Posted by Chris Handy ● July 13, 2015

4 Skills Sales & Marketing Teams Need Now to Improve Customer Engagement

Stuck in the middle of a sales and marketing turf war?

You’re not alone. Many organizations go through the same headache. Marketing brings the leads to the yard. Sales gives feedback that there aren’t enough leads or that they’re not good enough. Who’s to blame?

Both parties actually. There are skills that both departments can learn to avoid the vicious cycle and work together to improve lead generation and customer engagement.


Here Are Four Skills Sales and Marketing Teams Should Learn. 

  • Strong intuition

Both teams must understand how each department functions. Just like a graphic designer and copywriter have different work styles and value certain things differently, so do marketing and sales. Know that sales teams are direct, appreciate short messages, are results-oriented, and prefer phone to email. Marketing folks are just the opposite. They’re creative, strategic, process oriented, and storytellers. Knowing where each team is coming from helps in getting past assumptions on how one another operates. 

  • Casual interaction

There’s an ounce of professionalism in this, of course. Being “casual” means breaking down positional boundaries and eliminating jargon from conversations. Forget for a second that there’s a hierarchical structure in the room and just have simple talks about sales and marketing processes, updates, or concerns. Remember that sales may not know all of the tracking and reporting technical terms and that marketing may not know how the sales funnel or SWOT analysis works.

  • Clear communication

Effective teams are aligned on lead generation strategies and are consistently up-to-date on process changes and product launches. If there’s too much information to communicate, consider holding a meeting or conference call with the two teams instead of sending emails. Consider having campaign launches to communicate expectations, roles, goals, and review the sales and lead cycles if needed. This will help build understanding and alignment between departments. Scott Miller, blogger at Hubspot, suggests “having weekly, monthly or quarterly check-ins between teams.” He adds to open up each call with shared successes. Talk about what IS working, address opportunities, and share new ideas in these meetings.

  • Appropriate feedback

The best kind of feedback consists of an opportunity AND a suggested solution. “We need to get a 100 leads next time,” isn’t proper feedback. Advise on the “how” and if you don’t have a solution, ask the group how to make it happen. Brainstorming is a perfect display of teams working together, instead of just finger pointing.

Conclusion: Finding Sales and Marketing Harmony

Although in many organizations the collaboration between sales and marketing teams is about as effective as “Spy vs Spy” there is light at the end of tunnel. The organizations that “get it” know that there is a symbiotic relationship needed to acquire business and new customers, and they’re doing something about it upstream. Start practicing the skills above in day-to-day interactions with each team, and you’ll see a difference. It might not be immediate, but it will happen if each team makes the same effort.

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