first major was actually art so I figured all right marketing make some money. Art there was no way I was going make money in it. So I was like well maybe business I can apply some of that. I graduated and realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do and got into Sales like everybody else – kind of stumbled into it and then evolved into it.

And for 20 years now I’ve been selling, and for 20 years I’ve been hearing about the disconnect between Sales and Marketing. And a lot of it has to do with just proximity and understanding. Usually, Sales sits on the third floor. Marketing sits on the fourth floor. Marketing comes up with content that they think is good. And then Sales, and then they throw it over the fence to sales.

And Sales does or doesn’t use it and then says “yeah the leads are crap” or “that content was crap” or whatever. And Marketing says, “Well, why?” “Look, I dunno, it just is.” And it’s almost this chicken and egg thing where the leads that Marketing has generated are, I don’t know what came first s***ty leads or s***ty follow up.

You know what I mean? Because it’s been pretty much spiraled out of control at this point because now there’s just a perception that most Marketing leads are s***ty and a perception that most reps are not going to follow up with them. And so it’s almost like they just throw their hands up and say who cares. I think a lot of it has to do with also where we are.

And I think this is going to evolve into this conversation here which is Sales, there’s two sides, both in Sales and Marketing There’s the quantity and the quality side where before phones and emails and all that other stuff Sales was all about quality. It was like we literally had to knock on doors and make the most out of every single opportunity. And make sure that we were thoughtful with our approach there.

Then the phone came around and people just started blasting out generic cold calls and kicking that up. That really crushed a lot of, that drove results ’cause it was relatively new. E-mail came out and then with e-mail and then content marketing and marketing and all this other stuff, it just kind of got out of control with all the content that is out there.

Now, Sales and Marketing fight each other than they do work with each other. I talk to sales reps all the time who are just like “ugh my Marketing department just spams the s*** out of the clients. By the time I call them, there’s so sick of hearing from us they don’t even want to talk to us.”

And vice versa. I hear marketing saying, “look, all our reps are doing is they’re sending out the same generic emails that we’re sending and I don’t understand why they’re doing it.” And I, personally, don’t either. I mean I think right now with marketing and all the marketing automation tools, sales reps blasting out template emails and stuff don’t make any sense to me. It really doesn’t.

So it’s just the push and pull, and I think it’s, what I thought of the other day… I thought this was interesting ’cause the Chief Revenue Officer, that title really just hit probably, I don’t know… two or three years ago it really started becoming popular. The CRO. You think “like why the hell do you need a CRO when you have a VP of sales and a CEO and a CMO.” And the reason there’s a CRO, I’m absolutely convinced of this.

The only reason that a CRO really came in is because Sales and Marketing couldn’t get along.  You have a VP of sales and you have a CMO and they’re fighting each other and the CEO’s just like, What the f***. Could you just get along? And by the way I’m a CEO. I’m trying to run this business. I’m trying to drive this organization. I don’t have time to deal with your bickering here between the VP of sales and CMO. So f*** it, I’m just going to hire a CRO here and they’re going to babysit. And you’re both goingn report to them and I don’t want to hear any more s***.

And so that’s really why, and that’s kind of a step in the right direction to at least align the responsibilities of both departments under one umbrella.

The post What Causes Misalignment Between Sales and Marketing? appeared first on Engagio.

About the Author

Brandon Redlinger

Brandon Redlinger is the Director of Growth at Engagio, and is obsessed with anything Account Based Marketing and Sales related. He has been in sales and marketing his entire career, leading teams across the country from NYC to Denver to the San Francisco Bay Area. Brandon is passionate about the intersection between technology and psychology, especially as it applies to growing companies. In his spare time, you will find him buried in a book, hitting the gym or on an adventure exploring the world.

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