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At odds with the sales team? Take a deep breath

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How many revenue meetings have you been in where sales and marketing can’t seem to agree on why numbers are down?

Here's what sales might say: "The number of leads from marketing is down," or "The quality is not up to par." Marketing quickly fires back with a question about the close rates, and wonders if there’s been a drop here.

This line of back-and-forth, while fair, can be disruptive in many ways. And I would encourage marketers to adopt another attitude.

My first piece of advice when you find yourself in this situation is to check your ego at the door. Lay aside all bravado and adopt an attitude of, “They might be right.” The reality in the end is there's a whole mix of things that may have caused numbers to be down.

So do your homework, come to the table with a list of variables to consider, and be open to different viewpoints. To prepare for this process, here are some questions to consider:

  • Do both marketing and sales agree on what a qualified lead is?
  • Do you really have an understanding of why a sale has been lost? (I can’t overemphasize enough the need for win/loss analysis.)
  • Did seasonality play a factor?
  • What about the promo itself? Was it viable?
  • What was the competition offering?

Some of these questions may seem basic, and they're certainly not comprehensive. I’d encourage you to come up with your own checklist, because clearly I don’t know what your particular challenges may be. But sales is not the enemy and don’t make them out to be. Trust me, they want to hit their quotas and it’s our job in marketing to provide them with the best possible foundation for doing so. It’s a partnership.

Before you point fingers, or arm yourself with dozens of backup spreadsheets, I’ll ask you: When was the last time that you sat side by side with your sales team and observed a sales call? Do you really understand their challenges and do they understand yours?

At the end of the day, sales wants to hit their targets and often times they are the ones motivated by a commission. Not so for marketing, in most cases. Be sensitive to the fact that quotas drive passion.

You can solve your challenges with the right attitude. Best of luck!

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