SAMPS was previously Association of Commercial Professionals for Life Sciences (ACP-LS)

How Department Frenemies Hurt Your Pipeline

July 26, 2014

FrenemiesThis article was originally published in the blog hosted by LeadLife Solutions

fren•e•my [fren-uh-mee] (noun): A person or group that is friendly toward another because the relationship brings benefits, but harbors feelings of resentment or rivalry.

Let's be honest, your marketing and sales teams aren't bosom buddies. Heck, they likely aren't even pals. For the majority of companies today, they are "frenemies."

In fact, a recent survey of 550 sales executives found that only 35% said their marketing and sales departments are operationally aligned (Bain & Company, "Mastering the new reality of sales").

This leaves the vast majority of companies ready to pull up the therapist's couch for a little relationship counseling.

Communication is key

The fundamental rule for any good relationship is communication. In fact, marketing and sales pros build their whole professional lives around this ability, yet, it is always surprising to see how they fail to communicate with each other.

In many B2B companies, the boundaries between these two departments are often all too clear. The proverbial "no trespassing" sign is posted and neither dares to tiptoe over to the "dark side," leaving each department unaware of the other's activities and efforts.

However, this creates a vicious cycle. Marketing does its job nurturing the leads and finally passes them over when they deem them to be sales ready. Taking their turn at bat, sales finds the leads are underqualified or just not ready. The deal doesn't close. Fingers get pointed. And then repeat.

Does marketing know what sales deems a qualified lead? Does sales understand the information that marketing is providing them through a digital footprint? Are both sides consistently and clearly presenting the offering's value proposition? Has there even been a conversation to see if the correct audience is actually being reached?

The answer to all of the above is likely a resounding "no."

However, aligned companies understand that moving a lead from cold to close should be a steady and natural progression. Just as salespeople need to embrace the concept of early stage nurturing, marketing has to understand their job doesn't stop when a lead is passed over.

So the question lingers, how do you make these frenemies play nice? The fact is they may never be besties, but it also is clear that organizations must rethink where marketing ends and sales begins.

By reworking this process and creating clearly defined objectives, organizations are able to help connect these two departments.

It goes back to that fundamental rule of relationships: communication. By defining common-interest goals together, outlining and communicating the efforts and activities to reach those goals, each stage of the lead-to-revenue process will become a measurable objective that naturally creates a smooth transition for the lead as it moves between the two departments.

Creating this process may not be easy. And it will likely need revising as well. But it becomes well worth the effort. By having both departments communicate their needs and objectives, they build the process and in essence, they buy into the process.

Holding each department accountable for their mutually agreed upon goals mitigates the finger pointing, and hopefully gets these frenemies talking.

Lisa Cramer

Lisa Cramer is the co-founder and president of LeadLife Solutions. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and again in 2013, Lisa was named among the "Top 50 Most Influential People" in Sales Lead Management; and in 2011, 2012, and 2013 also named one of the "20 Women to Watch" in Sales Lead Management by the Sales Lead Management Association (SLMA), where she was also among the top five of all awarded thought leaders. Lisa shares her expertise through various articles, webcasts and speaking engagements. Lisa's articles have been published in respected industry publications such as BtoB Magazine, DemandGen Report, MarketingProfs, Sales Lead Management Association, Selling Power, Destination CRM and many more.
SAMPS, Sales And Marketing Professionals in Scientific research, is the first and only organization dedicated to sales and marketing professionals within the life sciences.

The association’s goal is to serve its members who work in commercial roles for life science products and services companies and associated businesses, globally.
SAMPS was previously named ACP-LS. We feel that SAMPS more clearly describes the membership, and will form a better foundation from which to expand this membership globally. 
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