Merriam-Webster defines frenemy as “one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy”. Know of anyone like this in your life? I won’t make you name them, but if you’re in marketing, I have a guess it’s probably your sales counterpart.
These two groups are required to act civilly in the office (or on Zoom), but they’re notorious for throwing each other under the bus, but this ends today. Marketing and sales don’t need to be each other’s soulmates, but they do need to get along. When Edwin Abl, Chief Marketing Officer at Modulr, stopped by the Mobile Matters podcast (now REAL MARKETERS) he gave listeners a guide on how to go about repairing this relationship and a few other tips along the way.
Why Can’t We Be Friends?
What makes a good friend? Is it a constant yes-man or is it someone who is going to hold you accountable? The best way marketing and sales can coexist peacefully is by holding each other accountable. These two groups need to be on the same wavelength for how and when things will be delivered.
The first step to mending this relationship is for your CMO to have a weekly one-on-one with the organization’s CRO. Then, set aside specific goals that each group will be accountable for. For marketing, maybe it’s delivering a specific amount of marketing-qualified leads (MQL). For sales, it could be staying true to their course of action for how quickly they’ll follow up with an MQL. 34 percent of organizations whose marketing and sales departments are closely aligned are more likely to experience greater year-over-year ROI. It’s time for both sides to put their weapons down and to finally come together for the benefit of the organization.
Groupthink: The Kiss of Death for an Organization
Diversity of thought is an amazing thing. Think about it for a second, what if everyone liked the same music or sports team? It would make getting tickets for these events extremely difficult (you know, back when we could attend in-person events?). It would also make life boring. Liking the same things, having the same way of thinking, and being an exact replica of someone else is not beneficial to your personal growth or career.
While the thought of confrontation makes me break out into a nervous-sweat, having a differing opinion is incredibly beneficial to your organization. Groupthink can lead to the extinction of your brand. I know that sounds harsh, but take Blockbuster as an example. If individuals had challenged the status quo or wanted to implement an innovative idea within the organization, maybe Blockbuster wouldn’t be just a distant memory. Challenge the way you think about a specific channel, or get crazy and try a completely new approach.
World’s Greatest Boss Is Not a Universal Title
Have you ever wanted to do something, and once you get into it, you realize that it’s not as fun as you had imagined? I’m sure we all can rattle off a few examples, whether it was a hobby, vacation, or maybe even a new dish at your favorite restaurant. But many people don’t realize being a manager is not as fun or easy as it looks.
Managing people is hard. Being a great leader requires a person to invest time not only in themself but also in the people they’re managing. Are you able to take the blame for things that may not be your fault? Do you have the capacity to be constantly learning (and subsequently taking the time to teach your team)? If not, you may be happier being an individual contributor.
This goes against all of society’s norms. From a young age, we were constantly developing to go on to the next thing. From graduating to a new grade, winning a spot on a varsity sports team, or being valedictorian there has always been a linear path to our success. So hearing “not everyone can be a manager” can be a bit jarring. But understanding this doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You can still be extremely successful without ever managing a team. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you.
Can’t get enough of the marketing versus sales showdown? Take a listen to this episode of REAL MARKETERS, where Stephanie Cox has a candid conversion with Alon Waks of how generating leaders should not be the goal of marketing.